Topic : 2nd hand Merlins

Hi there,

I'm looking to buy a 2nd hand cheap Merlin for blasting and possibly a couple of open meetings. So, I was wondering if there were any areas I should be looking at? Any weak points specific to the Merlin etc? The budget I have is £200-300.

Due to my budget being so low, I know I can't really be fussy about designs. But... with 21.5-22 stone aboard, fairly experienced - I sail RS200s,RS500s,RS800s,fireballs etc, and generally sailing in an estuary. Is there any design we should be looking out for?

Massive thanks,


Posted: 24/02/2010 13:20:04
By: Fenella
Without being too negative, its not a massive budget to buy a ready to sail merlin - might pick up an e bay bargain needing some tlc a ghost rider was on e bay a few days ago which might suit your weight and budget.

Posted: 24/02/2010 15:12:07
By: :)
I know with my budget I'm going to get a boat needing 'some' TLC.  Just wondering if there is something I really need to look out for.  Well apart from the general; soft decks etc.  I.e. in the older boats are there construction issues around the clinker design etc.

Massive thanks again.

Posted: 24/02/2010 15:50:27
By: Fenella
If you can push yourself to £400 Bob Longs Ghost Rider, Oyster Catcher 2717 would be very suitable. Could always try to see if he would negotiate

Posted: 24/02/2010 15:50:38
By: Rob-3708
This ad on ebay might do the job - I thought it was for a Ghost Rider - it says its a Smokers - either the description has changed or my memory is going ... you decide!

Posted: 24/02/2010 16:26:04
By: :)
Regarding the Merlin on eBay, that is a very cheap (if slightly moth eaten) combi-trailer, and I can't think of many other equivalent products that hold their value as well as a merlin! Retaining a third of their new value at 10 years old, and 25% of the value at 20 years old isn't too bad...

Posted: 24/02/2010 17:06:51
By: &
Dear Fenella,
ANY boat sold by Bob Long will be immaculate and well worth the money if you can stretch to this. Having bought an NSM2 from him in the past,I can vouch for this. 2717 will be worth the cost.

Posted: 24/02/2010 17:14:29
By: (Chris Rathbone
Does say in the ad it needs some p&v, which I expect is why it is so cheap.  You won't get a Merlin you can actually sail for much less, your options are either to pick up a really cheap one on e-bay or wherever and be prepared to put in some time effort and a bit of money getting it into a sailable condition, or save for a bit longer and stretch your budget a bit.  Replacing fittings and rope can be surprisingly costly and can mean a £250 boat is not such a bargain.  Having said that, there have been some real bargains to be had with abandoned boats at Minima and Ranelagh in the recent past and it might be worth asking reps at local clubs if there are boats in the dinghy park that don't go out and haven't paid their dues.

Posted: 24/02/2010 17:27:32
By: Andrew M
You could also look at Waribashi. (Proctor 17A number 2246) I am sure you could find a rig and other bits without too much extra cost. Waribashi was certainly in the top 6 in a championships race in 1970 in North Wales(Pwhelli).

The Mark 17 was a Proctor take on Mike Jackson's Superstition design and regarded as less tender.My first new Merlin was a Proctor 17- I think the most successful of the breed was either Magic Roundabout or Pat Blake's boat (2225- Near Myth?)

Posted: 24/02/2010 17:28:22
By: (Chris Rathbone
Probably going to regret asking this but... what does P&V stand for?

Posted: 24/02/2010 17:48:19
By: Jez3645
If you were asking on a Phantom website: Pie and Veg

Posted: 24/02/2010 18:12:30
By: ChrisJ
paint and varnish I would assume

Posted: 24/02/2010 19:20:55
By: Andrew M
That would make sense Andrew, although I prefere the Pie and Veg answer!!

There is a Smokers on e-bay for £100 at the moment. Not a known builder but for your budget.......

I am sure it was listed a while ago as a ghost rider too.

Posted: 24/02/2010 19:48:59
By: Jez3645
Its a richard lovett boat. He built nice boats but not many merlins. I'd say it'll be worth a punt.

Posted: 24/02/2010 19:54:51
By: Chris m
Hi Fenella,

With your budget, you'll be looking at the older boats. The usual problems appear - soft wood etc. The older Merlins are built with urea-formaldehyde type glues - these can weaken with age, and it's worh checking that decks, gunwhales, and hull planks are not springing.
It's certainly manageable (back to wood, dry and epoxy together) - but will take time from your sailing.

Again, the older Merlins have either no built-in buoyance - or "High" bow tanks. These designs are good, but will not take the shroud tension that more recent Merlins will (the "low" bow tank Merlins have a ply bulkhead which gives less hull flexibility).

There's a thriving Classic Wing, and I don't think that the older designs will restrict your fun - but they will need more TLC than the latest ones.
You'l find that the class is quite helpful for the odd bits for repairs etc, and it's quite possible to acquire second hand sails etc.

But you will find that the sail dimensions (and mast/boom ratios) have changed in the more recent boats. Not a problem, but it's the restricted nature of the class rules - compared with a strict one-design.

Come up to the Dinghy Exhibition & visit the stand!

Colin (3387)

Posted: 24/02/2010 21:41:57
By: Colin
Massive thanks for everyone's advice.  I don't mind doing some work on the boat, the first I had was an old wooden mirror.  I've just got to work out costs.. i.e. cheap boat but will I spend more on materials etc.  

I'm based in London but the boat will be dragged down to Cornwall. So, if anyone knows of any Merlins becoming part of the undergrowth in London/Cornish/Devon clubs please let me know. Then have the small problem of getting half the money out of my evil helm, well he is my little brother!

Again thanks for everyone's advice


Posted: 25/02/2010 12:31:36
By: Fenella
I used to work part time in a chandlery where that boat on eBay was brought in, we turned it away as it was (to be honest) totally trashed! No offence/disrespect meant to the owner but I think the boat would be worth more as scraps. Combi seemed fairly soliid and she had some decent kit on her. Who knows, with a bit of work by an enthusiastic DIYer replacing the deck and alot of the hull, you could have a decent boat. The only question is it worth the time and effort doing up an old boat (that isnt vintage)?

Posted: 25/02/2010 20:00:10
By: Jon

and im 99.99999% sure that shes a ghost rider!!!!!

Posted: 25/02/2010 20:01:09
By: Jon
Well the sail/hull number quoted in the ad links to a smokers in the yearbook, built by R Lovell, called Much Kneaded. Is the number from a s/h sail or carved ito the hull? who knows.

Posted: 25/02/2010 20:10:07
By: :)
September Girl with 3 days to go...

Posted: 25/02/2010 21:20:14
By: :)
To be fair, I wasnt 100% sure :P . In all honestly, she could be a nice boat if a good DIYer paid some much needed TLC to her.

Posted: 26/02/2010 10:14:40
By: Jon


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