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Posts Tagged ‘bill lee’

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Screen Shot 2017-03-05 at 11.33.54 PMA pile of the West Coast sled Merlin’s alumni got together to celebrate Merlin’s Ruby anniversary, and thanks to SA’er sleddog, we got pics. No matter how frankenturbo’d the Bill Lee classic gets, she’ll always be magic, and she’ll always have history.

A sunny afternoon for MERLIN’s 40th Birthday celebration at Santa Cruz Harbor. Many familiar faces among 150 paying homage, with docks filled, tours below, and MERLIN’s cockpit filled with smiles, guitar and mandolin music. Much emotion too, realizing we are all 40 years down the road. Yay, MERLIN, bringing us together again!

Hit the thread for Merlin’s fan club and chat group.
 

March 5th, 2017 by admin

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post-17096-0-66375300-1476471989An epic story of a piece of history’s restoration ends with a splash…with thanks to sleddog;

Last evening, as the sun set into a thick fog, the acerbic and perpetually weird Bill Lee’s iconic ‘Fast is Fun” MERLIN was lowered into the Pacific at Santa Cruz Harbor after an absence of many years in Great Lakes waters.

Bill and crew spent recent months removing the dysfunctional canting keel, daggerboard, hydraulics, and massive internal structure, and installing a new, Alan Andrews designed, torpedo type keel. Bill had a broad smile last evening when he saw MERLIN floating evenly and exactly on her original, 1977, designed lines, indicating a displacement of 25,000 pounds had been met.

MERLIN will compete in next summer’s Transpac, 40 years after breaking the Transpac elapsed time record.

Welcome Home, MERLIN! A re-christening ceremony will be held February 26, all invited. Regarding questions about the paint job, cabin shape, and other refinements, Bill would say MERLIN remains a “work in progress,” with nothing off the table, but jesus, can’t  ya at least paint the god damn thing something other than that? Say, white?

It is worth noting that design hack Leif Beiley is the one who orchestrated the butchery, as noted above, to virtually destroy as much of the originality of Merlin as possible. Y’all remember that tool, don’t ya?

 

October 14th, 2016 by admin

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post-17096-0-03414700-1446061341

Many have called Bill Lee’s Merlin the boat that launched the West Coast’s love of high speed downwind sailing.  The ultra-narrow icon has been bastardized and frankenboated to near death (thanks Leif Beiley) in her recent years of Great Lakes racing, but with her long-awaited return to a Santa Cruz that once loved and worshipped her, all that is about to change.  For a beautifully written look at the full and fascinating history of one of the sport’s most important milestones, click over here.  Here’s the arrival report from SA’er “sleddog”, from the thread. Photos from the same dog.

At 9:30 this morning, with police escort lights flashing, Driver Mike with MERLIN in tow made the last turn, gently bottomed out on the boatyard hill, and MERLIN was home.
Mike had been delayed at Donner Pass Ag Station when an inspector, doing his job, had found a Zebra Mussel infestation in the keel box and canting mechanism and quarantined the boat.  It took Mike 4 hours to find someone who would hot pressure wash the boat….but he seemed in good humor and no worse for wear, given the size and length of his eye catching cargo.
post-17096-0-51626300-1446061441Three of MERLIN’s original TransPac crew were on hand for her arrival:  Designer/builder Bill Lee, “Bosun” Dave Wahle, and Phil “Cosmic Flush” Vandenberg.  As MERLIN was backed into the boatyard for unloading by TraveLift, there was a brief moment of serendipity when MERLIN passed close astern of Bill Lee’s first ocean racing boat, the shoal draft, centerboard, John Alden designed, 38′ FRIDOLF, on which Bill crewed in Southern California in the mid-60’s, and later on Monterey Bay.
There’s a lot to be done to make MERLIN ocean worthy again.  First up is to locate a used TP-52 keel to replace the canting monstrosity. Bill has feelers out from Canada to Mexico.  The “leaky” canard trunk has to be cut out, and glassed over.  Even though Bill agreed the forward sloping, carbon fiber, cabin top is ugly, I doubt it is going anywhere soon. There are bigger fish to fry.   Ditto the ” MERLIN’S REATA”  graphics, a leftover from when she was sold to a Texas restauranteer.
Everyone was smiling this morning to see MERLIN back home. I’m sure there will be more stories to come

 

October 30th, 2015 by admin

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