Topic : Is a MR a suitable boat for me ??

I would really appreciate some advice. My boyf. and I are looking to buy a boat. We weigh about 20-21 stone between us. I have been sailing ( mainly crewing) for years but am not very confident. I had some traumatic experiences racing a Scorpion with someone who was very competetive but not very good at keeping the boat upright which has scarred me but thats another story ! My boyf. has not been sailing for long, maybe a year every other weekend, he is confident though.... We've been sailing a laser (stratos) , mainly in light winds at this small lake we go to which is fine. However we are moving down to Emsworth next year (In Chichester harbour) so will obviously be sea sailing then. Anyway I was wanting a 2 man, non trapeze, wooden boat and I really like the look of the Merlin Rocket, think it is a beatiful shape, and thought it must be quite exciting as its PY is lowish.  However, my dad, who used to have one, thinks it will be too tippy for us, but he is a bit over-cautious.... I dont think there are many of them at the Emsworth sailing clubs, but we are not worried about racing, and if we wanted they do lots of handicap racing. SO to get to the point (!) I was wondering-  is it suitable for a 'first boat' for fairly inexperienced sailors? Any thoughts would be gratefully received.

Posted: 07/06/2007 16:42:57
By: claire
It can feel a bit tippy for a newcomer I remember, but it doesnt necessarily take long to get used to it. You use the rudder less, and move around quickly but carefully...

With Chichester nearby you could do the 'Snowflake' winter series - always at least 10 Merlins out there. Hayling Island run a MR open meeting too (end of July). There is talk of a few boats congregating there more often too.

Best thing to do is call the regional rep for the area (see link), and they will find a way for you to try a Merlin, even if it is just a quick 10 mins after a race.

They are exciting, and very beautiful, you're not wrong there.

Posted: 07/06/2007 16:53:21
By: Mags
Which boat depends on how much you want to spend.

For your weight:

Budget = Infidel/Hooligan/Ghost Rider at around £500 - £600 Max.

Mid range = Summer Wine/Gnome/NSM IV at up to £1800 max for a mint example.

Upper mid range fully competetive all round = Thin Ice/Wood or Half plastic Canterbury Tales @ Around £3500 to £4500 for mint example with non proctor carbon rig and newish sails.

Top of the range = Plastic Tales/EZ Roller/Wooden Let it Ride (if you can find one) at £6500 up to serious money!!

Posted: 07/06/2007 17:46:20
By: Cloud of Storms
Great boat, great class association, training available, advice on tap. Go for it you'll not regret it.

Posted: 07/06/2007 18:25:23
By: Nigel
Claire, if you can deal with reculcatrant horses. hamsters and cows you and your boyfriend can handle a Merlin Rocket.

Posted: 07/06/2007 18:29:09
By: ?

My first dinghy was a Merlin, owning six over a 14 year period, the reason being, they are a beautiful boat and a dream to sail.

They feel a bit tippy to start with but you very quickly get used to this, although after a short while you wouldn't even notice any tippiness, honest.

Depending on your current location see if you cant organise a trial sail with one of the area will be hooked, details of area reps are located on the front page of the website just follow the links.

Good luck


Posted: 07/06/2007 18:52:43
By: Richard Battey

Follow this link if you want to do a trial sail.

Posted: 07/06/2007 18:55:35
By: Richard Battey
Hi Claire
There are a couple at Emsworth as we've seen them when we have walked past. They are wonderful to sail and not as scary as they seem. It just takes a bit of time.

We sail at Hayling Island where there are 3 resident Merlins, another one would be very welcome !!

Hope to see you out in one soon
Emma & Richard

Posted: 07/06/2007 19:18:04
By: Minx3681
Well, sailing a merlin has done our marriage the world of good...

Posted: 07/06/2007 20:18:21
By: Ben3634
My girlfriend has just got into an old Merlin having never sailed before and we haven't tipped over yet!!  Mind you the boat is the same age as we are - built in 1951 and I hasten to add it's likely in better nick than we are!!  Oh yes - we are still talking to one another!!!

Posted: 07/06/2007 22:31:28
By: Garry R
There are people who sail Merlins who do not capsize from one year to the next. The only way you can learn to do the same is to get into a Merlin and learn to sail it so that it does not seem "tippy".  Anyway, what's wrong with "tippy"? You only get wet! Not tippy is boring, or we would all be sailing (you know what). Go for it and good luck.

Posted: 07/06/2007 22:47:11
By: Cinders
Thankyou so much for all your helpful and detailed replies. You have convinced me its the way to go.! Now I just have to persuade my other half, though I have been showing him all the photos on this and the yachts and yachting site and he is suitably impressed! Next step - save up a little more and will use the suggested contacts and see if we can have a quick go in one. Thanks again, see you on the water !

Posted: 07/06/2007 23:02:51
By: claire
I have a 1973 September Girl that I renovated to virtually as new last winter and I sail on Langstone Harbour just east of Portsmouth. Please contact me if you would like a gentle introduction on a light to moderate wind day. They are sensitive to weight distribution but they are beautifully balanced and a delight to sail. Our only crises have been due to bad handling and have only served to teach us to do better.
Peter E

Posted: 08/06/2007 09:16:02
By: Peter 2789
People told me that they were tippy and unstable so I bought a fireball. After a bad experience in the fireball my crew crewed in a merlin for a winter series and then refused to get back into the fireball. So, borrowed an NSM2 for a race waiting for it to lob me in. Bit wobbly launching but once moving no problems so now sail (well sit in and enjoy!) a 'tales. Only alternative now considered is a solo for those pmt days.

Posted: 08/06/2007 09:29:58
By: floppy toppy
Hi Claire,

We live in Emsworth and we sail at Hayling Island mostly - as its only a 20 minute drive... there is a Merlin Rocket at Emsworth Sailing Club where there is racing three times a week in the summer... its an older wooden one too - but i can't remember the name, think it came to Salcombe week last year though...

You'll love the merlin - sure its a little tippy to get used to initially, but you'll soon get used to sailing on a more mobile (side to side) platform as opposed to a stratos!

When you move down give us a shout if you need a hand rigging up etc... not sure if you know but Emsworth and Emsworth Slipper S.C. have both capped membership - they are very popular clubs - worth giving them a call anyway.

Good luck!


Posted: 08/06/2007 09:50:22
By: Rachel
Sad though it is for newcomers to Chi' Harbour it's good to know of an oversubscribed club got to be doing something right!

Posted: 08/06/2007 15:38:22
By: ?
Thank you for those further replies. Peter E, that would be great to have a quick trip out with you on a calm day. I am down in Emsworth/Langstone a lot as all my family live there so if its OK I will e mail you beforehand one time over the summer and see if youre free to meet up anytime. Thank you for the offer. Rachel, I think help with rigging and tips would be very useful when we get a boat that would be great.  Yes, it is a bit tricky getting into the Emsworth sailing clubs I think. I was hoping as my Dad is a member at the Slipper SC then maybe I can do some sort of family thing, though I guess they are aimed at under 18s rather then 30 + year old daughters ! If not we will try one of the other sailing clubs around, I just like it at Emsworth, and thats where I've mostly sailed so its familiar. Thanks again for all the advice

Posted: 09/06/2007 00:07:21
By: claire
Definately pop into Hayling on 22nd July, even if it is just to have a look at the various boats lining up for the open meeting.

The link below will have the details added in a few weeks.

Posted: 09/06/2007 21:11:51
By: Mags


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