Monday 27 May 2013

Merlin Revisited

A couple of years ago I visited St Denys Sailing and Rowing Club on the River Itchen in Southampton, and tried out their Victorian racing skiff Merlin, which is a thing of beauty and a symphony in varnish.
The downside, literally, was the depth the little boat was driven to by a rower clearly a lot bigger than she was designed for (as you can see, even with the stretcher at its furthest my knees are way up in the air).
Yesterday I revisited the club with the Home Built Boat Rally. It was great to catch up with them all and also to try Merlin again.
I had hoped that losing a couple of stone with my low carb diet would mean she would ride higher and prouder in the water, but as you can see the difference is minimal. <Sigh>
Removing the stretcher entirely meant I could get my legs straight, but after this picture was taken I found it was impossible to get any pressure on without it so I put it back in and had a bit of a knees-up, so to speak.


Neil Calore said...

Beautiful boat, thanks Chris!
. . . Neil Calore - Phila., PA USA

Jim Gallacher said...

The Merlin photos look uncannily similar to the Chippendale Sprite and since I saw Snarleyow on your masthead I have been fairly smitten. On first learning that its hull is just 4mm ply I did not believe this could be strong enough for a 15' boat. I understand the curved tension in the panels plus the gunwales and glue do make it rigid enough though. What I am left wondering is whether the wood is normally 3-ply or 5-ply to achieve the strength required for rowing upwind in a chop? And what would you say is the maximumish crew weight on a rower like the Sprite? Thanks.

Chris Partridge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Partridge said...

Hi Jim,
My Sprite is very good upwind in a chop. The wide gunwale helps deflect water away from the boat and the very light weight means it bobs over the waves rather than through them, so she is generally a very dry boat. I can't remember if it is 3 or 5 ply - ask Seabird Boats for that info. I also don't know what the maximum crew weight is but I have never felt overloaded though I did raise the outriggers to help bring the handles up to clear my knees better.

Unknown said...

Nice one Chris, thanks for keeping us updated.