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Merlin Rocket


The Merlin or to give the boat it’s full name the Merlin Rocket, is a rather different vessel to many of other boats sailed at Minima being a development class rather than strict one-design yet in a strange way it is related. The Merlin was originally conceived over 60 years ago as a boat for the Thames by Jack Holt who was also responsible for the other main designs sailed at Minima. Later the class merged with the Rocket class to become the Merlin Rocket Class.  The rules specify boundaries rather than strict design measurements hence it is an ever evolving or development class of dinghy.

When walking along on the Thames in Kingston Merlin Rockets can be readily identified by their multi-coloured foresails. They are unique amongst the boats at Minima in that the class permits a spinnaker which is a large sail designed for downwind conditions.

Despite the age of this class and the plethora of modern dinghy classes, the clinker-built, plastic or wooden Merlin Rocket remains at the centre of the dinghy-racing scene. It combines the boat handling and tactical racing of the traditional designs with the thrills and excitement of the modern "fast in a straight line" designs. This is a boat which can appear almost as wide as it is long, the class rules in fact set maximum width of 7’ 2” and a length of 14’. Most of the boats sailed at Minima are wooden and many are vintage craft as the older, narrower style Merlin Rockets perform better in the close confines of the river.

All in all this is an extremely modern class providing excellent racing through the UK and Minima is no exception. Here you will find a competitive fleet where the quality of crew and helm is regularly tested in close fought racing but it remains a class which welcomes and encourages new members who relish the challenge of this historic yet thoroughly modern boat.