Merlin Rockets by Keith Callaghan
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SILVER TILLER: 1972, 2nd.
7 Silver Tiller event wins.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1971: 7th, 1972: 4th
2 National Championship race wins.

Click on an image to view a larger version.

Myth Isle at Aldenham S.C. 1972

MR2455 Hornblower, sailed by Don Hearn and Pete Siddall, Plymouth, 1971

Myth Isle at Sussex Motor Y.C.

While the excitement of the performance of the Hotspurs was at its height, my friend Don Hearn asked me to design a successor to his successful Xpectant, incorporating the maximum beam allowed in the class (7'2"/2.18m). To our great pleasure, Spud Rowsell agreed to build the boat, which was called 'Hornblower' (MR 2455). Spud and his young apprentice, Jon Turner, made a superb job of the boat.

I wrote an article about the Hornblower, which was published in Yachts and Yachting in June 1971. See the Y and Y article

Don, crewed by Peter Siddall, won a Silver Tiller open meeting early on, and came 7th in the 1971 Nationals at Plymouth - his best ever performance. More of the top guns started to look seriously at my designs. Some were not keen on the ultra-wide beam, so I produced a less extreme variant, at 6'9" (2.06m).

By the end of the 1971 season, it was clear that my designs were in the forefront of Merlin Rocket development. Hotspurs and Hornblowers had won a third of all the Silver Tiller events, including more than half the sea events.

It was the narrower variant of the Hornblower that most helmsmen chose for the 1972 season. By now I was crewing for Patrick Blake, and he commissioned a Hornblower from Spud Rowsell. He called it "Myth Isle". She was a very handsome boat, and we hoped she would prove a championship winner. We put much thought into the rig and layout over the winter of 1971/72, and fitted out the boat with great care. She was ready for the Hamble Warming Pan series in early 1972, but she would be up against new designs from Greg Gregory, and also the new design from Phil Morrison - Satisfaction. In the event, Myth Isle won by a huge distance.

But those who had opted for Morrison designs were not downhearted, and the Satisfactions and Phantom Kippers had their share of success in 1972. The Nationals AND the Silver Tiller were our goal, but in the event we won neither. A disqualification in the first race, after finishing second, put paid to our championship hopes (we finished fourth), and Harry Haynes in his Satisfaction 'Bosanova' beat us into second place for the Silver Tiller, though we won six Silver Tiller meetings.

In spite of the obvious success of the Hornblower, Patrick and I agreed that it was time for a new design - the Hexagon.

A total of 32 Hornblowers were built

For a description of MYTH ISLE's victory in the final race of the 1972 National Championships see Silent World Trophy Race, 1972

See the Yachts and Yachting article on the 1972 National Championships.
See the Yachting and Boating Weekly article on the 1972 National Championships.


Rob Holroyd, pictured here with his Hornblower in the early 1970s, now owns MR 3708 "Wicked", built by Laurie Smart to my latest Merlin Rocket design - Hazardous Zero-9

Myth Isle wins the Warming Pan at Hamble, 1972 Click on the picture to see a movie of Myth Isle winning the Hamble Warming Pan in March 1972. (18Mb file size, so may take some time to download)
Myth Isle as sold on Ebay, 2008

MYTH ISLE was up for sale on Ebay in 2008, and was bought by David Conner, who intends to do a full restoration job on her. I wish him well, as the once pristine boat is in a very sad state, having been left in the open for several years. Many of the glue joints have delaminated....

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Last updated 2 July 2012