This what I remember from the CSOA site. The Merlins came after the Traditional and ended with the demise of the company. They made about 300 Ts and about 100 Ms. The T was designed by Raymond Wall and the M by Tony Castro who also designed the 34. Besides the obvious design differences below, there are build differences too. The T has a solid GRP hull with stringers. No coring. I believe the M is like the 34 with balsa cored topsides and deck, which makes for a lighter boat. I have seen pictures here by members of the extremely thick hull of the T. It is pretty substantial, making it good for offshore work. The M is capable, but will not be as comfortable. I would say it is a better light airs boat than the T, and the design below would be more comfortable for cruising and spending weekends with the family, the separate aft cabin being a big reason for that. Sailing ability for all CS boats seems very good. They get to hull speed very quickly and point very well. As far as racing goes, the CS30 is the one that is raced a lot. There are at least 5 here in the Bay that race on a regular basis.
CS is above the big three in quality of that era, although the Cherubini is nice, and some of the Firsts are good too. The 36T may match up to the Sabre, but probably not the Tartans. I would say the 36M is below the Sabres and Tartans as far as build quality, but they are designed for different things, keep that in mind.
Also keep in mind the thread here talking about owner upkeep and build quality, they go hand in hand. Halekai36 has an extremely nice 36T, it shows what the combination of build quality and owner pride can do for a boat. I have seen a lot of Tartans that have been rode hard and put away wet, I think because they can take it, I don't know. But I have seen some nice ones too. IMHO if you do that to a big three boat, you would have to sink the purchase price back into it to get it back into shape. CS is kind of in the middle somwhere.
edit: I just read Vasco's post and I am pretty much repeating what he said.
Great men always have too much sail up. - Christopher Buckley
Vaya con Dios
Last edited by bestfriend; 11-12-2007 at 01:26 PM.