To try and make the Design Guide more user friendly the following pages have been added:

Glossary of Terms:  Layman's explanations of the various technical terms used throughout the Design Guide (see page 15).

Index table: A table summarising the majority of Merlin Rocket designs and providing the following information (see page 16):

  • Name of designer
  • Reference to Year Book key
  • The range of Merlins built for each particular design by sail number and year.
  • Number of boats built to date.

We hope that you will enjoy the Design Guide and find it very informative.


Merlin Rockets-different...but the same
The Merlin Rocket is a fourteen-foot dinghy which is light, fast and responsive.  It is a pleasure to sail in all wind strengths and on all types of waters and a thing of beauty to own.  It rewards skill and finesse rather than brute strength weighing only 98KG.  It will not break your back when you haul it up the slipway after a sail and because constructional standards are higher than in many other classes, it will remain competitive for a very long time.  Many Merlins built in the seventies are still very competitive at club level inland.

These are just a few of the many reasons why you should contemplate owning a Merlin.  There are many others.........

The Merlin is a restricted class built to a set of rules rather than a plan.  Thus the hulls and rigs of individual boats vary within given limits enabling you to tailor your boat to suit your weight, sailing water and temperament.  There is no single design or rig which shows a clear advantage over all others.  If you and your crew weigh 18 stones combined, there is a Merlin for you.  Similarly, if you weigh 28 stones there is a Merlin for you.  No other dinghy is as tolerant of as wide a range of crew weights.  Merlin Rockets recognise that WE are not One Design people.

Husbands and wives sail Merlins - and win (one such couple won the 1992 National Championships). So do fit youngsters, hefty, husky males and wily grandads and grannies.  Modern rig controls have made women crews more competitive than ever before.

If you want to race at your local club, there is a wide range of suitable designs.  One of the things you will notice as you walk round the dinghy park is that Merlins are wider than other boats.  The modern wide hulls give an efficient base for today's powerful rigs and give tremendous sitting out power so you can drive the boat hard in a blow.

For these reasons, we would not recommend an older, narrow hull unless you sail on rivers such as the Thames or the Trent where low wetted area and the ability to tack on a sixpence keeps it competitive.  But nor will you need the latest speed machine.  Plenty of people pick up club trophies sailing twenty year old Satisfactions, Ghost Riders or Phantom Kippers, to give but three examples of designs that have kept their competitive edge because they were so well designed in the first place.

If you want to get amongst the prizes on the Silver Tiller circuit - undoubtedly the most competitive open series in the land - or at the National or Inland Championships you will need a stiff hull, sound foils and good sails.  If you only travel for the scenery, the beer and the camaraderie, you will be welcome whatever you sail.

To sum up, here are some good reasons why you should be sailing a Merlin:

  • Merlins are light, strong and long lasting.
  • Merlins are tolerant of a wide range of crew weights.
  • Merlins are the dinghy sailors "Stradivarius".
  • Merlins are great value for money.
  • Merlins are exiting and responsive.
  • Merlins have a strong Owners' Association to protect your interests plus excellent magazines and a very informative yearbook which are received in return for your subscription.  There is also the excellent website which can be found at www.
  • Merlins have good club sailing countrywide plus Britain's most enjoyable, varied and competitive Open Circuit.  Many of the top yachtsmen have a background in Merlins.
  • Merlins have introduced race training courses aimed at all levels of experience.

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Copyright MerlinRocket 2002.