The Magic of Merlin

by Steve on September 13, 2010

This weekend was a beautiful sneak peek at fall: wonderful weather, football, good friends, the lake after Labor Day, and Merlin.

Back when boats were made of proper materials like wood, chrome, and brass their lines were drawn for speed and handling not maximum seating capacity. I was invited down to the lake to experience the magic of Merlin and since the light was perfect, we took advantage of the opportunity and broke out the camera gear.

Yes, Merlin is a reproduction of a 1930’s Gold Cup race boat, not an original antique but driving Merlin is an authentic thrill. Cold molded wood construction and modern big-block power mean little more maintenance than a production plastic boat assuming you take care of your tupperware. When Merlin runs down the lake heads turn and faces light up with big grins, especially from the older generation who have seen the faded pictures and heard the stories.

It takes just a nudge to get Merlin out of the hole, cruising is a comfortable ride with the long bow and weight of the motor in front of you. Merlin sort of skids into turns until the inside chine bites and digs then you slingshot out of the turn and accelerate again, skipping down the lake. But something special happens when you throw down the throttle – running wide open, colors fade to black and white and you feel the sound of big aircraft engines stuffed into wooden hulls. The wind teases you with a whiff of raw exhaust and varnished wood.

You’re under Merlin’s spell.


brad dorset September 14, 2010 at 14:42

What an awesome boat you have!

I always love seeing those classic Hacker-style
wooden boats in old movies filmed at Lake Tahoe in the 30’s and 40’s .

Is it like a Mercruiser V-8 or similar?

Will you ever take me for a spin in it
on Lake Marlin?

Steve September 15, 2010 at 6:07

Merlin’s not mine 🙁 but you’re correct on the motor – Mercruiser big-block.

Frances September 15, 2010 at 11:34

What fun you must have had. Made your day, did it not? Great Photography!!! Thanks for sharing.

caroline September 15, 2010 at 16:41

Thanks for the beautiful photographs Steve!!!!

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