Merlin Rocket designs - request for plans

02/01/2015 15:32:43

As many of you may know, I have been assisting David Henshall with his forthcoming book, 'REAL MAGIC', which charts the amazing 70 year history of our class. As one of the few people who have had access to the pre-publication book, I can say that in my opinion this is a tour de force by Dougal - a truly knowledgeable and comprehensive work. So reserve your copy as soon as they become available!

But praise for Dougal's book is not the main aim of this post: my small part in the book was to research and prepare some lines drawings of some of the more significant designs. There are 18 sets of lines in the book, but I actually have the lines of about a dozen more. Nonetheless, there are several glaring gaps in my archive, and I would dearly like to create a comprehensive record of as many designs as possible. I then plan to publish them, with the designers' permission, on the Internet.

Significant omissions are as follows:
All JACK HOLT designs, with the exception of MERLIN and a generic 'banana boat'. I would particularly like to obtain the lines of 'Passing Cloud'.
All IAN PROCTOR designs, with the exception of the MkIX.
All MIKE JACKSON designs. Mike was a great design innovator. He produced 1/4 scale plans but I have been unable to source any.
All TONY WATTS designs. 
All TOM BOOTH designs. Spud Rowsell tells me that Tom passed away a few years ago and sadly he knows of no paper plans in existence.
So if any of you know of the existence of such plans, or know of someone who may be in possession of same, PLEASE CONTACT ME.
Have a great 2015! 

03/01/2015 14:52:28

Keith, Can't supply the plans but if someone would like to measure Exequisite, they are welcome to do so. I BELIEVE that she's the only Outrage in existence (would love to be proven wrong!)

Best wishes,


05/01/2015 15:43:57
peter horscroft
likewise i have : 635 "Siesta" - Jack Holt "Martine"
                         1067"SingTheNightSong" (was "Visa") - Jack Holt "Tequila"
               and    1614 "Mitzi II" (to be changed) - Adur 7
measurement invited!!

05/01/2015 17:38:57

Hi Keith

When I was restoring 1981 I had great help from the National Maritime  Museum Falmouth. They said that Ian Proctors son ,a designer in Bristol, holds all his fathers plans.I was after the shape of a 9b transom but in the end took the shape from the existing boat

Regards Mike.

05/01/2015 22:19:03
Keith Callaghan

Many thanks, Chris and Peter. This is encouraging!

 In the absence of plans, then I am looking into hiring, purchasing or borrowing a 3D scanner. Maybe we could have a 'scan-in', where anybody can bring their boats and get a scan.

Mike (are you the Mike Hayward from URYC?), I will follow up that lead, thanks. Does anybody have contact details for Mr Proctor Jnr.?

05/01/2015 22:33:09
Keith Callaghan

Many thanks, Chris and Peter. This is encouraging!

 In the absence of plans, then I am looking into hiring, purchasing or borrowing a 3D scanner. Maybe we could have a 'scan-in', where anybody can bring their boats and get a scan.

Mike (are you the Mike Hayward from URYC?), I will follow up that lead, thanks. Does anybody have contact details for Mr Proctor Jnr.?

06/01/2015 08:41:02

Yes , I still sail my restored Merlin at Bristol Corinthian YC.

The boat is in great condition with new sails from Bruce Banks who were able to copy the original set they made in 1966.

06/01/2015 12:53:14
Two sets of lines have been taken from Passing Cloud. One set by Steve Neal who then went on to build 3560 Luka and another set  a little while ago.

07/01/2015 22:41:46
Richard, thanks for the info. Presumably neither Steve nor Laurie gave you a copy of the lines? If you have them I would be delighted to prepare a lines drawing for you to frame and hang in your drawing room.

11/01/2015 16:12:01
peter horscroft
i'm "on it" Keith -
this is one - i'll be on the phone tomorrow with "blagging" in mind!
there is another firm on eBay that hires - i've eMailed them
report progress as it happens - ok?
peter (01621 776936)

11/01/2015 20:18:19
peter horscroft
also Kieth - in your list, you forgot Brookes and Deadman - the Adur Series - they appear to be so well built - peter

13/01/2015 20:45:12
peter horscroft
Kieth :
i have now details from both firms
probably best to ring - 016621 776936

13/01/2015 20:49:28
peter horscroft
Kieth - try with just one "6" !!!

17/01/2015 22:24:24

 Peter, thanks for that. Don't you mean two 6's? 

Will be in touch. 

18/01/2015 00:05:12
peter horscroft
pedantic (smile) - ok :: 3 instead of 4 :: 01621 776936
look forward to your call
best of an evening

18/01/2015 22:07:47
Sorry Peter - it seems that I can't count to more than 2 these days!

19/01/2015 08:34:31
Sorry I don't have a copy.

13/08/2016 00:15:16
Steve Razzetti
I have just acquired MR2794, which is a Rapidity design by Tony Watts and was, I believe, built in Shoreham by John Freeman...

18/08/2016 13:10:36
Geoff Wright
A very interesting issue when you start scanning boats is whether they actually match the designers plans anyway?  At Sheffield University in the 70's  we had 2 new boats from Keith Probert (not quite buy one get one free but a decent discount for two at the same time) they were visibly and measurably different in terms of rise of floor/ sheerline etc.  Which if either matched Phil Morrison's Phantom Kipper design we never knew.   Also in the 70's the rumour was that Spud Rowsell would build boats with a degree of copy over from the previous one so over a few of the same design some 'mission creep' could become apparent.  More 'engineering' builders notably Guy Winder with his more accurate rod framing were probably closer to the designer's intent?

21/08/2016 16:06:03
Geoff and others......hopefully I've some good news on this. Once the RYA have finished their post Rio deliberations, they will (I hope) be starting to look forward to not only next year's Dinghy Show but the one after in 2018. They need to be getting things sorted, for if they want to celebrate the centenary of Ian Proctor's birth, then the work for this needs to be starting now! Having done the research, then the presentations for the Holt centenary in 2012, I've reason to believe that I'm going to be doing the same for Proctor, which of course will give me lots of opportunities to talk about Merlins.
From my side of things work is well in hand and I already have the buy in from Ian's family. Once I get the final green light, I've already agreed a trip down to see the family - who hold a full set of MR plans! Keith C will be coming with me, complete with a large size scanner, whilst I'm looking at old family memorabilia 'm sure he'll be getting them all - in one hit!

21/08/2016 22:10:25
Andrew Mills
Was one of the alleged Phantom Kippers 2848, which for some years was known as Caroline of Ansbach?  I remember that boat being at Hampton and cleaning up on the Thames in Rob Heath's hands and whatever shape it was it wasn't a Kipper, but was built by Probert and was an excellent river boat.  Rob thought it wasn't even symmetrical! 

25/08/2016 11:46:00
Geoff Wright
The boats were 2748 & 2749.  When measured 2748 was significantly out on rise of floor (disputed by Keith Probert and Bala Club Measurer but confirmed after adjudication by MROA), but 2749 was well in.  As there was an unintended misunderstanding of the rise of floor measurement an exceptional case was allowed.  2748 seemed no quicker or trickier to sail through being too narrow on the waterline.    Perhaps as a consequence of thes different shapes 2748 had a very straight sheerline/ high freeboard midships and 2749 had notable rise to the ends and lower freeboard.   I remember 2848 I think she was (supposed to be) a Smoker-built I think for Mike Herman who sailed on the River Avon so a river boat from day 1.   

05/07/2017 14:51:55
Jefferson Smith
Hi, I have very good friend, who used to sail Marlin Rockets back in the 50s. He is about to turn 80 on the 15th July and I was wondering if you had any information on his exploits so I could put together some wall art or something that could go into a speech. Copies of plans for an old Marlin Rocket would be ideal. I suppose I should tell you his name: it is Derek King. My email address is [email protected]
Thank you in anticipation of any assistance you might be able to give.
Kind regards,
Jefferson Smith

26/08/2018 23:23:38
peter horscroft
can anybody give me any guidance on how I might contact any of Jack Holts surviving relatives - I need to see whether they have any records pertaining to Merlins (635 - Martine and 1067 - Tequila) or early Enterprises (I have 110) - which needs an original measurement certificate (or a copy)


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