There are a number of routes to owning your first Merlin Rocket, and the main options are presented below. Although a development class, there have been no major rule changes recently and the Association policy is to maintain this consistency for as long as possible.
The easiest way to purchase a Merlin Rocket is to get an 'off-the-peg' boat from a chandlers such as Pinnel & Bax or Speed Sails, who sell 'ready to race' packages for circa £9500, both based around a plastic Winder boats hull. Or you can contact Winder direct. Alternatively, you could buy the various bits from a number of different suppliers, as shown below. Remember that a second hand boat is obviously cheaper and probably easier to get going!
Do You Want a Wood or Plastic Hull?
The rules are written in such a way that there is little, if any performance difference between a wooden or a plastic (glass reinforced foam sandwich) hull. You need to decide if you would like a boat that is easy to maintain or one with a finish similar to a grand piano! Regardless of the construction, the hull must weigh 98kg and the strict rules dictate other aspects of the boat, to help control cost and ensure fair sailing.
Routes to a Wooden Hull
The major wooden boat builders are listed below, although any boatyard could be used, and if competent, you could even build your own. A bare hull would start at around £6000 depending on specification, but the sky is the limit! (Although it probably won't make you go any quicker!)
Routes to a Plastic Hull
There are currently two builders of plastic boats. Winders advertise a bare hull with some fittings for less than £5000 and a complete boat for just above £10,000. Wrecked'em/Full-Force offer various levels of fitouts, but most customers opt for all the 'bells and whistles' which can be more expensive.
Fittings and Equipment
Fittings and layout are completely free, so you can incorporate your own ideas into your dream boat, it's best to have a look around the boats at an open meeting to spot the good ideas from the bad ones. Again, any mast supplier can be used, most use carbon fibre from suppliers such as Super-Spars or Chipstow Boatyards, where prices start circa £800.
A suit of sails is around £1300, although the top-flight sailors sell theirs secondhand after a season for half price. Look at the gear guide to see what's currently hot and who's not, a selection of the sailmakers who have Merlin experience are:
So, now you have all the facts, what are you waiting for?