I have two cleats left on my thwart...
I am effectively doing a new build and have almost zero merlin rocket sailing experience.
Hi John. It would be useful to know the number of your boat. You say you are effectively doing a new build but clearly you are working with existing cleats. If you are talking about having a "rig forward - rig back" control it sounds like you are referring to the latest "one-string" controls which uses a custom built block and automatically readjust the kicker, the lowers and the puller as you rake the rig. Is this so, or are you referring to jib and shroud controls? The centreboard controls, which are also relatively recent do not normally cleat (they use friction braking on the board). Pole downhaul (lovingly called the snodger) is an important control that some people run to the thwart whilst others run it to the rear centreboard case capping. Pole uphaul is not so much used and so is often on the mast. I have added a link to a photo of the controls of a relatively recent boat which has the latest systems but be aware that this is for a modern one-string set up. There are other photos of earlier set ups too. Hope this helps.
Here is a photo of a slightly older set up which is not using a one-string rig. It is perhaps worth pointing out that the traveller on top of the square-topped hoop on both boats has its cleats on the hoop and not on the thwart. It is also worth pointing out that the puller is often cleated on one side of the centreboard capping, forward of the thwart. Merlins are generally fitted out in an individual way to suit the taste of the owner - so really anything goes!!
Thanks gents. Its sail number 2434, but has been totally rebuilt, i.e. the only original parts are the clinker hull planks, keel and stem, we have new decks, ribs, bulkhead, thwart, transom, CB case, deck stepped rig. I have set up rig controls as a one-string.
Hi John. Your explanation makes sense of the situation now (the 8 cleats per side is actually an arbitrary number!). Friction can be introduced to the centreboard in a number of ways. You can pack out the thickness of the board using "formica" sheet or jap tape, or you can use a centreboard brake like in the link below. I have tried them all over the years and currently use a brake as it is adjustable. Other people will inevitably have their own preferred method. The centreboard system usually involves two continuous lines (one on each side of the boat) and because of this, it is important to minimise the friction in the control line system.
If you want to link the puller to the one string system it would avoid you raking the rig back with the puller left on by mistake. The link to the one-string-magic-block comes from the "dead" end of the puller system as you can see in the photo in the link below. Happy bimbling!
Andy Hay - Champs Chappie
See attached for loads of cleats that I put on 3386. Definitely need pole down (snodger) if you are running twin poles.
Twin poles is a whole 'nother question at the moment. I'm aiming to get the boat sailed asap, without a spinnaker, but to try to fit out with the spinnaker set up in mind, which is to be fitted out this summer. I already have a single 2.5m length of 32 mm carbon tube set aside. I can probably get another the same. What is easiest for the crew, single or twin poles, I'm guessing twin, which justifies the additional stuff.
Andy Hay - Champs Chappie
When we came back into Merlins after a long break, the whole game had changed with the longer poles. I used to crew with a single, boom stowed 6' pole. We firstly bought a single long pole and after one week's sailing this was sold on and replaced with twin poles. On this issue, follow the fleet and fit the twin poles.