Merlin Rocket Book

22/01/2012 19:51:12
Gary C

Just in case anyone has been after the Merlin Rocket book, by Jim Park and Ian Holt, I have just listed one on ebay, I have started the bidder at £45 so lower than the £80 they normal list at.
The book is in excellent condition, and a must for a Merlin owner, a collectors item with loads of interesting information.


23/01/2012 10:32:38
Robert Harris
I bought mine at the party at Ranelagh S.C. were the book was introduced 25 years ago. Signatures of Merlin Rocket luminaries cover it's flyleaf including those of legendary designers Jack Holt and Ian Proctor. Both were past champions as are other signatories, Pat Blake, John Bell and Dick Batt. Among the many others is that of class veteran and our first Honorary Life Member the late Graham Donald.

If yours is worth £40 Gary how much is mine worth?

23/01/2012 10:38:59
Robert Harris
Sorry - £45

23/01/2012 12:43:13
Former Whitstable Pro
I believe mine may be in NZ with Richard and Sue Parke - if so perhaps they could bring it back next time they are visiting UK

23/01/2012 17:41:19
Gary C
Hi Robert

Take a look on ebay and you will see them for around the £80 normally.
I think thats a bit over the top, hence the £45 but as they are not printed anymore they are collectable, but also a very enjoyable read as I am sure you found with your copy.


24/01/2012 11:55:09
Former Whitstable Pro
I also have a copy of the National 12 book - is there a similar market for that and/or Robin Steavenson's other book 'When dinghies delight '

24/01/2012 13:35:02
Robert Harris
My copy of 'When Dinghies Delight' disappeared many years ago. I crewed David Mayne of Minima Y.C. in the 12 Nat. 1953 Burton Week at Torquay. Robin Steavenson won the Burton Trophy in 'Witchcraft', Dick Vine (2nd in the 1952 MR Champs) in 'Trio' finished 2nd and Geoff Keene in 'Progress' 3rd but were both over the line. We were convinced that 'Witchcraft' was also over the line and that the photo in the book showing her well back at the start was taken on another day.

24/01/2012 14:06:43
Robert Harris
I've found a copy of 'When Dinghies Delight' online. I've ordered it from Bosco Books via Amazon for £6.50 plus postage. On Amazon USA it's selling for $60.00!

24/01/2012 15:23:13
Steve Hawkins
I borrowed this book from the local library and read it cover to cover.  It cost me nothing....

24/01/2012 19:28:01
Likewise - from the same county library service.

25/01/2012 13:50:14
Derik Palmer
Wow!  I got a tenner for mine!

26/01/2012 04:12:59
Richard Parke
To Whitstable pro 
It not I that borrowed your Merlin book we actually purchased when they were still for sale
but as always us downunder types get portrayed as bit dodgey

26/01/2012 04:13:05
Richard Parke
To Whitstable pro 
It not I that borrowed your Merlin book we actually purchased when they were still for sale
but as always us downunder types get portrayed as bit dodgey

26/01/2012 10:53:48
Former Whitstable Pro
Well apologies but I clearly remember lending it to you when you came to my house one Sunday .

You obviously returned it and it is here somewhere .

Hope all is well with you both .

You down-under guys aren't dodgy - just can't play cricket !!

Glad to know you keep in touch .

27/01/2012 14:41:59
Dan Alsop
I have a copy of "Sailing Small Waters", a delightful and well illustrated description of sailing on the upper Thames before the war, including 14s at UTSC.  Despite mentioning it to some Thames sailors I have never come across anyone else who has read it. Anyone out there? 
Dan Alsop
ps No Merlins of course, but N12s in abundance.

27/01/2012 15:23:31
David Child
Did anything ever come of the idea to produce an updated copy of the "Merlin Rocket Book"?

27/01/2012 15:32:24
Chris Rathbone
Dear Dan,

Never seen it and nothing has come up on a quick search on Google.


27/01/2012 16:13:08
Is this it?
27/01/2012 17:30:14
Andrew M
Hi Richard, just goes to show there are quite a few people who lurk on the forum waiting to pounce!  How's life down under?  Have you found the NZ equivalent to Salcombe Merlin week yet?

Andrew 3511

27/01/2012 19:57:40
Robert Harris
I received my copy of 'When Dinghies Delight' today. For me it's fascinating with stories of so many sailors I remember from the days when I crewed in Nat 12s and MRs. Geoff Keane from Henley, Desmond Cheers from Minima, I crewed for him a few times, Mike Goffe also from Minima, a Burton Cup winner and my dentist in Kingston but now living near me in Maidenhead, Cecil Rogers, schoolmaster, Arthur MacDonald, senior RAF officer, represented GB in 1948 Olympics, Ken Mollart from Minima, MR champion 1951, Jimmy Ledwith Minima, MR Champion 1948 etc. etc.

04/02/2012 22:32:06

One for Sale.. £352.65 They are going up in Value....

05/02/2012 16:55:00
Just received Sailing Small Waters, bought via Amazon.  The best 73p I've spent this week; some wonderful photos of pre war 14s at UTSC.  No trees on the Berks bank!  I particularly like the rescue boat, flying the club pennant and the crew wearing club ties and sailor hats - I think we should reintroduce that for BEW.

05/02/2012 23:12:08
East Coast Imbiber
73p!  You was robbed!  I got mine for 10p in a charity shop. It was a real laugh from cover to cover.

06/02/2012 11:26:13
Jon E
I did have the pleasure of reading "According to Uffa" once.

I felt particularly proud to be British after his having built a 14, sailed it to France, beaten the French then sailed it back again.

Dave T, I may now need to check to see if I still have your copy and effect it's return.......

16/02/2012 22:07:22
John B 2633
Hi Dan, I was interested in your comment concerning 'Sailing Small Waters' I've just spent the last seven days on and off trying to find my copy. Finally success! A really delightful little book. My copy shows that it was first printed in 1946 with a second reprint the same year. Is your copy (and AlanM)by chance a first edition? Regarding the rescue boat... not only caps and ties but not a single lifejacket between the eight of them!

Looking at the photos it was interesting to see the name of M.W. Keen. This is the same name as a commercial photographic company in High Wycombe that I used to use. Also I believe that Ronald Goodearl was the staff photographer for the Bucks Free Press. I am surprised that Chris Rathbone hasn't seen it as it contains a printed dedication to H. Scott Freeman, Commodore of Upper Thames S.C. I don't know where I got my copy fom but as I sail at Cookham, maybe it just happened to float down the river from UTSC!

As a result of my searching for Sailing Small Waters the bonus for me was finding a 1946 edition of Adlard Coles 'Creeks and Harbours of the Solent' (first printed 1933, 2nd edition 1936, reprinted 1939) with the post war updates in 1946. Another interesting book.. anyone else got it?

17/02/2012 12:32:04
Andrew M
The other classics of the genre are the 3 Ian Proctor books from the 1950's to 1960's, Racing Dinghy Handling, Racing Dinghy Maintenance and Tide Wind and Current.  The 1st 2 have a number of pictures of the early days of the MR as well as the 12's, Racing Dinghy Handling has a "which boat to buy" section from the 1950's with the Firefly, N12, M/R, GP14, I14, Swordfish (what happened to them? Albacore with a spinnaker, Uffa designed, Fairey built) and Hornet as the options.  The advice about clothing for sailing has changed a bit as well

17/02/2012 13:14:50
Chris Black
Swordfish still race at hornsea mere and west riding sailing club

17/02/2012 15:16:50
Chris Rathbone
Dear John B, I have seen a number of pictures of the Bourne End Reach pre trees and indeed in the 1960s when i started to sail at UTSC, the reach was pretty clear of trees. I can remember a flat out two sail reach plane from the island at Marlow down to UTSC in a 9b. More recently, we had pretty nearly an unbroken plane

17/02/2012 15:19:45
Chris Rathbone
Sorry-thick finger again! I should have said on a three sail reach with the young and youthful Simon Blake crewing me in Deep Thought and chasing Will Rainey and Robbie Sampson! Working on getting a copy of the book.......

17/02/2012 15:19:58
Former Whitstable Pro
If my memory serves me ( which it often doesn't these days ) wasn't there a proposal in the 60's to merge the Swordfish with another class ( Albacore ? ) and adopt a spinnaker . The members turned it down and they vanished from Sussex YC fairly quickly .

17/02/2012 17:25:57
Bookbarn at Farringdon Gurney (south of Bristol on A37) usually have cheap secondhand copies of the Proctor books - there were various editions published.

17/02/2012 18:44:31
David Henshall
Andrew M: Sorry to say 'not so'...but.....the morphing of the Swordfish into the Albacore was not down to Uffa. It's actually a far more complex topic that goes all the way back to the genesis of the Firefly as the YRA 'national 12ft one design' dinghy. Not long after that, the YRA (this is when our sailing authorities were still interested in subjects other than yoof and the Olympics) set out the criteria for a National 15ft One design Dinghy. Uffa's design was the only one submitted to the YRA and the rest, as they say, was history (this explains why the sail logo for the Swordfish is a simple '15'). How this then went on to become the Albacore, well, that's another story all together...but it wasn't driven by nor in the hands of Uffa Fox.

Sadly, much of the Swordfish activity has declined over the last few years - before it folded I did a piece on the Class for Dinghy Sailing Magazine but there was almost zero response to that.... not a good sign.

There may well be an article covering the Swordfish later this year in Y&Y.....but have to write it first!



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