Weight Vs Condition for Older Merlin

31/01/2011 13:59:55
I've a limited budget for a boat (about £900), am i better getting a good condition boat that maybe doesn't carry the weight (25 stone) or getting a boat thats not as good a condition but is maybe a better hullshape?  As i'm likely to be sailing on restricted waters, i'm guessing the hullshapes aren't going to have as greater influence?  Or am i very wrong with this?  Also on restricted spaces and with the new handicap about to drop are older boats likely to remain competitive?

31/01/2011 14:01:15
apologies, that should have read more along the lines of:

"Also on restricted spaces and with the new handicap potentially going to drop are older boats likely to remain competitive?"

31/01/2011 18:27:02
Rob H
Certainly I would go for a boat that would carry the weight, you would struggle in light weather with a'lightweights' boat.

31/01/2011 20:37:31
Geoff Wright
Why not go for one in good condition that can carry weight?

01/02/2011 12:06:32
Andrew M
As the things that give you the weight carrying are also those that tend to improve tacking ability - more rocker & rounded sections - hull shape is important.  Older Merlins of the right shape in good condition turn up reasonably regularly within your budget.  Bits of flaky varnish are not a problem, easy enough to fix, but avoid rot and leaks.  If a lot of fittings need replacing and the sails are rubbish you can end up spending quite a lot of money.  I bought a Northern Light many years ago for £650 I think which came with a nearly new set of sails that would have cost me almost as much on their own.

02/02/2011 16:39:21
Does anyone know anything about 3389 - White Whale?  I've been sent some photos by the seller and was just wondering if anyone new any history about her?

02/02/2011 17:43:38
Yes, It won the Inland Championships in 1987, Salcombe Week in 88 and the Silver Tiller in 1990 all in the hands of Phil King. It is an NSM 4 that was built from cheaper materials to keep costs down and hence it is all white. There is nothing substandard about the build it is just not a pretty grain and therfore not suitable for varnishing. I think the last but one owner spent allot of money on her putting a modern rig on her and she should be a pretty good boat now. Cirtainly a good entry to the class. An NSM 4 should, just about, carry your weight ok.

02/02/2011 18:09:00
Geoff Wright
At your price point and as heavier crews put more stress on the hull/rig think about structural rigidity as well as hull shape.  Wood boats are stronger post about 3180 (ish) when epoxy glues became widely used then the low bow tank which started around 3222 gave a big improvement in stiffness/ ability to handle higher rig tensions. If you can raise the budget a bit a good NSM 2 by Rowsell or Winder would be ideal but if you need to go a little earlier NSM, Disguys and Bad Company all carry weight well.

03/02/2011 10:19:17
Sadly 3245 started to come apart at the seams in this way, so not all 32xx boats are safe from the problem!

08/02/2011 20:01:12
I also think a recent owner removed the original rear buoyancy tank and put in a conventional transom.

10/02/2011 13:00:03
Jon E
Matt,  I renovated 3389 and put carbon on it it before selling it due to being a dickhead and not sticking with the class.  Shame about the rear-tank - It was a bad move (after me!).  If you want any info about it email me and glad to fill you in - I had chance to chat to Phil King about it and there was quite a bit of written history with the boat relating to the deck-step by JT etc. 

Obviously can't speak for the 2 owners since but it was down to weight (just!) in 2006 and freshly 2-packed after taking all the paint off etc. Buy it quick and take it to Rutland and someone will tell you how to sail it for sure.



10/02/2011 14:09:00
Chris Rathbone

Does this mean you're coming back to Merlins?

10/02/2011 19:36:15
im sure he means the Rutland training as well as the ST

10/02/2011 20:24:56
Chris M
Hmmm i'd be a little wary of a Rowsell aft tank boat that has had the tank removed.

The tank usually takes the place of a large knee at the aft end of the centreboard case. It provides a nice box structure and adds a great deal to the stiffness of the rear of the boat. Very few aft tank boats have broken inwhales or deck cracks be they white whales or conventional build.

Removal of the transom is also drastic surgery.

If it's been done by a professional who knows Merlins, or a very good amateur then things should all be well. If it's done badly it could easily be a flexible money pit. Check very carefully!

15/02/2011 08:56:35
Are there any obvious things i can check for?  Obviously with the boat being painted its not as easy to see the wood underneath but i'm guessing something would be visible?  Hoping to go see it Thursday so any info before then would be much appreciated.

16/02/2011 11:35:05
Andrew M
Check the high stress areas - round the shroud attachments & the join of side decks to foredecks, carlins on inner edge of side decks.  If the aft tank was removed then check very carefully round the transom & the joints to the side decks & carlins here.  You are looking for cracks where there has been movement.  Look round the centrecase & the thwart, joints to both the sides and the centrecase, check the rudder fittings.  Have a prod anywhere where water may have accumulated in the hull, by the front tank if has been left bows down, round the transom, looking for any softness.  Ideally I would want to rig the boat and check everything is there and it all works, replacing fittings can be expensive.  This also gives you an idea of how much the present owner has sailed and maintained it.

Good luck!


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