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That new wooden Merlin

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ifoxwell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ifoxwell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: That new wooden Merlin
    Posted: 15 Apr 09 at 3:29pm

I seem to remember seeing one at the Dinghy show.

Has it been sailed yet... is it competitive against the established designs... does it provide an affordable DIY route to the front of the fleet?

Ian

 

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Peaky View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Peaky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 09 at 3:44pm
Don't know whether it is competitive or not, but IIRC there was a thread on the MR forum that suggested getting one built professionally cost over 18k.  So either there is a lot of man hours (too many for most home builders?), or the hourly rate of a wooden boat builder is very high, or the DIY option will still be expensive.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MerlinMags Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 09 at 4:15pm
Here's the thread:
http://www.merlinrocket.co.uk/forum....4158

Here are some pics from the boat show, when she was unfinished:

http://www.merlinrocket.co.uk/gallery/.....rob_holroyd
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 09 at 5:14pm
There are a lot of man hours in full completion of a wooden boat to show standard... Just the prep, painting and varnishing is serious stuff. Much more labour in a wood boat.
And getting nice stripwood is increasingly difficult - try getting some nice clear spruce 15ft long for gunwhales for instance...
But wood is still a very decent boatbuilding material - superior to a polyster/glass/foam layup in many ways. And with a weight limit as generous as the Merlin one I can't think of any reason why a wooden one shouldn't be fully competitive.

The trouble is that, even for a homebuild, the materials for the hull are a small part of the cost of putting a competitive boat on the water. A Merlin is presumably a pain in the neck to home build in foam/epoxy/carbon, but for something like a Cherub or an IC you might save I guess around 500 quid in materials in a wood hull against a epoxy/carbon/foam one, but OTOH you'd need a lot more skill and a lot more materials, and it would take you a lot longer to produce the wood boat. Consider that pro foils are probably 750, rig what, maybe 3K, gear 2-3k depending on fitout... So a amateur wood boat might be 6K5, and a foam carbon one 7K. Not a huge difference! Obviously you can save more if you are able to build fully competetive foils and spars, but even then a new carbon boat is probably going to cost you 6K... (these are all completely finger in air numbers!)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tickler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 09 at 10:12pm
Having just re built a "firewood " Merlin this is an interesting post.  Because of the clinker construction Merlins must be one of the few round bilge wooden boats that an amateur  can build. The hull on my 35 year old boat was pretty good after years of ill treatment and abandonment, the rest however fell apart! I believe that top wooden merlin builders can build them down to 75kg! (min weight 98kg). When you consider that a Tasar, which is well known for its frugality is 68kg then thats not bad. I am a joiner by trade and I do believe that I could build one from scratch but I could never achieve the level of finnish produced by the top men. A basic boat "crudely" finnished and simply rigged is a relativley cheap possibility but add all the bells and whistles and the cost becomes astranomic. I sailed mine for the first time last Sunday and it seemed fast in the light stuff but one side deck cracked under rig tension because of a bad repair pre me.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ColPrice2002 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 09 at 10:38am

Hi,

For a Merlin, home build GRP/FRP isn't an option - the mould has to be measured and approved - that's far beyond a home build cost.

For the amateur, there's a choice of wood - or wood. Keith's design is apparently available from Jordan's - remember that you'll have to build a hull to a design - the copyright is the designer's, so you'll need to have a licence for the boat you're building (if you can get one!). Maybe you could design your own?

Anyway, for a Merlin, if the hull costs 1000 (kit plus glue/resins/paint/varnish), you still need a centrboard, rudder (400-500?), carbon mast/boom/spinnaker poles/sails (3500) and then all the hull fittings.

My guesstimate is about 5000-6000 - without labour costs - and then there's "extras" like trolley/trailer/covers.

Still good value, but it shows that most of the cost is in the rigging and the labour costs.

Personally, I'd love to build one - but it means clearing out the garage and having sole occupancy for several months to bring it to a standard I'd like. On a time basis, that's a hobby - not a commercial undertaking.

For Jim, my (older) Merlin has the gunwhale as several pieces - theyre' scarfed joints, and it looks like there are 3 parts. Bow/stern - constant depth, centre section which has a deeper cross section and a "droop". Mind you - the scarf is done well so there's only just a line visible - no gaps!

Colin (MR 3387)

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Post Options Post Options   Quote AndrewM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 09 at 11:25am
My own wooden Merlin is in with Laurie for repair.  I know full well that my ability to repair and refurbish the boat is nowhere near the standard that the professionals obtain.  Laurie's boats have always set a high standard for engineering and finish, this latest Wicked is no exception, there isn't a straight line anywhere on the hull or decks and the quality of the joinery is superb.  You get what you pay for.  The wooden hulls have been durable - Gangsta Paradise still winning races at open meetings at 13 years old, Rong Number is a mere 9 years old I think still very quick, probably better at that age than composite.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote RichardB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 09 at 11:42am

Not yet but the owner is hoping to sail her this coming weekend so I understand.

As for the boats competitiveness this is yet to be established, I suspect the Nationals in August will be the boats true baptism/tester but I do not see any reason why it should not be up somewhere near the front, they do say it is 40% boat 60% helm!

Mags has posted the links to the MR forum which covers the topic of affordability and predominantly the issue of home build. There is a mixed bag of comments but generally I think the concensus is that it does offer an affordable alternative route. 

I understand that the laser cut components produced by Jordan Boats will be easy to assemble, that is assuming you have rudimentary woodworking skills. That said I believe there were discussions between the builder of this particular boat (Laurie Smart) and Keith Callaghan (Designer) as to whether kits could be assembled by a professional, such as Laurie, if required. Not sure how far this developed. That way you have a professionally completed hull and deck that will only (and I use the word very loosley) require owner completion/fit out. 

I might try and tackle Laurie and establish timescale/cost for putting a kit together that way a better cost comparison can be established. Alternatively contact Laurie direct (his number can be found on the MR website under builders), and ask him the question direct, assuming that is he would want to do it in the first instance. 

 

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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 09 at 12:06pm
Originally posted by RichardB

they do say it is 40% boat 60% helm!

More like 10% boat, 90%crew in my experience...

Edited by JimC
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Keith_Callaghan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Keith_Callaghan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 09 at 9:29pm
There has been a lot of interest and debate surrounding my new Merlin Rocket design (Hazardous Zero-9) and the possibility of building a competitive boat cheaply and simply. The plywood kit idea is, I think, a viable way forward. I am commissioning the first kit myself from Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats, but first I am waiting for Rob Holroyd's new Merlin "Wicked" MR 3709 to hit the water and show its potential. Rob may well be at the Inland Championships at Pitsford on May 9/10, so that will be a good opportunity to evaluate her.
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