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01/12/2011 11:57:30
Chipleyshed Essex
My father was one of the founders of the Merlin rocket club with Jack Holt at Ranelagh in Putney.  I believe my father bought one of your broad MRs in the 60's I think it was an Ada class?

It was the broadest at 7ft 2" for sea sailing as opposed to river sailing. So it was a dog in Putney but a jet off Portsmouth.

I am writing a biography and was curious as to the weight of the early wooden masts for the MRs. Dad used to lift it by hand and hold it upright and drop into the mast slot similar to a highlander tossing a caber. I was always curious how heavy those masts were and would like to add it into the book as a factoid about my ex Navy dad on his sailing weekends. If you have any information of the Ada class MR I would also be interested. It hung in the back of Ranelagh for years as I now live in the States and never went back to claim it. It had a number under 1,000 I remember. I also wondered if there was a MR register for all the numbered boats I could look up on the web
Thanks Alexander Dore
Email [email protected]

01/12/2011 14:21:19
Tony Lane
I have the Merlin Rocket Owners Association year books containing a list of boats with the names of their registered owners and sailing clubs for 1951 and from 1962 onwards.
I have had a quick look for the owner's name Dore in the 60's at Ranelagh SC without success.
I regret I don't know of a class/design called Ada. 7ft 2" seems very wide for a MR in the 60's but there are many people with more knowlege than me who may be able to identify the design and tell you about the weight of the wooden masts. I think I used to put ours into the boat when they were deck stepped and onto the hog and I was never very strong!

01/12/2011 14:25:29
old fart
I think the design must be an Adur

01/12/2011 16:06:48
Former Whitstable Pro
There were some Adur boats built under sail no 1000 . One I know of was I think 988 which was a beautiful boat that looked much wider than it was . It was sailed at Lancing in the early 60's .

01/12/2011 16:59:50
Blakemore, Kenneth
My fathers name was Blakemore, Kenneth

01/12/2011 17:09:48
Tony Lane
The Adur design boats with numbers before 1000 were:
988 Shura 111, 987 Snow White, 925 Yam Sing, 900 Fantastique, 879 Tufty, 841 Svelte, 792 Carene,
738 Tin Tacks, 726 Dinky Doo, 709 Spinaway, 690 Twinkle, 688 Tiddler, 687 Roseanna, 674 Show Girl,
672 Restless 11, 629 Rio and 610 Electron.
Of these boats the 1962 Year Book records only 674 Show Girl owned by K Blakemore to be at Ranelagh at that time.

01/12/2011 22:32:42
Andrew M
Quote from Jim Park in the Merlin book about wide boats:
"In the very early days of the class, one of its "founding fathers" was a very large helmsman named Tony Howard who was crewed by his petite wife. In the narrow (4ft 7in) Merlins of the day, Tony used to complain that in light airs when he was trying to induce enough leeward heel to fill the sails, he had to double himself up in the middle of the boat because his crew could not get far enough away from him to counterbalance his weight. Jack Holt therefore designed the first wide boat not to give greater leverage upwind but to give the crew more leverage downwind in light airs!"

Probably however not the one we are talking about.

02/12/2011 17:48:44
Son of Blakemore, Kenneth
We did own Show Girl # 674 and it was stored in the back racks of Ranelagh Sailing Club in Putney for years.  Who owns it now or is it still in the club?  My Dad bequeathed it to me but I had already moved to the U.S. and I heard there was a bill for years of storage?  I never went back to claim it and I don't know if he sold it or disposed of it in my absence.  How much is it worth on the market now?  She was a fast boat especially with the spinnaker up.  Nothing could catch us in the sea with that broad beam.  She was a hellova boat.  If anyone has seen 674 please have them contact me as I am the rightful owner of not just 674 but the unpaid dues to Ranelagh which I apologize for.  My Dad dumped my mother and I on my 16th birthday at the time when I had just become the first junior member at Ranelagh.  The rest is history.  KB died in his late 80's, his 2nd wife had passed away some years before and he lived alone in north London.  I gather the social worked came to the door and he opened it and dropped dead on the spot.  His ashes were cast into the Thames in front of Ranelagh.  If any of his buddies are still alive this is the way he went.  I remember he went from Merlin Rockets to Solos later in his life,

03/12/2011 07:51:53
Nick Price (214)
Not still at Ranelagh and was gone before my time. I will ask John Stokes if he remembers it and post here. Unpaid dues eh? Let me get my calculator. No record of your father on my database.

07/12/2011 09:39:38
chris B
Something can't be right I think. If the boat was numbered under 1000 it can't have been 7' 2 wide. If Expectant was the first design over 6' in 1966 and Watnot at 6'6" in 1968 with the 7'2" rule introduced in 1969. These would be boats with numbers over 2000.
5'2 would be about right for the pre 1000 period. There are some Adur boats around and I'm sure someone can tell you their beam. I have no. 507 which is a 1954 Holt design and thats about 5' 1".
Metal masts first appeared in the '50s also. So a 7' wide boat would never have had a wooden mast.
I have two deck stepped wooden masts off early merlins, one is cut down from 25' to 22'6 and is a a bit heavier than an early ali mast. The other was built as a 22'6' mast and is actually lighter than a metal mast. Unfortunately the glue failed and it broke a couple of years ago but it was certainly very lightly built presumably for river sailing. I don't think it would have survived sea sailing even when new. They are put away now but at some point I could weigh them for you.

07/12/2011 16:36:40
Nick Price (214)
Spoke to John Stokes at the weekend who remembered your father well. He thought the boat was Saraband 679 and shows builder VIC which I can't find in the book. John borrowed the boat from your father once to sail on the sea but said it was not much use on the river.

07/12/2011 17:09:23
Tony Lane
According to the 1962 Year Book (the earliest I have after 679 was built)'Saraband' is an Ian Proctor designed Mk V1 built by Chippendales and OB and was at that time owned by P C Brewer at Minima YC.
In 1966 she was owned by A J Allen at Ranelagh. Subsequent year books appear to show no further owners.

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