I appreciate that not all of my questions can be answered in this sort of way, and I apologise for a such a long post, but here goes anyway.
Posted: 02/09/2005 22:18:46
Your boat is listed as Seafire built in 1946 by Woottens of Cookham. It will be solid mahogany rivetted on rib. Coincidentally No 36 (see the post earlier) and 111 were by the same builder and have both been restored this year. They will both be at Bowmoor, Lechlade as indicated. If you are able to go you will be able to see what can be done. Chris Barlow who owns No 6 Iska and did much of the work on No 36 will be able to give loads of advice. The mast would have been wooden as you suggest. Among many jobs taking 6 months No 111 needed the ribs replaced in the cockpit area - a lengthy but essential job but well worthwhile now it is done. Rare yes, but value wise - who knows especially if there is a load of work to do. Suffice to say that you would be unlikely to recoup the cash if she was fully restored but then that is true of all boats I reckon. Would be done for the love of it!! Do try and preserve her if possible and maybe see you at Bowmoor.
Posted: 03/09/2005 00:07:57
MY girlfriends grandfather built her back in the day! Would be a shame to see her go to waste but as you say she will need to be done properly and you will not get your money back. With merlin rockets it is a love thing! Having just restored an old boat at some expense and passed it on it will be around for years to come and thats what it is all about. As Garry has already said go along to Bowmoor and see what can be done.
Posted: 03/09/2005 09:06:31
My main concern is my ability and space to do a proper restoration. If someone were in a position to be able to restore her to her former glory I would be happy to pass the boat on as is, but would like to recoup the purchase price (a low 3 figure sum)
Posted: 03/09/2005 09:24:59
Size wise it will fit in your garage. You can sail a merlin single-handed, especially a design such as this as its narrower beam makes it more stable and easier to tack. As for taking your family on board... well maybe not all at once but it's certainly ideal if your wife fancies trying crewing out or for when your two children are old enough to want to learn to sail. I learnt to sail in a Merlin from the age of 6/7 as a crew.
Posted: 03/09/2005 11:10:15
By: Richard 3233
Laurie would do a very good job but would be costly. Probably worth it though on a boat of her age.
Posted: 03/09/2005 11:36:01
That's the other problem, we cannot afford costly restorations. Don't get me wrong, I would love to keep the boat and see her at her best, but I'm being honest to her, and don't think we can do her justice. I would be more suited to an enterprise or similar small day boat.
Posted: 03/09/2005 11:57:40
Remember that the early Merlins had a tiny cockpit!! I think that the cockpit of 111 in comparison with No 36 is slightly larger by the placement of the stern crossmember being further aft - but this may have been done at a re-deck. Also 111 has slightly narrower decks but these are the replacements put in before I got her. So my cockpit is 6' x 2'6" but the cockpit therefore will be 5' x 2' if original and so a family of four would unlikely be comfortable - just not enough space to seat/accommodate you all!! As Jeremy said the older boats are more stable narrower certainly and there is a lump of lead on the centreboard which helps if the c'board is original- the lead I fear often got ripped off as it was butted onto the timber and then the boards were either shortened or made of timber only. I imagine that there may be more than a few lead weights at the bottom of the Thames!! I managed to replace the lead on my c'board and it now weighs 6.5kg!!! But you were allowed to have one of 56lbs as a maximum - changed days!!!! The Merlin was designed not to let water in even when on it's side capsized in calm water due the the wide roll decks and having sailed 111 it is clear that she can heel well over and not take water on board in comparison to newer boats. I have some line drawings from Yachting World sent to me by someone, which I could photocopy which are interesting and really quite detailed (without measurements) but could be used like a jigsaw box lid type of guide (well it's all I had to work from plus a lot of help from Chris Barlow!!) If you are interested let me know your address by email and I'll post them to you. (If anyone else would like this please do the same but don't all rush at once as it could cost a fortune in postage!!) I agree with Jeremy that she deserves to be restored.
Posted: 05/09/2005 08:55:04
By: Garry R
although the cockpits are small, the roll deck 'seats' were comfortable! i recall all being well and dry, as you say, until you gained water, then had the problem of getting it out with such a small area for bailing.
Posted: 05/09/2005 09:16:49
Come on guys, back off a bit. Vint, as I understand it, you are trying to say that you don't have the expertise to do the work yourself, nor the resources to pay someone else unless you can recoup the costs later by selling the boat. I would be in exactly the same position.
Posted: 05/09/2005 09:22:49
it always feels like it worth restoring a lovely old boat, but if the rot goes in deep, then it isnt going to be worth it. a few planks or a localised area can be sorted, but bigger problems are going to demand replacement timbers, not just squirts of epoxy...
Posted: 05/09/2005 09:23:45
It's worth contacting Mervyn Allen who runs the vintage wing. In his restoration of Kate he did not attempt to dig out or remove any rotten timbers but merely dried everything out very thoroughly and coated it with epoxy. Kate had been skinned in heavy fibreglass in the 50's and the pine planks beneath were shrinking and cracking. There are a nunber of places now where you can actually see light through the planking but the gap is closed with glass cloth and epoxy. This is cheaper and more practical than digging out and replacing a lot of timber, requires a lot less skill but the result is very impressive
Posted: 05/09/2005 09:40:46
By: Andrew M
you say that , but some years ago the club i belonged to restored 291, which had survived a fire, only to suffer a road accident when a truck t-boned the hull! the repair was made with new mahog planks 3-4 deep along the central third of the port side, coppered into place with new ribs etc, new guns and decks! if you had seen the result, then you would not have written a negative reply. on close inspection, you could still see the char in the grain of the mast from the fire!
Posted: 05/09/2005 09:58:26
I re-ribbed 111 in the cockpit area - removed all the rotten ribs (plus the sister ribs put in at some point). 640 rivets and roves later plus rubbing down, revarnishing, she sails nicely and like you said, John, the roll decks are comfy if not exactly roomy. Will try not to test the "tricky baling" theory but can see exactly why later boats went wider not purely on speed grounds. Then there is that wonderful rolling centreboard mechanism, the quirky rotating mast (should there be a fixed gooseneck?)and the wonderful jib halyard with the little block on the forestay plate (I had to make a new one) which the jib clips to rather than the forestay which seems almost superfluous. But you are right - those deep pools of chestnut mahogany brown after varnishing..... one of the best (but not the only)reasons to restore. Don't be disillusioned vint43 - you have the potential for a beautiful boat and there is a huge amount of advice from the Merlin community and beyond.
Posted: 05/09/2005 10:50:06
By: Garry R
If you look in the Gallery there is a couple of pictures of Garrys boat 111 haveing the ribs replaced. You may find some other interesting pics in there too. I remember re-ribbing 408 years ago with my dad and having to crawl under the fordeck on all fours to varnish the new ribs. Kills the knees!!
Posted: 05/09/2005 11:14:41
I'll send in some before and after shots of the restoration of no.36. It was in a state! even Doing It Yourself it will cost more than you can then sell it for, but that's not the point but having said that I think that one of this vintage should be preserved as it was one of the first batch of merlins built. www.cvrda.org can offer advice/moral support/means to advertise.(go to the forum) I'm sure someone out there will take it on as a project if you decide not to. Good luck
Posted: 05/09/2005 11:51:46
Please note the website for the Classic and Vintage racing Dinghy Association is not a 'dot co dot uk' as given above but
Posted: 05/09/2005 12:02:55
Thanks Got-the-tee-shirt. You just about put it in a nutshell. I am well aware that if I fully restored her, I wouldn't recoup my money, but would be willing to do it for the experience, but still sell on afterwards for whatever she may be worth. To sell in the state she is in, I would like to recoup the price Paid. I'm not in this to make any money, if I don't do the restoration, I just don't want to lose any money
Posted: 05/09/2005 12:24:43