New Rocketeer - Old Rocket! (782)

21/07/2009 18:40:48
Joe Payne
Hello, have recently bought MR no 782, sailed her a few times, and she seems to be a very nice little boat indeed.  Believe she is a Proctor Mk VI, so about 1957/58.  Wondered if anyone had any news on her, what she was called originally?  Also looking to add a spinnaker - will be bag launched, wondered if there was any advice for that too?

Thanks in advance,

Portsmouth (Tudor SC)

22/07/2009 08:32:37
Garry R
In the (hopefully temporary) absence of Tony Lane the yearbook shows her as built 1957 by Chippendale and called Hutch Ado. She is listed as a Proctor VI.   I am sure Tony has earlier yearbooks with early owners.

22/07/2009 12:36:38
Tony Lane
The 1968 year book shows her name as 'Thermopylae' and her owner as J Hughes, 3 Orchard Close, Horndean, Hants and Portchester S.C. She is a Proctor Mk 6. The hull was built by Chippendale. She may have been finished by the first owner but the 1968 yb is the only one that indicates that fact.
The unusual thing about this boat in the MROA records, that are normally so comprehensive, is that all the year books from 1962 to 1967 inclusive do not show her design or builder. They do record her owner as C.Douglas but no address or club.
I regret I do not have the year books before 1962 except for 1951.
The 1982 yb records a change of owner to J. Fortescue, 18 Tanglewood Close, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey but no club is shown.
The 1985 yb shows her name changed to 'Nicola'.
There were no further changes recorded until 1999 when her owner was Derek Anthony Shipley, 25 Granta Rd, Sawston, Cambs CB2 4HT and Cam S.C.
The 2000 yb shows another name change to 'Hutch Ado'
The 2007 yb records the owner still as Derek Shipley with a new address and Parkstone YC. I can let you have the address if you e-mail me. In the latest yb the owner is shown as Sylvia Shipley.

22/07/2009 13:11:38
Joe Payne
'Thermopylae', what a marvellous name.  And she's coming home, will take her over to Portchester just to see where she used to sail.  How would I go about re-registering?  Frankly 'Hutch Ado' is a bit of a rubbish name, and I think Thermopylae is more fitting for a boat of her age and lines.


22/07/2009 20:31:12
Pat Blake
Welcome to the class Joe

Nice to see Tony still giving us chapter and verse - what a good story.

There is some stuff on this site about membership of our association (highly recommended) and registering with the RYA who administer all 'National' Classes. Link below.

Regarding you spinnaker query - in the 50's all boats had spinnakers launched from bags, or often plastic washing baskets, which were new fangled gadgets then! The pole (5ft in those days) was stowed under the foredeck on top of the buoyancy bag. The up/downhaul was hooked onto the middle of the pole and had shock cord at the top and rope at the bottom. This system still works fine and is very easy to set up!
22/07/2009 21:16:44
hi joe, have an old spinnaker and pole off 1039 5ft if its any good to you, sorry not much else as most of it is still on the M42.(no it was'nt in an accident, it just fell apart!!!

23/07/2009 10:32:29
Joe Payne
That would be brilliant, if you could send me an email on [email protected] then we can sort out price/collection etc. Thanks once more,


23/07/2009 15:58:19
Andrew M
Just to get in before the other pedants- Thermopylae a very appropriate name, the clipper that beat the Cutty Sark in the great Tea Race as well as the battle the Spartans lost against the Persians.

Most older boats sailed competitively have found no problem using the present 2.3m spinny pole and large kite if you wanted to go down that route rather than for authenticity.

23/07/2009 16:16:07
"Tell them of us, and say obedient to their wishes here we lie".

23/07/2009 20:11:55
Yes but not in F5/F6. Capsized my MkIX as soon as spinny was launched last Saturday.  But who cares; the sea was warm and on the following reach she emptied in no time. Beware large spinnakers on narrow boats.

24/07/2009 13:26:49
It's supposed to be bad luck to change a boat's name so it must be really good luck to change it back to the original name! Thermopylae sounds good and stately for an old boat.

For a certificate just sent £20 to the RYA asking for a certificate for Merlin 782 as you are the new owner. Then you'll get the original sail measurements too. They were fairly quick with both mine.

When she's up together come and join our cvrda events - Roadford in Devon over August Bank Holiday is next and a big gathering where there'll be a few Merlins even older and also unmodernised to race with.
24/07/2009 17:01:42
Actually Pat, changing the name of a boat is meant to change its luck. It is bad luck for a boat to have no name. So, a good change could help.

Change isn't always bad...

24/07/2009 17:15:32
Dripping still
A change is as good as a rest, some say.

24/07/2009 18:39:04
Mrs Tosh
Gosh I didn't know that it was unlucky for a boat not to have a name but always thought it unlucky to change a name.  We have the Mirror we took to Salcombe with no name. Better ask the children what they want to call it. As far as I know it's never had a name and it's quite old. Any suggestions?

24/07/2009 19:56:58
Clint? (The man with no name.)

24/07/2009 20:23:46
"A l'eau. C'est l'heure" is a name that has amused me.  For a Mirror "Who's the fairest"  "On reflection"  "Smoke and"  "Full length"

26/07/2009 22:15:45
Peter 3112
Well sailed this p.m. Joe. Definitely go for Thermopylae, you added to my education by explaining which classic battle was which. Glad you enjoyed our occasional scooping up of Langstone Harbour - I am still trying to convince the crew that wider boats need to be sailed flat! Fortunately we never completely lost it. Enjoy the spare spinnaker. 

27/07/2009 20:35:58
Joe Payne
Thanks to all for the posts, seems to be a great bunch of people that own Rockets, will do my best to continue that!  Hope to see you all at an open when I've got her sailing just right.  And with a name like Thermopylae a fancy dress theme will be easy!

29/07/2009 19:08:11
Midland Mischief
I think you'll find that the new Measurement Certificate from the RYA is free if you're a RYA Personal Member.  It's worth joining for lots of other benefits as well, to say nothing of the fact that it's the sport's national governing body.
29/07/2009 19:13:21
If you are a member, it costs £15 rather than £20
Call their technical office, as they may not have a record of your boat if it hasn't been registered with them since 1971 or so.


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