Merlin Rocket

What is a Merlin Rocket?

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Modern Merlin Rockets are very wide compared to other classes, giving maximum righting moment when hiking, without needing a trapeze. The earlier hull shapes were much narrower, when river sailing was a priority. The Merlin Rocket is one of the few classes to stick with clinker construction (wood or plastic), making very beautiful boats.

Mainsail shapes are very distinctive, with a long top batten giving extra area high up.

The rules allow for different sail plans but most new boats since the early 1990s have opted for what has become more or less a class ‘standard’.

A large symmetric spinnaker gives exciting reaches, and allows running too – an important consideration on restricted water where asymmetrics cannot operate effectively.

Merlin Rockets at FGSC

The Merlin class has become an all round choice for a wide age group at Fishers Green, being exciting for our younger members and fascinating for the more mature owners. The Merlin seems to accommodate a wide range of helm/crew sizes and the spinnaker allows for dead runs where asymetrics have failed to perform satisfactorily.

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At FGSC we have the latest Winder epoxy boats which also see action at Salcombe and MROA (Silver Tiller) open meetings and we also have a collection of older wooden boats illegible for the MROA De-May Series for older boats. All of our vintage boats have arrived as wrecks/rescue projects and been rebuilt & restored to racing condition.

FGSC now hosts an annual open event for the vintage fleet and we run a short club series for the modern boats. In both groups we invite keen club members to get involved and mix up different helms/crews to include & encourage new blood.
Both current and older boats enter club handicap racing using two locally adjusted PY handicaps, based on historic data from club racing and are subject to annual revue by our handicap officer.

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Key Figures

  • Ideal crew weight: 20 – 28 stone combined
  • Portsmouth Yardstick handicap:
    • Modern Merlin (sail number 3500 onwards): 999
    • Classic Merlin (sail number 1 to 3499): 1040
  • Hull weight: 98kg
  • Length: 14ft, width 7ft 2in Max
  • Website: https://www.merlinrocket.co.uk