yung sailor

31/08/2009 23:38:21
Alex Dowell
hi my name is Alex Dowell and i am 13 my boat is 636 fiddlestiks and my dads boate is 2946 opium and i can sail opium with my dad or my fren's and they are the crew

i love it and haw much u hike and capsizeing is so much fun because i can do a dry capsize

01/09/2009 11:44:21
Chris Rathbone
Hi Alex,

Glad you are enjoying Merlins so much. I had my fist sail in a Merlin aged 13 on Cookham Reach and was hooked straight away. Have a lot of fun-very envious that you can manage a dry capsize. Not something I ever mastered!!

01/09/2009 22:56:37
Tony Lane
Alex. Your Merlin is possibly unique. 
As you probaby know 636 'Fiddlesticks' was designed and built by Jack Holt but did you know that she was probably the only Merlin built to that design.

08/09/2009 12:32:04
alex dowell
i have just bort a lazer and it has 3 sails,a brand new ruder , lornching trolly and  a new  mast and boom but i still like merlin rockets better i am geting better at helming evry time


08/09/2009 12:49:46
i think its fantastic to see younger sailors in adult boats......keep going in the merlin alex....

08/01/2010 22:06:22
My father owned fiddlesticks in the 70's and used to sail her in hastings every weekend. A fantastic boat in her heyday.

09/01/2010 09:34:35

My Dad bought Opium Brand new and sailed it at Cookham and all arround the open meetings. He is resposable for the name which I always liked. I have some good pictures of him sailing it at some speed on the river at Cookham. I first stepped in a Merlin at Cookham when I was 5 years old. It was in the boat my Dad replaced Opium with, it was called Panatella (theme running here you can see) he now owns Tobacco Road!

When I was your age I used to go to the sailing club almost every night in the summer with my scholl friends and take my boat Black Mamba 1683 out for a sail. I loved it and am still sailing them now.

Good luck and I hope you and your Dad get allot of Fun out of both of your boats.


09/01/2010 10:01:21
Robert Harris
In 1957 Jack Holt lent 'Fiddlesticks' to my brother John and me for the Champioships at Torquay. The conditions were unusual with mainly light easterlies and an unpleasant swell that occasionally hid nearby boats from view and caused seasickness problems. John and I argued a lot and didn't do very well.

'Fiddlesticks came with a choice of two masts. The one we used was a standard hog stepped wooden stick, the alternative was a 5 inch wide wooden slab mast with a mass of piano wire rigging to prevent it collapsing. It was effectively deck stepped because it was stepped on a stub mast and could rotate. The fashion then was very much for 'bendy' masts, metal or wood, the slab couldn't bend of course so we didn't consider using it. A mistake maybe.

I once crewed for Jack Holt in 'Fiddlesticks at Ranelagh S. C. The wind was blowing 25 mph or more from the north west causing big waves, I learned a lot from Jack that day. e.g. He kept the centreplate about halfway up on the beats to make the boat easier to hold up. We were the only boat to finish that day.

I have some rather grainy photos of 'Fiddlestick' taken at Torquay which I'll post on the vintage photos section.


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