CS36Merlin250BBy Pat Sturgeon

It has been more than 10 years since the CS 36 Merlin was first introduced in the boating market, but despite its age, this design is still one of the most popular boats in its class. With the CS 36 Merlin, CS Yachts became one of the first builders to bring the euro-style of yacht design to North America. Large aft cabins and aft cockpits provided good carrying capacity, and a generous beam all the way back to the stern kept the helm spacious and created truly usable swim platforms. The new plumb bows extended waterlines and created better value per foot. All of these changes proved positive for CS, and remain popular with many boat builders and buyers even today.

The CS 36 Merlin followed the introduction of the CS 40 and CS’s then new designer, Tony Castro. It was a time when the average cruiser’s family was growing up, and parents, left with the frightful choice between leaving their teenage kids at home alone or keeping them on board along with a few of their friends, were looking for a little extra space. With plenty of sleeping room and a door that you could close off to form an actual separate cabin, the CS 36 Merlin was one of the best floating cottage alternatives on the market.The Merlin is often confused with the CS 36, which brokers tend to call “The Traditional”. The latter is the older, Ray Wall-designed 36, and although similar to the Merlin in construction, it is very different in design. CS Yachts built about 100 Merlins between 1986 and 1990, and throughout that period, construction changed along with technological advancements. The purchaser also had almost five pages of options to choose from— a Kevlar or fibreglass hull; a swim platform or regular transom; a 28 hp diesel or a 43 hp turbo; a tall or regular rig and by the end, four keel configurations (shoal, wing, deep and performance bulb). As a result, other than the 20 or so that went into charter, no two Merlins are alike.What does remain constant among the boats is CS’s legendary high quality construction. The company is well known for its glassed-in bulkheads to both hull and deck, and the use of large interior modules for a clean interior look. The hull is hand-laid fibreglass or Kevlar with balsa core above the water line to reduce weight and add stiffness, without compromising the structural integrity. The hulls and decks were then vacuum bagged, which is a process by which the resin is drawn up through the laminate to eliminate voids and reduce the amount of resin required for the same strength. The hull-deck joint is through bolted and sealed with a butyl tape, which never hardens. Many people see the oozing of this butyl tape and assume something is wrong, but it is quite normal and can go on for years. Typical CS owners consider it just part of the maintenance. The advantage of this sealant is that you seldom have to re-bed any leaky areas of the toe rail or deck fittings; you simply tighten the nut on the underside and it recompresses the butyl tape. The chainplates are made from stainless steel, forged at right angles and then bolted to the main bulkhead and the deck. There is a structural grid system glassed to the hull, which also incorporates the engine stringers. The hull has a flat bottom, and as a result, very little bilge space for excess water, so if you have any leaks, it is essential to keep an eye on the bilge.The Merlin has a three-cabin layout; a forward cabin, main saloon and aft quarter cabin. The v-berth is slightly offset and the starboard side is shorter where the head bulkhead encroaches on the forward cabin. Storage is fair in the forward cabin, with two opening cupboards at the foot of the v-berth, large cave lockers and storage under the v-berth itself. The head is a good size with plenty of room to store toiletries, and the lack of teak keeps cleanup simple. Across from the head is a full-sized, cedar-lined hanging locker. Both the hanging locker and the forward cabin have their own teak doors.

The main salon is very bright because the main hatchway spray shield and the slider are made of Lexan. The table, located aft of the mast and just off centre, is permanently fixed and has two wings that fold down when not in use. CS pre-wired the teak chainplate covers for stereo speakers on all of the boats, and the main cabin is full of reading and overhead lights. The starboard settee has a fold out extension to make into a large double berth and the port side serves as a single berth. Under each berth in the main cabin are massive water tanks which hold up to 130 gallons of fresh water. A chart table of a modest size is located at the end of the starboard settee and offers extra storage room under the lid.

The galley is set so far back in the cabin, you almost feel as though you have left the room when you are in it. It is very functional in that it has a tremendous amount of available counter space for food preparation. CS makes use of kern for the cutting board and sink cover, as well as for the ice box lids. The smaller of the two ice boxes has its own drain and can be quite effective with a little insulation on the lid. There is a double sink and a top-of-the-line Force 10, three-burner propane stove and oven, and plenty of storage in the sliding cupboards along the back of the galley for all your dishes and food stuffs. The main ice box is about 7.5 cubic feet and most Merlins have a microwave built into the bulkhead directly behind.

The Merlin was one of the first boats to clean up the clutter on the deck—the winches are all self-tailing and all of the lines are led aft through deck organizers and clutches, so there is no need for a lot of winches. The anchor well is designed to fit two anchors or a flush-mounted vertical windlass. The cockpit has curved seats and canted coamings making it very comfortable for long excursions, and the optional swim platform is popular with most cruisers. The platform is wide and deep, and usually there is a built-in shower in the transom. There is one huge cockpit locker that you can get lost in. The Merlin has a separate fibreglass garbage bin in the locker that is large enough to accommodate a full-sized garbage bag and a trapdoor through the bulkhead from the galley to stuff the garbage in. The main sheet has three possible positions, depending on when, or what, you ordered. Most pre-1990 Merlins had the traveller directly in front of the wheel on a very short track. Some of the following boats had them on the bridge deck in front of the companionway. Finally, the market pressure to move the traveller out of the cockpit triumphed, and CS put out a redesigned version in late 1989. This version put the traveller on the coach house, but the mainsheet attaches only one third of the way back from the goose neck. This makes it very difficult to sheet the main properly and it is not very healthy for the integrity of the boom. However, the cruisers who like to sail in a greenhouse love this set up, as it makes it possible for full enclosures while sailing.What makes the Merlin a great coastal cruiser is its space and features, but the price is paid in its seakindlyness in a choppy sea. Since the boat has a flat bottom and a low stem angle, which gives it a long water line, it tends to throw water back from the bow and slam through waves. The low-aspect main and a high-aspect foretriangle results in a long boom, a very tall mast, and a very powerful rig. The ballast to displacement ratio is 43 per cent or more, making it a stiff boat, but when the wind picks up you have to reef early to keep it upright. The reefing system is very simple and both the tack and clew can be reefed from the cockpit. The boat moves quite well in light to medium air. Most of the Merlins came with furling systems for the Genoa. The simple layout of the deck and sail handling systems make the CS Merlin a very easy boat to sail single-handedly. CS tried to cater to a couple of racers with deep pockets and produced two (what I call), high performance boats. On these two boats the keel is a deep draft bulb and the rig is a extra tall, flexible rig. I had the opportunity to race on one and it did very well against strictly racing designs.

Although there were not many Merlins made for the production time, and they remain primarily concentrated in Southern Ontario, it is a popular design that has its own micro market, and satisfied customers have kept the price stable between $95,000.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting's Winter 1998 issue.

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
My name is Alexandrine GOVAN, mother of a 5 years old girl and I found your contact on internet. ...
John Booth, who passed away just a few weeks ago was one of the most amazingly gifted and ...
We left Vero Beach on Saturday morning with Alicia, a boat from Sweden, following close behind. The ...
At the end of last month, Canadian sailors gathered on the Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain ...
In 2019, C-TOW celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing 24/7 “Peace of Mind Boating” for ...
West Vancouver Yacht Club reports that following an independent certification process the Georgia ...
It has been hot in the Abacos this winter. Whoever said this area was cool this time of year must ...
Unfortunately this is not a picture from a boat but was taken on the evening of February 27, 2019 ...
On March 1, Tom Ramshaw of Stoney Lake Yacht Club was honoured with the most prestigious National ...
Vero Beach, aka Velcro Beach, lived up to its reputation again. Our original plan was to be there ...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
If you’ve spent any time in a boat yard during spring commissioning season, you won’t find it out ...
As a busy marine mechanic, I tend to have the same or similar conversations often, and they’re ...
This time of year, great deals abound. That boat with the ‘for sale’ sign looks quite attractive. ...
For less than US$2,500, Jim Leshaw, a lawyer who lives and works in Key Biscayne, Florida, ...
Each spring, I tend to notice canvas. I wish it was because it’s been immaculately maintained and ...
I’ve had two emails over the past few weeks with a count-down to launch (47 days per the last ...
Last time we looked at making proper electrical connections – the tools, supplies and methods ...
Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is ...
When a boat is in the water, the bilge will often collect water that enters the boat from weather, ...
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...

Valvetech Bridgewater MarinaFor many years now, we have used gasoline in our cars and trucks that contains some amount of ethanol, a form of alcohol, and just as a few drops of water combine almost instantly in your Scotch, moisture from the atmosphere can combine with the ethanol in the gasoline that is in your boat’s fuel tank.

Your motor vehicle has a sealed fuel system to control evaporative losses that are a source of air pollution. Fuel is moved into the engine under pressure and any drips that might escape, drop onto the pavement. The engine is open to the pavement below. In an inboard boat, the hull is below the engine and any drips will collect in the bilge with potentially explosive consequences. 

Read more about gasoline containing ethanol......

 

  

Grand Banks 60 SkyloungeThe Canadian market has always been a tough nut for yacht designers to figure out. Summer days get really hot; other days are downright cold. There is always the chance things could change in the blink of an eye and let’s be honest, who among us hasn’t stepped off the boat wearing shorts, flip flops and a warm jacket? Canadian yachting has always been a world of contradictions, which is why designing cruising yachts for this market has never been easy. It’s not like Florida or the Med, where weather is dependable throughout the year.

 

 

Read more about the Grand Banks 60 Skylounge............

 

ILCA DinghyAustin, Texas, USA (25 April 2019) – In the wake of last month’s termination of its contract with its European builder, the International Laser Class Association (ILCA) announced today that, from 25 April 2019, all new, class-approved boats will be sold and raced under the “ILCA Dinghy” name. This change will have no impact on existing ILCA-authorized boats and equipment, which will be able to race alongside ILCA Dinghies in all class sanctioned events.


“It’s a big change for a racing class that hasn’t seen anything like this in our almost 50- year history,” said Class President Tracy Usher.

Read More about the ILCA Dinghy............

Destinations

  • Prev
NW Explorations, a Bellingham, Washington-based yacht charter, brokerage, and marine services ...
If you haven’t cruised the Rideau Canal before, you have missed a special treat and even if you ...
At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...


Port of OrilliaTake your boat and a beautiful waterfront setting, pair that with a fantastic musical lineup of over 100 Canadian and international performers, spice it up with an awesome food truck alley, add in an artistically diverse artisan’s marketplace and finish it with a Folkplay area dedicated to children’s fun and you have the successful recipe for the Mariposa Folk Festival.

Each July this longstanding musical tradition kicks off the summer at Tudhope Park in Orillia on the picturesque shores of Lake Couchiching and you can get there by boat. This year’s festival runs July 5-7 and is celebrating 20 years back in the city where it all began 59 years ago.

Read more about the Mariposa.....

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
With the introduction of the Ion Power Basic, a safe Lithium Ion battery formulated with Lithium, ...
Finding a car brand that you enjoy while it does what you need can be tough, as they can be ...
Yikes! No boat refrigeration? You’ve Got to be Kidding me!! But then again, true campers don’t use ...
The Walker Bay Venture 14 claims to be the world’s first luxury Explorer Sport Tender. It is ...
Mercury Marine is pleased to announce the launch of the new MerCruiser V8 6.2L 370hp Jet Ready ...
My history with the Cayenne goes back many years, as I was at the launch of the original vehicle ...
Last month, Mercury Marine has announced the launch of the 400hp Verado outboard engine, the ...
Featuring advanced, intuitive 3D controls, Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control Systems deliver a more ...
Gina de Vere approached me at the Canadian Yachting booth at this year’s Vancouver International ...
A revolutionary “assisted docking” system that provides a glimpse into the future of boating ...