History

A Brief History

Dilly by Beken, Cowes

The Class was launched in January 1946 after an eight man syndicate from Ranelagh Sailing Club, on the Thames in London, had the previous year commissioned Jack Holt to design a lightweight 14ft., clinker hull with a 100sq.ft., sail plan and a moderate sized spinnaker.

The prototype was called 'Kate' after the last few letters in 'syndicate' and with the lessons learnt from her construction 'Merlin' was built - the first of the new Class.

The Class Association was formed in 1947, the first of its kind, which has been used as a pattern by many other classes.   The rules were devised to allow for the development of hull and rig rather than be of a 'one-design' nature.
  Dilly, circa 1949. photo Beken Cowes.

The 'Rocket' class was formed in 1949 when a group of Tynemouth sailors commissioned Wyche & Coppock of Nottingham to design a half deck 14ft., dinghy. This boat had more sail area, narrower decks and was lighter.   After much debate the Classes merged in April, 1951 to form the 'Merlin Rocket Class'.

Wyche & Coppock introduced glued plywood construction in 1953 which replaced the solid planked, ash ribbed, nailed clinker hulls which up until then were the only means of construction.   Terylene sails were adopted in 1959 replacing cotton sails, at the same time aluminium masts were being experimented with which produced a far more powerful rig.   This coupled with the development of transom flaps lead to the development of wider and wider hulls - flaring out to over well over 7ft 6ins. to increase sitting out power.


wideIn 1969 a maximum beam of 7ft 2ins. was introduced to allow the boats to be towed and not break the maximum width rules!!
   4ft-7ins Sealgh and 6ft-8ins Krakawot.
The next most significant development was the spinnaker chute which allowed the spinnaker to be raised and lowered very much more easily than the conventional launching 'out of the bag'.   In 1972 an experimental four plank boat was built with the objective of reducing costs however it was not well received by the Class and was not pursued.

 

Rowsell Bros WorkshopIn 1980, following research, foam sandwich hulls were allowed linked with a change in the construction rules to lower the front buoyancy tank and improve the structural bulkheads around the shrouds.   The development of materials and designs has resulted in light strong and durable hulls..
  Merlins in build at Rowsell Bros. Spud inspects a new GRP hull.

A feature of the Class has been the high standard of craftsmanship and finish that the various builders have maintained over the years.   To give an idea of how designs have changed the class, in 1966 the championships were won by a Proctor Mark IX with a beam of 5ft., whereas two years later the winning boat was a 6ft. 8in., wide 'Wotnot' design.

A number of prominent designers have associations with the Class e.g. Phil Morrison, Ian Proctor, David Thomas, Keith Callaghan, Ian Holt and so on.   Whilst the Morrison designs dominated the seventies and eighties, the nineties have been dominated by the Holt designed 'Canterbury Tales' - or derivatives thereof.

The spinnaker size and pole length was increased in 1979 and in 1996 the pole length was increased to 2300mm to allow spinnakers to be made to their maximum size within the existing rules.   Carbon fibre is being used more frequently in the construction of mast, boom and spinnaker poles.

Class Championships have been held on the sea every year since 1946, with over 15 venues used over the years.   Traditionally the Championship was sailed over a week with six races sailed and five to count.   In 1999 the same six race series is to be sailed over a long weekend at Weymouth in August.

The Silver Tiller Series was devised in 1950 and sought to find the helmsman who could win consistently sailing on a whole range of waters.   To that end the series runs over a whole season with competitors having to count their best five results having sailed on restricted water, open water and the sea.   Consequently competitors get to sail on rivers, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries and the sea.   Additional to this national event there are 'local' circuits such as the Midland Circuit and the recently established 'Thames Circuit'.

As the nineties draw to a close the Class and its builders are examining ways to maintain the character of the class yet at the same time take advantage of new materials and techniques.


To be continued...
TopicAuthorLatest PostViewsPosts
Salcombe M/R Week = accommodation available
Mike Colles27/02/2019 21:40:03 - Mike Colles4182
Crew needed for Burghfield
Carl27/02/2019 20:54:13 - 2021
Gear Guide 2018
Pip27/02/2019 16:17:39 - 2641
Pwllheli ST Volunteers
Fixtures Man16/02/2019 18:50:30 - 3391
Kit Boat for Sale
James Gibbons27/02/2019 09:44:59 - Paul Downing11426
HD sails for sale.
Ben 376722/02/2019 23:51:15 - 2471
Chichester ST
Fixtures Man18/02/2019 16:16:02 - Grozzer8135733
Pwllheli ST Volunteers
Fixtures Man16/02/2019 18:50:26 - 2291
Starcross Steamer
James W16/02/2019 09:15:40 - James Wells2381
Inlands Results 2018
Pip14/02/2019 10:48:22 - Ally4735
North sails for sale
Dave Lee 11/02/2019 18:48:04 - Dave Lee6583
Merlin Week Flight preferences 2019. FINAL CALL.
Salcombe Yacht Club11/02/2019 18:05:17 - 3121
Gear Guide 2017
Pip11/02/2019 13:04:49 - Pip3242
Blithfied Barrel 2018/19
Tim Male07/02/2019 18:12:34 - Tim Male10985
Midland Circuit Prize Returns
Martin Smith04/02/2019 11:14:50 - Martin Smith2551
Centreboard
Simon03/02/2019 11:24:38 - Scam5434
Mast track problems
Logan01/02/2019 18:35:16 - D.H97526
Merlin Nationals 2021 Venue
Ian Mackenzie01/02/2019 18:25:13 - D.H8207
Jim Park
Colin31/01/2019 16:21:50 - Keith_Callaghan11167
Tales variations
Chris P. Bacon30/01/2019 18:18:52 - 3551
Merlin week flights
Salcombe Yacht Club29/01/2019 17:33:46 - 4071
Merlin Week 2019 MROA membership. IMPORTANT.
Salcombe Yacht Club29/01/2019 16:59:18 - 3561
Merlin Week 2019 MROA membership. IMPORTANT.
Salcombe Yacht Club29/01/2019 16:58:59 - 2371
Salcombe Week 2020
Tim Male28/01/2019 15:49:59 - Ian Mackenzie213119
Centreboard For Sale.
Ben 376726/01/2019 16:12:17 - 35739514
A nice boat for someone...
Derik Palmer26/01/2019 08:46:11 - Mike Liggett6123
whereabouts of Merlin Rocket no.3002
John Turner24/01/2019 14:33:17 - Rebecca Baker178014
Brian Southcott
Pat Blake23/01/2019 14:24:48 - Tamesis Club12137
Wanted - Sovereign launching trolley
Dan22/01/2019 16:33:02 - 33705124
Wanted: Compass
Richard22/01/2019 10:21:13 - Richard3533
Bow tack, yes or no?
John Cooper16/01/2019 10:22:51 - Ben3767147216
Itchenor Winter Warmer
George Yeoman15/01/2019 16:37:44 - 4231
tack fitting
Simon15/01/2019 16:34:23 - 2951
Mainsail design
Richard Saunderson09/01/2019 13:12:14 - Andrew Mills118929
of HDs for sale (1st at Salcombe Week and only used for this regatta)
Simon Blake06/01/2019 08:08:48 - Simon Blake5742
Crew for Salcombe
Tim Barr02/01/2019 11:19:17 - 4451
Main halyard working loads
Andyismrtoad26/12/2018 19:43:55 - Gareth Griffiths NHRC7107
A new Merlin Rocket design for 2019
Keith callaghan22/12/2018 06:26:20 - Gareth Griffiths NHRC8082
Grafham Hand Prix Sunday 30 Dec
Dave18/12/2018 14:24:58 - Dave3792
Sponsorship
RC371515/12/2018 20:39:05 - 4561
Gear guides
Claire14/12/2018 13:40:44 - Pip6685
John Harris
Richard Harris11/12/2018 19:17:07 - Dave & Jenny Philpott170116
Free sails
Chris Jennings10/12/2018 18:41:55 - Chris Jennings5022
Hull epoxy
Richie dugdale09/12/2018 16:13:49 - Rod & Jo12436
Main Halyard 2:1 length
Chris G 361309/12/2018 01:19:03 - Gareth Griffiths NHRC67213
merlin 2800
neil parkinson @ [email protected]03/12/2018 01:09:04 - 2581
Various Newbie Questions
Chris G 361328/11/2018 20:06:52 - Grozzer81370510
Magazine
Chris26/11/2018 19:00:29 - 3441
Wooden decks
17/11/2018 12:39:10 - Rod & Jo347859
Sailwave series templates
JMac08/11/2018 18:36:44 - JMac6583
15 % off Magic Marine for MROA Members
Lou Johnson31/10/2018 13:40:02 - sophie6267
Welcome to new members
Logan31/10/2018 07:11:18 - Colin Brockbank6764
Nautilus Imland Championships - next weekend
Chris M29/10/2018 20:18:32 - Ross10428
Epifanes clear gloss varnish - help please
Richard Saunderson28/10/2018 14:14:41 - Richard Saunderson85110
Salcombe 2019 entry update
Ross26/10/2018 18:21:27 - Graham Cranford Smith154111
Lymington - online entry refund?
Dave C24/10/2018 18:33:32 - Plus One4712
Ranelagh Downriver Race - Thames Series Finale - This Sunday
Frances Gifford24/10/2018 17:40:08 - Frances Gifford3922
History of 3216
Godfrey Clark22/10/2018 00:08:30 - William Harris141910
Silver Tiller Dinner Tickets - All gone (well, nearly)
Mark (the plus one)21/10/2018 13:02:49 - Ian Mackenzie4792
ST scores updated
Ross19/10/2018 16:46:02 - Ross6415
Page
1 2 3 4 >5< 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122