Hello, I’ve acquired a beautiful Merlin Rocket, and I’m trying to find out a little about it.
It has a plate glued to the centreboard casing saying ‘Rowsell Brothers, Exmouth‘ and carrying the number 3911. However, the thwart above the centreboard has the number 3009 embossed into it, and the mainsail also carries the number 3009. Which one is correct?
It’s also fundamentally in great shape, but the gunwhales have had a few bashes and gouges taken out of them. They’re in a lovely pale timber, which contrast beautifully with red mahogany ply of the hull and deck: it looks like maple, is this likely to be correct? I need to obtain some to repair the damage.
And finally, any recommendations for a decent varnish? The majority is fine, but the deck is crazed and needs refinishing
Very grateful for any advice
Posted: 23/05/2020 19:51:04
I would think sycamore. Maple would be great as is very tough, but heavy and has a greater differential movement due to moisture.
Wooden decks need to be sealed well on the underside as condensation is the cause of most problems with varnish on the top side.
Posted: 23/05/2020 22:04:35
By: Richard B
Thanks Richard, appreciate the advice. I’ve discovered through searching the forum that it’s a Mustard Seed design, and found a name on the side which confirms that - ‘Mustard Caress’. I really should complete my researches before throwing myself on the mercy of forum members.
And for those wondering, it does indeed have garboard planks which fall away (rather than rise) from the keel. The more I look at it, the more I love it!
Posted: 23/05/2020 23:46:28
By: William Grime
You might like to join the facebook group Merlin Rocket Revival Fleet, not many "mustard seed's" left we'd all like to hear about it.
Posted: 24/05/2020 09:21:58
Remember Mustard Caress from Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club in the '80's. First owner was I think Malcom Molyneux then Neil and Viv Guthrie sailed her very competitively at club level for a few years before Neil's back injury forced retirement. I thought she was still in their garage on the Wirral where she's been hiding for over two decades?
Used to be varnished in and out with quite dark mahogany hull and decks and contrasting sycamore gunwhales.
Posted: 24/05/2020 10:18:18
By: Geoff Wright
That’s very interesting info, thanks you. I acquired her around five years again, from a chap in an industrial shed on the Wirral, so that was probably Neil Guthrie. I was living in Dubai at the time and planned to take her out to sail on the warm salty puddle that is the Gulf, but then discovered that Dubai customs tend to set fire to wooden artefacts they don’t like the look of, so I didn’t risk it. She’s still varnished inside and out, to a very good standard in general, but for the crazed decks and bashed gunwhales. She’s absolutely beautiful.
From the sail number I’m assuming she was built in 1976 or so, but compared to other boats of similar age she seems to be of very advanced design, notably the transom which is much more seagull-shaped than rectangular. Is this possible, or has the numbered thwart been restored with a new hull at some time..?
And talking of sails, the set I have carry the handwritten legend ‘G Wright’ and dates in August and September 1981. Was that you?
Posted: 24/05/2020 12:52:17
By: William Grime
Hi Will apologies for slow response. Yes I was the local Merlin measurer and do vaguely remember measuring some sails for Neil and Viv.
I'm pretty sure the boat was mothballed in a nice dry shed from the mid 80's till you bought her so should be in better condition than pretty well any other late 70's Merlin.
The Mustard Seed was a very unusual design with the 'tunnel hull' but did not carry weight at all well. Neil and Viv sailed her with about 18 stone all up and went very quickly on inland waters.
The 3009 drilled into the woodwork will be the registered number. It is a Rowsell boat the number on the build plate might be their own build reference?
Posted: 31/05/2020 09:56:02
By: Geoff Wright
3911 won't be built for about another 10 years, so I'd go with 3009 ;-)
Posted: 01/06/2020 09:39:14
Should have thought of that
Rang it lots of times “Hello Spud ... Is my boat ready?”
Now used by Frank for his sails
Posted: 01/06/2020 20:52:14
By: David Greening