Merlin Rockets by Keith Callaghan
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HOTSPUR (1968)

4th in 1970
9 Silver Tiller event wins

Click on an image to view a larger version.

Hotspur is launched at Instow, N. Devon

Ian Perkin and the designer sail Hydra to victory in a club race

Gerry Woolmington sailing Hugger-Mugger

Hugger-Mugger at Sussex Motor Yacht Club 1970

Patrick Blake, Keith Callaghan and Mythbegotten - Plymouth Nationals, 1971

3D rendering of HOTSPUR Merlin Rocket

In 1968, Up River Yacht Club member Bernard Wormald asked me to design a new Merlin for his son Chris - my first professional commission!
Bernard built the boat himself, and it was launched in late summer 1968. An article was published in Yachts and Yachting in July 1969 which described the design and building of this boat.

View the Yachts and Yachting article: Page1 and Page2

In early 1969, another club mate, Tony Ceretti, asked if I would build him a Merlin to the Hotspur design. It was a bit cramped in the integral garage of my semi at Woodham Ferrers, but somehow 'Hydra' emerged in the spring of 1969. I made a pretty good job of her, too. She was later sold to Ian Perkin (seen sailing her below, at the Up River yacht Club, Hullbridge, Essex), then she passed to Tony Donaldson, who sailed her for many years on the Merlin circuit. In 2005 I heard from Hydra's then owner, Alan Dovey, and have now purchased 'Hydra' for restoration. See photos of the boat in 1969, 2005 and now.

Hydra looked good and sailed extremely well. She started winning club events, and another club member, Peter Wilde, asked if I could get a Hotspur professionally built. I approached Anderson, Rigden & Perkins at Whitstable, who agreed to build the design. I had arrived as a Merlin Rocket designer.
"Hugger-Mugger" MR 2342, was launched in 1970, and after a string of high placings in open meetings, came fourth in the Silver Tiller series that year.

This brought my name to the attention of some of the top helmsmen, and in early 1971, Richard Davies of Whitstable YC had ordered a boat from the Aln Boatyard (MR2440), and Patrick Blake had a boat built by Bob Hoare at Christchurch. Others were built by Anderson Rigden and Perkins at Whitstable.

At the beginning of 1971, only half a dozen Hotspurs were in commission of which only 3 were extensively campaigned, but the design won nine Silver Tiller events during that season. Here is an analysis of 1971 Silver tiller wins, by designer:

Keith Callaghan (Hotspur, Hornblower): 10 (Patrick Blake: 7 wins, Richard Davis: 2 wins, Don Hearn: 1 win)
Michael Jackson (Superstition): 9 (David Speirs: 7 wins)
Greg Gregory (Ghost Rider): 3
Phil Morrison (September Girl): 3
Martin Jones (Xpectant): 2
Other (Proctor, Booth etc): 5

Patrick's boat ('Mythbegotten' MR2446) won the Silver Tiller series in 1971, but by the end of that season my next design was already established as a winner - Hornblower.

A total of 33 Hotspurs were built.

Click on the last image to display a larger 3D rendering of the HOTSPUR hull shape - an elegant design that performed extremely well in all conditions and locations.

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Last updated 1 December 2012