Topic : Any advice on reparing 2572, please?

I have just been given 2572, a GRP Northern Light, built by South Yorkshire Boats in 1972.
Apart from the soft floor and split transome, the bulkhead for the bow tank is ply, and needs replacing due to a large hole (not a missing hatch). Any advice on replacing it with a low tank rather than a full height bulkhead? (The mast is keel stepped.)
If I do go for a low tank, is there any point in fitting a spinnaker chute behind the forestay (like some Larks), rather than trying to fit huge strenghening to move the stay anchor point back?

Posted: 08/07/2006 15:42:10
By: John
Had J S Surtees written about boats not Hunting his words would have been "beware all boats wot need repairing, unless you are a Gary or a Mervin (and this is hardly a classic in any sense of the word is it) I'd hope GRP burns.

Posted: 08/07/2006 17:20:24
By: Wiser & Sadder
Replacing the high tank is a pretty major but perfectly possible option, you probably realise it is also not a quick job. To convert to a low tank would usually mean foredeck off & new bulkhead as well, then of course you might well consider replacing the side decks to match. take a look at the 'Laurie Smart' section in the 'Building & repairs' section on this sites front page.
The quick option of a repair & sighting a chute aft of the jib tack with all the friction & possible snag risks is a matter of just what you intend to do with her & how serious you take any racing.
So yes using modern epoxys it is quite feasable,it would be a labour of love, whether it's worth it only you can say,old boats of today are classics of the future, if you enjoy the task do it.regards Barry.

Posted: 08/07/2006 21:46:54
By: Barry Watkin
I think john was after some advice not someone to tell him to burn his boat! Come on guys old boats make the modern class what it is lets encourage not take the piss

Posted: 08/07/2006 23:04:35
By: russhopkins
I have in the past taken a high tank out and repaced with a ply low tank - not too difficult just time consuming. So making the low tank as a pattern then creating a carbonfibre tank should also be possible. tricky but possible. Think of the weight saving.

Posted: 08/07/2006 23:19:05
By: Miles
There were a few of these boats made in single skin GRP.  They were not successful.  If you want to make the boat work for the fun of it carry on but the problems with panel stiffness and/or weight will mean that it will not be a competitive boat even at club level.  I had a Northern Light for 3-4 years and it was an excellent river boat, quick-tacking, good acceleration; but a nightmare at Salcombe as the considerable rocker in the bow sections made it particularly easy to nosedive and the narrow run was none too stable either.  Mine had been modified during the build by Barry Mourant to put a spinny chute through the full-height front tank (the rules changed in 1970 to allow this).  The difficulty you will have if you move the forestay attachment back is getting a firm anchorage on the single-skin GRP to take a load of up to 500Kg in a wipeout.  Glassing in a bit of stainless steel rod will not be adequate, I think.

Posted: 10/07/2006 10:05:38
By: Andrew M
P.S. just to make it clear mine was a wood Richard Debenham shell completed by Barry Mourant.  I did like the boat a lot and wonder what happened to her - 2315 Super Nova are you out there??

Posted: 10/07/2006 10:07:24
By: Andrew M
There seems to be a real dearth of boats of 70's / early 80's vintage on the second-hand list. Why is this??? Not that I'm keen to buy one but just curious. I would imagine there are a large number that would go well inland. What has happened to all those Smokers the like??

Posted: 10/07/2006 12:25:03
By: Dave Croft
No great advice on repair of GRP but as a Northern Light owner I'd like to wish John good luck and I hope he will enjoy sailing his as I do mine. I have 2337 which is  wood and was built in 1970 (with chute at front). I suppose the explanation for the later fibre glass boat not having a chute is that the moulds were extant before the rule change? 

This made me peruse the year book to see when the Northern light design was introduced. "Northern Light" was 2224 but there are 3 boats before this listed as design 29a (Northern Light) ? How strange, convention would seem to be the first boat of the design gives it's name to that design.

2224 was built by Northern Sailmakers ! As a foot note to the advertising / sponsorship debate was this a bit of "product placement" back in 1969, it would be interesting to know the story.


PS am I the only sad case who sits and looks up old boats in the year book of an evening.

Posted: 11/07/2006 20:05:04
By: Rick Benson
Thanks for the advice. I'll keep boat burning for my Viking funeral! I don't intend racing the boat, just to enjoy sailing it, without the worry of maintaining the wood work over the winter (I have enough of that with my 1958 National 12).


Posted: 12/07/2006 10:48:47
By: John
I think the explanation as to why 2224 Northern Light was not the earliest number of that design is that 2208, 2213 (Keith Steele's boat), 2217 and 2224 were all built at about the same time in 68/69 by 3 different builders. The numbering only reflects the order in which their certificates were registered by the RYA. It was at a time when many Merlins were being built.

Posted: 12/07/2006 14:02:07
By: Tony Lane
I'm sure 2224 was the first "Hull" by Richard debenham to this design essentially a flared out "Surf Scoter" ammended from "Super Scoter" which as Nick Truman's last Merlin built when Richard Debenham worked for his (Nick's)family firm A D Truman Graham Leech who helped Keith Steele start his sailmaking business finished this himself and thus no doubt was well behind the professional boat building speed of Richard (+ Moving north and starting a new business for Keith.) hence the later sail number. Also and he admits this as a perfectionist Richard Debenham was not the fastest builder in the world! Graham however did also have truly excellent boat building skills as well as sailmaking ones. It was a good design from a good stable.

Posted: 12/07/2006 14:41:51
By: Ancient Geek
Thanks AC for the info.  A few years ago I would have asked our good friend Lou Oliver, but sadly he is no longer with us. Lou sailed at Cam for good number of years before moving up to the broads and into a Brown Boat. Richard Debenham had made Broad Scoter (2686) for Lou which was a beautiful boat and very sucessful on our very resticted river. He also extolled the sailmaking of Graham Leech and followed him to whichever sailmaker he was working for.

Posted: 13/07/2006 09:19:01
By: Rick Benson
2315 was a very well-built boat and the first Merlin I owned that actually went at all well.  When I 1st went to Salcombe (1996) my experience of open-water sailing was pretty limited and I think I would now be better able to keep the boat upright!  Even then I still had an upper 60's finish, better than I do nowadays.  The shape was similar to a couple of other contemporary designs with a well-rockered fine V'd bow section, rounded midsections and a flat narrow run with hard bilges, think Xpectant.  There were no structural problems at all despite the boat's age, though I had considerable problems with the spinny chute arrangement which leaked into the front tank (despite John Heath's attempts using a Pink Gin with epoxy approach).  Had I kept the boat I would have needed to convert to a low front tank and conventional spinny storage instead of the somewhat eccentric tube arrangement.  However I sold her for £250 and bought a dog of an NSM1 thinking that the greater beam and easier handling would bring me success.

Posted: 13/07/2006 12:44:49
By: Andrew M
Don't blame the dogs it's the owners that are at fault. NSM were and still are good club boats .
3236 NSM!!!!Barry

Posted: 13/07/2006 22:46:24
By: Barry Watkin
I wasn't blaming the design, Barry, but the boat just never went for me, the thwart had come adrift before I bought it and though I glued and screwed it down in what ought to have been the right place I'm not sure it was.  Also it was one of the last of the high bow tank boats but had a hoop not a traveller, probably converted at some point and that may well explain why the windward performance was so poor.  3202.  Went off to France in the end.

Posted: 14/07/2006 09:48:31
By: Andrew M
No problem it's an odd thing there are some boats that just dont perform, regards Barry.

Posted: 16/07/2006 07:10:02
By: Barry Watkin
And some boats do, it's usually a lot of little things like, wiggly keel bands, the centerboard case not straight fore & aft, warped or twisted centreboard, the mast partners not in the middle of the boat,everything in the wrong place, even boats twisted after coming off the mould as a result of not being set up square before decking, crap sails that look ok and so on.

Posted: 16/07/2006 08:17:31
By: Ancient-Geek
Or you could try contacting Richard Debenham direct. Last recorded address was 19 Whites Lane, Carlton Colville, South Lowestoft. Doubtless he'd be delighted to learn I'd posted his telephone number on a website, so tell him you got hold of it somewhere else (such as a telephone directory): 01502 -  740376.

Posted: 21/07/2006 15:14:44
By: Jamie Campbell
With Richard's permission
Richard Debenham
19 Whites lane
NR33 7TF

01502 740376

He more or less only works for Peter Colby these days though.

Posted: 21/07/2006 15:25:26
By: Ancient-Geek


To Reply, please join/renew membership.

Owners Association

Developed & Supported by YorkSoft Ltd


Merlin Rocket Owners Association