Sails for vintage Merlins

08/08/2009 17:24:49
Stuart Moore
Hi there. I have a Proctor Mk XII (sail No 1301) and have spent many a day working on it to make it more user friendly and although it is now nicer to sail, I'd now like to get it going faster. However my sails are a bit baggy and although I've bought new-to-me sails they too are a bit pants.  My current sails are set up with the bolt rope on the foot of the mainsail threaded into the groove of the boom. I've been told that old Merlins don't respond well to the modern sail set up (ie with a loose foot secured to the outhaul only).

Can anyone please shed some light on the best option for sails and the best set up for a boat of this age?

Many thanks


08/08/2009 19:43:00
Chris M
The loose fot in itself is not a problem, however the rigs have changed a lot since the 60's and it is quite impotant to get the luff curve of the sail to suit the mast. In some cases this can be done via a spreader adjustment but not always! Best advice is to talk to a sailmaker.

If you're cruising or handocap racing a suit of sails that are not 100% perfectly cut to the mast are (IMO at least) unlikely to cause a noticable problem when compared to a knackered suit of 70's Banks'.

09/08/2009 00:22:51
John C
Have a look at Ben Marshall's X11 for a well set up boat and sails - you won't get a much better example!

09/08/2009 10:11:21
You need to try for a set cut for the same measurements between the black bands as your mast and boom. It took me a fair bit of looking and patience to find some secondhand for Half Cut but it was well worth it as the loose footed main she came with neither fitted nor performed properly.
The older boats (mine is 1968) have taller sails with a narrower foot than modern ones.
If you go for a new set, Mike Macnamara has made them for several vintage boat owners.

09/08/2009 18:55:41
Stuart Moore
Many thanks for the advice.



09/08/2009 20:35:21
Richard (3233)
Where do you sail Stuart?  If you're in the SW London area, why not visit Tamesis Club on the Thames to get an idea about sails/rigs on vintage Merlins.  We have many different varieties with new and old rigs/sails including a Proctor Mk XII with oldish kevlar sails on an aluminium rig.


Your Name
YouTube Clip
Paste the link provided by youtube under the "Share" button, looks like this ""
Type a Number under 27: