Topic : Vintage Merlin

If I ask Dave Winder to build me a new MK5 boat with the thwart from a scrap 1950's Merlin will my boat qualify for vintage events?

Posted: 10/11/2012 13:10:57
By: Just asking

Posted: 10/11/2012 14:14:08
By: Mags
Interesting.  If I were to commission a brand new wooden boat and put the same thwart from a scrap 1950's Merlin in it would that boat qualify for vintage events?

Posted: 10/11/2012 14:37:55
By: Just asking

Posted: 10/11/2012 17:45:58
By: Chris M
But if you took the hull from a scrap vintage boat, put a new transom and some new planks in it, added a new carbon rig, mylar sails and new fittings and a new rudder and centreboard then yes it would qualify as a vintage boat. 
It's like grandad's old broom...

Posted: 10/11/2012 19:13:14
By: Cynical
chris, thats not strictly true..there are a lot of vintage boats with small amounts of the originals in them , fireball no 5 has about six bits of its first build in it,in the car resto game i know of race cars built from a chassis plate and half a floor plan....this could be an interestin thread...

Posted: 10/11/2012 19:13:45
By: d.h
Interesting point about the vintage cars. It is said that of the 12, Ferrari Dino 246 racing cars built. 22 survive !!

So returning to the question. If I were to commission a completely new passing cloud and inserted ONLY the afore mentioned thwart from scrap boat would I be allowed to enter a vintage event ?

Posted: 10/11/2012 19:24:04
By: Just asking
What is the current official definition of a 'Vintage Merlin Rocket'? Is it defined by the sail number (as in 'Boats with sail number first registered  before xx date' or 'boats with sail number less than xx' ). Or is it 'boats first registered before xx date', or something else?

Posted: 10/11/2012 19:31:05
By: Keith Callaghan
I seem to remember that technically a vintage boat is a nailed one.

I would think (Hope) that if a hull had such extensive work as all planks, hog, keel, case and transom replaced it would require re-measurement (As per a recently added class rule) and that the measurer would query whether or not we should re issue the certificate or whether a new number should be issued.

This has yet to have cropped up in real life in Merlins. It's up to owners honesty and the fleet's stomach for people taking the urine to police it. I can't see such a boat being made all that welcome in vintage circles.

I know of one Solo that was rebuilt with only the two side panels remaining of the origional boat. It now has a new number.

Posted: 10/11/2012 20:13:24
By: Chris M
Chris, I asked about the OFFICIAL DEFINITION of a vintage boat, not what you seem to remember. Is there no official definition? I am pretty certain that many glued clinker MRs are termed 'vintage'. 'Passing Cloud' is glued clinker, and that is 'vintage', isn't it?

Posted: 10/11/2012 20:21:00
By: Keith Callaghan
Oh, and in that case since the hydrocarbons that my boat is constructed out of are 200 million years old (Far older than any wooden boat) i think my boat should qualify regardless of number :)

It comes down where you draw the line of reconstruction. The line exists in most people's minds, and most people will probably agree where it lies but it hasn't been tested or drawn yet.

Posted: 10/11/2012 20:30:20
By: Chris M
Best I can do is linked.

The series in question is the De may series, and the definition provided determines who qualifies.

That's all i have to go on. I'm certain that Vintage used to be ribbed boats, newer but narrow boats were defined as classics. It's very likely that in an effort to get boats out and used these definitions have been superceeded.

Posted: 10/11/2012 20:38:57
By: Chris M
If a new boat is built replicating the technology of the day [1950's] should it not be classified as a 'vintage build' a change in hull shape shouldn't really matter. If the 'old boats' handicap system is applied say for wooden mast, cotton sails etc. surely it's handicap would be the same as 'true' [no modern gear] vintage boats?

Posted: 10/11/2012 20:56:57
By: Miles
Chris, thanks for the link. If you go there it states 'Below sail number 3300 and you are in!".
So I guess that's the definition of a vintage Merlin Rocket: "Any hull you like, as long as your sail number is below 3300".
Anyway, we are moving away from 'Just Asking's' third question, which was: "If I were to commission a completely new passing cloud and inserted ONLY the afore mentioned thwart from scrap boat would I be allowed to enter a vintage event?"
So if the scrap boat has a sail number below 3300 'Just Asking's' new boat would be a vintage boat? Apparently not, as you have told us that there is a recently added class rule which would preclude this.
Well, I've had a quick scan through the latest rules on the RYA website (see link below), but can't see anything relevant, so perhaps you could quote the appropriate paragraph number?

Posted: 10/11/2012 21:01:24
By: Keith Callaghan
Miles, I think that many of the competitive 'vintage' boats have 'old' huls but very up to date carbon rigs with non woven sails. See the results of the De May series  (link below). I'm pretty sure Flinkidink has a very modern rig, for example.

Posted: 10/11/2012 21:22:11
By: Keith Callaghan
Keith, those rules are out of date. I've linked to the new ones, the relevant part is at the end section 21 b.

Posted: 11/11/2012 07:51:40
By: Chris M
In the spirit of discussion.
Maybe the rules [21.b]need a little more guidance.
How about something along the lines of "Rig etc to be consistent with the relevant rules applicable at the time of first issuing a certificate for the boat."

Posted: 11/11/2012 08:54:08
By: Richard Stevens
Rule 21b brings me back to my original question.  A MK5 Winder with a 1950's thwart, provided it measures, can take the sail number of the 1950's boat and race as a vintage boat !

Posted: 11/11/2012 08:56:22
By: Just asking
Out of curiosity

21b if I have read correctly,you can alter/change hull shell, with the proviso that the boat still complies with the measurement rules. 21b only says re-measure if hull altered.

21c says if boat measurements are altered it needs a new certificate, does this automatically mean new number?

Posted: 11/11/2012 10:10:50
By: Miles
Can I ask what is the point?

Posted: 11/11/2012 11:02:55
By: Angus
cvrda define 'vintage' as ribbed and nailed, 'classic' as anything before a certain date. I would have thought this was a reasonable way to make distinction between boats of progressive age and technology. There would always be exceptions to the rule. My vintage boats will retain their original equipment where possible. If an old shape is particularly good, say, on the river and you put new rig and sails on, then maybe it should compete with current designs on an equal footing. It is not a truly vintage or classic boat. The classic finns for example often sail with new rig for handicap club racing and old rig for classic racing. I personally don't care either way because the pursuit for me is to sail and maintain my beautiful old boat as an old boat. If it mattered that much, then I'd buy a newer boat anyway and move up the arms race!

Posted: 11/11/2012 11:06:58
By: John
For instance Luka was built to old design but with modern materials and is therefore a modern boat
But say someone buys a wreck and the only bits kept might be a thwart who is to say the wreck which was a particular design is now rebuilt as the same number but may not be to the same design, would it need remeasuring and would it then have a modern no?
Ie could I get my old Merlin (a Sugar Plum) pull out a few bits of wood and rebuild it as another boat entirely

Posted: 11/11/2012 11:11:22
By: rob
The point I am trying to establish, and I am using the winder MK5 as an extreme example .... Is 

If I commission a boat builder to build me a completely new boat in ply wood and I use the thwart from an old boat do I have a legitimate vintage boat ?

Simple question is it eligible to sail in vintage regattas as a vintage boat or not?

If it is eligible I predict a load of 'new' Passing Clouds being built this winter.

Posted: 11/11/2012 12:54:21
By: Just asking
It would seem to me that the question here is a case of abiding by the letter of the rules or the spirit of the rules. In my book, anyone not prepared to go by the spirit  of the rules displays very poor sportsmanship almost to the point of cheating. As you can see from my boats sail number she is what in CVRDA terms is an " old" boat at a mere 36 years. She is not raced with a carbon rig, large kite etc.but is a delight to sail and maintain in concours condition, as a credit to her builder (Spud) and the class in general.

Posted: 11/11/2012 13:35:00
By: the godfather 3031
A new winder with an old thwart would require re-measuring for a certificate to be issued. Alterations are required to be re-measured and a new cert issued. You wouldn't get a re-issue of the old number because the entire design / boat has been changed from the details on the original certificate. New number = not vintage.

If you are too old to sail in junior events, would you lie about your age because you wanted to enter and win races against youth sailors? That's about as sad as pretending your boat is older than it really is!

Posted: 11/11/2012 14:27:42
By: John
Angus, the point of my curiosty was that in 2000 I drastically altered 2971 approx 80% of her: I kept the keel centreboad case, and some of the bow, widened the transom and altered the rise of floor [she was almost a new build], I had her remeasured and she retained her sail number.

Posted: 11/11/2012 15:21:13
By: Miles
Chris, thanks for pointing me to the latest rules, and sorry for the delay in replying (I've been sailing!). 
The way I read it, Rule 21b (with 21c) states that a very modified existing boat must be given a new certificate, not a new sail number.
Anyway, it seems that this thread has opened a real can of worms. Everybody's opinion is valid and useful, but they are just opinions. I think this topic neads some LEADERSHIP: our Committee should look at this thread, canvass more widely and take note of the feeling and sentiment in the class, and do something which removes the doubt and ambiguity surrounding this topic..Maybe an AGM motion for 2013?

Posted: 11/11/2012 17:32:30
By: Keith Callaghan
I think you will find that a certain boat builder is using an old thwart to build a new passing cloud as we speak with the intention of sailing it in the De May.... will be interesting to see how that goes by the sound of it....

Posted: 11/11/2012 18:10:49
By: ....
As a newcommer to this class who has been immensely impressed by the diversity of designs and ages of boats competing regularly aided by the rules on age/PY I can only hope and pray this thread is a wind up. I can see that people may genuinely want to modify an old boat and thats OK, but building a McLaren and installing a Model T thwart to gain an advantage against genuine older boats????????

Hoping I have missed the point.


Posted: 11/11/2012 18:33:59
By: Tony P 3240
"I think you will find that a certain boat builder is using an old thwart to build a new passing cloud as we speak with the intention of sailing it in the De May.... will be interesting to see how that goes by the sound of it...."

Personally I would really like to see how much boat they started with. If they kept what they could I would be more inclined to let them keep the sail number.

What is being discussed is common practise in motorsport (as stated already above). I am not sure how the FIA deals with this. I think they require the builder to retain major componets e.g. engine, suspension etc. Body is not required as they got bent all the time.

This is real can of worms stuff. What do the J Class do?

Posted: 11/11/2012 19:01:53
By: Chris.
Good point Keith.... Perhaps as part of the committee debate they should clarify the definition of the provenance of all old Merlins. I may be being a touch cynical but how long before the correctly numbered thwarts of the seven missing Passing Clouds start to appear at car boot sales all over the country?

Posted: 11/11/2012 19:05:29
By: Just asking
i personally dont have a problem with this as in as far as what ever the boat no is ,it is built to that design and the method of construction i.e plywood planks and it looks likke it did when it was launched....rig is many hog stepped boats have been updated....but to build it to a different design,well ,its just not that boat is it....easy!!

Posted: 11/11/2012 19:34:03
By: d.h
I don't think the subject boat builder is using much of the old boat as the old boat was not a passing cloud.  Think it was a similar vintage though... f any other orignial bits are going to be used, they will be internal as the hull is being made from scratch around a passing cloud mould he has created....

Posted: 11/11/2012 19:36:09
By: ....
If they stick to the original hull design then although it still smacks of trying to beat up the small guys because the the big guns are to hard then so be it...........

If you can afford this type of folly come up with something original and go and win the nationals not comps meant for genuine vintage/older boats.

anyone want to buy a merlin rocket???

Posted: 11/11/2012 19:41:08
By: Tony P 3240
Not sure if this helps but I think it is true the Business as Usual prior to her winning the Whitstable Championships underwent at least on shape change there is I think a picture of this on the Boatyard at Beer website but it could be another boat.
Going back to 1967 after the Championships Beat Nik was in need of a lot of care and attention after five years hard work, so we took her decks off glassed in a newly allowed bulkhead and widened her a bit. Redecked her. All this was done after consultation with the RYA Technical Officer and overseen by a measurer since at the same time I changed the rig to a bigger jib gaff mainsail and a different mast I opted to have a full remeasurement the RYA did not issue a new certificate but amended the original which since individual sails were on the certificate was already a much added too document!
Those older than me may be able to say and comment, but I think Brian Saffery Cooper redecked and pushed out Buccaner and his Father Geoffry also did to Joy whose topmast forms the Topmast Trophy that used to be raced for as the MR Team Racing Championships.
I can see no harm in constant development of a boat (with the obvious caveats) as it hopefully increases it's competative life but I would suggest what a certain un-named and maybe aprochaphal boat builder is doing is wrong, as its legality no doubt those currently in charge of such things have aview.

Posted: 11/11/2012 20:09:45
By: David Child
BAU was extensively "reshaped" a couple of times. The photo that you refer too, David, used to be on the Full Force (Linton Jenkins) web site. Linton has lost this photo (I asked!!). This was the first mod and involved cutting a dart through one of the bow planks. The second reshape was done by Glen Truswell and involved splitting the plank lands and regluing in the new shape. Neither exercise could be construed as the precis of this thread as we are not talking about shape changes, otherwise we would have to consider all the boats with added filler to drop the noses on the Winders. (Oh, BAU had two nose jobs too!) We are discussing whether retention of a singluar element of the original boat (i.e. the thwart, or hog - with the original number embossed) locks everything thereafter to the original "date stamp".

For the record, BAU was remeasured on the second reshaping - I have the form to prove it!!

We have also had her checked by a measurer every time I have dabbled with something: the bilge keels; the aft tank; and multiple lead removal exercises.

The class does have to consider the implications of this. There is a grand-father clause in the Rules, but there is no distinction as to how much of the original material must remain.

Posted: 11/11/2012 21:36:12
By: Andy Hay - Business as Usual
I think that if you allow a rebuild with only a small amount of the original to compete against largely original boats, then you really should allow a newly built boat to compete on equal terms with older boats, since clearly there is no really comes down to what the intent was of the de may originally i.e. was it to give a competitive life for old boats? If so, building a new boat or a largely new boat with an old thwart would not be in keeping with the spirit of the competition and you should not likely expect to be received with open arms. 

There are still lots of old boats out there that can be brought up to date (modern rig etc) and win no problem. Not even sure you can make the arguement that they are difficult to maintain.

Posted: 11/11/2012 22:06:00
By: Chris.
Exactly Andy!

Posted: 11/11/2012 22:08:39
By: David Child
I am sorry and at the risk of having the thread deleted or me being blocked you can all argue the minutiae of the rules till the sun sets but basically this is about building new boats to competitive on classic/vintage circuits.

I understand the argument for new rigs etc. and its probably to late to bolt that door but a whole new hull with the aim of beating vintage boats because you can't beat the top guns well??????????????

Posted: 11/11/2012 22:12:45
By: Tony P 3240
Of course, BAU is still number 3626 and hence will qualify as an "old" boat next season since she was built (originally) in 2003. Boats in restricted classes should be able to "evolve".

I would not be comfortable if we were talking about removing all the planking, leaving the carbon inner moulding or deck and then grafting on a new hull. That wouldn't be right in my mind. Changing what's there and GENUINE repairs are fair game though.

Posted: 12/11/2012 07:22:39
By: Andy Hay - Business as Usual
Spot on Andy!

Posted: 12/11/2012 08:09:20
By: David Child
Morning All,

'A vintage boat shall be any boat built over 30 years ago.' MROA Yearbook p31.

This has to be the starting point of the discussion, and the finer points of definition of 'boat' and 'built'. The committee are in discussion with the RYA (our Governing Authority) in order to draw on their experience of this in other long lived classes, and will revert to you as soon as we can with clarity on what the RYA will accept as the crossover point from re-certfication to initial certification, ie when is a boat deemed to be 'new'.

One point though, a thwart is not a compulsory component of a boat and cannot therefore be used to define the boat, regardless of what may or may not be carved on it....

There is a interesting debate to be had about whether an old boat that has been 'done up' has been re-built, refurbished, preserved or conserved. Is it to do with how much is original, or it is to do with the intent of the task at the outset?
Is it to do with whether the final product will closely resemble the boat as first built, and what about the attitude of the builder at first construction? Jack Holt was an innovator and made full use of whatever hi-tech materials were available at the time. If you apply this attitude, as in, "if Jack were building now he would have used carbon, therefore it is ok for us to do it" how does that affect the classification of what you are doing?

More questions than answers. Must be the off season when sailors have too much time on their hands!!

More from our chat with the RYA as soon as we can get it.

07837 239958

Posted: 12/11/2012 11:36:45
By: measurement man
Graham, as you say, "more questions than answers", but the questions are very appropriate and require answers (and soon). It seems that The MROA committee is already addressing this problem, which is reassuring.
This is why I am personally interested: I have just bought MR2209 'HYDRA', an early example of my HOTSPUR design which I built myself in 1969 (so certainly built over 30 years ago). I am quite sentimental about this boat, and I intend to restore her to her former glory. This will certainly mean re-decking, replacing the bow tank, and probably at least the two bottom planks eack side and the case (rotten). If I'm replacing those planks it seems quicker to make up a new hog/centreboard case and keel aswell - I still have the original frame drawings. So she will still be a HOTSPUR, but more than 50% will be new. Oh, and I intend putting a deck stepped carbon rig on her. Therefore, before I start, I would very much like to know how far I can go and still be eligible for the 'Vintage' designation.

Posted: 12/11/2012 12:29:31
By: Keith Callaghan
Another thought.

Maybe we could have a category of boat called 'VINTAGE REPLICA', which would be a newly constructed boat, but built to a verifiable 'vintage' design. Boats in this category would be registered as new boats (with new sail numbers) but would be eligible to sail in the Vintage series races. For example, I could build a complete new 'Hydra' to the same lines as the original (i.e. a HOTSPUR design), get it registered as a new boat (MR37xx) but still be able to qualify to sail in the De May series.

Posted: 12/11/2012 12:52:02
By: Keith Callaghan
One thing nobody has pointed out in all of this is that to build a new boat with a few bits of an old one to steal the identity you have to destroy the original boat.

I have an issue with this. That is all I am going to say on this matter as it is in the hands of my co-committee members.

Also a vintage boat is older than 30 years of age on the 1st jan. There is no longer any difference for ribbed boats.

Posted: 12/11/2012 14:11:06
By: Jez3719
Jez, point taken about the possible destruction of old boats - that is a risk. However, take my own case of my desire to rebuild Hydra. She is clearly in no condition to sail at present, so the only option is a very major rebuild, which would leave a minority of the boat being "genuine original". It's either that or the boat gets scrapped. Which is the more desirable option?

Posted: 12/11/2012 14:38:43
By: Keith Callaghan
No one wants to see old boats destroyed but some are past economic recovery. I don't know the details in this case but personally I don't have a problem with this concept. The hull is being built in wood to a design that was current at the time the number was issued. I assume it will be measured on completion so will have little if any advantage over the current PC's. There are plenty of vintage boats that have had significant work done. If you buy a vintage mark 6 and convert it to a mark 9 how is that any different than converting a Winder 1 to a 4 ?

Posted: 12/11/2012 15:36:57
By: RH .
I agree with Keith and RH a 'Vintage Replica' or 'Vintage Build' to an old design should be able to compete like for like, esp. with mods already carried out on existing old boats making then not quite totally vintage.

Posted: 12/11/2012 16:48:23
By: Miles
The car boys and girls have a "Spirit of" category.

Posted: 12/11/2012 17:55:06
By: David Child
If Keith's rebuilt Hotspur turned up at a cvrda meeting we'd be looking at performance against boats of the same era and whether the renovations had retained the original design and performance before fixing a handicap. Putting a carbon/mylar rig on would give him a big penalty anyway on our handicap system - we favour "as originally built".

Posted: 12/11/2012 18:23:29
By: PatJ
At this rate, the appeal of racing genuine vintage merlins is running a bit thin. Thankfully, there are a few sailors of genuine vintage boats who still know the difference and recognise the historic importance and aesthetic values involved. 

I suppose if it's all down to pot hunting, then the boat is a secondary consideration anyway. I'm not.

In the end, maybe we'll just end up with cloned, carbonised replicas.

Cost of restoring/ownership? If you added up the true cost of time and materials (many £000s) then vintage boats will never realise the value of that investment. I was 'handed down' 36 for a nominal sum because the previous owner and restorer was more interested in seeing her kept alive than making a return on his efforts. Thankyou. That's the spirit!
In time, I will do the same.

Posted: 12/11/2012 18:34:21
By: John
Just found this on the J Class web site:

"To keep the J-Class fleet and races alive and to encourage new build yachts to enter the field, new JCA maximum performance rules have been developed, including allowing aluminum as building material. The new rule is a VPP (Velocity Prediction Program) based rating system which puts limits to the performance. The aim of the JCA, the Dykstra team and the rule is to bring fair & close racing to the fleet and to give all designs a chance of winning (on a handicap based system). Over the years the Dykstra team gained an enormous amount of hands-on information by racing on all the J’s in the current fleet."

It seems only fair that we compare the Merlin Rocket Class with the J's ... there are not many classes where Owner's are building new boats to 1930's designs in modern materials and then tying to compete against more "original" yachts. Wasn't this the precis of this thread?

How much of Endeavour was there after lying in the mud for all those years?

I also like the description of "Cheveyo" which is a NEW build but to an old design (see link). Seems that Sparkman & Stevens revisited the original tank test data and it seems that the original design was too optimised for now so they are building the new boat to a previously disregarded shape which is more tolerant of the more diverse conditions that J's see in current racing conditions rather than a one off AC Challenge.

Can I volunteer to meet with the J committee to discuss this further? I am sure the diary is clear at the end of March for St Barth's. Might have to miss the Wembley ST though.

Posted: 12/11/2012 18:34:34
By: Andy Hay - Business as Usual
I consider this topic is raising the wrong debate, I am fortunate to own a vintage merlin (1222) which i had repaired/ restored some years ago. I race it on the Thames at Hampton and enjoy the challenge of sailing against all sorts of merlins there without consideration of handicap results. If by building copies of successful designs of earlier years encourages more people into the class to race these fantastic boats on restricted water and increase numbers racing, I am all for it and as for entering a vintage competitions I think the problem should be addressed once it occurs, there will be a solution.

Posted: 12/11/2012 19:51:49
By: Richard Page
weve got loads of missing numbers of old boats,look in the old year books ,so if you build a adur 6or7,procter mk9 etc why not allocate an existing no to  a true replica,i agree with richard....bring it on,jez i have to disagree with you, in the case of eidelweiss all we had left to use if we were going to rebuild it was a case, hog,thwart and a bit of garboard plank each side, the rest was powder,surely its not the only old boat like that?

Posted: 12/11/2012 20:32:25
By: d.h
I can agree if someone replaces the hull of an older boat, to keep the boat alive, however I would make the caveat that the design has to remain of the same vintage as the boat that it is using the number off, also the construction method should be kept the same (including ribs and rivets if the boat is old enough).

This would mean that the Age Handicap would not be as abused as it could be if say, 123 had it's hull replaced with the latest Winder/Wrecked Em/etc! (To use an extreme example as did the person who started this thread)

Posted: 12/11/2012 21:39:01
By: Stuart Bates (MR3615)
I think there are a few more pros to the "Vintage replica" idea;

-Whilst there were hundreds of mkIXs built back in the day, there are lots of designs where only a few boats were built, such as Keith's Hotspur and the Passing Cloud. A small number of people are lucky enough to own these boats, it seems a shame that others can't own one and race against the originals in vintage events.

-It seems there are two kinds of vintage boat owner out there. The people who love their boats as things of beauty and specimins of living history. Who enjoy sourcing original spars, sails and fittings and look upon open meetings as a chance to meet others with the same passion, racing in the corinthian spirit.
Then there are those who look at their boats as super competative river weapons. Applying the latest technology to optimise performance. Thus there is already a difference of opinion as to what is vinage racing, which we try level out in the De-May series through handicapping. Should someone turn up with a new "old" boat, surely it could race within the handicapping system to everyones satisfaction.

-The merlin has always been a builder lead class, they have contributed countless designs and technological advances. About 15 years ago the class underwent a major sea change when the predomenant construction method went from timber to composites. Some builders managed to encompass the changes, others haven't faired so well. The skills they had learnt building wooden hulls had made them supreme craftsmen, it seems a shame that the time of wooden merlin building is coming to an end. If the "Vintage replica" merlin could enable these guys to continue building in the old way, it would be a good way to pay back a life time of commitment to the class.

I am proud to race MR1761, a Hoare built IX.

Posted: 12/11/2012 22:19:33
By: Phil Dalby
Well Said Phil!

Posted: 13/11/2012 07:15:20
By: Alex 3627
If you are going to allow new wooden boats built to an original design to compete against old woodens, then why not allow them to be built in composite and compete against the old boats? 

Many other classes have worked through the problem of having a fleet of older wooden boats that becomes increasingly difficult to maintain along with prohibitively high new build costs in wood. The answer for many classes has been to allow new boats to be built to the original design in composite. There is a period of grinding of teeth and heart felt speeches at AGMs but in the end (>2 years later etc) everyone starts agreeing that the new boats are easier to maintain, remain competitive for longer, cheaper etc etc etc. Maybe the merlin fleet will not reach this point because my experience is that the old boats can generally be maintained by those with sufficient interest/time/skill, with larger boats perhaps neglect is more of an issue, however, if you accept that people have less and less time and skill to maintain recreational wooden boats these days, then your potential owners/sailors grow fewer over time. If you allowed new, narrow river merlins to be built and raced against the older boats, perhaps these river clubs would enjoy a renaissance. Over time, if there is no change, then other classes will develop to fill the demand, the X1 is an example.

Posted: 13/11/2012 08:47:14
By: Chris.
I would add to my previous comment that I am not expressing an opinion on whether  a new boat to a vintage design should race within the vintage fleet, this is something under discussion in the correct place and I am sure we will anounce an answer when we come to it. I am simply saying I would rather this new boat have a new sail number and eligability than be a clone. 

Not only does this destroy an old boat that someone might rebuild, but it effects the number of new boats built, the progress and order of numbers allocated and changes the history of Merlin designs over the years.

I would still be a little concerned that even building a boat to an old design with the same timbers, the construction methods and glues will still allow for a far stiffer, water tight and bouyant boat than an original.

Posted: 13/11/2012 08:56:41
By: Jez3719
Jeremy, sure, the MROA Committee/RYA is a 'correct place' for this discussion, but so is this Forum a 'correct place'. It's the prime meeting place for all opinions from all sections of the MROA community - and beyond (it's open to non members - in fact this thread was started by a non member). Certainly the Forum will not make the decisions, but hopefully the MROA Committee will read this thread and take note.
Personally, this thread has helped me greatly - I can see the issues much more clearly now, and even may be able to see a way forward out of what might have been a messy and confused situation which would be the cause of much angst and controversy in the future.
Phil, thanks for expanding on the 'vintage replica' idea - your thoughts make a great deal of sense to me. Let's treat this issue as an opportunity to recapture and perpetuate some of the class's fantastic history.

Posted: 13/11/2012 10:14:03
By: Keith Callaghan
Morning all,

As this debate evolves from its cryptic initial comments, it occurs to me that the crunch issue is little to do with boat construction, but is everything to do with the eligibility criteria for participating in vintage racing.

If these criteria were to be amended to say that to participate in vintage racing, boats must be use a hull that is either:
- originally built more than 30 years ago, including any refurbishment/ repair required.
- built subsequently to a design that is more than 30 years old.

Would this resolve the situation?

The handicapping system could be amended to reflect the design age, ie a new passing cloud would have the same initial handicap as an original passing cloud, and would accrue further handicaps to reflect carbon rig etc.

In this way, the issue of reusing old numbers is avoided, which is important, because this is the sticking point for me and many other contributers.

If this were felt to be a way forward I would welcome it, because we could spend forever formulating revised construction rules which still don't resolve the matter.


Posted: 13/11/2012 10:26:05
By: measurement man
Q1: do you want to build a new boat to an old design because it will perform better in certain circumstances (river etc) than new designs?
A: yes, so then go and race it there on an open basis against all merlin comers.

Q2: do you want to build a new boat to an old design to compete against vintage series boats?
A: yes, because I know it will be faster than a 30/40/50/60 year old boat if I kit it out with carbon/kevlar/composite etc.

Q3: will that new boat be a vintage boat?
A: No, it will be a new boat to an old design designed specifically to win vintage racing against genuine old boats.

I always thought the de May was initiated to revive interest in old boats, not to provide a platform for pot hunters to start a new arms race. It seems I was wrong then!

Posted: 13/11/2012 10:35:23
By: John
Graham, that's a very good start (in my opinion). Leaves out the possible issue of construction materials, though. 
John Twiglet makes this point (His Question 2). Leaving aside the 'modern rig' issue, should your "new hull/old design" be required to be built in the materials of the time i.e. wood? Maybe, but please don't rule out epoxy resin - it's given wood boats a new lease of life.

Posted: 13/11/2012 11:00:56
By: Keith Callaghan
Bravo,John!---Thats what I thought the De May was all about too.

Posted: 13/11/2012 11:11:17
By: the godfather 3031
This thread encompasses all that is wrong with the MR Class, and demonstrates clearly why the rest of the sailing world thinks we are a bunch of stuck up posh boys.  

Why on earth would you want to be so competitive to win a Vintage race? What a hollow victory that would be...

Posted: 13/11/2012 11:45:53
By: Staggered
I agree wholeheartedly with the last comments. 

Part of the fun of sailing a vintage Merlin is that it is'nt a new latest/fastest/bestest design. It's old and cranky and needs to be looked after.

It's also a lot cheaper - hundreds as opposed to thousands.Leave the vintage scene to us old dinosaurs and the permanently penurious.

If you want to go pot hunting with a new boat then enter the arms race and compete against the fast guys.

Posted: 13/11/2012 12:09:08
By: MR2404
Hi John,

You are right that the De May series was intended to revive interest in racing old Merlins (or old style Merlins?). I would suggest that this whole thread arises because of the success of the initiative, and we should therefore be supporting it. If the issue is that there is a shortage of river boats that people can obtain to sail against each other in as close a like for like manner as possible, given that due to customer demand, 'river boats' were not built after (say) 1970, we should be working to resolve that issue, rather than attempting to shut the door on it.

We are fortunate that there is sufficient interest to make the debate credible.

Hi Keith, I deliberately did not include the question of materials in my suggestions (it is not as much as a proposal..) because as soon as you do, you get into the matter of construction rules. If an old wooden boat can be epoxy coated, a new one could be. If a builder wants to take a mould off Passing Cloud, and produce FRP versions, I don't have a problem with that either. If it means that more Merlin Rockets are built and turn out to race that is great. Just my view...


Posted: 13/11/2012 12:18:11
By: measurement man
Keith, keep your toys in your pram, I am not suggesting you don't talk about it, I am simply saying the the Committee are considering it and that is where it has to be considered for any actually action to be taken.

Graham, that thought had occured to me too, but I am still not sure why you would want to build a new boat to race in the Vintage fleet. If you want to compete on the river then that is understandable, in which case it does not matter if it is vintage or not.

Posted: 13/11/2012 12:18:21
By: Jez3719
Interesting; my understanding of the CVDRA was to promote the maintenance and use of classic and vintage boats, whereas the intent of the De May series was to get old Merlins racing. I don’t see why the latter needs to be limited ‘original old boats’ bearing in mind that the former is already dedicated to this purpose with the given limitation of age.

The De May system already makes allowances for ‘upgrades’ to old boats, which is the only reason I can see for the classic boat handicap being tied to modern boats; in that developments in rigs can be applied to older boats. [As an aside, I think that this seems a bit odd, since many De May boats are certainly not getting quicker at the same rate as modern boats…] Beyond this, and bearing in mind there are already various categories stipulated in the De May series, I see no problem in allowing a ‘Vintage replica’ classification.

One other question, is that I can see that ‘Vintage replica’ i.e. direct use of an old design, is fine. However, ‘Vintage build’ i.e. an old style of boat, but potentially more optimised than a Passing Cloud / Mk IX / Adur 7 etc. (surely there could have been further improvements made?) would be more of a question…? I guess that is another can of worms though!

I agree with the sentiment that getting more ‘restricted water’ boats racing can only be a good thing for the clubs and circuits catering for this part of the class, so ‘new old boats’ would be a good thing. This said, I think it is also important that the use of traditional methods (i.e. wood, but with decent modern glues) is maintained in order to retain the aesthetics and vintage feel, as this is valuable aspect to a large number of people.

Posted: 13/11/2012 12:23:10
By: Tim
John's three questions do sum up my sentiments. (I sail no.6 and 507 and am restoring 16)but I also find this thread opens some very interesting possibilities too. If it was to be allowed that builders could build by a set of old rules rather than the modern ones, but be allowed to use modern materials then someone will soon build the first, perfectly legal, smooth-skin merlin and have a 25 carbon rig. No doubt a real winner on the river! the 1947 rule 2d discribes a clinker hull but ends:"...Alternatively, each side of the hull may be formed of a single sheet of moulded plywood  not less than 1/8in. thick..." (ie like a firefly etc) Rigs were 25'. - any takers? And if we can mix and match rules then the 100sq ft sails can be increased, the 5ft pole replaced, the spinny flown outside the forestay etc etc and don't forget rule 13 : the price of the finished boat not to exceed £130.Joking aside the possibility of using old rules would have to be thought through very carefully indeed and a complete set of rules from 1946 onwards published. No, surely a new boat is a new boat and should fit the up to date rules. there's nothing stopping a maker/designer producing narrow hulls anyway. 

There is already a grey area whereby older boats no longer fit the rules of their day by being updated. This is perfectly legal and I have no problem with it if they want to compete with modern boats. In vintage events the handicapping should sort that out but I think it still goes against the spirit of a vintage wing and what it is to experience sailing a piece of history.

Finally perhaps the de May should simple be defined as 'river boats'. And the vintage wing return to being Vintage. I haven't sailed Iska no 6 much in the last few years simply because there hasn't been much point. I hope this lastest can of worms doesn't make it even more pointless.

Posted: 13/11/2012 12:38:35
By: chris
I come from National 12s where the attitude to vintage boats seems slightly different although all are modernised to a certain extent. The thing that has attracted me to vintage boats a part from the beauty of the boats themselves is that every thing seems much more relaxed and it is generally cheaper. I have come to terms with the fact that I am never going to win anything unless nobody else turns up so it realy isn't a big deal to me if somebody feels they need to push the rules to the edge in the vintage fleet to win something.
I think a lot of the problem is that while lots of people enjoy playing with vintage boats once you start talking about period fittings cotton sails and wooden masts, well I am sure as hell not going back cotton sails etc. It is suposed to be fun after all. So where do you draw the line between whats sensible to make it more practical or fun and where if becomes purely to try and gain an advantage.
The replica question has also come up with the national 12s as somebody si building an Uffa King at present. I thing they decided that anything built to a design before a certain date was ok.
I thinkyou have to ask yourself why you are sailing and if winning features high on your list of priorities then maybe you should not be sailing a vintage boat.
I would say that the De May series does not feature high on my list of prorities as most of the events are the wrong end of the country and I still have my vintage 12. (I know I will hae to wait a couple of years before my Merlin qualifies anyway)

Posted: 13/11/2012 12:52:05
By: Angus3364
Hi some interesting points of view, however some people love to have a pretty wooden boat to sail, rather than a plastic boat,but hopefully this will be resolved at the AGM, however the Vintage Series is being sailed mainly on the Thames, no boat which is competing apart from Quiver 774 has not had extensive refits, dont you want the event to thrive, and remember up and down the Thames there must be 60- 100 old vintage boats being sailed all which have had new plate cases, new rigs, new foils and new planks and transoms, what is wrong getting a totally refurbised boat, which would have gone on the bonfire, and adding some more competion to a great series, within the spirit of the rules, and keeping a traditional boat builder in business. I hope he gets a full order book, by the way it looks stunning, along side an Ada 7 which also has had a very major refit

Posted: 14/11/2012 18:01:00
By: Martin Hunter
The concept of a new boat to an old design is nothing new and has been done before. Luka is one such boat, and the Ovington built "WOD" NSM IIs could also constitute such a boat as they appeared well after the NSM era and were really built for inland sailing.

I don't think anyone has a problem with that. I agree with Graham that if someone started to produce new Passing Clouds aimed at the river sailor that it would be a good thing. There were a limited number built, not all survive, people want them and none are for sale. You pays your money and buys your boat.

Should it be eligable for vintage racing? Really that's for the vintage boys to decide isn't it? It's their circuit. Maybe we need to define at what point reconstruction becomes a new build?

Posted: 14/11/2012 18:20:30
By: Chris M

I'm not sure it is for the Vintage wing to decide actually; it may be their circuit, but if you only ever allow a ruling fraction to decide the fate of a larger group then you risk unfairly blocking any reforms...quite a lot of that sort of thing in history!

I think it's more relevant for the class as a whole to decide if it's fair for the likes of Luka to be allowed to race against the likes of Flinkidink in a circuit specifically designed for that type of boat.

Posted: 15/11/2012 10:23:21
By: Tim
Very interesting debate dealing with two separate but related issues.

1) There are varying opinions with regards to what constitutes a refurbished boat and at what point it is considered a new build thus requiring a new registration number. This is a CLASS rules issue and is being dealt with by the committee and the RYA, leave them to it and they will publish the RYA’s interpretations of our current rules and then seek recommendations of any rule changes as appropriate.

Currently there is no definition of how far a refurbishment can be taken in terms of what percentage of an original boat has to be retained; in addition our rules allow for hulls shapes to be altered and subject to meeting measurement criteria , that boat does not require a sail number.

You must also consider what precedents have been set. There are numerous river boats actively competing on the Vintage circuit that have new decks, centre board cases, planks and even hogs. Some of these boats already retain very little of their original structure.

2) The second issue is with to do with our ASSOCIATION rules. Specifically; boats over 30 years of age qualify for the Vintage circuit.

A few things to consider.
• If this rule is left unchanged we will shortly see Canterbury Tales, Gnomes etc competing in the circuit, is this what the Vintage and River wings want?
• Should the rule be altered to exclude boats built or designed after a certain point, for instance the ‘Satisfaction’ could be the cut off.
• Should there be a maximum beam rule.
• What will happen to the wooden Tales, Let It Rides in 20 years’ time, in which fleet will they be able to race?
• If a design restriction was part of the qualification criteria there would be no requirement for ‘donor boats’.
• Competitive river boats are becoming increasingly scarce, there are a finite number. Those that do remain are often beyond repair from a practical point of view, i.e. cheaper to build a new hull than restore and existing boat.
• Plastic river boats would not be feasible under our current rules unless you went down the route of Jon Turner plastic planks. The cost vs benefit would rule this out, torsional stiffness is no benefit when sailing in 2 knots of wind; neither would weight be a concern, these boats are sailed on flat waters and can be easily be built down to weight.
• What self-respecting vintage/river sailor would sail in anything that wasn’t varnished.

If our Association rule is amended in an appropriate manner (for instance qualification is by design or max beam), then the Class rule becomes irrelevant.

Posted: 15/11/2012 11:40:10
By: Alex
There's always a typo isn't there.

It is supposed to read 'that boat does not require a new sail number'.

Posted: 15/11/2012 11:42:53
By: Alex
Alex - you could simply take a mould off one of the Passing Clouds as it is an "existing" boat ... wouldn't need to resort to foam planks. 

The designation of "old boats" tripped up Dan at the Champs prize giving, thinking that the 10 year old prize was for woodies only. The prize went to a Winder - and thoroughly well deserved too - but we are now at a stage with the 10 year old prize that there is no distinction (in design terms at least) between an old and new boat.

Surely we should be rebuilding the "River Trophy" so that optimal boats for these conditions are repaired, updated, etc. and then set the "Vintage" Rules to allow preservation and maintenance.

Posted: 15/11/2012 13:10:17
By: Andy Hay - Business as Usual
Sorry, my point was a bit ambiguous, if you took a mould off Passing Cloud, all boats made from that mould would require a new registration number with the RYA and hence would not qualify for vintage racing under current association rules.

However, there is nothing in the rules currently to prevent a 30+ year old boat being restored/rebuilt with donor, with the use of foam planks.

Anyway, bit of a tangent as I'm sure nobody would go down this route due to cost, aesthetics, not being any faster etc.

Posted: 15/11/2012 13:48:06
By: Alex
“If this rule is left unchanged we will shortly see Canterbury Tales, Gnomes etc competing in the circuit, is this what the Vintage and River wings want?”

Do people sail the older/vintage boats much these days away from the river scene? (I only ask because I do not know). Certainly on the river a Tales design needs to be very well sailed to keep up with a narrow boat. Throw in a couple of short tacks and a narrow boat can soon squirt ahead.

Not sure why you wouldn’t want all the advantages of a plastic boat in a narrow river boat. Not just about stiffness, also about ease of ownership and more time spent sailing than in the shed.

The only problem (personally) with a new narrow river plastic boat would be cost. One of the great things about the historic boats is that you can get on the water for little initial money. Yes it does cost you time getting it all together, but there are some people that still have some of this.

Posted: 15/11/2012 13:53:39
By: Chris.
oh dear poor dad

Posted: 15/11/2012 17:01:00
By: ben hollis
Wouldn't worry about it, Ben, makes a pleasant change to the start of the usual funny season, we are usually discussing the reduction of hull weight at around this time of year.

Posted: 15/11/2012 20:19:12
By: Andy Hay - Business as Usual
Oh dear, we are definitely in the silly season where everyone has tucked up their sailing kit and we have a thread that goes bonkers in a couple of days.  I'm not convinced the supply of older boats that can be refurbished for river pot-hunters is really that limited.  Older Merlins to appropriate designs appear regularly on eBay, usually in grotty but rescuable condition.  There are 2 things here that I am a bit nervous about.  The 1st is around the "arms race" side of Merlin sailing, where to win top trophies requires either deep pockets or an arrangement/association with a sailmaker etc.  The regional series including the Thames Trophy have been won by older wooden boats that have had significant updating and optimising for inland sailing.  The De May series however with its significant handicapping of updated boats is a better place to sail old boats for fun.  The other bit is about encouraging new boats to older designs to keep boatbuilders building that sort of boat.  As a wooden boat owner I remain in deep awe of the skill of craftsmen (and timber engineers) like Laurie Smart and do not know what we will do when they are no longer around.  But if we are genuinely looking to build modern Merlins optimised for river conditions there is nothing stopping anyone building a new Mk IXb/Passing Cloud in foam planks with a carbon tall rig.  However no-one has done it and I do not see that there is truly enough demand to be the make or break factor for wooden boatbuilders.  There isn't anything in our rules to prevent a modern narrow boat being built and competing for any of the association's prizes.  The vintage wing will probably quite correctly protect themselves by applying a handicap for any boats deemed eligible.  I expect the committee and the RYA to sort out an issue about refurbishment of older boats that allows the considerable replacement of timber in a boat of interest without it being renumbered.  The historic car racing fraternity already do this - there are I think now more MG K3's in existence than were initially built but they have sorted out an arrangement for them to race together.

Posted: 15/11/2012 20:44:47
By: Andrew M
personally ,i think this is a terrific thread,how many other classes would be discussing the reintroduction of a 50 yr old design and creating this much interest.....stick it on the boatshow stand,might even win the concorse again!

Posted: 15/11/2012 23:16:48
By: d.h
Please remember that the older boats aren't just sailed on the Thames - in fact the Thames arms race has put quite a few people off sailing there. 
Away from the Thames there are far fewer modernisations and the older boats tend to be kept pretty much as built, with hog stepped alloy masts and dacron sails.
Personally I don't like seeing the carboned, epoxied, money-thrown-at-it boats winning the vintage wing and would like to see new boats in new/revised designs especially for the river that would tempt the arms race.

Posted: 16/11/2012 07:16:22
By: PatJ
As a new returnee to the class, when I bought on ebay a 1959 boat in reasonable condition, I wanted be able to race, hopefully with like minded people in a boat that would not upset SWMBO. [ £100 paid]  I certainly feel qualified to comment about introducing new folk back into the class with cheaper boats. We might have wallowed at the back of the fleet at Lyme, not surprising with a 10 year old crew who hadn't raced before but we/she experienced it and wants more.  Bosham was better, and a delight to be around similar folk in generally similar boats.
IT is possible to enjoy sailing/racing in older boats that don't need sponsorship. I run enough racing for those folk elsewhere.

Two points are relevant, Maybe the handicapping of rigs [ the engine of a boat] needs looking at and adjusting , although I can't think of any handicap system that is universally accepted by all. As a previous owner of old MGs including an original K3 Magna, it is a bit like racing an originally engined TA against a TF with a modern engine installed.

Nomenclature can easily be changed to avoid the more modern designs coming into vintage by applying the date, not age, as a deciding factor. we can always further divide another classification.

See you all on the water.

Posted: 16/11/2012 09:23:09
By: Richard Stevens
my boat is still under reconstruction,2427,it was going to end up as two benches on the side of the olympics deck gymnasium( but thats another story),black decks, ropey case etc,etc,..stripped all the old varnish off and left it for 6mths,65% of it was removed,joints cleaned and put back in,but carbon spaceframed it,opened out the chute,sheathed the bottom four planks with200g weave and deck stepped it,the boat is now so much stiffer,it wasnt done for any arms race,i just didnt want to spend every few weeks with it back in the workshop fixing another split joint or leaky case,the point here being by the time its fitted out ,sails etc,it probably would have been more cost effective to have built a replica  new boat ,but then it would have been another championship winning boat  on the bonfire in the the end of the day its a RACING pays your money and wait for the critisism...its going to be a midland circuit boat..we only have one river meeting..

Posted: 16/11/2012 09:28:30
By: d.h

The best definition of what constitutes a new (rather than an extensively restored 'old' boat can be found in the first few pages of Solcum's 'Sailing Alone around the World'. Now for those that have never read the book (and shame on you for that) Slocum, an old whaling ship Captain, get's given the wreck of the 'Spray'. He rebuilds her, comepletely from the keel up' But, he goes on to say..

"Now, it is a law in Lloyd's that the Jane repaired all out of the old until she is entirely new is still the Jane. The Spray changed her being so gradually that it was hard to say at what point the old died or the new took birth and it was no matter"

So, there is an answer that has been good since it was written over 100 years ago! I'd take this to mean that if someone took Kate, Merlin, iska or Gently to a clever builder who rebuilt the hull using modern techniques - then the boat would still be kate, merlin, iska or gently.

The much bigger topic of racing classic Merlins, how to handicap them how much moderisation should be allowed or encouraged - that is a huge and complex question that is worthy of a thread all of its own!


Posted: 16/11/2012 20:56:04
By: David Henshall
David, totally right

Posted: 17/11/2012 20:27:30
By: Martin Hunter
When sailing in the De May competitions in 252 or 111 I will find it comforting that the new build (is it a new/old or an old/new?) will have a transom from an old boat.  In general it's the only part of the boat I will get to see but I might just be fooled into thinking it's a vintage or classic I'm following.

Posted: 20/11/2012 21:15:46
By: Garry R
Following on from the discussions above, the matters relating to rebuilds of old Merlin Rockets were discussed at a meeting of interested parties at Cookham Reach SC last January.
The full minutes of the meeting are available at the link below. However, I include here the comments from Dave Chivers (Merlin Rocket, RYA and ISAF measurer):

"There is nothing to prevent anyone building a new Merlin to any design that exists or to a new design. So therefore I can build a new Mk IX, a new Expectant, a new Smokers, a new Tales or a new Chivers at home or professionally. I need no permission other than design copyright etc. As long as if measurers to the class rules it will be a Merlin and can have a certificate. How you build the boat whether it is all new or using bits of another boat is again entirely optional and as long as it measurers it will be a Merlin.
Now consider a rebuild. Again I can rebuild a boat any way I like and alter the shape if I wish. If I am rebuilding as is then I doubt it matters whether I replace 4 planks per year or the whole lot but to remain the original boat it must remain the dimensions and characteristics or the original boat. There are no requirements for decks or thwarts in the rules so frankly they do not count.
We now come to the section on the measurement form which asks for Designer, Design or Mark, Date Completed. These are an essential part of the class and measurement data.
If I rebuild a Mk IX for example and change no dimension then the boat will still be a Mk IX and although rebuilt/repaired remains the original boat with its original completion date. You can argue that a total rebuild is a new boat but Lloyds covered this and said it is still the original boat. Also being realistic it is unlikely that anyone would actually rebuild a boat totally in one go.
However, If I take what was a Mk IX and from the hog build a totally new shape or I build a totally new hull which just happens to have a random original piece which might be a thwart then it is no longer the original boat. The shape will be different and although it will measure as a Merlin it cannot retain the original Date Completed. Therefore as the rules demand (Class rules 21 b & c) the boat will have to be fully re-measured and have a new designer, design and date completed.
Because the completed date would now be 2012 or 2013 the boat would be a modern boat regardless of shape and therefore not 30 years old and not eligible for a classic events. (I realise that some modern designs are 30 years old but that is not the specific problem at present).
To sum up a new boat may be any design you like but it is a new boat. A rebuilt boat that is the same shape as originally is still the original boat. A boat which has been rebuilt to a new shape using mostly new materials and even if retaining a little bit of a donor boat (one assume that the new boat is not going to be the same design as a donor thwart!) then it is a new boat because it has to be re-measured heaving been altered and will therefore have a new build date.”

It was agreed amongst all present at the meeting that this description of how the current rules work is how they would be wanted to work.

Posted: 28/11/2013 08:53:43
By: Keith Callaghan
Indeed this was the whole point of that meeting and it seems the decisions formed there have not been followed. Apparently this very scenario of a new quite differently designed boat being passed off as an old one has indeed happened. Although I have since been informed it/they will be measured as a new boat/s and issued with the latest number,but I don't know if that has happened yet. Presumably the old donor boat will now have to be listed in the boats destroyed list.
On rereading the script above I note the comment about the deck not being included in the rules. Surely this is only true of more recent rules. The earliest Merlin rules stated...All boats are to be completely decked save for a cockpit , not exceeding 5ft in length and 2ft in wide... There are several features in older rules that are completely different from more recent rules. I point this out as my interest in the Vintage fleet is to do with the earliest merlins.
I do feel there is still much to discuss and decide if the word 'Vintage' is to have any value.

Posted: 28/11/2013 09:44:41
By: chris
Aren't there enough usable old boats out there now without building replicas. Away from the Thames where it seems the older narrow boats are very effective surly "vintage" merlin sailing is about useable old boats that can be purchased cheaply and still have lots of life left in them. The rule seemed quite clear to me. My NSM 3 is now thirty years old - I phoned Mervyn and said could I come to a De May event. Upon invitation, I sailed as a guest at Wroxham, as we just missed the sail number cut off (by10) and we had a great time. We will be back for more next year. The handicap system, which every body seemed happy and familiar with, allowed for my allow mast and Dacron sails and I followed the advice of fellow competitors and used an older smaller kite. We loitered at the back of the fleet and learnt loads, no handicap system for inexperience regrettably. Isn't this is just a game we play at the weekends to amuse our selves rather than an arms race? A way of keeping old boats and old blokes, sailing Or have I missed something?

Posted: 28/11/2013 10:25:55
By: Edward
"Interestingly, Shoestring,when owned by Jim Robinson in the 60's, used to perform only in strong breezes."

Posted: 14/01/2014 17:39:10
By: Barry Dunning
sorry martin...D-day was last Friday....I was there...

Posted: 25/03/2014 07:45:58
By: "d,h"
6th june 1944....

Posted: 25/03/2014 07:45:58
By: "d,h"
sorry keith ....dirty hands....

Posted: 25/03/2014 07:45:58
By: "d,h"
ill tell you at salcombe...juno in a dukw

Posted: 25/03/2014 07:45:58
By: "d,h"
"this is great news....keith,your spot on...laurie is a legend..."

Posted: 25/03/2014 07:45:58
By: "d,h"
"Now that a protest has been put into the RYA, and that the said boat has been winning the river championship at Upper Thames Sailing Club, but not sailing in the DeMay series,it will be interesting if the people who are the protestor will give their appology once the RYA give the all clear for the boat,watch this space , this Friday is DDay"

Posted: 15/04/2014 08:37:33
By: Martin Hunter
Richard I think you will find Keith has delivered a nicely crafted and well thought out piece of irony.

Posted: 29/04/2014 09:59:52
By: David Child
"Very interesting discussion on eligibility of old thwarts in new hulls or\r\n\r\n""You can't put an old f-thw-art on new knees"" or\r\n\r\n""You can't put an old head on young shoulders"" \r\n\r\n- a bit more abstract of course but heads and shoulders do exist in English marine terminology, do they not Russell ??"

Posted: 16/05/2014 13:44:21
By: Ainslie French
"d.h, who are you?"

Posted: 07/06/2014 11:31:09
By: Keith Callaghan
"Phil, which beach did you land on?"

Posted: 07/06/2014 11:31:09
By: Keith Callaghan
and the answer is?

Posted: 11/06/2014 19:32:39
By: miles
and the answer is?

Posted: 11/06/2014 19:32:39
By: miles
"Keith, I thought that went without saying..."

Posted: 17/06/2014 07:01:11
By: Richard (3606)
Just saw her today sailing at Minima.  She is certainly a beautiful boat.

Posted: 20/06/2014 17:10:10
By: Richard (3606)
"On what evidence do you base that statement Keith?  The Adur 3 and Passing Cloud designs haven't been up against each other at any events in 2014.  Certainly, the latter design wasn't at Bourne End Week or at Minima's vintage open meeting on Saturday.  There's an original Adur 3 at Tamesis (Shoestring 1136) but it is not currently being raced."

Posted: 20/06/2014 17:10:10
By: Richard (3606)
"On or about 12 June, Bas Edmonds and Debbi Smith of the RYA inspected MR1065 and interviewed the owner/builder. \r\n \r\nThe objective was to ascertain whether the boat was a rebuild of the original boat or a new boat built to a different design. \r\n \r\nThe RYA have concluded that the boat is a rebuild of the original boat. The rationale for this is that some parts from the original boat were used in the rebuild �?? notably the hog. The builder stated that patterns were made of the original hull components and the boat was rebuilt along those lines. Bas found no evidence to the contrary and indeed he states that there is no requirement (in the class rules) to prove this. Bas observed that MR1065 is not of modern design and the original measurement certificate does not show a design (but the builder is shown as Adur Boatyard); there is no evidence to prove that she does not follow her original design implicitly. There is also no requirement to prove this.\r\n \r\nThe RYA has therefore confirmed the issue of a certificate to MR1065."

Posted: 21/06/2014 11:24:42
By: Keith Callaghan
"Richard, show me a boat built by Laurie that is not beautiful."

Posted: 21/06/2014 11:24:42
By: Keith Callaghan
"Have we now seen the end of the dominance of Jack Holt's PASSING CLOUD on the river? I don't know anything about the design aims of Messrs Deadman and Brookes when they designed the Adur Mk3, but my guess is that they were looking to design a boat for local Shoreham sailors. Yet that design in 2014 is the dominant river boat. Has anyone got an Adur 3 rotting away in their back yard?"

Posted: 21/06/2014 11:24:42
By: Keith Callaghan
"It does seem that this point, is reference to a certain boat, however the Jack Holt boats are alive and kicking, the Martine, won both the Demay and Open meeting at Minima open meeting where there were plenty of merlin variations, but what is more concerning, a certain boat retired after being protested by me ,  for advertising on Saturday and then for having unmeasured sails on the sunday, this boat last year won a silver tiller event at Hampton without having a certificate, and carrying a logo on the sails, I think that this boat should return the trophy to Hampton Sailing Club"

Posted: 23/06/2014 09:43:11
By: martin hunter

Posted: 03/07/2014 14:01:59
What I should have said before my computor crashed is that I was inspired by the beautiful rebuild of Laurie Smarts Flipside to acquire an Adur 3 from the foresale namely 925 section and forced to promptly snap it up when it appeared on ebay.
The boat is in very good condition so rather than redecking  is being quickly repainted and varnished to get quickly on the water.The Adur3 seems to have very fine underwater lines and  rounded stern sections,the decks are wide rolled old school Merlin style I plan to keep it original at the moment pending trials.
It has recently been joined by a Wyche and Coppack proctor X1 again from the Foresale section 904 and only needing some varnish this year and a new foredeck overwinter.
These boat will be sailed at my home club Severn SC by myself and son Alex and will join a similar vintage StarRocket,then to some vintage events after sorting.I would be grateful for any history of the two boats and any secondhand dacron sails as both came with limited wardrobes which include original sails which from the date stamps must have been some of the first terelyne sails.
Anyway thanks Lawrie for attracting my attention to a thriving Merlin vintage scene accessible at a modest cost,though I am aware further investment will be required.

Posted: 12/07/2014 23:38:31

Graham, Laurie's boat is not an Adur 3. Flipside's hull is now to a design which is not an Adur 3. 

I hope you were not misled by my post of 21 June: it was meant to be ironic! 
In any event  I'm sure you will have great fun with your Adur 3. 

Posted: 16/07/2014 14:13:11
By: Keith_Callaghan
Do not worry Keith , I had already bought the boat when Your email was posted and I could see the forward topsides must have been smoothed to simplify planking towards the bow. Otherwise the shape looked very fine underwater and the construction showed great care to minimise weight, I am very pleased with the boat for River sailing and look forward to launching soon,sadly OOD duties this Sunday.

Posted: 18/07/2014 22:23:34


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