Article 42392 in
From: (Paul Kamen)
Subject: Re: Anybody Familiar with the Merit 25
Organization: Netcom Online Communications Services (408-241-9760
login: guest)
Date: Sun, 15 May 1994 19:41:31 GMT
Lines: 57
I've been racing a Merit 25 (TWILIGHT ZONE, San Francisco Bay
Area) for 11 seasons now. It's hull #3, built in 1979. I've done
very little cruising in it, just a few overnights every year.
Lots of daysailing, though, and I raced from SF to San Diego in
'83 (trailered back) andraced in the Singlehanded Transpac in '86
(sailed back - I guess thatcounts as "cruising," eh?)
The boat is adequately described as a "better copy" of a J-24.
The legend has it that Paul Yates (M-25 designer/builder) had a
J-24 which was lastseen heading into his garage, and never came
out. Instead there was this mold for a Merit 25...
Yates' family was involved with plastics technology, so I'm told,
and building a quality product was not difficult. The boat has
proven to be very strong and reliable offshore, especially
compared to J-24s. There were a few upgrades made after the first
50 hulls or so, notably the rudder size and mast section. Just
about all of the local boats here were upgraded at the time.
The cockpit and deck layout is much more comfortable than the J,
the V-berth is better because the mast compression strut is at
the aft end instead of in the middle, and the rig has a higher
foretriangle so the forestay tension is much more directly
controlled by the backstay. Also, the in-line uppers don't tend
to go slack like the swept rig on the J when the rig bends.
Actually, I'm told that the North loft in Seal Beach designed the
rig. The other big difference from the J is beam - the Merit is
exactly 8 ft. for easier trailering, and (it turns out) better
capsize-recovery characteristics (I've been over beyond  90
degrees twice, once under spinnaker in the Bay, and once under
bare poles in the ocean. Recovered easily both times). LOA, btw,
is really 24.5.
Speed is about equal tot he J in 8-10 knots of wind. The Merit
has an edge in lighter wind, the J has an advantage upwind in
anything over 10 (probably due to wider beam, less weight (even
though brochure weight is the same) and lower foretriangle.
There's only one problem with the boat structurally, and this is
progressively worse with newer boats: The structure in the
garboard area, where the hull intersects the keel root, goes
soft. In extreme cases, when the boat is hanging from the hoist
slings, you can wiggle the keel back and forth several inches by
hand. (this was for a 1985 boat, after two seasons of heavy ocean
racing and a Transpac.) The fix is about $2,000, and results in a
very strong repair and a nice new wood cabin sole. A 1984 boat is
probably okay without reinforcement in this area, but if the
surveyor says the keel is wobbly (and make sure they check),
you'll need to allow at least that much for the fix.
Get an unbiased observer to comment on the sailing
characteristics, especially planing and surfing. I sure like it.
(My best days run was 208 miles, all under autopilot.)
Oh, and the clincher: The Merit 25 has the biggest V-berth of any
boat under 40 feet!
                                     -"Call me Fishmeal"-
Article 42458 (27 more) in
From: (Patrick Twohy)
Subject: Re: Anybody Familiar with the Merit 25
Date: 16 May 1994 17:36:46 GMT
Organization: The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, Sausalito, CA
Lines: 9
my first boat was a merit 25, due to the urging of fishmeal and a
bunch of other folks. it was an excellent choice. fast,
responsive, easy to handle even for a newby like me.
several times i cruised it for a week or two -- once with another
person once alone. many times i used it for overnights or
weekends. i wouldn't say the cabin is roomy. the comfort level
was similar to camping. other boats in the size and price range
probably are more comfortable. but they wouldn't be as fast,
durable or fun, imho.