Over the last two or three years there has been a small renaissance in Merlin Rocket design development. Jon Turner’s ‘Genii’ and my own ‘Hazardous-Zero9’ are going to be joined this year (it is rumoured) by a new Jo Richards design, and maybe one other. Jo's and Jon’s offerings will be sailed by top flight crews, and if they are successful will hopefully lead to more diversity in the class, which in recent years has almost lost its right to be called a ‘development’ class – at least in terms of hull design.
But what of the ‘Hazardous’? Things have been quietly moving on, and this year will see a new foam planked boat and later a new wood boat. They will come from different professional builders, and are both to the ‘Lite’ version of the Hazardous Zero-9 design, with less aft rocker and therefore for lighter crews. Two others are being built abroad, and there is also an amateur-built boat in the pipeline.
Rob Holroyd’s “Wicked” has made occasional outings, including 2 national championships. The 3 principals behind this boat – Rob, myself and Laurie Smart, have all helmed or crewed her with no real success, apart from Laurie’s 2nd place in one race at Salcombe (crewed by Jill Blake). The only occasion when “Wicked” was driven by someone not a ‘grand grand master’ was at the Penzance Nationals, when Steve Dunn came 18th. Not brilliant, but he had an injured crew, and the boat showed great potential.
So here is the offer: there are potentially two Hazardous designs available for suitable crews to campaign in 2012 and/or 2013. By ‘suitable’ we mean that applicants should:
1. Have a proven sailing ability or potential at national level (not necessarily in Merlin Rockets).
2. Demonstrate commitment to training for and sailing the boat at major events. (Note, sometimes the owners will want to sail!)
3. Pay their own campaign expenses.
4. Be prepared to invest in some gear (eg sails – but we’re open to sponsorship here!).
Without being ageist, the grand grand masters have had their chance, so if you have at least 20 years to go before age 60 then that would help. Especially if you are the one at the front!
The owners of the boats are located in the South East, and from time to time will need to be transported back to the owner.
Anyone interested should email me directly in the first instance. And please spread the word among your acquaintances in other classes.
Brilliant idea /initiative, this can only help stimulate design development and reduce the possible stagnation of our class by becoming a manufacturers one design. only wish I was 37 not 57 would then definitely want to take you up on your offer.
Great idea. I'd be tempted for Nationals if not so stacked out already for this year with B14/Seavolution commitments. However, I'd struggle to qaulify as nearly 50!
Best of luck and hope that you get what you are looking for.
Bye for now
Hello, young Mark. Age would be not be a problem in your case. Thanks for your positive feedback - and yours too Stewart.
I have had emails from one or two very suitable candidates, and look forward to a few more.
Thanks for the compliment. Please keep us all informed of developments as it is something very different and as a joint venture, would hope that it is successful. Catch up with you at the dinghy show if you're there. Will be there all weekend, primarily on the B14 stand.
Bye for now
Thanks to all of you who have shown interest and given encouragement to our little project. I am pleased to say that we had applications from three really TOP CLASS teams. However, as we only have one boat available initially, two are going to have to be patient but I hope they will get an opportunity to sail in a HAZARDOUS later in the season.
So last Tuesday I collected WICKED from Rob Holroyd and delivered her to Dave Dobrijevic, who will be putting her through her paces at Silver Tiller events and also I understand he will be joining the highly competitive Hayling Island SC fleet. Dave is now busy making a fine suit of DS sails for WICKED. Rob says he has carte blanche with the sails, except that the spinnaker must be green.