Topic : Tiller wanted and any info on Merlin Rocket No. 2048

Hi all, 

During the summer I was very lucky to pick up a Merlin Rocket(No. 2048 I think,) in very good condition. Am livig in north west Ireland so knew very little about sailing and even less about Merlin Rockets. Anyway, just wondering if anyone knew anything about the history/year etc. of my boat.

Oh yeah, one other small matter, the tiller. After a coule of months cleaning, varnishing, repairing sails etc. I took it sailing and it was absoluetly fantastic. The only problem is that at the end of Sept. after another days superb sailing, and like a complete plonker, I put my boat on it's trailer and drove off without the tiller. Have been back to the slip way, put up notices, called to houses and still no rudder. Can any of you please, please help me in finding out how and where to get another one? Are the stern mounts universal or all different? Are they specific to rockets or would any sail boat repair shop be able to get me one. If anyone can help me I would be very grateful as I'm dying to get back out on the water.

Posted: 01/11/2007 16:43:10
By: Rory Donnellan
Dear Rory,
It is a Mark IXC, designed by Ian Proctor and I suspect built by either Chippendale or Bob Hoare.

Posted: 01/11/2007 16:53:28
By: Grump
Tillers are individual things and the Chippendale tillers had a wider tiller than (say)the Wyche & Coppock tillers.
I can only suggest that you find a good boat builder locally or advertise on the forum. Suspect everyone is now going for plastic/carbon alternatives.

Posted: 01/11/2007 16:57:51
By: Grump
Thanks Grump.  At least I'll be able to narrow my search for a tiller down.  Sorry to sound ssssoooo amateurish, but as I've only seen one rocket, mine, I'm wondering does the stern mounts differ from one tiller to the next?

Posted: 01/11/2007 17:01:24
By: Rory Donnellan
2048 'Barbarian' is a Ian Proctor designed Mark 1X and was built by Chippendale at Fareham in 1967. She was finished by her first owner Vic Lewis who was a widely known owner in the class from Midland SC.

Posted: 02/11/2007 09:12:31
By: Tony Lane
Good for you in getting stuck in - they are wonderful boats.

To answer your question, we need to agree on terminology.

Tiller - the stick thing which you hold and which is attached to ....

Rudder - which is the bit in the water, sometimes also called a foil, which is held on to the stern by .......

Pintle and gudgeon - the stern fittings.

The connection between tiller and rudder can be one of several types which are often incompatible with each other. However, I think you are talking about the pintle and gudgeon in which case they are almost universal but you may have to adjust the positioning on the stern to get the gap between them right.

Hope that makes sense.

Posted: 02/11/2007 10:01:16
By: Bill
Is there any indication that your boat is called 'Unifaction'?
The 1969 Year Book shows that Vic had sold the boat. She was then owned by N K Bailey of Wordsley, Worcs who had renamed her 'Berni'.
By 1970 there new owners again, J R Houghin and J S Tees of Upper Thames S C and they called her 'Unifaction'. I regret the MR year books don't show where she went from there.

Posted: 02/11/2007 10:20:28
By: Tony Lane
Just to add to the pintle / gudgeon part.

It's often a lot easier to move the fittings on the rudder stock that to try moving them on the transom!

I do have an old (spare) fixed rudder/tiller - problem is going to be getting it to you!


Posted: 02/11/2007 11:11:55
By: Colin
Thanks for all the advice everyone.  The name that's on the boat at the minute is 'Shattered Dreams'.  I had thought of changing it but was advised by a couple of people that it was very bad luck to change a boat's name.  Is this true?

Posted: 02/11/2007 12:28:12
By: Rory Donellan
It is a widely held belief that changing a boat's names brings bad luck.
I have found a little more history of 2048 in the year books.
The 1975 YB shows the owner as R W Higgins, 46 Broom Park, Broom Rd, Teddington, Middlesex and Upper Thames SC. She was still called 'Unifaction' then. There is no information of where she went from there.
Unfortunately I have been unable to trace 'Shattered Dreams'.
Is the number 2048 carved into the hog or thwart?

Posted: 02/11/2007 13:26:53
By: Tony Lane
Sorry to sound so ignorant but I'm not well up in the sailing boat terms.  It's carved into the seat and on the sail.

Posted: 02/11/2007 13:40:01
By: Rory Donellan
"I'm not well up in the sailing boat terms"

Stick around and you'll learn them all! (including the cuss words)we all start at the beginning...

Seriously, do take the time to look at the photos on this site - you'll see a lot of useful stuff - compare yours to the photos.

If you are interested in the rudder+tiller, use the email link and send me an email.


Posted: 02/11/2007 14:08:21
By: Colin
Ok 2048 she is. Where did you find her please?
Once upon a time we owned 1926, one of her sister ships.
If you think we can be of any help with advice please don't hesitate to ask.

Posted: 02/11/2007 14:29:30
By: Tony Lane
Changing the Name!
I have also heard the notion that if you change the name - you change the luck !! MR 2529 was called Norwegian Would (as well she might) but it didn't really ring any bells with me. She was owned for many years by the late Norman Wheeler whom I hoped enjoyed good sailing in her but as he progressed through his 80's and into his 90's I have to assume 2529 began to languish somewhat. Now called Fat Marce (don't ask) I have really enjoyed her last 2 years and look forward to future exploits.

Posted: 02/11/2007 16:51:39
By: Ben 2529
If she's a nine C she's one of very few. Nine B's are numerous but I've never seen a nine C although I've got probably the only nine D left (of three made). Our nine D is 6ft 2inches maximum width and supposedly the widest of the nines.
Our boat was reverted to the original name by the previous owner and we've had so much good sailing in her that I think the original name is the best.

Posted: 02/11/2007 17:36:20
By: Pat2121
Gosh! When I remember this boat, this was owned by Richard Varley at Ranelagh. He is/was a Geordie boy as I recall and I think moved to the North East. I remember a few heavy sessions with him and Christian Houchin when we went to Royal Northumberland YC for a Silver Tiller meeting. My recollection was a huge ground swell and Force One or Two. Not good news with a dicky tummy and a king size hangover! Can't remember if the aforesaid hangover was due to Federation Brewery or Scottish and Newcastle!

We were rubbish. Fell off the bar hauling the boat in after one of the races and to this day, couldn't understand a single word of the local lads fishing off the Blyth Pier, excepting the f*** word. What a terrific weekend! That's why we sail Merlins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: 02/11/2007 17:48:32
By: Grump
Should have mentioned that the boat I'm talking about was Norwegian Would!

Posted: 02/11/2007 17:50:46
By: Grump
If you don't like the name, change it! Superstition be dammed.
So many boats have had different names over the years, I think we're safe in saying there is no luck difference in it.

Posted: 02/11/2007 21:00:02
By: Mags
In the equipment for sale on this site you will find a rudder for £75. Seller Ross Jackson.
Good luck.

Posted: 02/11/2007 22:37:17
By: Rocket0_1
Thank you all so much for taking the time to reasearch the boat.  I may even do a little diggin myself and see what I can come up with and if I can find her origional name change it back to it.  I haven't had a chance to get into the shed to check her in the last couple of weeks.  I must as the main sail and gib date to 1972ish and they are signed my sail maker.  Still in great nick, although given my sailing experience how would I know any different!  Am going to do my best to source tiller and rudder from this side of the Irish Sea and if that fails I'll definitely be back to you.

Posted: 05/11/2007 21:40:35
By: Rory Donnellan

Good luck - I suspect that Merlin rudders/tillers are rare in Ireland.

I read somewhere that a Scorion rudder will fit - (anyone?) are there other known choices?

All the best,


Posted: 06/11/2007 08:22:34
By: Colin
I used a 5O5 rudder on my Satisfaction thirty plus years ago - it worked fine,

Posted: 06/11/2007 10:01:33
By: JC
I use the same fixed rudder on my Merlin and Albacore, I have a second set of Gudgeon and Pintles which I swap as necessary.

Posted: 06/11/2007 11:23:31
By: Rob-2601
Rory, you need to be a bit careful about mating old and new rudder fittings. The pins from the pintles of era of your boat were often about 10mm OD whereas modern pintles have pins that are more like 8mm OD. I faced just this problem with 2254 and its original rudder. Also the distance between the bearing surfaces of the fittings on the old rudder were 200mm but some manufacturers are now standardising this distance to 170mm, (also in some cases 150mm and 178mm!). If you're looking for a replacement LIFTING rudder then there is a choice of rudder stocks (the bit of the rudder with the fittings on) and you can certainly use one from another boat as long as the tiller fitting works for your boat layout. In the end you may just find it simpler to use new fittings on your transom and so give yourself the best chance of having your rudder fit properly! As for the shape of the rudder blade - well there are more variations than you could shake a stick at!

Posted: 06/11/2007 11:34:01
By: Richard S
Once again, thank you again for all your advice.  To be honest, I don't think that the rudder shape is a big isue for me, one it works but I don't feel very confident messing around with the transom.  I'm going to do my best to try and get a rudder/tiller that'll fit.  If not Plan B, i.e. another bolgg on this forum!!!!!!!

Posted: 06/11/2007 21:08:46
By: Rory


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