Topic : Aln Boatyard built, hull no 2302

Could any of you Merlin experts out there tell me what design this Merlin is please

Posted: 08/06/2005 09:31:16
By: Pete
It is probably a Martin Jones designed Xpectant.
Built in 1969 and originally called My Lady

Posted: 08/06/2005 12:26:30
By: Tony Lane
I have her sister 2301 (Mayerling). Same design and layout, same boat yard.

One of the early 'wide' designs. We can't keep up with the newer Merlins but can beat all Ents and 12s!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Posted: 08/06/2005 13:46:09
By: Terry
I used to own Mayerling some 15/20 years ago - first owner I think was Ken Bridgewater - a very successful boat on the Midland Circuit in its day and originally fitted with a needlespar mast. I think it only had 7 planks which gave it a very low freeboard. 

Get the rig right it really used to point.

Good to see she's still about.


Posted: 08/06/2005 15:31:20
By: CW
First Merlin I ever sailed in was 2300, another Xpectant, probably another Aln (?), at Leigh SC oop north. Interesting to see the photo above shows a chute in front of the tack fitting. 2300 had the chute behind-was she the last one built without a chute as an original feature?

Posted: 08/06/2005 16:42:40
By: BmaxRog
2301 has the shute in front of the tack fitting so may have been the first. The shute is actually quite small so the reinforcements on some spinny corners can jam. My crew is used to climbing on the deck to push or pull to free them.

Ken Bridgewater still sails his Proctor IX (1053?)at Earlswood. He tells me that Mayerling was bought new (hull only) by his son.

Posted: 10/06/2005 21:14:15
By: Terry
I had a brand new Wotnot from John Freeman (2310) in late 1969 and that had spinnaker bags.  A chute certainly was not available as an optional extra at that time.  I don't think they came in until early 1970 - if you look at the pictures of the Warming Pan 1970 in John Oakley's book "Winning" you won't see any. I have a feeling that David Robinson's Ghost Rider (2340) may have been the first.  The arrival of  the chute immediately gave us a problem as we had full bow tanks so it was very difficult to retro fit.

Posted: 11/06/2005 09:09:51
By: JC
JC is correct that David Robinsons 2340 Ghost rider was the first proper spinnaker shute in a Merlin Rocket, there was the appearance of BAZ a year before which had a sort of aluminum thingy on top of the deck. David's Shute was made of remoulded grey plastic waste pipe, My 2304 Drop Out my last Merlin an Aln expectant was retrofitted by me immediatly after the Warming Pan where Ghost Rider appeared, with a modified 505 chute cut down and in front of the forestay and jib tack, these are the only two "THROUGH TANK" ones I recall because Spud Rowsell and John Freeman followed by the others came up with the low tank with a false deck which became the norm and with variations is I understand the norm even now 35 years later!
Tony Lane is also correct that 1926 -(1966) was the first bow tank (retrofitted) but from new in as much as the hull maker (Chippendale) did not fit the tank but Avalon Boats who completed the boat from the hull did, it was glassed in. In 1967 I gave Beat Nik 1523 a retrofitted bow tank which stiffened up her elderly hull enough to win the Silver Tiller again I too glassed this in. I have a lot of pictures on this subject and other Merlin Things scanned if anyone wants them.
Hope this might help. This should be recorded as everybody is getting older. Ex Chairman Pat must be 60I'm not far short, and God only knows how old Alan Warren is! And as Alan knows we none of us go on for ever!

Posted: 11/06/2005 14:47:09
By: David Child
I used to crew 2340 under its second ownership, [Andy Holmes] It did not have a moulded chute [or am misunderstanding what's written above ] it had what is now the norm in wooden hulls. The front tank was not full height I remember the spinny pole had to go on top of that. Also remember that it had 2 extra self bailers just aft of the front tank, supposedly to reduce wetted surface area when they we down and just drawing air through.

Posted: 11/06/2005 18:11:04
By: Miles
Then it was altered later. I remember the number of failures with heating the plastic pipe to mould it it kept catching fire!

Posted: 12/06/2005 10:31:12
By: David Child
I have just bought this boat (Feb 2009). Possibly renaming it Mister Otter (long story). Foredeck rotten through but hull rock solid. Should be on the water for the summer. Looking for a cheap overboom cover so the next deck doesn't rot too. Any recommendations of a good one?

Posted: 22/02/2009 23:24:16
By: Jake Frith
Try Sail Register. I bought a breathable polycotton cover for MR 3112 for just under £200 in Aug 2007. For various reasons the boat has been outside since. Apart from fading over 2 winters and a summer the cover is fine and although it is hosed out with fresh water after each outing the boat  dries out in between.
Best of luck with the re-decking.

Posted: 23/02/2009 08:14:31
By: Peter 3112
Hi Jake,

Good luck.

I am just about to start restoring another Xpectant 2262. As it has come up before, don't forget that the name is part of the rules and there cannot be two boats the same.


Posted: 23/02/2009 19:54:58
By: DavidC
I have 2349, a Superstition design, which I believe was built in 1970, and this has a chute in front of the forestay and a low tank giving clearance under the foredeck to stow the sail, rather than a tube.

As she has vlearly been re-decked at sa0me stage I wonder wherther the chute is original, or a later development.

Also, the spinnaker pole is an "up the mast" arrangement, bery similar to the "dangly pole" I have on my N12. It's in gold ali like the mast. Would this have been original, and was it a common arrangement in that era?

Posted: 23/02/2009 20:42:40
By: Giles
There were a few up-the-mast flyaway poles around, i've seen and used a few around the midlands over the years. Nice and fast to put out, but awkward to gybe and a killer for short crews. Probably best described as a duckpond development! 

I suppsoe it could have been origional depending on where the boat was first sailed. I can't believe a sea based boat would have used such a system becaue i'd thought there would be a danger of it stowing itself if you hit a wave a bit hard, and gybing one on waves would be nigh on impossible.

The problem is that however you try and gybe it (Boom over or pole off first it scarcely matters) there is always load pulling the pole and guy away from you until you get the guy out. You'd probably get away with a 5ft pole, i found the 6ft pole difficult on the boat at my club that had one and i'd imagine the current length just wouldn't be worth bothering with.

Other issues were windage and the mess it made of the front of the mast. I think i'd rather have a boom stowed or loose pole.

Posted: 23/02/2009 21:17:35
By: Chris M
I remember such a piece of kit on 2631 so yours could have been a retro fit - as a young keen crew I recall hauling the string down to make the pole 'fly away' only to see the bottom end of the pole bury itself in the foredeck - one less than amused owner!!

Posted: 24/02/2009 08:43:54
By: Peter Scott
I had 2315 for a while which Barry Mourant had completed from a Debenham shell in 1970.  This had a white moulded mouth to a chute that went through a full height front tank.  This was in sailcloth reinforced with something and terminated in a bit of drainpipe low down on the aft face of the tank.  By 1997 this arrangement had become distinctly porous and I remember John Heath doing what he described as a pink gin job with epoxy to try and get the boat through a buoyancy test.  On Millbay beach on the Saturday before the racing.

Posted: 24/02/2009 11:23:01
By: Andrew M
Funnily enough, Chris, my fly away pole is exactly 5 feet long.

Not having used it yet, I'm open to being shot down in flames here but, when gybing, why can't the crew uncleat the pole (causing it to fly up the mast) duck under the boom, swap the guy while it's flapping around near the mnast gate and pull the launch cord again for the pother side. Twinners wopuld help to control the sheet and guy.

Totally appreciate the point re sea sailing, but this old girl is going on rivers and ponds untill I'm happy it's seaworthy.

Posted: 24/02/2009 20:36:04
By: Giles
Beacsue that doesn't happen, or at least not on the one i sailed. The guy would continue to pull the pole into the out position because the force of the full or flapping kite will not make the pole want to comem into the mast.

Also to be honest you'll really want to upgrade to at least the 6ft pole, the spinny size with the 5footer is tiny and the 6 foot pole will be much, much better and more manageable because the kite will fly further from the boat.

Posted: 24/02/2009 20:53:09
By: Chris M


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