Need help purchasing a 2nd hand Merlin

05/07/2011 17:33:21
Rob Aitken
I'm looking into buying a merlin as I crewed one last year and absolutely loved the boat.
I have around £1,200 to play with and want to make the most of it.
My crew and I are quite a light, around 19 stone, I've heard the NSM2's are ideal for that weight.
I'm a complete novice to buying merlin's and really need a bit of help.
I'm aware that I can only afford a wooden hull, do you have any suggestions of any particular hull type?
Can I afford a carbon rig within my budget?
Any suggestions?

05/07/2011 17:46:12
Chris M
NSM II is a heavyweights boat really. This is less important these days with raking rigs though.

Best bet would be a Summer Wine or an NSM IV in that price range. You won't get carbon for £1200!

05/07/2011 19:35:22
Rob Aitken
I'm sailing inland with very frequent wind shifts and can be very light on some days.
Tacking is very important so a boat that tacks well will be really useful.

05/07/2011 20:36:02
Chris M
Turner or Rowsell NSM IIs were seen as the zenith of Merlin sailing in their day. 3288 is John Stokes' boat, immaculate by all accounts but slightly overbudget. He had it from new and is anxious that it goes to a good home. If you can provide that it would be worth extending your budget for.

I've sailed 3387 at the team racing event at Wembley that's a nice boat too, and Boatcraft built a good boat.

I don't know any of the other ones up for sale, but there is a better pick of NSM family boats than Summer Wines. The only Wine listed, 3240, is a good boat in sound condition.

The NSM II may be slightly better on restricted water than the wine. If you were a couple of stones heavier i'd say it would be definately your best bet. As I said earlier you can do a lot with the rig these days and provided the boat has a raking rig, or at least some means of raking before going afloat if it's windy, you should be OK.

05/07/2011 22:41:12
James 3403
I currently have an nsm4 which is a white wale. She is competative on inland lakes. She al ready 2 sail. Its had a new alley mast nd riging ova the past yr. I havnt got it advertisd on the website yet! I am lookin 4 around £1500.

06/07/2011 03:00:41
Peter Frampton
I am the original owner of 3288 Atlantis. It was built by Spud and was the best and prettiest boat of its day. I sold it to John Stokes in 1985 so he has had it for most of its life. I believe it is immaculate as it has been raced on the river at Ranelagh all its life. Like John I wanted it to go to a great home and that is why I sold it to John. Good luck. Buy it if you can.

06/07/2011 12:03:17
Rob Aitken
Thanks very much will look into it.
I've only sailed a merlin with an exceptionally good sailor in a boat 2 years old.
Will I still be competitive being q reasonably good sailor and have won a few series' at my club however I'm aware a merlin is a fast boat for a lake its size.
Does the merlin have a fair PY compared to 200's, phantom's and 12's?
The boat you put forward is 26 years old, will it still be reasonably competitive?
I'm looking for around midfleet in the silver tillers will this boat get me there?

06/07/2011 13:10:47
You will, no doubt, get a few responses to your questions but here is my tuppence-worth:

1. Will you be competitive? Without knowing the standard of the opposition, it's difficult to say. On a restricted water, you stand a better chance of 'getting away with it' whilst you are learning and, as others have said, older designs still do OK inland and on rivers. Get a decent crew and keep them!

2. PY - Check out the Y&Y Forum for various heated debates about Merlin/Phantom PYs. Some people consider that the PY of a modern Merlin is 'generous'. The PY of a boat of the vintage you are looking at will have a correction to allow for the fact it is pre-Canterbury Tales.

3. Competitive at 26yrs old? - Against a new Winder on open water/sea? Forget it. Against other boats of a similar vintage? No reason why not if it is fettled, has reasonable sails, foils and everything works. At the Nationals there are prizes for various age categories of boat.

4. Mid-fleet at ST events? How can I put this kindly? Look at the ST results and see the sail numbers of the boats about where you would like to be. 3539 (Gangsta's Paradise) is about the oldest regular appearee and Dan & Jennie are no novices (in the nicest possible way!)

I may sound a bit negative but it's better that you buy the boat, if you decide to, with realistic expectations. Enjoy it at club-level, learn about sailing a Merlin and then upgrade once the only thing holding you back is the boat.

Merlins are great, wouldn't want to sail any other two-person sitty-out boat now.

06/07/2011 13:11:13
Rob - in my limited experience I was in the same situ as you a year ago with a similar budget. From the excellent advise I got at the time I found out with the older boats you want a deck stepped mast + a square hoop traveller (both seem to be later additions to boats this age). With deck stepped rig you can always upgrade to carbon mast later. Also don't forget the kites and poles got bigger about 2004 I think! We race 3373 and find we might be able to sneak past a Winder (even if only for a short while...!) if you sail well on a small lake where boat handling and starting come more into play. I wouldn't try my luck on the sea or an open bit of water against the winders where we would get smoked! Handicap wise in club racing, you can hold your own with an older boat (we race off the standard 1006), especially on a tight course where the 200's can't sail the right angles and the N12's don't like broad reaching. Go for it!

06/07/2011 18:39:17
Whilst we are on 'future' carbonising, I forgot to check my carbon mast was 'relisting' on

It wasn't but it is still for sale. I have dropped the price range to encourage bargain hunters.

Bag a spare for Salcombe and the Nationals (that what it was, our rarely used spare)or carbonise an older deckstepped merlin
07/07/2011 08:52:51
Geoff Wright
Rob don't get dispirited at all the talk of needing a newer boat/ carbon.  Tim Male at Blithfield goes surprisingly quickly in 3339 (Summer Wine) in the right conditions with original layout/metal mast even on a biggish inland water and there are plenty of older boats that still compete well on rivers/ lakes. Just look out for a well built boat in good condition with decent sails and gear so you can get out and sail rather than tinker with the kit.

07/07/2011 09:34:55
Andrew M
Top boats will have a 1-2% boatspeed advantage over older ones.  If you do everything else right that's over a minute in an average race.  Difference between 1st and 10th.  If you miss a couple of windshifts each beat & muck up a mark rounding that's more like 8 mins on the same race.   Difference between 1st and 25th.  In restricted venues there are more shifts and mark roundings & less space to get the boat up to top speed so flat out boatspeed is less of a factor.


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