Topic : Which merlin - stability

I am looking to buy another more modern Merlin Rocket but still not quite sure which design would work well for me. I have read the Merlin Rocket book but still a little unsure
Can anyone help. I am looking for a stable boat which would be used 100% of the time for sea sailing and at club level only. I weigh around 14 Stone with crews of around 11 - 12 stone. I though the NSM 1 would be a good choice but what about the smokers, NSM 2 etc.... any ideas. (The most important thing is stability at sea)

Posted: 07/10/2008 13:07:58
By: Peter
Stability and Merlin Rocket together is an oxymoron. Fantastic boat that it is its best friend would not call it stable.

Posted: 07/10/2008 13:32:30
By: .
I had an XV which dumped me into the cold English channel on a number of occasions (Nearly every time I sailed in force 4 plus).
With this in mind which merlin ie NSM 1, NSM 2 etc etc would you suggest to give the best all round stability for sea sailing.

Posted: 07/10/2008 13:43:24
By: Peter
NSM4 with budget of up to 2000 or Canterbury Tails for a little more.
Stable on the plane unlike NSM 1 or 2.

Posted: 07/10/2008 13:45:12
By: john
nsm 2 or 4 i reckon, both stable... whatever anyone says, they are both REALLY easy to sail whether they are flat or heeled over, merlins are easy to sail, hard to sail well.

Posted: 07/10/2008 13:57:25
By: :)
Newcomers to Merlins often feel they are somewhat unstable, but you won't take long to adapt. It's the same for most boats with no chines, they wobble more easily.

Posted: 07/10/2008 14:38:20
By: Mags
The difference is between initial and absolute stability, Merlins have a narrow static waterline and a beam going a long way outside it so initial stability is low, the boat heels a fair bit with only a small change in crew position.  Absolute stability, the point of no return when you get things wrong, beyond which you capsize, is well beyond the angle of heel that puts a gunwhale under the water.

If you are used to GP14's and Wayfarers you have to be a lot more cautious stepping into the boat but once you get the hang of it really not a lot easier to capsize.

Agree NSM's of whatever variety are likely to be around in numbers, NSM4 probably best for estuary sailing. Canterbury Tales is quicker on the plane if you can afford one, though in my experience not as easy to handle in a blow as a Heaven Sent (but there are only 2 more of those apart from mine)

Posted: 07/10/2008 15:04:29
By: Andrew M
If your budget will run to one of the later Winder boats then de-powering when the wind gets up will make the boat easier to sail and therefore appear to be more stable. It is also my impression that carbon rigs make the boat feel more stable as there is a lot less weight waving about above your head, they certainly make the rig more controllable.

Posted: 07/10/2008 16:29:57
By: Ian
Don't overlook the 'Thin Ice' design as it was designed to carry the sort of weight you mention and is very well behaved.I had the first one -3490 - and tried wing masts etc etc looking for the elusive winning edge. I failed but th e boat was well behaved througout. Not that many built but 3532 appears to have been for sale for some time now. All depends on your budget.

Posted: 07/10/2008 17:00:38
By: Peter Scott
dead down wind in a blow or on/off stuff give me a nsm1or2 over the tales any day. In fact a 'tales setting for upwind and reaching then pull a string and it turns into a lovely stable nsm on the run would be nice

Posted: 08/10/2008 10:35:05
By: floppy toppy

It all depends what you are used to. If you have been sailing say a National 12 you will find any Merlin very stable. If you have come from GP14's you are going to think they are very tippy!

Regards, Dave

Posted: 08/10/2008 13:22:35
By: Dave
Hi Dave, I used to sail a Mark XV Merlin at sea which which was tough going in strong winds. I think the boat had been modified heavily as it is the only mark XV I have seen with a centre mainsheet arrangement.

Posted: 08/10/2008 17:17:25
By: Peter
As others brought up in the National 12 fleet we've been amazed at how stable a platform the Merlin is. There is  far more warning of impending doom when we do make major errors and once the moment of non return is reached there still seems to be plenty of time to prepare for the swim!

Posted: 08/10/2008 22:50:22
By: David W
So size really does matter then!

Posted: 09/10/2008 12:17:54
By: Mike Anslow
Photographic proof of David W's claim.  Just waiting for the moment to jump...

Posted: 09/10/2008 15:28:11
By: Andrew M
Our Hysteria is easier to sail than our N12 Pipedream, but if anything we find both or these can be more challenging than our OK dinghies, though the hard chine of the latter is unforgiving if you get it wrong on the run.

Posted: 09/10/2008 15:59:54
By: Rod & Jo Sceptical
We also have a MkXV, which is difficult to handle in strong winds.

Posted: 09/10/2008 16:01:54
By: Rod & Jo Sceptical
Rod and jo, Has your XV got a centre mainstreet setup?

Posted: 09/10/2008 16:21:46
By: Peter
No, track on top of the transom. I'm so used to transom sheeting that I turn around facing backards in my OK Dinghy, where it makes no sense. The big weaknesses of transom sheeting I find a) difficult to set up a satisfactory cleating arrangement b) in strong wind reaching, the pull on the helmsman's arm is in the 'wrong' direction, and tend to pull your body round. This said, many years ago I did set up a centre sheeting arrangement, but hated it, so reverted to the original.  The biggest single improvement to 1620 was a strut across the boat to support the front end of the centreboard case; this radically improved handling by making the board more rigid.

Posted: 09/10/2008 16:57:53
By: Rod & Jo Sceptical
Just a word of thanks to all the comments and help received, what a friendly club this is.

Posted: 09/10/2008 17:09:42
By: Peter
My Bob Hoare built Mk XV had a centre main and a short traveller just behind the thwart and every indication that it was the original set-up or at least had been in the boat for a good number of years in 1986.  Sail number was 1498.

Posted: 09/10/2008 17:31:16
By: Andrew M
The other thing about 1620 is that the boat twists when you hit a wave. At one time I had struts & braces to get more rig tension without the boat closing up, but it was a waste of time because with more tension on, the effect of the twist on steering at speed seemed more pronounced; without ever understanding why, I found it better to have more 'give' in the rig which seemed to balance things out a bit and keep the boat going in a straght line.

Posted: 09/10/2008 17:36:59
By: Rod & Jo Sceptical
I have found that a merlin is only as stable as the crew sailing it! I still have a lot to learn!!!!

Posted: 09/10/2008 20:34:15
By: David


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