Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

an area to discuss dinghy developments
Post Reply
aviateam
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:16 pm

Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

Post by aviateam » Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:09 pm

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Sailing-dingh ... SwuAVW0g~i

Can anyone confirm if this is a Mercury Dinghy and if it is how they sail ?

User avatar
PeterV
Posts: 1186
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2004 8:47 pm
Location: Locks Heath, Hampshire

Re: Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

Post by PeterV » Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:31 pm

Yes, definitely a Mercury. They sail well, off the same handicap as a Wayfarer generally. They have a good amount of rocker so they tack quickly, are pretty fast upwind. They do have a small spinnaker but struggle to carry it on a reach as they haven't got the sharper turn of bilge of say a Lark

Not many around now, only 100 were built but worth looking after.
PeterV
Finn K197 & GBR564
Warsash

cweed
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:14 pm

Re: Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

Post by cweed » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:09 pm

Just looking at those pictures of the Mercury, I suddenly could 'smell' the wooden dinghies the old jeans, plimsolls and waterproof top I wore when sailing in the '60's and 70's......................
Plastic boats just don't have the same sensory experience!

dronskiuk
Posts: 179
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:23 pm
Location: Where Broadland meets the sea

Re: Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

Post by dronskiuk » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:08 pm

cweed wrote:Just looking at those pictures of the Mercury, I suddenly could 'smell' the wooden dinghies the old jeans, plimsolls and waterproof top I wore when sailing in the '60's and 70's......................
Plastic boats just don't have the same sensory experience!
I relate to that! The smell of the varnished woodwork as the canvas cover is rolled back on my Mirror is still in my nostrils today...

GAv
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:34 am
Location: N Essex
Contact:

Re: Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

Post by GAv » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:39 pm

I can still recall the wiff of wood becoming charcoal, when a Mirror, avec le derrière wrotten, likewise a Streaker and Phantom, had a burn up, all of which donated many parts to other more fortunate wooden craft, a Russian Firefly Copy now Lithuanian sports Butterfly's old sails, and Butterfly is in two halves outback behind a Wooden Minisail Sprite and Minisprint Monaco Plastic hull.
I recall the smell of wooden and metal shavings plus the burnt bacon of the forge when helping construct a Wayfairer circa 1965/6, the GP 14s we sailed in Seamanship from the dock Anex of Grimsby Nautical and Navigation College, were odourless as the all pervading wiff of fishes, the catches from the all flourishing Fishing boat fleets/fish markets etc made any other pong redundant.
Likewise the hardy folk who worked so very hard when the place flourished, and European Fish quotas were not heard of.

Bob the boat
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:30 pm

Re: Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

Post by Bob the boat » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:28 pm

There were 100 mk1 Mercurys built, and one mk2, which was the only one making 101.
Which is under slow restoration, when I picked the boat up, I was given a box full of papers and photos, inc measurement, of the boat and sails, which I am happy to pass on if any needs them,

Rupert
Posts: 6224
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2004 8:40 pm
Location: Cotswold Water Park

Re: Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

Post by Rupert » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:50 am

The smell I remember is that of the wet plimsolls. Better than wetsuit boots, but not by much.

The Mercury is a lovely boat to sail. Just felt right, like sitting in a comfey arm chair.
Rupert

roger
Posts: 3026
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:08 pm
Location: Frome Somerset UK

Re: Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

Post by roger » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:51 am

I always think of Bob Corfield when I see a Mercury. He was a good sailor but unbeatable in the Mercury.
Hornet 191 Shoestring,
Hornet 595 Demon awaiting restoration
Hornet 610 Final Fling
Hornet 353

davidh
Posts: 3162
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:43 am
Location: Ventor Isle of Wight

Re: Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

Post by davidh » Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:58 pm

Roger is right in that Bob (Caulfield) was a very good, not to mention highly competitive dinghy sailor. I knew him well, indeed, I stayed with him out in Brisbane where we sailed together.

But there is more to this story...lots more.

Some time back I did some analysis of what boat I would chose, if winning a classic event (I think I was looking at Bosham) was the object of the exercise, then I reasoned that there are some boats that are more capable of this than others. We are not talking about 'bandits' here, but a clearly identifiable approach to the production of a competitive boat.

For me, the Mercury was one (but only one) of a small number of boats that fulfilled the criteria I set.

par example..... Classic events are almost exclusively sailed on sheltered waters, in winds of 20 kts or less. Many such events are sailed inland, where fast tacking/quick acceleration is a real boost. As is a boat that is 'close winded'; there are very few events where you can crack the sheets and go for a better VMG by sailing fast and low.

Low wetted area is also a plus point given the number of events sailed in light airs. Add in a small, easily handled spinnaker for the downwind legs and you have a good combination. Rupert is right to highlight that there are better downwind performers such as the Lark, but again, given the nature of the racing, that advantage is often fairly marginal. Although we have had them, screaming 3 sail reaches are the exception rather than the rule in classic events)

Then there is the PY number itself. The Mercury 'suffered' (if that is the right term to use) from small numbers and a certain lack of sophistication. It never got a good chance to perform on a bigger stage, so its PY has remained at a point more in keeping with what I would describe at 'untapped potential'. Better still, the Mercury is positioned in the middle of the PY range; not being at either extreme is statistically an advantage (it suggests you'll always do well, even if you may be beaten occasionally but boats that meet 'perfect' weather for them). Lighter, more nimble than others in this ranger, round bilged, what is there not to like.

There are a number of other boats in this genre that I looked at.... LazyE (PY number reflects a trapeze), Swordfish (heavy), Albacore (I'm too good looking...I'll leave that to Sandy to drive), Zenith (another boat high on my list) then there are some real rarities out there..... Clipper, Silver Streak, Gannet and more.

Yes, it all sounds very contrived and to be sure, it is!! But I stress that at the time, this was just an intellectual exercise! That we have a boat being saved is great, I look forward to seeing it out afloat and yes, if we can meet up at an event, I will bring the scanner and copy some of that documentation.

Go for it!!

Dougal
David H

User avatar
PeterV
Posts: 1186
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2004 8:47 pm
Location: Locks Heath, Hampshire

Re: Mercury Dinghy 87 ?

Post by PeterV » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:14 pm

Agree with all of the above. The particular area of the Mercury that wasn't developed was the rig. Nearly all the boats have the original Proctor mast which had no bend in it whatsoever. Flat sails set very well on it but there's significnat potential in developing a more flexible rig. I had a Proctor C mast on mine, No.7 and as a result had to do a lot of thinking about bending the mast and, in certian conditions limiting the bend. It was all good fun but didn't disguise that fact that the boat was basically very slow, confirmed by anyone else who ever sailed it. But a great dea of potential in exploring that avenue further.
PeterV
Finn K197 & GBR564
Warsash

Post Reply