On your marks - Which Winder?

15/10/2009 20:38:06
I am planning on purchasing my first Merlin.
In general: we race in the 2nd quarter in a fleet, weigh about 13.5 (helm) + 11.5 stone (crew), normally sail on a large open estuary with winds between 10 and 20 knots.

So, should I be looking for a Mk 1 (there are a couple available on the list now), or earn some more money and stretch to a Mk 4?
Would a Mk 5 help us at all, or are we too heavy? An earlier comment from Barnsie: "If heavy and not superfit would go for the Mk4 but if superfit the Mk5 as the top end may be faster in a breeze but harder work in marginal conditions." We certainly can't be described as "super-fit".
If we get a Mk 1, should we buy and sail it? Or have the nose dropped before sailing it?
We can afford £6000, as that is what we have sold our RS400 for. Anything more than that will mean "borrowing" from my car replacement fund!

Thanks, Chris

15/10/2009 21:11:22
Chris M
I'm really not sure how much differance the bow drop really makes, it's a big carve up for a 25mm lowering. With a £6k budget you're looking at a Mk1 anyway, you won't get a 4 for less than £8k.

The drop should make the boat plane slightly sooner on paper and is supposed to give more grip in waves. Being on the heavy side anyway the drop is likely to make less differance to you because you won't have a problem getting the bow in the water to windward and you'll suffer in the marginal planing conditions anyway. Once you get to a F5+ i don't think there is any noticable differance between the models besides boat handling, though i remember well sailing a path through upturned Mk4s belonging to top helms on sunday at Blithfield!!

The way forward is to try a Mk1 and try an Mk4 and see what you think!

15/10/2009 21:16:50
Chris M
Thinking further the rigs may pose more of a problem with a Mk1 than the hull shape, though to be fair you may well benefit from the stiffer superspar they were almost all supplied with anyway. 3561 could be a good buy though as it comes all Chipstowed up.

Superspars are stiff up top, soft low down where the Chipstows are stiff low down and whippy up top.

15/10/2009 22:37:13
If going for the Mk1, I'd be inclined to go for Avalon Sunset as she has 2 suits of new sails supplied by the sailmaker, identical to the championship winning boat. If you could stretch that bit more, she has all the bits and knowing Charlie, will be well looked after. Failing that, the Snorting could be a good buy.

16/10/2009 11:27:44
If you fancy a sail in our Merlin we are rescue boat one half of Sunday.
Would be good to see how you get on against the other Merlins. Dave tells me you go back along way so the starts could be interesting!

16/10/2009 12:16:37
. or . or .....
Sorry I won't be out.  I'm off to learn how not to drown when your yacht sinks!

22/10/2009 16:10:23
I'm surprised no-one mentioned re-prioritising the car fund, and putting the money towards something more enjoyable!

We are off to view this weekend, and the budget available has gone up a bit.
Any other points we should be considering between a Winder Mk1 and a Mk IV for 25 stone, mainly on open water? Any other boats becoming available this winter? (my email address is linked from above).

23/10/2009 10:52:50
Andrew M
Just to flag up that there are 2 of the rare and beautiful wooden Let it Ride's on the 2nd hand list at the minute.  Maintaining a wooden boat is a bit more onerous and expensive, but I haven't seen anyone fondling the decks of a Winder boat and muttering compliments.

23/10/2009 11:45:38
My understanding was that "Let It Ride" and "25 stone" were not compatible. Happy to be corrected...

(I wonder: can I buy a new garage to keep the boat in out of the car fund rather than the boat fund??)

23/10/2009 11:48:26
Chris M
I had a result of where I should be at the Looe champs with 26 stone on board in Storm Cloud. Obviously if it's light you suffer. The Winders are a little more accomodating with weight it must be said!

23/10/2009 13:08:54
Andrew M
At one of the training weekends when he was still winning everything in the class, I had a conversation with Phil King about weight and hull shape, his view being that the gains from a fast-planing hull shape ("lightweight" design) were so great that even if you were not down to weight yourself you would only suffer in really light conditions.  Glen and Davo were sailing at 24st in Rong Number if memory serves.  Sails and mast make a lot of difference.

23/10/2009 13:15:33
Andrew M
P.S. Heaven Sent (my boat for the last 5 years) is similar to the Let it Ride, though fuller under the mast with a bit more rocker.  The flat very wide transom needs keeping out of the water in light winds and you will submerge a gunwhale at a lower angle of heel than the Winder boats so you have to keep the boat flat, making it a bit trickier to sail.  Definitely a bit quicker in marginal planing conditions though and an excellent open water boat.

23/10/2009 14:36:26
Agree with Andrew that sails and mast make a huge difference. But at the end of the day, if you buy a Winder (IV, V, whatever), you are dealing with a known quantity that has a proven to be a consistent performer in different types of water over a number of years. It depends what you want and, of course, your budget. If you want to be a bit different, then the Let it Ride is one option. Great to look at, perform well (in the right hands) and are robust. Personally, I wouldn't want the hassle of maintaining a wooden boat but that is just my opinion. The Winder boats, on the other hand, may not be as "aesthetically pleasing" to look at as wooden boats but their race record cannot be disputed and, perhaps most importantly, they are what the bulk of the fleet are sailing.

23/10/2009 15:13:06
Andrew M
"they are what the bulk of the fleet are sailing"...
and just how boring is that in a restricted class! But in principle Observer is right about starting with tried and tested kit. I don't think you can look at the record of the admittedly very few Let it Ride's and say the design is not a consistent performer though - several champs wins, as well as Salcombe Week and at least one Silver Tiller

23/10/2009 21:44:15
It would seem that the Canterbury Tails design was quite a step forward when it first appeared. However, at that time masts were aluminium & rigs in general quite a bit heavier than they are today also, at that time, control lines were not included in the hull weight.

Carbon spars as well as being lighter also allowed lighter crews. So the Canterbury Tails design was flattened to accommodate this combined reduction in weight. This flattening meant less lift was generated in the bow making it easier for the lighter crews to keep the bow in upwind whilst not reducing it enough to cause problems for these same lighter crews when off wind. The increase in wetted area was mitigated by the overall reduction in weight.

Thus, of the Winder Mks the Mk I is probably the best suited to the heavier crews particularly when combined with the original stiffer white Superspar mast.


24/10/2009 05:11:40
Chris M
Heavier weights will cope better with the SS mast, but a powered up chipstow should be better. I don't think crew weight actually had any bearing on why the bow drop was done, and we are afterall only talking 20mm.

Anyway, off to Parkstone!

01/12/2009 13:17:46
The car fund was renamed "boat contingency fund".
The boat contingency fund was added to the boat fund.
The boat fund has all been spent...

An under 4-year-old Winder is now sitting in the drive waiting to be sailed...

01/12/2009 13:36:39
Good stuff Chris - another for the growing Brightlingsea fleet
Hope to see you out soon!!!

01/12/2009 15:30:57
Nice. Congatulations. Was that 3666 that has gone from the list then?

01/12/2009 17:00:26
Yup. Thats the one.

02/12/2009 08:40:35
Excellent. Should be in good order that one. I notice that 3660 has gone this morning too, does that mean Dave has sold it? That could be an exciting prospect.

02/12/2009 09:52:25
Great news Chris, gosh the start line will be even more crowded now! Malcolm Goodwin said he would purchase the 11th one if we ever got to 10, we are well on our way!

02/12/2009 10:11:05
So does that mean that Devilled Kidney 3666 has eventually arrived at Brightlingsea and the RS400 fleet is no more?

02/12/2009 10:12:51
Malcolm should build his own boat, alot cheaper and right up his street. Jacko has the templates for the Joy Rider and it would be great to see another one on the water, possibly kicking arse in the chop.

02/12/2009 12:05:48
No idea who this "deviled body-part" might be, but certinaly MR 3666 will be at Brightlingsea from Easter onwards, with a much better name. 

The 400 is a great boat for those who are younger and tougher than us; but for us the margin between "great fun" and "can't manage / compete effectively" was reducing all the time. Hopefully the Merlin will a) extend the wind range lower but still provide great fun and good racing; and b) allow us to continue racing in the upper wind ranges without straining too many muscles and joints.


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