The old "is a Merlin the right boat for me" with a twist

15/12/2009 10:06:00
David R
I have a Harrier at the moment, which I understand is pretty much a single handed Merlin in GRP. The hull is so shot that I fear that I am going to lose the mast it flexes that much. It is also so soft that I fear my foot will go through it. That said I like the concept. It is a great boat that can easily carry two, but is primarily a single hander.

I am wondering about replacing the hull with one from a Merlin. There is a Phantom Kipper that is not far from me. If I put the Harrier's rig on it then perhaps I will have a boat that will not be so far along the disaster curve. What do you think?

On the other hand how big is a Merlin's main sail and how well do they sail with the main only? If the Merlin's main is less than 10m^2 then it shouldn't be any worse than the Harrier, and Merlins are wider. If i could keep the Merlin rig then it would be ideal for taking the kids out as there would be a sail for them to play with. Perhaps I would be better spending a bit more for a well sorted Merlin?

Capsize recovery in the Harrier is a bit of a nightmare. It comes up very full of water and will not sail away. Bailing it is a pain single handed, dodging the boom and trying to get the water out faster than the waves put it in. I remember Merlins being no trouble, just pull it up, do a couple of reaches and it would be dry. Is this a case of the rose tinted specs of memory, or is it really that easy? Does it still work with the main sail only?

Thanks in advance for any opinions.

David

15/12/2009 10:49:45
Colin
Hi,

Total merlin sail area (excluding spinnaker) is 10sq m Main + Jib). That's "as measured" - not the actual sail area. The jib is baout 3 sq m...

Our Merlin does not sail without the jib - many of the older boats do not have a forestay and rely on the jib luff tension instead (strut above foredeck for bend control also stops the mast falling off).
You'll need to re-rig any of these.

I also suspect that the balance will be wrong without a jib - unless you move the mast foot and gate.
The current arrangement of jib sheets is an "loop" across the cockpit - it's actually quite easy to sail a Merlin singlehanded. The real problem is that upwind I can't get enough righting moment after force 3 or so - it's a tall rig.
You'll also find that the Merlins with a high bow tank are not suitable for high rig tensions - the hull will breath noticebly, and the leeward shroud will always be slack.

If you're looking to use the existing rig, then you'll need a "deck stepped" Merlin - it's possible adapt an older hull - just extra work.

Cheers,

Colin (3387)

15/12/2009 11:02:59
Mags
Getting the water out of a capsized Merlin is fast, yes.....but only with 2 people I expect!

15/12/2009 11:22:50
David R
>Total merlin sail area (excluding spinnaker) is 10sq m Main + Jib). That's "as >measured" - not the actual sail area. The jib is baout 3 sq m...

Interesting. Perhaps I would be better sticking with the standard rig, but with two positions for the mast. I'd have to look at the construction to see if that was sane.

>Our Merlin does not sail without the jib - many of the older boats do not have a >forestay and rely on the jib luff tension instead (strut above foredeck for bend >control also stops the mast falling off).
>You'll need to re-rig any of these.

Yes, that is normal enough and pretty much what I would expect. Thanks.

>I also suspect that the balance will be wrong without a jib - unless you move the >mast foot and gate.
>The current arrangement of jib sheets is an "loop" across the cockpit - it's >actually quite easy to sail a Merlin singlehanded. The real problem is that
>upwind I can't get enough righting moment after force 3 or so - it's a tall rig.

That is pretty much where I am with the Harrier!

>You'll also find that the Merlins with a high bow tank are not suitable for
>high rig tensions - the hull will breath noticebly, and the leeward shroud
>will always be slack.

I guess that the Phantom Kipper has a high bow tank? When does this stop being an issue? Is it possible to add bracing to control this problem?

>If you're looking to use the existing rig, then you'll need a "deck stepped"
>Merlin - it's possible adapt an older hull - just extra work.

It doesn't sound too hard, but I haven't been able to find any detailed notes from anyone else who has done this.

Thanks for all the help

David

15/12/2009 11:25:40
David R
>Getting the water out of a capsized Merlin is fast, yes.....but only with 2 
>people I expect!

That is what I fear. Someone must have capsized a Merlin single handed though and so know how bad it really is. It can't be worse than the Harrier!

Thanks

David

15/12/2009 11:29:33
Rob-3708
Drop a line to Keith Callaghan, he designed Harrier, he might have some suggestions

15/12/2009 12:01:15
the gurn
Keith designed me a single hander - the heatwave - which I had built a few years ago - its a like a Merlin - and I have been sailing it for a while but have decided to sell it - It has a carbon rig, North sail - all adjustable rig - fixed P & B and foam / carbon rudder - cover, roll on roll off trailer - might need a coat of varnish in the spring, but it is strong and does not twist! Currently at Thames Sailing Club.

http://www.bluelightning.co.uk/Heatwave/heatwave01.htm
15/12/2009 12:16:24
David R
>Drop a line to Keith Callaghan, he designed Harrier, he might have some suggestions

I have exchanged Emails with Keith, but he wasn't able to offer many suggestions except move to a younger design. I also spoke to some other Harrier owners, who suggested I get a bigger bucket!

David

15/12/2009 12:19:10
David R
>Keith designed me a single hander - the heatwave - which I had built a few years 
>ago - its a like a Merlin - and I have been sailing it for a while but have decided
>to sell it - It has a carbon rig, North sail - all adjustable rig - fixed P & B
>and foam / carbon rudder - cover, roll on roll off trailer - might need a coat of >varnish in the spring, but it is strong and does not twist! Currently at Thames >Sailing Club.

How much do you want for it? I suspect that it will be far more than I can afford right now, but I think I may as well ask! You can Email me on [email protected] if you would rather not say in a public forum.

Many thanks

David

15/12/2009 15:19:50
the gurn
well - the new trailer cost £500 and the rudder about £250 - the whole lot cost me about £6000 - I can sell just the boat if you like. If its going to someone who will sail her then I will be quite generous - make me an offer.

[email protected]

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