CS Merlin 36 Inspection - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-07-2019 Thread Starter
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CS Merlin 36 Inspection

Doing a little investigating on a great looking CS Merlin 36!

My wife and I are considering making an offer contingent on a clean survey, but I'm wondering if it's even worth surveying or if I should keep looking.

Photo 0-1: Keel joint appears to need sealant. Curious how much it will open up when lifted. The keel is not encapsulated, it appears to exposed iron.

Photo 2-3: Liner appears to be dropping away from the bulkhead. The port side of the veneer is crushed while there is a 1" gap growing to starboard.

Photo 4-6: Hoping someone can help me understand the pan/hull construction that is shown in the attached photos. The cracking at the base looks superficial, but are we looking at just the liner or are we seeing the pan to hull connection?

To me, it looks like the keel struck something given the dent in the starboard side of the wing (leading edge). The bottom of the hull adjacent to the keel (starboard side) appears to be sitting lower than the port side. Barely noticeable in the photo, but slightly more pronounced when viewed in person.

I suspect the surveyor will point all of these out in detail, but without knowing what actually happened, it may be tough to assess the actual amount of damage without cutting away lots of material.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-07-2019
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Re: CS Merlin 36 Inspection

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Originally Posted by scubadoo View Post

Photo 0-1: Keel joint appears to need sealant. Curious how much it will open up when lifted. The keel is not encapsulated, it appears to exposed iron.

Photo 2-3: Liner appears to be dropping away from the bulkhead. The port side of the veneer is crushed while there is a 1" gap growing to starboard.

Photo 4-6: Hoping someone can help me understand the pan/hull construction that is shown in the attached photos. The cracking at the base looks superficial, but are we looking at just the liner or are we seeing the pan to hull connection?
I have surveyed 13 of these boats although the last one I surveyed was in 2013. If you PM me an email address I will send you a copy (redacted) of that survey as it is pretty typical and may give you an idea of what else to look for.

Under the cushions on the starboard side are two hatches to access the water tank. There is often a fracture running from one hatch opening to the other. Not to worry, it seemed to happen often on these vessels due to poor tank ventilation and over filling.

Now to answer your questions ....

1. The keel is lead and manufactured by Mars Metal in Burlinton, Ontario. The wedge shape crack at the forward upper edge appears to be a patch job. For manfacturing reasons this wedge was original. The survey I will send you shows a photo of what that wedge should look like and it sure as hell doess not look like that.

2. That liner/bulkhead movement is significant and taken with the repaired keel suggests a grounding incident.

3. There appear to have been repairs and extra lateral members added in the bilge. This may have been just to support a weakened sole panel but also perhaps related to the possible grounding. There are photos in my report that show what it should look like.

My suggestion would be to direct your surveyor to these areas first and decide if it would be worth paying for a complete survey or make a deal with him to cover his time and walk away.
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Re: CS Merlin 36 Inspection

Thank you for the information. I was hoping someone had experience with these.

Is the structural pan built into the sole where the additional stringers were placed or is it between the sole and the hull hidden from view?

If we're seeing the structural pan in the photos, does the cracking/delamination appear to be a serious issue?

Sent a PM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-08-2019
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Re: CS Merlin 36 Inspection

I have a CS30 looks to be quite similar build, I would not even consider a Boat with the main bulkhead separated like that, no way, never. I'm assuming the chainplates are the same as mine and are a very nice knee made form welded SS bolted to this structural bulkhead and the deck eye fitting for turnbuckles through bolted to this knee. Ill bet you have a diferent measurement on the turnbuckles side to side, if the mast is even straight. Your deck would be lifted from that bulkhead separation while maybe not immediately noticeable surely stressed in that area. The crack in the Keel is not where it joins the hull my guess would be an EXTREME impact and that is about where the j bolt would turn so the Keel is likely just broken right there. Mine is lead, I think all are (CS) Boatpoker knows his surveys better than I do but I see very major damage I would undoubtedly walk away from. There are way too many nice clean Boats out there.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-08-2019
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Re: CS Merlin 36 Inspection

A couple of comments. Yes, it is not uncommon to have a crack in the settee caused by filling the water tanks too fast. I've got that crack on my Merlin. Even found a pic online describing how that happens and it appeared to be a pic of a Merlin.

Keel is indeed lead.

As far as the apparent separation of the veneered bulkhead, I have seen this before and it does not necessarily mean something structural was compromised. In *some* cases it was just manufactured that way and corners were cut. I've seen the same on other Merlins and it looked exactly the same. Also saw something similar on a couple of C&C's.

The crack in the front of the keel DOES concern me. Cracking around the pan, less so.

BTW, I've raced my Merlin twice to/from Bermuda single/double handed. While there are reasons I don't know if I'll do that again (because racing is just hard on equipment), I never was concerned about the integrity of the hull. Even got caught in the remnants of TS Bill in 2015; saw 45+ knots, breaking 15' waves and surfed into the double digits in speed. Put out lines and a drogue to slow/stop the boat and didn't worry.
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-09-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: CS Merlin 36 Inspection

Thanks for the info! All very helpful. The cracks around the pan didn't seem too bad, but it was tough to tell if it was coming off the hull or not. Racing to Bermuda sounds like an incredible adventure! I'd be happy to just make it to the Bahamas one of these years.

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Re: CS Merlin 36 Inspection

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The crack in the front of the keel DOES concern me. Cracking around the pan, less so.
Maybe you can tell me what I'm seeing in the photo with the keel bolt. I think I'm seeing the formed cabin sole being tabbed into the hull. Does the beige colored fiberglass form the pan as an integral part of the cabin sole? Or, is there more reinforcing or stringers between this sole and the hull?

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post #8 of 9 Old 04-09-2019
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Re: CS Merlin 36 Inspection

The one keelbolt in the picture seems odd to me. There's alot of rust coming up from under the plate. The gelcoat around it is peeling almost like there is regular steel under it but it may just be a trick of the eye from the shot. Still not good seeing that much rust. Did the nuts\plates look to be SS? They look dull grey almost like galvanized to me.

The separation of the bulkhead is a concern. If they get wet and rot normally you would expect them to crush down. For it to pull upwards like that would tell me that the tabbing has let go and the force being delivered to the chainplate is pulling the bulkhead up out of the boat. Did the tabbing break because the bottom of the bulkhead rotted away? It does look discoloured to me. Your rigging geometry is off now, but that's the least of the worry. How distorted is the deck and cabin top, mast step, etc, from that separation. The other reason it may have pulled up is from a hard grounding snapping the tabbing allowing the bulkhead to float free. The tabbing should support the bulkhead in order to hold up your mast, if the bulkhead is free floating that means the only thing keeping the stick up is the cabin top acting as a stopper. Some weirdness with this boat. Cracks, questions, but the bulkhead alone looks like alot of work to fix and would be a required one for seaworthiness in my opinion. I'd consider you continue shopping unless there is a die hard reason this has to be the boat for you.

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post #9 of 9 Old 04-09-2019
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Re: CS Merlin 36 Inspection

On a second look the braces appear to be added, as suggested. The floorboards are not particularly strong new, with normal wear and tear on a Boat this age they are rough if not already replaced. These flat bilge Boats are tough on floors. My Keel nuts looked to be 304 and the studs 316 which is an OK way to go but the nuts REALLY needed replacement. They got a mention on the survey but without near enough urgency.

Im curious what the "Wedge" Boatpoker refers to on the Keel. My Joint is right on the flat bottom of the hull, the photo of this Boat shows an ugly crack 6" or so down and clear oxidization inside the crack. Where the j-bolts turn would be my uneducated guess. Again BAD.
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