30/05/2012 15:00:13
Keith Callaghan
Although a very British dinghy class, the Merlin Rocket has a global reputation. I have had some dialogue with a potential builder of Merlin Rockets in the USA, and I got to thinking about what would happen if the class went 'international'. Would the UK Association members even want that? (potential loss of control of class rules etc). 
If MRs are built abroad, should the opportunity be taken to limit the expense and complication of the rig and its controls (at least in that country)? What about reducing the minimum weight by 5kg? (still allows wood boats). I guess what I'm saying is, "is it preferable for a US builder to produce a strictly 'in class' MR, or should they adapt the rules to allow a more 'value for money' version which is still in the spirit of our class rules?" Any thoughts, ladies and gentlemen?

30/05/2012 15:11:08
chris martin
In all seriousness who's going to go over and measure them?

30/05/2012 15:48:57
RH .
I they are not all built to the same rules including hull weights etc. then you risk creating another MRX type clone. To be called a Merlin Rocket it should meet the current Class rules.

30/05/2012 16:47:17
Rod & Jo

The class IS international.

European Wing, aka Rod & Jo

30/05/2012 16:56:19
'risk creating a MRX type clone' sounds a touch derogatory don't you think? Perhaps a good idea to suggest to the USA man to build the MRX instead and therefore avoid all the problems of duplicating the class overseas thinking how are you going to cope with same/differant class rules...? The MRX will then give you/them Merlin Rocket sailing for CONSIDERABLY LESS MONEY! The same 'thrills and spills' with nice clean modern lines;  don't you think the clinker design and the 'kink' in the sail is now looking a tad 'quaint', and as for bouyancy bags! Worth a thought... but there again perhaps I'm a bit biased......

30/05/2012 18:08:27
Andy Hay
There is nothing stopping anyone simplifying the rig, if they want to spend the time and money optimising an automatic response rig (I started down that route with Selden, but kids got in the way), and stay within the Rules. I am sure that Keith could come up with some ideas to take out costs of the hull build - why have a seperate tank / case mould - integrate it into the deck and have a full height front bulkhead with a tube for the kite ... loads of potential. Don't take any weight out as it will only reduce the competitive weight range for the helm & crew.

BTW got rig of the bags on BAU and got JT to install the aft tank as per Shabazzle. Remove the stainless steel granny rail and bang you have modern insides (v. scary and wide) with a traditional exterior. Best of both worlds. Just got to learn how to tack with the twin tiller extensions now.

30/05/2012 22:36:59
Pete Male
I think that it is all stated in the first line of Keith's posting. "The Merlin Rocket has a global reputation." 
Change the rules and you no longer have a Merlin Rocket.

30/05/2012 22:57:26
Keith Callaghan
Pete, the problem on the other side of the Atlantic is that they have no critical mass of MRs on which to build - do you initiate a new class which is honed to perfection, but costs a bomb, or do you try to offer something which is essentially the MR we know, but which is a simpler and more cost-effective option? I agree that reducing the weight would make the product 'out of class', but adding some prohibitions such as carbon spars and complex rig adjustment systems would still enable the US product to compete as a MR.

30/05/2012 23:18:03
Chris M
What they want is to create a class based on a merlin-esque development "window", but perhaps using a more modern hull shape?

31/05/2012 00:06:15
Jon E
There is a gap in the market (although unknown demand) in Australia for a 2 man hiking boat with spinnaker.

All the popularly raced classes either have the crew on the wire or don't have a kite. Despite my early and very incorrect perception that the streets were paved with I14s and B14s the place is positively luddite with respect to design (google National E and 125....)

Just a thought / wishful thinking.....

31/05/2012 11:39:01
Keith Callaghan
Jon, my perception is that it's the same scenario in the US.

31/05/2012 17:06:52
Rod & Jo
A development class would be difficult to 'police' worldwide. Some of you may know that there were a number of older Merlins imported to France in the 90's. It was very chaotic; some of them ended up with trapezes being added etc.

31/05/2012 19:38:56
just askin
is the first point to have an event in one of those countries to show the boat off?, if it build from there then let the individual countries have their individual rules for the rig only (not the hull design) and if international events are run, then run under a set of international rules which covers all elements of the hull and rig.

31/05/2012 19:57:43
Chris M
I think the thing to do is encourage them to build to existing designs as close to our rules as is possible at this stage.

It would be nice to think we could take the US by storm, but however good the boat in reality is it ever likely to get further than a boat here and there? Its a big place america!

01/06/2012 12:08:46
Piers 3671
I agree that further expansion of the class is to be encouraged, With Wicked Keith has made a good boat (That could be home built) this style of coat in the class should be encouraged over the Pond, after a few years of cheaper boats and home build the history shows that if a critical mass is achieved the the probuilt boats and class go from strength to strength E.G. Fireball, Miror etc).  Lets encourage them to keep to the same rules as us even starting with alloy masts, hog stepped to keep costs down etc if they want and hope it will then bloom

01/06/2012 12:20:03
Chris I
Is there any realistic prospect of much racing between US and UK boats?
I cannot see it myself.
So the advantages of the US keeping to UK rules is really just a UK supply of new and used boats.
There would be other advantages in going for a clean sheet of paper, unless the clinker/mock clinker constructon options are seen as good selling points.
Transplanting the highly developed rig onto a smooth hull of similar form and width seems like a good concept, depending on what other boats people have to choose from over there.

01/06/2012 12:55:12
measurement man
Having had slight involvement with albacore and mirror classes, both of which have world associations and suffer virtual atrophy in management, would advise caution. If you think it takes ages to get rules amendments agreed as we currently are, just go international and see what slow really means!!

It is easy to percieve that as the 'Parent Country' what we say would go, the reality is that the 'kids' all have their own ideas and perceptions, and it is easy to find yourself fighting rearguard actions to protect what we know and love.

Not to say it can't or shouldn't be done, but approaching any such project with eyes open and appropriate mechanisms in place is the watchword..Messrs Winder would no doubt be happy to provide examples from their experience with the meatball fraternity...

by the way - happy to carry out measurement in the US for board, lodging and expenses....!


01/06/2012 20:19:50
Back to rear tanks, is there a rule on the size of the rear tank?.

01/06/2012 20:36:03
Andy Hay - Business as Usual
Yes. 1100mm (max) from the aft face of the transom transom (Rule 15.e.ii) and with a surface that cannot divert water directly through the transom flaps (Rule 4.h.ii). The second is an interesting one. I have understood this to be in a "normally" floating trim, i.e. level for'd / aft. Nothing to stop you sitting on the transom to drain the boat though ...

Pre-ISAF format numbers referred too here.

Keep the aft tank as two seperate parts (centreline divider), but watch the volume of the tanks. It is quite dificult to get the required buoyancy (135kg) if you keep the aft end of the tank low (we have gone to the minimum allowed - 40mm, ish). I also wanted to keep the tank away from the side deck (so that my elastic take-away system still works and I have access to the string), so we have lost a lot of the buoyancy that the space under the side decks gives you. You'll have to provide beer to get the answer to that one!

02/06/2012 08:45:21
Keith Callaghan
The name 'Merlin Rocket' is a trademark of the RYA (how did that happen?), so I guess that means that any class that is created outside the MR Class Rules cannot be called a Merlin Rocket, which seems appropriate. A class conforming to the Class Rules but with additional prohibitions would therefore still be a Merlin Rocket.


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