14/11/2007 20:23:34
Ino Vator
It's clear from the new boat thread, well done Barnsie, that there is a crossroads here due to the stagnation of the class, hulls in the far east, RS building merlins..what's it all coming to? wrong wrong wrong way to go chaps.
The class is a restricted class and every now and then the restrictions get moved about for good reason, consider them a health check.
Now in years gone by two decent proportioned chaps could sail the boats and win, I'm guessing 25 stone could have cracked it but we are currently heading towards a 20 stone competitive limit. The same thing happened in the 14 class before they relaxed the sail area rules and the big boys could get back on the wire, it was simply that tecnology had overtaken sailing. We have that now with lovely self powering carbon masts, light foils etc.
so lets innovate..lets increase genoa size by giving it a seperate limit or increasing the overall sail area. lets go taller in the rig, that will allow the big boys to sail, it will develop more power that can still be de powered for the weeners, espec if you go to the rake they used to achieve with the metal masts...remember them? when's the last time you went to max rake with a chipstow lovely..well you didn't because you don't need to they blade themselves. This brings me to the mast length, why are they all the same , at min luff to produce max sail are for one, silly rule needs changing, and also because in the days of metal rigs it was important to keep the weight down and low, no so the case now with carbon.

to bring the boats up to date, to take the argument out of Winder/Driver/Smart we need to INNOVATE and relax the rig rules, make the boats scary to sail again

I would propose
1.Consider total sail area be increased
2. Consider a taller rig and change the rule from when you go up you lose area ( what is that all about?)so keeping the same max area at all times

1.this will keep minds busy for a couple of years,
2 allow a new mast maker to be used because the one make ones will fall down if they get any longer, probably.

Think about it 24ft masts, 12-13 sqM sail......geting now that would be a beast!!

14/11/2007 21:06:35
Alan F
Interesting that innovator is a little shy, I think that ideas like this diluted as 'wind-ups' when annonymous.

Scary 14ft boats have 18.52 sq mtrs of sail. Twin trapeezes and hull weight of 72kg, reducing to 70kg in 2009.

Not sure what the STAGNANT POND is here, is it that big boys can't sail Merlins? It is true that if you are over 16 stone, it is difficult to get a crew small enough who is strong enough to cope with the kite, so there are limitations, but how many 16+ stone helms feel excluded? If we increase the power how mamy 11 stone or less helms would become excluded?

At my club they sail Phantoms, at 14stone I'm too light to be competetive, so guess what, I don't sail one.

Now, I'm a back third of the fleet sailor (at National level)and have done two Nationals, both in a Mk4 4 Winder. At Tenby I would have won the heavy weight prize if I paid attention to the weights (I hadn't met my crew before), as I found out I was sailing 27 stone all up and I came 40th. This year a Pwhelli sailing at 21 stone, I came 50th and was over powered and on full rake on many days.

Now skill factor of my crew did make a difference as my Tenby crew, whilst a relative novice in Merlins, was far from a novice to sailing.

Where am I going, whilst at the front of the fleet, impacting a few wanabees, there may be an issue, but I personally don't see the issue.

15/11/2007 08:13:43
Peter Scott
As a heavy helm I experimented over the years with a couple of wing mast projects (failed!) and asked Phil Morrision to design the 'Thin Ice' for me as a weight carrier - a bit of a fianacial gamble with a wooden boat! But a good gamble and we had  fun and some success. Moving to a Turner Tales and sailing around 26 stone we had fair amount of success as long as there was a hiking breeze + or it was very light. However in marginal planing or stop stop sailing conditions boy did we struggle. With the passage of time and the development of rigs the lighter weights were able to compete with us to windward further up the wind scale and then downwind ..... goodbyeee! The simple truth is that a heavy crew weight is not front of the fleet competitive across the range.
An increase in sail area would perhaps, in the short term, redress that balance however as Phil Morrision predicted many years ago when such a proposal was mooted, over time the light weights would find a way of dumping power upwind then go even faster downwind!!
I now sail a boat that is heavier than me - always embarrasing at the Champs to be publicly announced as heavier than ones craft!!
Anyway a good debate to have and could provide some interesting thoughts

15/11/2007 08:56:39
As one of the heavy brigade, 119Kg, and sailed at salcombe, with 30 stone in the boat, there are ways of being more competive, I know that the top 10 is a dream, but saying that having two early teens races in marginal planning at salcome this year I must be doing something right.
I didn't go for a chipstow mast, as its so soft I couldn't even get it powered up with our weight, but I have a proctor mast which has very simular bend charas to the old metal M7 but has the flick (and weight) properties which carbon are famous for. I also had a fuller main created with a fat head giving more sail area at the top, all this has give me a competertive boat to the level that I want to sail at, and have fun sailing the class of boat I love and be one of the merlin family.

15/11/2007 09:05:15
how about just opening up the mainsail rule so its the same area allowed now (actual area not measured) but any shape?

15/11/2007 11:14:53
I've got agree as another heavy helm who started helming merlins aged 18 with a good friend and were grossly underpowered in an NSM 2 derrivative at 21 stone. I now at 14-15 stone have difficulty finding a light enough crew to remain competive.
It's got to be a problem if 2 normal 12 - 13 stone men which I would guess is about normal cannot cannot sail together and remain competitive.
I can remember Spud and John Turner sailing together (hardly a light weight combination, Phil King and Scotty, John Harris & Dave Woutton etc. The dynamics of the Merlin are changing , in many ways improving but I think it's pretty important that it does not become exclusively a light weights boat !

15/11/2007 11:26:51
Weight conscious
It must be the obesity thing we are hearing about.  Less beer afterwards, inspection of the sandwich box at lunch time by the OOD and a nanny state MROA food czar needs to be appointed!!

15/11/2007 11:55:34
6 feet tall and a pretty standard build
I tend to agree with Racer, we've had development to allow the lightwieghts to get involved in the form of hull widening and depowering capabilities. Surely time to redress the balence and allow the heavywieghts to continue to sail competatively in the class they've made friends in by a few changes to sail area rules?

15/11/2007 12:20:07
I did surgest this once, at the begging of the meeting, all crews are weighed, and the lighter ones carry weight to all equal the heavyist. that should even up the results, and prob change sone of the designs.

On a sensible note, the sail widening idea is a very good one, as I have been look at this senario already, and it could be of a benifit.

15/11/2007 12:35:21
The easiest and cheapest way would be to allow a larger jib , not sure what sort of size increase would be of benefit. Would a 4 M jib add enough power ?
It would be an interesting experiment and would give us another year of winning all the handicap races !

15/11/2007 12:35:24
more power
Fully battened main?

15/11/2007 12:39:54
And don't forget as a race we are getting statistically taller and heavier , how long before more and more of the youbger generation are too heavy ?

15/11/2007 13:55:00
Ancient Geek
Why are modern Merlin Rockets so weight sensitive?
I would suggest.
In a word beam!
The modern low freeboard max beam hull has very large flare from the water-line to sheer-line.
This means that a very small increase in weight and subsequent greater displacement (Floating lower.) will mean a very disproportionate increase in waterline bean and thus resistance to acceleration and forward movement.
This was well understood by Martin Jones when he designed the first of the wide boats “Expectant” which was noticeable in having a high freeboard, and thus less actual flare and was easily driven in a seaway. Understood also –subsequently- by Hugh Welbourne when he designed and built “King Louis” in 1969 which had low freeboard wide beam and stopped in a seaway. Mike Jackson appreciated this too with his Superstition and derivative designs. The other notable early wide boats the Wotnot and variations had moderate freeboard but were not noticeably good in a sea way in the lighter stuff, only one (at least a succession.) did really well and they were sailed by Alan Warren crewed by Barry Dunning, so what proof of a seign concept was that!
Maybe a CT or EZ variant with a reduced beam (Not too much.) and increased freeboard?
Easily driven needs less power. More beam means more leverage. More weight means more leverage. Less beam means less leverage but probably a more tolerant hull. It is of course a trade off.
Perhaps some of the Naval Architect and Yacht Design students might like to comment.

15/11/2007 15:01:10
Tried fully battern main, great and powerful on reaches, but slower upwind then the normal rig.
Richard W tried one at abersock, I'm sure he will remember it.

15/11/2007 15:07:57
Someone needs to organise some more open meetings - you can tell people aren't sailing enough when the talk starts to turn this way.

Get out on the water!!!

15/11/2007 16:54:48
6 feet tall and a pretty standard build
Perhaps a rule change to allow more sail area would encourage new hull shapes add a bit of diversity. Effectively give development options for boats to suit heavywieght sailors as well as the lightweights?

In the New Boat Orders thread, 'newton I' has managed to claim both that the class is not stagnating as well as pointing out the fact that in 10 years there has been no significant development from 3591 (a canterbury tales) to 3691 (still a canterbury tales), save a few tweaks. Not a particularly well put arguement.

Surely there's no better opportunity to avoid stagnation and encourage another builder into the class than providing a heavy weight boat building niche?

15/11/2007 17:31:18
Measurement Man
How is this going to get more boats built?

15/11/2007 17:55:27
Ino Vator
This is not a thread about getting boats built, its about technology overtaking sailing and how to take the emphasis off hulls and put som individuality back into the class by considering the stagnation of the rigs. If you want a wake up look at the pics of Will W siling downwind at Putney in 15knots, they are sitting i the boat having a tea-party. there is no WOW in it, its all too easy. That's why there are no new people in the class, that's why its a 12 boat a year class and not a 100 like the RS200..... no fizzzzzzzzzzz!!!
Need to go to the doctor and get that health check.

15/11/2007 18:48:24
Rob 2601
Like all innovation, if someone designs a new merlin, it takes a few brave souls to put hand in their pockets to begin with.
What would have happened if NicK Aubrey hadnt commissioned a new boat from that new designer Ian Holt or even Dick Batt where would the Canterbury Tales and its derivatives be now?
Someone has to take a gambol on the hull, the rig could always be transferred to the defacto standard if it was a dog. No denying the Winder Tales are very quick boats but could a new designer get anyone to have and build his boat now or even an existing designer look at Keith Callaghan, he has a relatively new design on the books but has anyone of note dared to get one built professionaly, it might be a winner.

15/11/2007 19:49:34
Rob 2601
Thought I might give Keiths Link a push
15/11/2007 19:49:40
Like Mags said. More boats on the water more competition for all abilities. I sailed at Putney and there was plenty of wow and fizz and tide and wind and won't forget how The Black Pearl charged expertly down the run, then reaching with the spinnaker pulled down as they rounded the mark. awesome sailing, out of the corner of my eye.

15/11/2007 21:57:57
Newton I
To 6ft tall man, sorry my point was not made so I will try again. The class is a development and up until say 3591 there was quite a lot of development, quite clearly, but then up till 3691 there has been very little and things have become very cosy. I hope this makes more sense now.
Loosen the rig limitations and people can find what the limits are, it will take the emphasis off the hulls so if you can order an LS boat and know that your edge , your individuality may be with the rig. I'd be the first to commission a new boat from LS for instance who would consider the effect of the new sail area would have on the performance and even tweek his design, worth getting out of bed for and worth throwing £15k at.
Is ther a steering group that have already or would be willing to consider future development of the class, starting with considering a proposal to change the parameters of the rig limitations??

16/11/2007 08:58:41
Robert Harris
It's a shame that both of Keith's 2004 designs have apparently been built abroad. It must be 30 years since the last of Keith's boats was built so I suppose none of today's followers of fashion are prepared to take a punt. If I was young (was once) and could afford it (could when they cost 250!) I'd have a go at breaking the shackles. I did that with the first Adur 7 and she was a flyer.

16/11/2007 09:29:35
One of the reasons i left the class other then the fact my Mrs had a baby is that i was to heavy for the boat at just under 15 stone!  Having said that i wouldnt think that you would want to increase sail area otherwise where do you stop??  Perhaps looking at different sail shpes etc.  Perhaps proper fat head mains

16/11/2007 10:07:56
Ancient Geek
Robert has made a good point, and by doing so pointed out that these days fewer sailors are doing it themselves, (Garry Rucklidge and the vintage sailors excepted.) No one is doing a day job and building it themselves or making their own sails anymore. Mike jackson Cliff Norbury and John Aviston come to mind in doing it from scratch lots of People including Robert did it from bare hulls. Thus the "affordable" experiement is no longer there, it's the hours we work and no carpentry and metalwork at school anymore! My second Merlin spent her finishing winter in the School workshop.

16/11/2007 10:10:36
Chris Whitehouse
Surely the nex bit of 'fizzz' is going to come from lighter hulls not bigger rigs??

16/11/2007 11:20:19
You all must be bonkers, you have one of the most successfull classes in the country, 100 boats at Salcombe, good open meeting turnouts, championship turnouts and club racing, and a choice of builders who are involved in the class, the main one is selling direct to the class at a reasonable rate and a fair price, why on earth do you want to tinker with the formula?  Take great care what you might throw out with the bathwater.

The success of the RS's is down to a desire for "off the shelf" (read standard) boats. Don't make it uneconomic for your builders to provide a competitive product.

Learn from the past

It is ironic that many designs that were intended for heavyweights went even faster with lightweights in them.

Some designs intended for the more portly were dogs.

I seem to remember in the era of Spud and Jon, the lightweights (24 stone and less?!) felt uncompetitive.

In fact I seem to remember Ian Holt developing his early designs as a response to Phil's boats which were being sucsessfully sailed by the heavies.

Maybe the answer to the heavy weights dilemma is in developing a better heavy weights rig and stiffer foils within the existing rules.

Perhaps you could tweak the existing shapes to carry a little more volume by introducing more rocker in the run.

Finally, stay of the beer and pies.

17/11/2007 18:41:42
Pat Blake
David you are absolutly right.
I don't think we are all bonkers - just a few, mainly anonymous, people on this thread.
It is all built on a basic misconception anyway.
By far the most successful pairing this season has been Roger Gilbert and James Stewart - they are not particularly light.

17/11/2007 20:08:09
I Think the design are at there max, there are boats for light people and boats for heavy people, I borrowed a winder Mk4 for the inlands, I know the wind was light, and I stayed away from the rafts, but the design did take the 29 stone in it, as Pat found out in one race.
I think there is a lot to be done with the rigs, the class is shying away from power, sail shape, and minimising the losses in the rig. I have been looking at this all last season with some interesting results, and new design sails for next season, so watch this space.
who said there isn't any development in merlins anymore!!!!

17/11/2007 22:21:42
Nick T
a quick look at th year book national results  how trends are set & followed with a new designer/builder featuring once or twice for a couple of years & then becoming dominant over the next four years as the fleet gets more & more saturated with that builders product, at the moment no one has come up with any thing new, so everybody's playing safe! & it is now alot of money to take a gamble on, LS probably had a good building method to offer an alternative design reasonably priced. maybe he just needed a diferent design.

18/11/2007 18:08:21
Dave Lee
One string systems, stepped out jib heads, flatter head mainsails, dropped bow vs standard, extended bilge keels - just a few things that have appeared in the fleet recently and I'm sure there are others.  Even if most people who want a new boat are opting for Winder FRP, there seems to be plenty of tinkering going on!

Also, there must be new people coming into the fleet - new boats are being built and there is steady demand for good condition secondhand Cant Tales, so the numbers must be increasing! Because there have been no major changes for some time, the earlier Tales are still highly competitive at club level and represent a great value introduction to the class - this is what most newcomers seem to choose. As an example, the Starcross club fleet has just reached 12 boats and the new members have all been buying Winder Mk1s or older wood / FRP Tales - these still beat Winder Mk4 and EZ Rollers when sailed well.

Overall the class is very healthy and we're getting great turn outs on the ST circuit and champs, increasing club fleets, new boats built, new faces in the fleet - seems once again someone wants to fix what isn't broke. OK, so maybe there is a long wait if you want a new Winder, but there are other builders who could fill the gap with competitive boats. So, who will take the plunge?

19/11/2007 10:22:22
Andy Hay, Enchantment 3386
If you want innovation and encourage more "home builders", go smooth skin. People cannot afford to build a wood boat (a plug) before making plastic ones, smooth is easier to build than clinker in plastic (make a simple male mould and then work from inside to out). Look at the Cherubs & N12s - people tinker with them in their garages and produce some wild & wacky shapes. Of course, you immediately outclass the "old style" boats that cannot be converted - changing the rig is relatively trouble free, hulls are a bit more tricky. You also end up with less attractive boats - give me a wood boat with a varnish finish you can eat your dinner off any day of the week.

Would Lawrie make a pretty sapele veneered ply/foam/ply craft I wonder?

I think that we are all fixated on hulls - there are plenty more dvelopments in the rigs that haven't been explored - how about a twin spreader skiff style rig, loads of prebend, small main, large jib, step the mast aft, etc.?

I also note that there was a National 12 this year, which had a narrow waterline (minimum rise of floor) and steep topsides that were 6" taller than "normal" to keep the same hull beam. Windage vs. narrow hulls?

19/11/2007 10:37:23
Whilst 12's are a great class, their removal of the planking rules and later of the double curvature rules has led them down a path that makes one off building (either professional or amateur)less easy, because you need a full male or female mould to produce a hull.  

The advantage of glued planked merlins is that the frames need not be complex, and that designs could be tweaked to suit the sailor simply by adjusting the frames.

The class has three excellent builder's who are quite capable of doing this in Laurie, Jacko and Kevin.

However I guess that there is a perception that the FRP boats are lighter and stiffer than wood.

I would therefore guess that the key to future development is firstly being brave enough not to follow the crowd, and secondly addressing the issue of lightness and stiffness. If this is a misconception then there is no problem, otherwise you need to make the FRP boats less stiff and heavier or the wood boats stiffer and lighter.

19/11/2007 12:19:12
Andrew M
No-one who has identified themselves on this thread really thinks the class has much of a problem, certainly not one that needs radical changes to the rules.  There doesn't seem to be much evidence that wood boats are slower than plastic ones, there just aren't as many about and no new ones have been built for nearly a decade.  The raw physics of it all suggests that until you can actually start hiking and get the benefit of the extra power having more weight in the boat is bound to slow you down so the main solution is going the Dave Fowler way and trying to boost the power from the rig to get on the side earlier.  Phil King reckoned that the benefits of the flatter hulls when planing were so considerable that even heavy crews were better off in a "lightweights" hull - my experiences with sailing the NSM2 in open water bear this out even allowing for modest skill levels.

Merlins are not really competing directly with RS200's. Besides which, the RS200 has a lower ideal crew weight without the options of playing about with your rig to compensate, let alone taking a saw to the bow sections of your boat. And it's not just Merlins that have ceased to be home built, just that the era of building your boat at home has passed for whatever reason. But you can tell the season is over because we are back to these discussions on the forum! Anyone want to take some of the lead out of the boat again?

Will watch the rig developments with interest. I'm sure I could do with more fullness at the top of my main and it would help a lot in low to medium wind strengths where I struggle for boat speed. Tying the top batten in harder actually makes a fair difference but if you forget to loosen it again for a river sailing drifter it's a pig to tack.

19/11/2007 12:35:37
I am new to the fleet and purchased a new Winder this year. I have sailed Mirrors with my family for the last 7 years but have also sailed RS400 and GP14. I sail with my wife and the Merlin is just perfect for our total weight of 20 stone. The lead time for a new Merlin may be long but it is well worth the wait. The Merlin is a fantastic boat with a great handicap. I have sailed many classes but the Merlin will be with me for several years to come. Looking forward to meeting you all at our first open at Brightlingsea next year.

19/11/2007 13:46:53
mark ampleford
i personlly do not see a lead time on a new boat as a disaster for the class. a lack of secondhand boats coming through will delay the odd person joining the class but also make people consider slightly older boats as a stop gap. supply and demand being what they are i am sure some people that perhaps aren't using their boat so much will consider it a profitable time to sell. i think these things work both ways and the fact that your boat builder can't make enough boats quickly enough is largely down to the quality of build / product they have produced to make the class so popular. wouldn't it be a lot worse if no-one wanted to buy a new boat as the quality was under question or they could be vastly different in effort put in to the one they sold to the national champion etc etc.

22/11/2007 00:08:09
Newton I
you have a guy in the class putting fences on the batten that is sad!!! how about anothet 2 sq metre on the main , flat top main, biggder jib and 24 stone has a a chance, it's not that unfair it's actually moving with the times. FOR INSTANCE, 3 yrs ago you would have gone out at wittering on your board in a F5 with a 5.6m sail now it's a 7M , why , because tecnology has overtaken sailing and you can, that's why our boats are so so under powered now, time to go big.

22/11/2007 09:11:00
Chris D
You have an incredibly strong class with good numbers at champs and the reason people are prepared to part with £16k for a new one is because the second hand market is so strong.  Then to add to this you wish to take an exciting boat to sail and what I consider to be 'the ultimate thinking man's boat', and turn it into an beast, so much so that you need two large men to sail it competatively in any breeze thus eliminating the wives, girlfriends, children, etc. which are nodoubt a huge part of what makes this class so appealing to such a vast array of people of all ages. Do people really believe these changes will help develop and strengthen the class?!

22/11/2007 09:18:53

22/11/2007 09:41:45
Husband to be

22/11/2007 10:18:49

22/11/2007 10:56:50
Ancient Geek
You do indeed have a wonderful class and I am sure that whilst development may have slowed (Even halted?) it will be temporary, as soon as people realise how non one-design manufacturers one designs are they are; I submit; in the words of Doctor Johnson "like a dog walking upon its hind legs or a woman preaching it's not that it be done well or badly but that it be done at all". or as a French General described the Charge of the Light Brigade, "C'est magnifique maid se nest pas la guerre." Pausing merely to add that the job of the Merlin Rocket Class (Like Cavalry in Warfare.) is to add decorum to what would otherwise be a rather vulgar affair! Floreat Merlin Rockets!

22/11/2007 11:19:07
It's rather like comparing F1 motor racing at Monte Carlo with NASCAR racing at the Daytona 500.

22/11/2007 11:23:25
Ancient Geek
Up to a point, intigued, but MOD's seem to be the concensus of perceived competition.

22/11/2007 11:53:22
A little extra sail will enable the heavier teams to remain competitive in a wider range of conditions. The rigs will still be easily depowerable for the lighter teams who will undoubtedly still be faster on certain points of sailing( it's just physics !)  Perhaps this would open up the fleet to teams that currently go off to sail other boats able to carry more weight  - RS400, Comet etc.

22/11/2007 12:19:20
Andy Hay, Enchantment 3386
The discussions about increasing competitiveness of heavy weights goes round in circles. Increasing the sail area is actually a temporary measure as the lightweights will find ways to depower, and they will go faster downwind. Thats how the raking rigs developed, flateners, etc. (twin poles for that matter). Same discussions with increasing spinnaker size - need I go on ...

I am reliably informed that the OK class also had this discussion, and concluded that the way to make heavyweights competitive is to INCREASE hull weight. Quite rightly this was rejected as a retrograte step.

What is the best crew weight for a Wayfarer, Soling, anything heavy - yep, lardicus maximus.

I would welcome any method to make our combined 25 stone more competitive, but I will just have to focus on SAILING BETTER and generating as much power from the sails, foils and mast I have, or develop a more powerful rig. Just don't follow the crowd and use what the lightweights are using - the Merlin is a restricted class after all.

22/11/2007 15:54:06
That's just it ! If you increase sail then to sail at full power you need more weight as the wind increases. There will always be a point when you need to de-power but this will be earlier on the lighter weight boats. More sail area means the de-power point comes earlier for all weights hence the heavier boats will have a greater band above the light weight de-power point where they are more competitive. Of course that won't help on some points down wind.

22/11/2007 17:19:50
The trouble is, can you see this being a factor/issue on some of the restricted water venues, e.g. rivers?  The class is raced at a variety of venues/waters.  A larger, more powerful rig may be great in the wide open spaces of sea sailing, but will it be suitable across the range of waters that are raced throughout the Silver Tiller?

22/11/2007 17:21:39
Could just go all retro and go back to 25ft rigs.

22/11/2007 18:20:36
The Old Trout
This debate has been had on many occasions in the past, and no doubt will continue to be.

I'm with Andy, in that the only way I will improve is by improving my sailing, rather than seeking a change in the rules.

As for suggesting that we should woo the RS 400 sailors: What RS 400 sailors? Have you seen how many (few) boats they had at the Nationals? Where are the one design numbers? In the RS 200.

If we are to attract more people then I would suggest we should keep the class attractive to the RS200 teams - there is obviously a far greater pool of potential converts there, and having their National Champion in the fleet is no bad thing.

22/11/2007 19:14:06
Another fat bloke
Please can we have some sense here. What are you talking about, pandering to another class that you think will be a feed to ours...dream on!!
It seems the general thread is quite obviously saying there is a litle problem with normal sized hunter-gatherers being competitive in certain situations.
Technology has overtaken sailing,alowing lighterweight crews to be competitive. This also happened in the I14 fleet in 1988-91 when one J Turner stated to produce boats with deck stepped multi control raking rigs. This lead,despite the introduction on large assymetric kites to very cometitive crews weighing only 22 stone. Help me out here Mad Jack, you remember how quick Tim and Bruce became as all boat introduced the same controls and raking rig.
It wasn't until the chucked out the rid of floor rule and introduced a bigger rig that bigger crews could be used and the boats became faster and more edgy.
Another interesting point is that the rigs are now pinned, loaded on the boat with boatbreakers, result here is save weight and considerable cost, maintenance etc. How many times do you read on this forum.."oh I can't get my diggery doo to cleat". Actually you don't need one, but you have been given it so you fiddle with it.
One proposal would be to add a little more sail area, this would detract from the hull issues and get the focus onto the sailing, even the foam JT CT's could be really competitive with a new format rig. A taller superspar mast for about 1k, set of fore/aft sails for £750 , it's not a huge amount of money to upgrade, and it does make the boat more interesting to sail...that's what people seem to be saying here....and it does mean that 24/25 stone crews have a better window to be competitive in.
Just thoughts.
And finally how does it all come demonstration...this is where I need you again Jack....I believe it was Dr.T who used the larger rig for a year, won every open meeting but no prizes..and it was voted through at the next AGM......any volunteers?????????

22/11/2007 20:00:15
Hull development has stagnated over the years with varients of the CT coming forth. One to buck the trend was the Joy Rider designed in 1996 - 1997 and hull numbers 3547, 3579 and a varient the Honeymoon (3551). They were out of the box hulls but raw stage one innovations but 99% there at the first attempt. The Winder CT has adopted the dropped bow (remember a call to Ian Holt and he said only drop the bow by X so I instructed Alan to drop it 2xX). The hull shape came out of a fluid thinking afternoon of looking at the NSM4 and CT jigs with the B18 innovations thrown in. No plans just gut feeling and many years of joint knowledge. Both 3547 and 3579 are fast and with one string and in FRP would be right in there. However, Winder Mk4s have adopted the most innovative things that the shape produced, dropped bow, plate pivot as far forward as possible and clean run off. However, Scroggy them came out with the shoulders in the MK5 as was the Joy Riders top end strength (not sure he measureed either). This is fast but to get the best out of the shape you would have to work the boat much harder as the beam is slightly blunter (further forward) than the Mk4 but ultimately the top end is potentially faster as the hull will sit up and go and give greater length to control downwind direction. Downside the hull is stiffer and so would have to pre-empt to avoid resistence and slower speed. 
The result of this is that there are definite ways forward for the hull shape but ultimately it must be able to perform in all conditions. One of the interesting things mentioned earlier in the thread, is increased freeboard so reducing effect of leverage on sinkage draft). This we addressed and believe this is the key to forward movement of the class especially with the lightness of new materials.
What will control hull development will be power from the rig that is tapable. The one string has gone a long way to achieving the next evolution and DW/GW have done a good job here. Once this has been moved to the next level with more stable masts and cloths, we will see that the hull shape will become more powerfull.
Having sailed the EZRoller on the Thames, think it has its merits and with input and competitive pricing believe it may compete with the Mk4/5 Winder. My only concern is the lower freeboard but maybe that is because I have when been involved in the design process gone to the other end of the box and find the Winder the mid option.
What I would like to see is a CC milled design mould that was a competitor to both established current builders with quality no question.
The beauty of this would be that with the input of class members, we could potentially have a sustainable situation where we would have at least 2 builders with production runs that kept the class affordable (currently prices are good) and see the influx of new teams.
With category C it would be even more so but that is another story.
Anyway discussion is healthy and hopefully constructive detail will come out of the threads associated with this topic.
Bye for now

23/11/2007 08:46:42
Chris M
If you're that desperate to sail a Merlin with more sail area why not try an MRX?

There are more than enough classes out there to cater for everyone so major rule changes are not, in my opinion, an option. The Merlin is hardly in decline so any major changes are also unlikely to be popular, and could cause more damage. As it stands the boat can be sailed by two normal sized adults so it's hardly suprising that they are in demand.

With my weight (Depending on crew 24 stone all up) in a force 4 the boat hardly feels underpowered when sailing to windward.

23/11/2007 10:16:25
Remember Mad Jack at Poole flying a protype assymetric in a windy POW, 11 symetric (legal) finishers ... we were 11th!

23/11/2007 12:03:03
6 feet tall and a pretty standard build
Chris M, why on earth would anyone want to try an MRX? I don't think that is a very realistic or constructive angle to come from.

What the marginally more portly of the merlin sailors are saying is that we want to stay in the class for our sailing (it's a bloody good class, you see), but since the last decade or two's worth of development has allowed lighterweight crews to become more competative than us due to the simple physics mention previously, it is less fun for us as we are being 'weighted out'.

I do not think that anyone wants to force crew wieghts to be pushed back up, but a larger and yet depowerable rig would allow the heavier crews to remain competative in lighter conditions without any impact on the lieghtwieght crews (except that if there are some good sailors in the fat camp - you may have more competition!).

Another point that concerns me is the attitude of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' that is coming through here. Surely we shouldn't have gone to carbon masts etc if no one wants the class to progress further? This is after all a development class and the development should make it as appealing as possible to as wider range of people as possible without excluding people that have grown up with Merlins.

The RS200s have a good niche that they fill well (I understand that this used to be filled by the 12s, but they went too far too soon), so we don't need to poach from them (though they both do join us and are welcome).

I think the class should remain open to those of 25/26 stone and marginally upwards, added to which sail development will make things more interesting all round, and we could do with a bit of a prod in the right direction.

23/11/2007 12:12:38
The 12s recently looked into the weight carrying issue and came to a very simple conclusion that i suspect will apply to the Merlin too.  The conclusion, from a number of genuine experts in and out of the class was that to make it carry weight better would require either:

A narrower hull or
A heavier hull.

The key determining feature of a hull is the length, and i guess you will not be about to change that!

The view we received was that any modestly bigger rig would help the lighter crews, in that they would learn to cope and would potentially plane earlier and even up wind.

My conclusion was that if necessary i could lose a little weight.

23/11/2007 12:22:15
Wikipedia avg weights-

Britain: The average UK woman is 5' 3.8" (162 cm) tall and weighs 147 pounds (67 kg / 10 st 7 lb). This corresponds to a Body Mass Index of 25.5 kilograms/meters², which is slightly less than the average British man's, and less than the average American female's.

The average UK male stands 5' 9.5" (177 cm) tall and weighs 176 pounds (80 kg / 12 st 8 lb), with a Body Mass Index of 26.0 kg/m².

So the average man sailing with the average woman weighs in at 23 st 1 lb - which I guess is ok and would be fairly competitive but still at the top end compared to some of the lighter teams nowadays.

2 average men sailing together 25 st 2lb - certainly too heavy to remain competive in ligther marginal conditions

23/11/2007 12:29:40
I'm 6ft and a pretty standard build. Glen and davo are both 6et tall and they managed to twice who the silver tiller sailing a hull that was thought to be a lightweights boat. My point about the mrx is that rather than radically change a class that is working why not sail one that ticks your boxes? Its like putting a kite on an enterprise. You'll get a more exciting but ultimately weaker class.

23/11/2007 13:27:22
How heavy is your crew Chris ?

23/11/2007 13:31:47
Way too much time on my hands.
I like innovation, and I like having some limits to the class.  Wherever there are limits, those who are best able to adapt and exploit the opportunities the limits provide will rise to the top. Surely thats the same in all sports. Changing the parameters will disadvantage some, and allow others to benefit, but probably won't make an even playing field for all.

We all have access to the same technology in boat build and fitting out, but some prioritise other areas of their lives over the purchase of a brand new boat with bells and whistles. Its free choice and possibly a measure of the determination to win.

In all other active sports I can think of, we are moving towards committed athletes becoming the norm, rather than the exception - we don't see footballers having a crafty fag at half time anymore. So if in sailing we have competitors of equal guile and ability with equal craft to sail, the lighter more athletic crew will probably prevail in the majority of conditions.

I aspire to accumulate enough guile and cunning to propel our 26 stone around the course keeping up with the leaders, but with the amount I practice I get, I won't be around long enough to see it happen! I've accepted these things, I love the competition and being on the water. Not winning doesn't detract from the pleasure.

Apologies for the ramble, but I can't see whats wrong with the situation we're in - there are still fast boats for sale on the second hand list for those who can't wait for their order to be completed!
Happy sailing!

23/11/2007 13:54:41
You fatties have it easy! Us skinnies have to hike so much harder it really hurts. Can't we reduce the sail area a bit?

23/11/2007 14:33:19
Way too much time on my hands.
My mum always said i was just big boned!
Is the average male really 12st 8? with all of the 'large' merlin sailors around, there must be whole villages of tiny 6st people to adjust the average back again.

Innovation? - for the skinnies, sponge side decks which absorb water and reduce the amount of hiking needed. Squeeze them out before you finish, who would ever know?

I'm off for another pie.

23/11/2007 15:20:59
Now I know who ate all the pies.

23/11/2007 15:34:04
I think there are several very interesting points here!

If the Wikipedia averages are correct, then the average person is overweight. BMI of 25 being the upper limit of 'normal'. Clearly Laurence Dallaglio is greater than this, but he doesn't sail as far as I'm aware. Surely in a highly competitive class you would expect the fitter people to be able to push a bit harder and, given equal kit/skill etc, you would expect that to manifest itself in the results? So given that an average woman and an average man, overweight according to NICE guidelines, come in under the 24stone mark then I really don't see much of a problem. If you're dedicated to doing well at your sailing then physical fitness is as much of an issue as kit, so why not join a gym over the winter and get down to weight!

Secondly, there is remit within the rules for a more powerful rig. I know wing masts have been discussed before, but they are worth an extra .75m2 of area, plus the increase in efficiency and therefore drive. I heard an anecdote once about Scotty and Stu Hydon, when they were sailing Wing and a Prayer, that they were fully hiked out upwind in a force 2 with their uber stiff section. I don't think they would class themselves as lightweights! There is mileage in this. Just because your P&Bs/DS/Speed sails etc don't quite give you enough umph in standard cut doesn't mean there aren't ways to create more drive. Increasing area/changing the shape of the main (very recognisable to the non-Merlin sailor, along with the planks) are not the way forward in my opinion.

23/11/2007 15:38:40
Chris M
Usually roughly the same as me, about 11.5 to 12 stone.

23/11/2007 15:49:43
Unfortunately at 182 cm and 178 cm we would have nothing to loose at 148 kg. Just a fact of life and we get on with it. A bit irritating though when you find a flyweight past you downwind.
One thing that was discussed at the Nationals by a number of us at the front, was that ifd we tightened the reaching angles as was the case in the past, this would even it up more in planning conditions but physics will always win and still hand the lightweights the advantage in marginal conditions.
The perfect weight currently seems to be approximately 135 - 138 kg. as is the case in several other classes. The alternative is to try and make sure the opposition sails with a hangover.
Bye for now

23/11/2007 15:52:44
I get the average of 80kg but not the height.  Is this still OK?

23/11/2007 16:38:17
In view of Deepy's comments regarding fitness and getting down to weight, is there something the Association could offer by way of help/advice (perhaps during Rutland training) around this seemingly simple but practically for many complicated issue?  I don't know about others but, frankly, due to the risk of boredom and a lack of surplus cash, I avoid gyms like the plague.  Some advice from the front-runners concerning alternative fitness regimes would be very welcome.  After all, many of the front-runners, not least Deepy (no offence mate) seem to consume vast quantities of beer without it appearing to convert to any midriff blubber!  Not that I spend a lot of time looking at their mid-riffs (except for the female crews that is). Better get my coat...

23/11/2007 16:40:51
Barry Dunning
Why not have a minimum sailing weight of say 165kg. for the crew. We have maximum sailing weights in other classes, why not a minimum. Weight jackets are comfortable and warm to wear! I used to wear 10kg regularly in the Soling before harnesses.

23/11/2007 16:50:09
Another idea
If weight is so much of an issue, why not do like Formula 1 and have a minimum weight for crews and boat combined-

Heavyweights can build boats lighter, and lightweights can have heavier boats or weight jackets.

Would need a pair of scales at each event though, and also control when the weighings took place - not after several pints which could then flow through the system and then run underwight.

23/11/2007 16:54:00
Richard Battey
I suppose you can compare this to various other sports, one being Horse Racing. Each jockey is "Weighed in" and out as the weight for all has to be the same. If a jockey is underweight lead gets added in the saddle.

23/11/2007 17:09:21
Barry Dunning
SB3's, Etchells, Dragons, Melges etc weigh in all the time. All part of the fun!

23/11/2007 17:25:21
Ben 3634
Talking of weight, there's a suggestion on p25 of the new magazine that would seem to be a cost effective way of developing a faster, better handling merlin for a wider range of crew weights...Any thoughts?

23/11/2007 17:55:11
Ancient Geek
An positive suggestion from Barry regarding weight. A standard weight might be an interesting experiment. Where there is a maximum some of us have probs staying under however we manage it. Any weight carried would have to be also with a compulsory lifejacket wouldn't it! Still they increasingly compulsory anyway. Like Barry I recall weight jackets though I nver wore one my crews that did said they felt like a new man when they took it off at the end of a race though if crews or helms wore them you might get the Three Day Eventing situations where all riders have to ride at 11stone 11lbs or metric equivalent which I momentarily forget, where some of the girls cannot actually carry their saddle with its weight cloth to weigh in, they get on the scales and have it given to them. So it might be better to make the boat have a weight cloth where the weight is made up. A possible all up weight 26stones or metric equivalent? Barry may have given all us non weight watchers hope in all classes.

23/11/2007 19:37:14
Andy Hay, Enchantment 3386
59'er was introduced with 150kg threshold, hull weight added to make up the difference. I had the pleasure of helping Laser 4000 lightwights pull up their wide racks, heavy boats up the beach because they were physically too weak - funnily enough no one offered to help us with our minimum rack, but no weight boat! Constant source of mirth that one! Tasars also have a similar rule. So this is nothing new, but then again, nothing in this game is ..... 

Dare I say that this is the first sensible suggestion in this thread?

I also note that in classes with weight "tolerances" - i.e. Etchells, etc. crews have always wanted to be at the top of the limit, but then again they are not lightweight planing dinghies.

Another glass of wine & slice of cake anyone? Can we make the weight limit 160kg, so that I can enjoy Christmas?

23/11/2007 21:50:22
Scales of Justice
Minimum all up weight. mmm let me see. Lightweights would have to put big lumps of metal in the middle of the boat. Heavyweights would then have advantage as their weight would out where its needed. All sound a bit complicated.
Most classes have optimum weight ranges, You don't get many 505 crews or Finn helmesmen in a telephone box, and female Merlin crews look much nicer.
(Not in a telephone box that is.... sorry it's Friday and I just got in from the pub).

23/11/2007 23:54:25
Little less time than I had earlier
Perhaps a relevant question would be to ask on what basis we want to compete.

If we achieve a system of equal weight for all, with the equal sail area, presumably everyone would then converge on the optimum hull shape and rig to carry that weight and sail area. Competition would be on sailing skill and athleticism, but maybe the boats would all be the same. Then maybe one could dial in the settings everyone else was using that day and get on with the sailing.

I suppose I'm a tinkerer, but I like the idea that I could adapt the boat for my crew weight and prevailing conditions, and it might be a unique combination, something I'd have developed myself. It seemed that Merlins were an eclectic collection of boats which represented their owner's individual theories on sailing. It would be a shame to loose that aspect of the class, but I appreciate everyone sails for different reasons.

I'd say celebrate the differences

Time for bed!

24/11/2007 10:30:43
Ancient Geek
It's about time the playing field got levelled in favour of the "larger" man or woman I'd sooner be a 6'2" man with a 48" chest and 40" waist than an anorexic emaciated dwarf. I have to agree from what i've seen of them the Merlin Girls are a trim gorgous lot. Not sure where the weight talent thing comes talent is I suggest more important just two examples Rodney Pattison first Supercalifragilisticexpealidocius when weighed at the 1968 Olypics was close on 100lbs overweight and that was such a domineering performance. Likewise in the afformentioned Three Day Eventing the undisputed greatest rider of all time Mark Todd at 6'6" tall struggled to do 13 stones and it didn't slow him or his tiny horse Charisma down or any of the others he rode too. On the flat the great Lester often put up overweight.
I'm sure all up weight will be the way to go, the size of a Merlin will dictate that no matter what else two very large people will simply not fit so a max weight may not be necessary. Interestingly (Well depends on you but....) The International Dragon has become so anal about max weights the rules have been ammended to allow four in the crew, as long as max weight not exceeded. Three in a Merlin anybody?

24/11/2007 13:31:46
Andy Hay, Enchantment 3386
It would solve my baby-sitting problems .............

24/11/2007 21:25:10
floppy toppy
How about having a choice of crews. You could have a fat muscled up one for windy weather, a scrawney lightwieght one for when it is really light and a rich one to pay for all the modifications etc that people are suggesting! Maybe I have it wrong but I thought that sailboat racing was about skill, ability to read windshifts, ability to put yourself in the right places, keeping the boat up to scratch etc. It seems all some people are interested in is straight line drag racing rather than going round corners. A good helm in a good boat with a fat crew will beat a bad helm in a good boat with a scrawney crew no matter what the weather. If the hull shape has optomised then developement will come in other places such as sail shape and mast characteristics, what exactly is wrong with that? Ther will be days when us lightweights just get blown away despite maximum rake and not flying the kite and the heavyweights will just power up and go and there will be days when us lightweights will rule the roost, that is sailing and race over a series of races rather than one offs.

24/11/2007 22:31:22
I fail to see how anyone could seriously pick a crew to match conditions. Its not golf!
Is it not best to build a long term helm/crew relationship and work the boat that little harder for sucess. weight is a "heavy" issue for me but it basically comes down to being sh*t upwind in anything over a F3 and as long as I keep the stick out the water off wind I can make up the ground. please note my hull is 26 years old and was 4kg overweight when built but I still come off the water with a huge smile every time I race her and that for me is the magic of Merlins.

24/11/2007 23:06:11
Garry R
Mine is a 57 years old ribbed boat which weighs God knows what and I sail and repair her every week and my smile is as big as Hamish's and I am never going to win anything.  But occasionally, very occasionally I surprise myself over one leg of the course but I honestly haven't a clue what I have done right!!  BUT for that short moment the feeling is great.  Last year in the blow at Hampton in the Silver tiller Secret Water No 111 was about 15th out of 30 odd - now that was a result but of course helmed expertly by Mags!!

25/11/2007 10:40:34
Ancient Geek
A choice of crews what I wonder is the collective noun? Not new in 1963 a Championship of two halves Brian Southcott did just that and took Tony Davis in a very blowy race reverting to Adrian Legg in the lighter stuff. He won the championship but not the crews prize which was won by John Faulkener ( A real heavyweight!) crewing Robin Judah who most thought should have won that year. Robert Harris managed third with a light girl crew (His wife.)THe performance of the week.

25/11/2007 20:09:12
And was it after that champs or a different one where they set up the "one crew only" champs rule?

No need for a choice of several crews, but you could find one to match your weight to start with, before you build up the relationship. Bit hard for those who already have a good thing going though...

25/11/2007 21:06:10
floppy toppy
Its not the finding one to match your weight that is a problem but finding one that is easy on the eye as helms tend to spend a lot of time looking forward at the crew. Of course, crews very rarely look back so ugly helms are ok. Seriously though, are people suggesting that the merlin is no longer an "exciting" boat or unless you weigh less than a carbon fibre feather you are not competative? In todays force5 and gusting, reaching with the kite up was very definitely "exciting" and so was the swimming!

25/11/2007 21:27:10
Worried man
If my helmesman found me easy on the eye, I'd be extremely concerned. Particularly with him as close behind me as that.

25/11/2007 22:13:48
Ancient Geek
Then or at the same time that no discards were allowed until a minimum number of races (4?) had been sailed which was post 1965.

26/11/2007 09:24:04
Robert Harris
The 1963 championship at Whitstable provided an astonishing variety of conditions. The first two races were blown off then on the Wednesday we had two races in very rugged conditions followed by a light breeze on Thursday. Friday's race was sailed in extraordinary conditions with variable shifty winds, fog and rain with the last leg completed in a near flat calm. Brian Southcott won the race and the championship for the third time. 

Tony Davis crewed Brian in one of his three counting races, Adrian Legg crewed in the other two. I should emphasize that wasn't unusual then for a helmsman to recruit a heavier crew for strong winds but it's unlikely that anyone had previously won the championship sailing with more than one crew. The crew rule was changed following that championship.

26/11/2007 09:31:11
Robert Harris
The 1963 championship at Whitstable provided an astonishing variety of conditions. The first two races were blown off then on the Wednesday we had two races in very rugged conditions followed by a light breeze on Thursday. Friday's race was sailed in extraordinary conditions with variable shifty winds, fog and rain with the last leg completed in a near flat calm. Brian Southcott won the race and the championship for the third time. 

Tony Davis crewed Brian in one of his three counting races, Adrian Legg crewed in the other two. I should emphasize that at the time it wasn't unusual for a helmsman to recruit a heavier crew for strong winds. However this was probably the first time a championship had been won with more than one crew and the crew rule was changed following that championship.

26/11/2007 12:11:01
Barry Dunning
We always joked that Adrian Legg stayed on shore to keep his wallet dry! Didnt he turn up at the champs with his Merlin Rocket, Restless, hitched up behind a Rolls Royce?

26/11/2007 12:44:02
Ancient Geek
Yep, but he was a very generous man in spirit as well as fiscally he was also for those times old for a dinghy crew rumour said 65 but my Father who had seen his birth certficate (Life Insurance.) said not quite that old! These days of course lots of us who sail Merlins or whatever are nudging or or over the 60 and some 70.

26/11/2007 12:52:56
Years and/or kilos?

26/11/2007 13:29:26
70s and nearly 80s in some cases!  Which is a great advert for Merlin Rockets and sailing in general.  Doesn't just keep the body in some sort of shape but the mind as well.  Although I've heard it said after some races - "the heart and mind was there, but sadly not the body".

26/11/2007 15:19:46
Garry your a bit optimistic 60-70kgs aren't you!!!! We can dream.....

27/11/2007 17:53:26
I suppose a self draining hull is out of the question?

27/11/2007 19:40:20
Alan F
Not sure a self draining hull adds much to a modern merlin, in any wind that is likely to knock you over, the boat empities in a few seconds anyway. The problem with self draining hulls (I had a GP14 with one) from  my experience, is they tend to turtle very quickly (and with a Merlin that increases the risk of mast breakage), and when you right them they float so high that the helm often has to swim round to the transom to be able to climb in. Never the less, for a heavier slower boat, such as the GP14, it does mean you can  capsize and your race isn't totally over.

27/11/2007 23:26:35
Richard S
I have to agree with David on this one. I think a self-draining hull is what modern Merlins are crying out for. I sail an Int 14 and a Contender and when they come back up after a capsize you are sailing INSTANTLY, with no water left inside at all and they don't seem particularly prone to turning turtle. With regard to any swim to the transom, surely the idea is to go back into the boat over the side, as it comes back up. A Laser comes back up with precious little water in it and you can get back in without even getting your feet wet! I feel that rules 4(g) and 4(h) are unnecessarily obstructive to developments in this regard. Whilst some of the developments being explored in this thread (such as increasing the sail area) could be objected to on the grounds that they might make the boat more difficult for some to sail, the development of a self draining hull would make the boat MORE sailable for all (and safer too in some situations). I expect that some may wish to argue that developing an internal moulding for the "floor" would be difficult but nobody complains about the need for low bow tank mouldings.

28/11/2007 00:05:44
The Old Trout
No no no,please no.  No double floors.  My knees would never stand it.  Awful horrible hateful things.  I sailed a GP with one recently.  I was crippled for a week.

28/11/2007 00:27:34
Richard S
That would just be because you had to spend so much time on your knees praying for the damned boat to achieve any speed!

28/11/2007 08:44:22
Garry R
I thought that the whole idea of sailing was not to capsize. I have often wondered whether handicaps for different dinghies are related to a straight line speed or over a course.  I feel "quickly emptied" boats allow poor sailing not to be penalised. Having been behind Lasers all season in my old lady watching them capsize several times in a race I can't touch them as they are up and away so fast.  I capsized twice all season and on both occasions it was race over for me.  Don't really want to put big holes in my transom!!

28/11/2007 08:47:23
Its quite simple choice for me, I left the GP fleet due to the raised floor ( it distroyed my knees) and if this happened to the merlin, then my next class hunt would begin again.

28/11/2007 09:47:18
Double floors - more buoyancy - boat floats higher when capsized - blows away from you - more effort to get onto the board.

The N12 fleet was never the same after double bottoms came in, I hear....?

28/11/2007 10:23:34
Alan F
Thank you Mags, as 'stepping back' into a capsized boat, i.e. laser dry capsize style doesn't apply to a modern wide merlin.
1. It is very rare to get blown over on the beat, the boat is so wide that you can always drop the boom before the point of no return, laser you can't as the boom hits the water and stops and the laser gets knocked over
2. If you do, you are perched some 7 fett up in the air with a 3.5 foot drop to the centre boat, you are morelikely to fall onto teh sail than to get onto the c/board
3. Normal capsizes are to windward at speed with the kite up, as per Natt and me below

In all cases, the helm swims, and a high floating boat doesn't help recovery
28/11/2007 10:43:50
Richard S
Garry: You are quite right. To put holes in your transom would destroy the nature of your boat, but then I'm sure you don't sail her with the intention of trying to compete with the latest merlins. You also state that your capsizes ruined your race. Capsizes are a feature of dinghy sailing and the ability to recover quickly is part of the business, otherwise the introduction of transom flaps would not have been allowed.

Mags: It all depends on how much bouyancy there is and where it is located. If there is none out at the gunwhales, then the boat will not float high. If you still have side tanks then it will. Admittedly you are not going to have a boat that will lie in the water with the centreboard at surface level.

Trout and Dave: I obviously have to accept your point about your knees. All I can suggest is that it is perhaps the way it has been done in the GP14 (which I have not sailed) that is to blame. I can only say that I have not been particularly aware of knee problems in either the Contender or the Int 14 despite my being (too) close to 60 (years, not kilos unfortunately).

If double bottoms are a disaster nobody will want them, but at least the rules could allow experimentation (in the spirit of the development of the class).

28/11/2007 10:53:35
Alan F
link to picture taht acually works :-)
28/11/2007 11:16:28
Ref. National 12's.  Once you have worket out different capsize righting techniques and adapted your sailing style the double floor is not a big deal for the agile.  However there is no doubt that there are a lot of less agile sailors who do not like double floors.  This is particularly relevant when sailing in restricted waters.

Actually a big capsize with the double floor probably costs more time than with a single floor, because the single floor boat is easier to right.

The biggest gain of the double floor is how much stiffer these boats are. Also when sailing in waves the boats don't swamp.

Double floors are great in 14's because you don't intend to sit in them that much.

I would suggest that you ignore this avenue of development, unless you want to shoot yourselves in the foot.

28/11/2007 12:42:07
Personally I much prefer my 12 with the double bottom.  No more bailing in the light stuff after the water’s come over the gunwales tacking.  No more debating at what point pre start you should sail off to get the boat dry and when you should be lining up.  No more leaky bailers, and the whole thing’s stiffer.

That said there is a ‘special’ technique to recovering a capsize and some of the less agile members of the class have found them very uncomfortable. I think that the actual speed impact on a well sailed boat is virtually nil in most conditions, but psychologically it’s not been good for certain parts of the class. When you’re behind it’s easy to blame anything but yourself, my boat is not double bottomed, carbon masted, one stringed, carbon (delete as appropriate). This has not been good for the class.

I can’t imagine why you would consider messing with your class at the moment based on the very healthy state it looks to be in. You have excellent turnouts, second hand boats get snapped up very quickly, and waiting list exist with your most popular builders. If anything you have more ‘enthusiasm’ than you can cope with (waiting lists/entry limits), why change stuff to generate more? The only possible outcome could be to reduce enthusiasm and how could that ever be good? Your problem is with supply not demand, why mess with the demand part?

28/11/2007 13:17:02
Sorry that should have read 'why change things to generate less'.  That made less sense than changing your rules at the moment.

28/11/2007 14:02:13
Andrew M
Thanks for that N12, some sanity.  As pointed out earlier in this thread, no-one who has identified themselves really feels Merlins need to radically alter.  Barnsie has some suggestions but these involve fiddling within the existing parameters and increasing the diversity away from the perceived Winder/one string raking rig monopoly.  Fortunately the class committee take an interest in the forum at this time of year without feeling it truly represents mainstream opinion in the class - the MRX only succeeded in a limited way, N12's have had problems following their rule changes, the engineers reckon the boat needs to be heavier to make heavyweights more competitive and nobody really wants that.  It's good to have the hull weight at a level where a boat can be feasibly built as a one-off in wood and it's not as if we are talking about a boat that's so heavy it is a problem to manage on a slipway like a GP14 or wayfarer, I can launch and recover single handed on occasion.

Andrew 3511

28/11/2007 15:03:48
Richard S
I would also like to add my thanks to N12. He (or she) makes two salient points. Firstly that there can be distinct advantages to sailing a boat with a double skin and secondly that going down this route can produce problems which relate more to the success of the class and class membership rather than the performance of the boat. These two points are both very important and clearly concensus about the relative importance of each needs to be reached. Clearly a development which may bring a small improvement to the boat but which destroys the membership of the class is unlikely to be acceptable.

What I find disturbing in some posts on this thread, however, is that, on a discussion forum for a class where development is part of the ethos, we cannot explore ideas without the risk of being vilified as bonkers, insane or secretive. I am pleased to hear that the class committee takes an interest in the forum but am surprised at the apparent suggestion that they feel that they can dismiss any views aired on it. I should imagine the committee members themselves might be surprised to learn this too. How can anyone know what mainstream opinion is if people cannot discuss issues? This thread has had well over 100 posts with a whole range of interesting ideas attempting to look at possible future developments for the rig and the hull. You cannot claim there is no interest in the matter. If just one small improvement can come from one amendment to one rule, then discussions like this are worthwhile and should be encouraged.

28/11/2007 17:02:53
Andrew M
When I look back at my last post it never quite reads as you want it to.  I enjoy discussions like this and it's one of the reasons for sailing a Merlin.  I do wonder why people are anxious about revealing their identities on this forum.  What I meant about the committee was really that the present committee have achieved great success for the class with the best turnouts at opens and the nats of any restricted class, this has coincided with a period of overt stability of the main parts of the rules so boats have not been rendered obsolete and there is a very buoyant 2nd hand market.  There are a number of things that can be done within the existing parameters of the restricted class (note NOT development class like a Moth) that have not been fully explored.  The change in the spinnaker rule has been universally welcomed but it essentially allowed development of a sail that properly exploited the longer pole and the maximum area allowable by changing the measurement rule and freeing constraints on sail shape.  The interesting thing would be whether there is something similar that can be done for the jib and main that would give extra power in light to medium conditions to help the heavier teams exploit their extra righting moment.  I didn't intend to dismiss the views on this thread at all, they are very interesting, but I did feel that this had memories of very similar discussions on the forum in the close season about taking lead out of the boat!

28/11/2007 17:03:21
Andrew M
When I look back at my last post it never quite reads as you want it to.  I enjoy discussions like this and it's one of the reasons for sailing a Merlin.  I do wonder why people are anxious about revealing their identities on this forum.  What I meant about the committee was really that the present committee have achieved great success for the class with the best turnouts at opens and the nats of any restricted class, this has coincided with a period of overt stability of the main parts of the rules so boats have not been rendered obsolete and there is a very buoyant 2nd hand market.  There are a number of things that can be done within the existing parameters of the restricted class (note NOT development class like a Moth) that have not been fully explored.  The change in the spinnaker rule has been universally welcomed but it essentially allowed development of a sail that properly exploited the longer pole and the maximum area allowable by changing the measurement rule and freeing constraints on sail shape.  The interesting thing would be whether there is something similar that can be done for the jib and main that would give extra power in light to medium conditions to help the heavier teams exploit their extra righting moment.  I didn't intend to dismiss the views on this thread at all, they are very interesting, but I did feel that this had memories of very similar discussions on the forum in the close season about taking lead out of the boat!

01/01/2014 22:03:21
Gareth Griffiths
Sorry for digging up another ancient, formerly dead thread, but this is such an interesting forum full of gems...

But I was wondering if an easy way to broaden the weight spectrum in the class could be easily adjusted by encorporati g the rig into the weight restriction of 100kgs.

Then a larger crew cold have a heavier, stiffer rig that would mean less lead in the yacht and a Lightweight crew wold have a lighter bendier rig but more lead.

01/01/2014 22:03:30
Gareth Griffiths
Sorry for digging up another ancient, formerly dead thread, but this is such an interesting forum full of gems...

But I was wondering if an easy way to broaden the weight spectrum in the class could be easily adjusted by encorporati g the rig into the weight restriction of 100kgs.

Then a larger crew cold have a heavier, stiffer rig that would mean less lead in the yacht and a Lightweight crew wold have a lighter bendier rig but more lead.

02/01/2014 21:12:03
Gareth Griffiths
Wait a minute 

Is the rig already part of the all up weight measurement???

02/01/2014 21:48:42
John M
Neither the mast, boom, poles or rudder form part of measured weight.

rule 5(b)
The TOTAL WEIGHT of the boat including centreboard, buoyancy and its fastenings, fixed fittings rigidly attached to the hull, fixed bottom boards and correctors, and adjustment tackles for shrouds, lower shrouds, kicking strap and jib halyard but stripped of sails, spars, rudder, tiller, pump, sheets, standing rigging and all other gear shall never be less than 98kg

03/01/2014 09:28:14
Gareth Griffiths
Thanks John.

If the mast was included maybe it would encourage heavier crews to build stiffer rigs...

03/01/2014 16:10:34
Keith Callaghan
It's been interesting to read this old thread (although difficult in places, because of the appalling spelling of some of you!).
The thread originated in 2007: since then there have been several innovative new designs - Jon Turner's GENII, Jo Richard's DEADLINE (aka 'Superfast Jellyfish') and my own HAZARDOUS designs. The Jellyfish and two boats to my designs have been built in wood - the obvious choice for prototype Merlin Rockets, and fully competitive, being just as stiff and almost as light (but still under minimum weight) as the FRP boats. So I think that in 2014 we can say that there have been some positive developments in hull design. Andy Davis reckons that the optimum weight for a Championship MR crew is 23st, which is not exactly light. If the heavyweights would rather not get their body mass index down to appropriate levels then in my opinion as a designer, the best thing to equalise the weight issue would be to reduce the rise of floor width measurement. I'm not suggesting that I would back such a move, though.

03/01/2014 16:41:35
Andrew M
Laurie Smart has a similar view, though his proposed solution would be to move the rise of floor measurement point aft by about a foot allowing narrower waterlines in the bow.  I don't think either of these will catch on as the boat we have seems to provide a very satisfactory sailing experience for 2 ordinary sized sailors over a variety of sailing venues and the idea of potentially outclassing over a hundred competitive boats doesn't really bear contemplating as a development.

05/01/2014 22:20:55
Keith Callaghan
Andrew, you say, "the idea of potentially outclassing over a hundred competitive boats doesn't really bear contemplating as a development". Heaven forbid that a new killer design comes along that outclasses all existing boats. But it has happened before. That's what can happen in a development class. I think a lot of people (not least those with boats built in the last 10 years or so) might be very ambivalent about that possibility. Perhaps we should ban all new development, just to be on the safe side.

06/01/2014 08:51:48
Didn't the shift to carbon rigs outdate a lot of boats almost overnight? Taking about 10kgs of unmeasured weight out of a boat is quite an advantage only overcome by spending stacks of cash.

The problem with almost all developments even in so called one designs is that they are led from the front of the fleet.

06/01/2014 11:06:42
I agree with Keith, one of the attractions of the Merlin Rocket is the fact that within the rule restrictions, we can experiment with different hull shapes and rigs: with the aim of getting a faster shape, maybe this would ultimately outclass other boats but as Keith says it would not be the first time. 

If we did not have this we would never have reached today's mean machines.

The experiments continue, sometimes they work sometimes they don't. That is what it is all about.

06/01/2014 11:41:51
Andrew M
No, I'm not against innovating within the design parameters we have, but the specific idea of altering the rise of floor measurement I think would have adverse consequences.  I'm actually less against the Smart idea around a tolerance for the measurement point for the rise of floor.  What is interesting about the (somewhat) different shapes that have been produced recently is that they have been so similar in speed to the benchmark design.  My boat is a different and unfashionable shape and I am aware that there are strengths and weaknesses against the CT standard.

06/01/2014 14:15:46
I understand the discussion about variations in hull shape impacting boat speed but I am not sure I really see the benefit of worrying too much about the weight of the boat for 95% of the fleet given the significant differences in crew weights (unless all top crews are really bang on the correct design weight for their boat?).  Surely a few less pints and pies the night before would have similar impact to a few Kgs shaved off a rig weight and at a lot less cost?!  Pictures from the Salcombe socials suggest pies and pints are consumed in significant volumes ?  I guess the finer points are relevant to the very top end of the fleet but for most of us I think fitness, practice and tactics are probably key to boat speed?


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