Where are they now?
I’m sure that this subject comes up regularly but, where are all those late 70’s early 80’s Merlins that could still make good club racing boats for the local reservoir? Perhaps this isn’t the ideal time of year to be looking but I have had very little success over the past few months finding decent, reasonably priced examples of Smokers, NSMs etc to look at in my particular neck of the woods (Surrey) or anywhere in the south of England. It is many years since I last sailed a Merlin but I would like to have another go before my time runs out. With the crew weighing around 14 stone (possibly a bit heavier after a good night out) and the helm weighing around 12 stone wringing wet (which I often am) we need something with a bit of weight carry capability. Smokers or NSM 2 seem ideal but I am open to suggestions. Something neat and tidy is all I ask. If anyone can point me in the direction of a suitable boat somewhere south of Birmingham and east of Bristol you will have my undying gratitude.
I think it depends what you call 'reasonably priced'. IMHO, under £4k for a pretty boat with a carbon rig is a bargain. Since however cheap the boat you still have to pay insurance, boat space, membership etc, the capital cost of the boat is not always the main thing. (especially if you end up paying for winter storage of a wooden boat!)
There are some on this site's 'boats for sale'-Nirvana (3361) for example was a top ship from the best builder in its youth and is in your territory.
My thanks to you all for the advice and offers of boats received. Some lovely boats but mostly beyond my aspirations and budget unfortunately. What I am ideally looking for is something in the range 3000 -3300 for around the £1000 mark. I know that I will probably have to do some tidying up and find some decent sails in due course but first I have to get back into a Merlin and make sure that I am not entirely past sailing one yet.
Bingo. 3241. An Omega NSM. Not everyone's cup of tea but it's sound and all the bits seem to work so at £500 what is there to lose.