Topic : Thin Ice Design

Hi Rocket Sailors

What are your thoughts on the Thin Ice design...???

I have found one in a barn, its restorable, lick of varnish and new rig/rigging will make it sail-able a decent level but is it a design worth restoring?

I am looking to sail with a pretty heavy all up crew weight and I hear that Thin Ice are designed with a bit more rocker, less wetted surface area, maybe less straight line speed but will carry fat boys well...

Please let me know any thoughts...


Posted: 26/08/2013 19:24:13
By: Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
Not quite as quick

Posted: 26/08/2013 22:43:26
By: Chris M
Not as quick planing as a contemporary tales but a nice, vice free boat other than that. Quicker tacking maybe and feel nice to windward in my experience.

Posted: 26/08/2013 22:45:24
By: Chris M
To elaborate, it would be interesting to see where we would be today had someone built a mould and produced an frp version. David's frp CT very quickly replaced the Thin Ices owned by the guys towards the front of the fleet, but three of the Rowsell built examples had good racing records so there was certainly potential there.

I've sailed 3518 a couple of times, as I said before I didn't think it felt as "eager" downwind in planing conditions as the Turner tales I owned at the time, but it tacked beautifully and felt well balanced to windward.]

Will it be as fast as a modern boat? Around a championship course no, it won't, but it should be able punch above it's perceived weight on restricted water and in sub planing breeze. What you're up against now as much as anything is that they are all nearly 20 years old and if it's a Rowsell one it will have been raced hard for at least the first 5 years of it's life. Most of them will have been carbonised by now, if it's got a Superspar white one that is a bonus.

Posted: 27/08/2013 08:37:10
By: Chris M
Will very much suit a heavier crew weight. Very much worth saving.

Posted: 27/08/2013 08:38:15
By: Jez3719
We've only just sold ours and it appears to go pretty well for its new owner, as it did for us.  There aren't many around - only 11 built as far as I could count, so to find an abandoned one is quite a find. Which sail number is it? 
Things have no doubt moved on since they were designed and built, maybe the last design to combine weight carrying and performance? In terms of performance per £ they represent fantastic value for money and a lot of fun for heavier crews. Ours was build by its first owner and looked as good when we sold it as when it was first built, but it had been looked after in betwen outings. I don't suppose too many wooden boats were build after the late 90s early 2000's so most you'll find will be at least 13 /15 years old.
We moved to a Mk1 winder and I'm sure it will take us further up the fleet if/when we learn how to sail it to its potential. The investment required to trade up to a current /competitive spec was considerable!
If I could afford to have kept the Thin Ice as well I certainly would have.

Posted: 27/08/2013 17:43:45
By: K.M.

I had a huge snoop around it today, discussed it with a boat builder mate who will help me and this one should be salvageable. Far better built than any of the three I had seen previously

Chris, I was talking earlier with my friend about taking a mould and building an FRP one... We were just wondering the legalities...????

Do you think that many new owners would be interested if we could put them into production. I notice most of the Merlin Sailors i know are on the larger size for designs that are optimised for 22 stone all up...


Posted: 27/08/2013 18:07:44
By: Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
Phil Morrison designed it, and he'd be the man to talk to about producing any more.

The Tales will carry more than 22st, I've sailed at 25st with no obvious issues. Of course you're compromised in the light stuff, but weight is weight. As for a potential market, things have moved on really but a chat with Phil would probably put you straight on what you might like to modify.

What number is the boat you've found?

Posted: 27/08/2013 18:13:58
By: Chris M
Sail number 3540.

Does anyone have an email for Phill Morrison?

Yes I agree things have moved on but there are obvious tweaks structurally that could be easily made to the design, having looked at a couple of very new local boats. The hull shape looks great, like you mention it looks like a very good up wind boat. Though I was surprised to see how flat the aft sections are, and how much beam she carries for a boat f that age. Definitely a lot less buoyancy up front than new Winder Tales boats.

We have two brand spanking new Rockets at our local club... Kind of the inspiration for me getting involved. Thinking of restoring this one, making mods and then looking at a new boat in a year. somewhere in between deciding whether, designer permitting, I could look to make another Thin Ice in FRP/Carbon, or whether it is better to design/build my own.

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:07:35
By: Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
3540 is M&Ms are you sure it's the right number?

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:09:33
By: Chris M

Doing this from memory as the boat is not in front of me right now

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:15:49
By: Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
That's too early.

Did it have a name?

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:18:42
By: Chris M
or colour might help

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:19:03
By: Chris M
Sorry Chris,

I cant remember the name, even though I remember it was catchy... The hull is Black, looks original colour, she is beautifully built.

Of the photos I have taken, mainly for consulting on repair work needed, I can just see a bit of the build plate but not the number.. The build plate says the builder is Ron someone. Can't quite make it out.

Have just emailed the owner of the Barn/boat and asked him to tell me...

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:28:12
By: Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
If it's built by Ron Hall it's not a Thin Ice. Could be a Riders on the Storm mod which again was a porkers design.

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:34:35
By: Chris M
Ill let you know when I have more details.

Definitely a porkers design is a good thing and the current owner says she has always been a good boat for the heavier crew.

Currently hog stepped Ali rig but have already chatted to a few people about spare modern rigs and sails for sale.

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:38:17
By: Gareth Notting Hill Rigging Co
Well it's definitely not a Thin Ice if it's hog stepped. All of them would have been deck stepped i'm afraid.

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:41:04
By: Chris M

The Owner said Thin Ice, Canterbury tales-ish design but for porkers.

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:46:01
By: Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
3450 The Dream Machine Ian Holt Niane (61k) Ron Hall built?

Posted: 27/08/2013 19:48:10
By: Ian3555
Thats it... "The Dream Machine"

So what can you tell me about her????

Posted: 27/08/2013 20:00:31
By: Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
Definitely built by Ron Hall, Chorley, 1990. Original owner Mrs. S. Aubrey, of Preston and a member of Bolton S C.

Posted: 28/08/2013 08:28:48
By: Mike Liggett
Cheers mate. Thanks for the info

Posted: 17/09/2013 01:33:58
By: Gareth NHRC
I saw this boat yesterday at John Claridge's in Lymington. Needs some work on the deck varnish. She is well equipped and looks a bargain.

Posted: 17/09/2013 08:35:40
By: Barry Dunning
Hi Merlin sailors

Looks like I will be handing over the cash for The Dream Machine this week. She will be staying in Lymington Town SC and will be restored to former glory over the winter...

Got a bit on work wise.

I will keep everyone posted on progress.

Plans are a foot to deck step the rig with a modern one string system. I am searching for a second hand but decent carbon rig boom and a new set of sail to suit... Any advice very welcome. Chatting to the other Lymington based Merlin sailors we are going to be building a nice little fleet down here...

Cosmetically first job is to strip her back of old Varnish and check the weight. The Skin of the hull needs some work too... She isnt looking great at the moment but I am confident in my restoration skills. And in the good advice of the many highly skilled boatbuilders in the area.

Posted: 27/11/2013 11:03:39
By: Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
Would be worth giving Alan Jackson a call re the boom, he had one about 3 months ago he was trying to flog with some cosmetic defects, but it was a completely unfitted tube more or less and I didn't have the time or skills to fit it out.  He's also got a set of frames on Ebay!

Posted: 27/11/2013 11:21:16
By: Andrew M
Hi Gareth,

Great news that you have got hold of a boat....thats makes 4 at the club as a certain Mr Andy Hind is also spending the winter getting Terabyte 3478 (see link). Jungle Drums suggest we may have 6 on the start line for Spring! Plus LTSC is hosting a Merlin open event next year so all very exciting times down this way.

Give me shout if you need any help or want to have a look over the others for any modifying / layout ideas etc.

Can I suggest you don't get Ben or Ed to help you with any rig tuning advice....there'll be a 100 ton mast jack fitted in no time at all!


Mark B

Posted: 27/11/2013 18:33:28
By: Mark & Lou

Does anyone have any information on the Niane design? The differences, good and bad...?

Workshop cleared ready for the boat to arrive, starting work next week.

Posted: 28/11/2013 13:55:29
By: Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
Forgot to say cheers Mark B... 

Andy Hind (terabyte) and me have been chatting and are now refitting and working on our boats in the same Lymo based barn.

Posted: 05/12/2013 16:23:37
By: Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
Anyone got a thin ice laying about in poor condition that they want rid of?

Don't need rig, sails road trailer just a hull.

Posted: 24/12/2013 19:05:11
By: Gareth Griffiths
Last time I checked there were only 11 built, and I guess most will be cherished by their owners. The one we sold in the summer is on the for sale list if you wanted to buy it for reference and re sell it afterwards!

Posted: 25/12/2013 10:55:27
By: K.M.
Cheers KM...!

Merry Christmas

Posted: 25/12/2013 19:15:06
By: Gareth Griffiths


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