Topic : Merlin 908


After some advice/information please.

I have by good fortune aquired MR 908 a Wyche & Coppock built, Holt XI, built in 1959.

For her age she is in considerably good nick although being the complete bimbler I am I will strip the decks and hull and revarnish over what remains of the summer and winter, as the boat had been pulled up the pebble beach at Seaford by the previuos owner which has taken its toll.

After all that my simple question is ....... as spinny chutes had not cottoned on in '59 I take it the spinny is launched via bag located either side of the mast gate?

Plus does anyone have any internal pics of older boats so that I can sort of guage the basic layout of cleats etc as most have been removed by the previous owner, although I have a bag of bits.

One other question.... as there are no through blocks in the side deck for the spinny sheets to run through I take it the sheets just run stright onto a block located either side of the thwart?

Thanks in advance.


ps. Mags if you read this could you email me my password as I have forgotten it.....again and need to look at the pictures posted by Garry Rucklidge under DIY.

Posted: 04/07/2007 17:56:43
By: Richard Battey
'Pooh' number 1189 - my new purchase doesn't have a chute - but has a small bag either side of the mast as you thought and the jib cleats are on the foredeck, spinnaker sheets go back to the thwart...

Posted: 04/07/2007 22:39:42
By: Rachel
I'd hazard a guess its a Proctor XI not a Holt.

Posted: 05/07/2007 08:30:44
By: Point of order
Year book has her down as a Proctor XI certainly - not a Holt design.  On 1728 there were big holes cut into the foredeck and bags underneath but that's where all the rot started when water got into the end grain where the spinny rubbed the varnish when hauling in and out of the bags.  I'm sure Rachel's arrangement (bags on each side of the mast) is the original style.  I haven't any spinnaker arrangement on 111 or on 252 although there was a mast sheave for the spinnaker on 111. There is a nice picture in Robin Steavenson's book "When Dinghies Delight" of a set of drawers (I joke not) which slid in and out under the foredeck on each side of the mast so the spinnaker could be tucked away!!  (By the way that book and "Marks to Starboard" are well worth reading but are difficult to get hold of). Remember that on the VERY early boats (not sure about 908 era) there was a funny rule about where spinnakers could be flown in relation to the jib (behind?) but I am sure that some of our historians will be able to enlighten us.

Posted: 05/07/2007 09:19:17
By: Garry R
Apologies! It is a Proctor.

Posted: 05/07/2007 09:30:51
By: Richard Battey
1961 pole lengthened from 4'6" tp 5' and spinnaker haliyard permitted just above the forestay/jib haliyard. Allowing flying outside and gybing without wrapping haliyard round forestay. It also allowed the hounds of alloy masts to be stronger (lots of holes.).

Posted: 05/07/2007 09:55:12
By: Point of order
In 1964 a neat & cheap alternative to bags was used to win the GP14 champs. A light plastic bucket with the handle removed had a light line passed thru' a hole in the middle of the bottom and secured near the base of the mast so that it would lift until  the top came above deck on either side. The spin was packed tight with 3 corners fitted with Inglefield flag clips protruding. The sheets and halyard all had Inglefields. The sheets and halyard were all clipped together so they could be pulled round the jib to either side for hoisting and the bucket could be put on either side. When it was certain which side the spin was next needed it was clipped up and hoisted. The bucket flew up, the kite came out with a bang, the bucket dropped. It works!

Posted: 05/07/2007 10:35:57
By: 1964 GP14 crew
Sounds a wonderful system!

When you've got something sorted, please come and sail the vintage merlin and cvrda events. The spinnaker without chute might even be worth a bonus point on cvrda handicap depending on what the rest that age sport!

Posted: 05/07/2007 13:26:06
By: Pat2121
although surely an enamel or galvanised bucket would more appropriate for an age related bonus!

Posted: 05/07/2007 15:41:42
By: john
Clinker built wooden pail with rivetted steel banding!!

Posted: 05/07/2007 15:53:21
By: Garry R
Oak barrel more appropriate - even more bonus if it's still full of beer!

Posted: 05/07/2007 21:04:27
By: Pat
Great boat the mark XI. mine was 916 and I sailed her to the Isle of man from Fleetwood [60miles]. Beat a few cruisers that w/end. Enjoy the boat.

Posted: 05/07/2007 23:11:40
By: Mike
Thanks for all your comments.

Funny really how I have gone full circle sailing Merlins.

My first dinghy I ever stepped into was a Merlin in 1991 having aquired 1805 'Wahine' then 2514 'Ancient Mariner' (since destroyed), 2837 'Bath Bun' (formerly 'Toad'), 3103 'Megolomania', 3346 'Galactic Gnu', 3478 'Terrabyte' and now right back to the beginning 908 'Wishbone' but due to the severe lack of strings in '908' compared to '3478' I seem even more confused with an older boat and its set up if that makes sense!?

Posted: 06/07/2007 07:30:04
By: Richard Battey
you could always add a few more 'placaebo' lines just to make it look a bit busier - then post the photos in the diy section and wait for the replies!

Posted: 06/07/2007 08:20:36
By: john
I've got some spare string!

My wife is going to post a couple of the cartoons (laminated) in our Merlin once the varnishing is complete - you know the one with the "I said the yellow rope with black diamonds and a purple knob"?
(see library).

You can always fit split control lines for the burgee, protest flag, thermos!


Posted: 06/07/2007 08:41:07
By: Colin
Richard - you are not quite back at the beginning!!  Remember there are ribbed boats out there for your delectation!!  I believe that there is at least one in very good condition looking for a caring and loving home complete with wooden mast - Mervyn has details.

Posted: 06/07/2007 09:02:30
By: Garry R
Photos can be viewrd by anyone...

Posted: 06/07/2007 09:26:55
By: Mags
Garry's article (from the magazine) is for members only...

Posted: 06/07/2007 09:28:02
By: Mags
Hello Richard

Give me a call on 0208 231 8911 I will be able to help you.

Also send me your address, phones and E Mail and I will add you to our Vintage Mailing list

Posted: 11/07/2007 16:31:35
By: Mervyn Allen


To Reply, please join/renew membership.

Owners Association

Developed & Supported by YorkSoft Ltd


Merlin Rocket Owners Association