Topic : Oldest Competitive Merlin

Just a bit of a thought whilst on my lunch at work, whats the oldest competitive Merlin (as a guide coming in the top 3rd of entrants) over the last 5 years or so?  

Came about having looked through previous race results and noticed the sail numbers all tend to be 3600+. I appreciate that people who do the circuit will want to do as well as possible and probably sail newer boats in order to achieve this. I was just interested to find out if anyone had managed to achieve anything in an older boat?

Posted: 27/05/2010 13:20:45
By: Matt Harris

Posted: 27/05/2010 13:39:11
By: john
On the assumption you mean in the modern boat no hold barred fleet, Dan Alsop always give a good account of himself in 2539.

Posted: 27/05/2010 13:47:44
By: ):
sorry 3539

Posted: 27/05/2010 13:52:17
By: ):
It seems to be possible to get at least mid fleet in a good Merlin of any age as long as it has a top helm is sailing it.
1097 was 25th at the inlands out of a fleet of 51 which included very few old boats.
I think the inlands were similar at Datchet in 2003 and Dan has actually improved a place since then using the same boat so not much progress since then. Pretty much the same helms in front.
To prove this we would need to do a race with a range of boats and then swap boats a bit like the buddy system for the next race.

Posted: 27/05/2010 14:05:47
By: Brian
"It seems to be possible to get at least mid fleet in a good Merlin of any age as long as it has a top helm is sailing it."

Should read 'top helm and crew', a great crew can catapult a mid fleet sailor to the front, a poor crew can take a front of the fleet sailor to the mid-fleet. This has been demonstrated many times.

Posted: 27/05/2010 15:24:31
By: alanf

Posted: 27/05/2010 17:56:19
By: Helpful
2623 will get you round Salcombe in the front 3rd.  I doubt that it will do the same on open water.

Posted: 27/05/2010 21:46:27
By: Satisfaction
1079 had an 8th last year in a Salcombe week fleet of 50 boats

Posted: 28/05/2010 08:29:07
By: WP
I wonder whether the top helms and crews could cope with the simplicity of the controls on Kate, Iska, Secret Water etc!!

Posted: 28/05/2010 08:44:44
By: Garry R
Well, you can figure that the spread of results over a class fleet is around 20% in time: this seems reasonably well established over a good many classes. So a crew that otherwise would have won should be able to get into the top third with something like a 7.5% boat speed deficiency - around 75 points of PY. The only caveat on this is that I have a theory that in large fleets of closely matched boats speed differences aremagnified because a slightly slower boat is guaranteed dirty air all the way up the first beat...

Posted: 28/05/2010 09:45:59
By: JimC
Splatter 1631 has won the Cookham Sheild on many occassions with various 'top' helmsmen (and crews)...

Posted: 28/05/2010 10:32:53
By: Helpful
'Passing Cloud' no. 1079 too. As well as winning Cookham at least once in recent years she also won last year's Tamesis open sailed by Richard Harris and Sally Redhead.

Posted: 28/05/2010 11:07:43
By: Robert Harris
Indeed Spaltter 1631 ( Adur 7) has had a certain degree of success on the occasions when she rolls out of the shed, and it has to be said this is usually with a very good crew involved. As well as winning the Cookham Sheild 3 times ( can I keep it?) she has won the Spade Oak Bowl at UTSC and the odd club and river race. It wouldn't have happened without the likes of Roundtheworld Fran, Ellie, Catherine VW, Sue Harris and Rob Wilder, all winners in their own right.......believe me it makes a huge huge difference.

Posted: 28/05/2010 12:02:23
By: PP
Thanks Alan - as a crew myself I would have to agree.
Interesting the 20% analysis - sounds about right with the last boats almost lapped at the inlands in 3 lap races.
So up to 7.5% is down to the boat, 15% the helm and 5% the crew approx?

Posted: 28/05/2010 14:10:08
By: Brian
The oldest competetive boat across a range of conditions is actually quite hard to identify! If you take the origional Turner CT as the basemark then assuming 3413 has been well maintained in the right hands it should still put up a fight and get amongst the fleet in the right hands, also assuming of course that the rig is kept up to date. Terry Curtis has been doing just that in 3447 lately.

But of course there is more to it than that! None of the wooden CTs are less than 20 years old now, and they were all sailed pretty hard. The newer placcy Turners are stiffer hulled but still rely on a 19 to 16 year old wooden deck to provide lateral stiffness. As Dr Mills mentioned in a previous thread they do start to twist a little with age as glue weathers and some remedial work is necessery to put it right.

I'd say boats of that generation will still be on the pace inland, but may be slightly off on the sea or suffer a few breakages if not carefully maintained.

The origional batch of Let it Rides are also now getting on a bit, but as Dan is proving can still perform very well. Interestingly they were never considered to be an outstanding sea boat in spite of their success! There are other hulls out there that appeared at about the same time, but we don't seem to see them on the circuit any more so it's hard to assess their current potential.

I spent the middle of last season and much of the champs weighing up what I should do to replace Storm Cloud on a tight budget. Stubborness was preventing me from a Mk1 Winder as i had owned one before, but a one string boat was way beyond my reach and in fact all 36xx numbered boats available were silly money. So I had little option and bought 3583 at a sensible price with the objective of dropping the nose and basically turning it into a mk 4 hull.

To cut a long story short, i have yet to do this! I need to have a sail in a drop nose boat, but i have yet to suffer any obvious boat speed disadvantage against the newer boats around me that isn't attributable to operator error.

As has been said earlier, there are loads of old boats around that can win on specific venues or in specific conditions. There are outstanding 20 year old boats out there that will still - in the right hands - turn heads at the champs on their day. But if you do want to compete, don't rule out the older "previous generation" hulls. The Winder 1s and 2s with the high nose and the Let it Ride are just as fast as the new boats 98% of the time. The reason you see 36xx boats at opens is because the people that buy new boats are the people that travel and put the time in to justify having one.

Posted: 29/05/2010 09:45:19
By: Chris M
Yes, there are plenty of 36xx boats at the back of the fleet too...

Posted: 01/06/2010 13:21:56
By: Helpful


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