Topic : Expensive

What expensive tricks have Merlin sailors been up to? Having agreed to buy Chris Barlow's beautifully restored 2121 - Half Cut, I expected to just add it as another boat to my existing insurance with fleet discount but no - "we don't cover Merlin Rockets". As a concession, I could have third party only because I'm a long standing customer with 3 boats and no claims but I wanted fully comp.

Shopping around I found that others were the same. Web sites for quotes list everything except Merlins and when you phone they don't cover them or are very expensive with large excesses.
Eventually I got full cover at a good price from Bishop Skinner but it was a big down for the class from a newcomer's view and puts me off the Merlin open meeting circuit. I've bought it to sail CVRDA events which are very respectful and caring for the boats - everyone's put a lot of work in that they don't want to damage.

I'd like to see class rules published on the website - what are the restrictions? Particularly on controls and rudders as my long slab rudder from the Lark is useful in a blow and we need to set up various control lines etc.

I like the forum - I see my Lark top batten flicking skills are essential for the Merlin too!!

Posted: 25/05/2005 07:27:07
By: Class Newcomer
Welcome, newcomer!

Class Rules are freely available to you from the technical section of the RYA website, For your information, the limitations on rudders are only that you can't have 'double rudders or similar contrivances', and winged rudders are being banned. Apart from that your rudder can be what you like, and made from what you like - the lighter the better!

As for controls, how many do you want? If you can outdo Glenn Truswell's original fit out of After Hours, you will have done very well!

Good luck with it.


Posted: 25/05/2005 08:14:11
By: Chairman GGGGG
I agree that Merlin insurance isn't cheap for an old boat, but i've never had problems getting cover.

All high performance classes have the same problem.

The trouble is that when you have a claim in a Merlin, even an old one, it tends to be a relatively large one!

Posted: 25/05/2005 08:36:02
By: Chris M
Bishop Skinner is the company most on the forum have ended up with.  The problem is to do with size of claims as Chris says, if you have a beautifully restored old boat and collide with a river cruiser it will cost as much to fix as a much newer and more expensive boat.  Some years ago Newton Crum used to have a system where you broke down your insured value of the boat into hull, spars, sails etc. and on an older boat if you have a serious incident (i broke a mast & it trashed the foredeck and punched a hole through the bottom of the boat) the repair costs will greatly exceed the value of the hull based on purchase or possible resale price.

Having said that, I am starting a thread on sycamore magnets...

Posted: 25/05/2005 09:49:59
By: Andrew M
Bishop Skinner is my fav, that reminds me, I need to take Bald Eagle off cover having sold it several months ago.

Although Mark insured, Who's a Pretty Boy with Craft Insure as we wanted to sail it right away at the weeke end and you can arrange cover 24*7 online. And it is relatively cheap.

Posted: 25/05/2005 09:54:46
By: Alan
I would disagree regarding craftinsure having just changed my insurance from them to Bishop Skinner who were 50% cheaper..

Posted: 25/05/2005 11:50:17
By: Rob Wilder
CraftInsure were 50% more expensive than Bishop Skinner and Newton Crum were over twice Bishop Skinner's price! Yet all of the quotes were more than I pay my Lark which is insured for more than twice as much as the Merlin!
As for controls, the existing are pretty much original 1968 vintage - I need to lead back the kicker for the helm, and refit spinny sheets, twinners and pole uphaul and downhaul. Looks like a busy Bank Holiday!

Posted: 25/05/2005 21:01:22
By: Class Newcomer
Kicker is crews job => don't want your head in the boat when there's all those lovely tell-tales / shifts / other boats / marks to look at now would we?  Try and rig them closer to the gunwhales than the centre as your crew will upset the balance if they have to lean in to adjust it.

Still, it's easier to say than do - I keep watching my crew make the adjustments which kind of defeats the object really but I'm trying!

Posted: 25/05/2005 21:30:41
By: Jon
So, how do you come up with an acceptable value for insurance purposes? Having a real bitch with the companies here... M... M... Ma... Mar... Me?.. aha Melges... could it be a Melges? Ummm No, it couldn't... Mer... Hmmm... Merlin... its not on our list... Is that one of those Mexican boat yards? Perhaps it has a Spanish name...?!# Oh, its a custom job you say, home built you say, wooden you say? well, hmmm, have you had it assessed by a marine surveyor yet?

Seriously, how do you value a brand spankin' new MR you built yerself?

It must be worth more than the sum of the parts!?

Any ideas? Slightly less than priceless!

John in Upstate NY where the British weather is coming down in buckets.

Posted: 25/05/2005 22:30:35
By: John, NY
Kicker is lead back both sides to fall by helm's forward hand (behind thwart in Lark) and helm plays it by feel and looking at sail shape. We find it makes a difference but we sail in shifty conditions.

Posted: 27/05/2005 13:22:57
By: Class Newcomer
NY John, sorry to hear underwriters are giving you grief. If they insist on a survey, see if they'll accept one from a member of the IIMS, see, which is an international body with member surveyors in NY state. These surveyors probably won't know a Merlin from a hole in the wall anymore than any other surveyor out there, BUT, tell 'em to ring Capt Ian Biles in the UK, who most certainly will know what a MR is, and can tell them all they need to know. As Ian was one of the founders of IIMS, his word does carry some clout!

Posted: 27/05/2005 15:06:28
By: BmaxRog


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