A Merlin in France

02/12/2010 20:41:26
Hi, many of you will have seen a picture in the latest magazine, of a Bob Hoare  September Girl being restored in France by Cedric Nicholas and his father.  The pictures in the album (link below)tell a more complete story of the passion these guys have for the boat, and Merlins generally. They travelled a significant distance just to see the boats at the open meeting in France.

Cedric is looking for some good sails for the boat - presumably 5370 luff for the 22' 6" Proctor D mast, if anyone can help out?

I remembered a discussion about some Ghost Riders on the forum some time ago, trying to decide on a definitive builder - the tube for the jib tack below the foredeck, and the wider CB case bracing are on this boat too, must have been a Bob Hoare detail.

Here's the link - enjoy

03/12/2010 08:33:30
Ben 2529
Bonjour KM
You refer to a 22ft 6in mast. The original cert for my first Spet Girl shows a 2.91 jib and 5725mm luff. Would they be best advised to go 5720 luff on second hand SS M7 / 2.80 jib with plenty of sails for ever after ? I did this some years ago but for three reasons; light wt crew / didn't need high rig, Sept Girl plus Proc XII/ any gear is used on either boat, future source of gear. Makes sense for me but every case is a little different. High aspect might not be cut for a spinnaker shute.

03/12/2010 10:33:38
Hi Ben, 
I agree for second hand sails that may well be the best and perhaps only option for them - the photo of the mast looks like a gold Proctor D, but has no spreaders - surely removed rather than never fitted?. The certificate for one 1970's boat I had showed a 5920 luff, and another 5905!

I cautiously suggested to them a s/h SS M7 (plus a longer boom)might be the answer but when I did a similar thing, I found decent flatter cut sails hard to find - mostly now seem to be fuller cut for carbon rigs. Being in France complicates s/h spares further for them (I'm in the UK) I even found a hog stepped M7 difficult to find, eventually splicing an M7 bottom section onto a deck stepped M7 mast, which worked very well.

My suggestion for them was either new sails for the old rig, or a later rig to use s/h sails. Fresh dacron sails on the boat would finish it beautifully, but at some expense.

I'll ask if they have the measurement between the bands. Thanks for the help

03/12/2010 11:05:22
Rod & Jo Sceptical
Kieron, 1620 had a gold Proctor D which had never had spreaders. I got an excellent replacement mast from a Paris-based spar maker; I forget the name now but have it at home.

03/12/2010 12:42:49
Rod & Jo Sceptical
AG+ is the name.

03/12/2010 16:24:28
Geoff Wright
Re Ghost Rider details my first Merlin 2567 had the jib tack taken to a tube below the foredeck (via a small hole behind the chute) but was built by Wyche & Coppock not Bob Hoare.

03/12/2010 21:21:16
Hi Rod, maybe thats another option - a new hog stepped mast to suit the latest sail plan - small issues of jib sheeting maybe, and a longer boom, but as Ben suggested - a plentiful supply of s/h sails.  The AG+ web site looks impressive!

Geoff, thanks, maybe it was more common that I first thought - I'd only seen it on Bob Hoare boats - using an anodised tube across the hole for the jib tack.

04/12/2010 09:18:07
Robert Harris
In my experience the stiffness Proctor 'D' masts varied a lot. The one I had without spreaders on a 9B, no. 2105,  was stiff as a telegraph pole. The one I had on a second hand Mike Jackson 'Sugar Plum', no. 2366, was like spagetti without spreaders, she was markedly quicker once we fitted them.

04/12/2010 19:54:28
I'll enquire if there are any holes where they might have been at one time - would it be safe to assume that by sail number 2608 most masts would have been fitted with spreaders?

05/12/2010 10:53:47
Rod & Jo Sceptical

I don't think latest sail plan,- or at least cut,- is a good idea, despite the availability of sails. They need a main with fairly open leach so they can honk on the mainsheet,- they intend to fit a full width traveller,- and so get some forestay tension. They had been talking to North and being proposed a radial cut which I guess would be an interesting step into the unknown; otherwise they could certainly do worse than Batt if buying new. I have spoken at some length to Patrick about the issues involved.

05/12/2010 14:05:26
Sounds like they're in good hands Rod, I guess having new sails cut for their specific mast and age of boat would always be a preferred solution, it's a luxury I look forward to experiencing some day! I'm invariably constrained by other factors, but of course everyone's priorities are different. 
I think they would be very fortunate to find s/h sails to suit their boat in decent condition, but then that was the point of the original question, does anyone have any decent sails for a 22'6" Proctor D mast?

05/12/2010 16:45:54
Just to add to the confusion...
Surely 5370mm luff would be too short for a 22'6" rig as 5370mm = 17'6" (or you have a VERY high boom)
even 5920 (=19'5") isn't the maximum. My certificate for 507 says 6172mm (20'3") Foot is 2286, half ht max 1676 and jib 9.75 area.
I think the older rules defined the lower band slightly diferently or the range of limits were different however.
Any how some of the luffs quoted do show the variety used in the past and the problems with finding suitable S/H sails. It probably does come down to a choice between changing rigs or getting some tailor made sails as suggested. It might be worth finding a year book of the date of your boat to see the rules of that time to check measurements before you spend money on new sails.

05/12/2010 16:49:28
On second thoughts I doubt if it is actually a 22'6" rig, so a tape measure on the mast would be a starting point.

05/12/2010 18:02:18
Rod & Jo Sceptical
The description of the rig as 22'6" or whatever, refers to the height of the upper band above sheer line(SL), NOT to the distance between bands. This made more sense when the height of the lower band above SL was set to a tighter tolerance than the 100mm range allowed today. The change must have come in shortly before 3400, for which Dick Batt used that rule relaxation to fit an inclined ramp beneath the hog stepped mast as an early form of semi-raking rig.

I have explained SL and its measurement to Patrick, though to be truthful all the sailmaker really needs to know is the distance between bands.

06/12/2010 08:33:50
Indeed that was what I was meaning. The mast, being hog stepped, may measure around 22'6" long but that is not a 22'6" rig. The measurements suggested above for a tall rig and short luff could make the boom about 5' above the sheerline, which can't be correct.

06/12/2010 08:59:43
I've had confirmation from Cedric that on his mast the luff is 5760 between bands, and boom will take a foot length of aproximately 2360/2370.  Some variation from these sizes might be accomodated.

Does anyone have any good sails of these dimensions which they are thinking of selling?


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