Merlin vs. Merlin II

I’m going to look at an older Merlin tomorrow, and I seem to remember, fairly recently, a brief flurry of postings comparing it and the Merlin II.

I tried the search function but found nothing (not helped by a s-l-o-o-o-w connection). I sure would like some perspective before I go look. Can anyone point me in the right direction, or provide opinions on the Merlin?




Wood Merlin???
Thanks, that’s a nice-looking boat.

The one I’m going to look at is the Bell, in Kevlar. Should I assume that the specs are very similar to the wooden Merlin in the link?


hard to say
I’m going off of memory instead of looking at the link. That would be too easy :slight_smile: I think you would be able to tell the difference between the two designs by checking the amount of rocker. The Kunz design Merlin doesn’t have any, whereas the MerlinII on the Bell website has a bit. Just set the boat on a flat surface and look at the ends. If it has rocker, it is a Merlin II. That is probably a bit more complicated than the intelligent approach, which would be to look at the decal on the boat. It’s amazing how manufacturers insist on putting the model name on most of their boats :slight_smile:

I really like my Merlin
I can average 4.9 miles an hour on flat water. It doesn’t take too much effort to keep going straight. It is stable, whenI have my 35 pound american random breed shifting from side to side. IT DOESN’T turn on a dime. It will come around fast but with no rocker It takes some work to do a bouy turn. In slight wind it has less windage then some other solos … I suspect for flat water it is far better then the Merlin2. If you paddle alot rivers with structure it might not be the best choice. I do mostly lakes and impounded water so the Merlin works great for me.

Re: Merlin

– Last Updated: May-22-04 5:11 PM EST –

Thanks to all for the info.

It's definitely a Merlin (not II)- I knew that by the owner's description. And it has not a trace of rocker.

In fact, though I wasn't able to stretch a line, it appeared that it MIGHT be the least bit hogbacked, if that's the term. Looked like if you did pull a string from bow to stern, it might not hit anywhere amidship. I've always heard that that's a Very Bad Thing, and I didn't know it happened to composite boats. It paddled fine and was a lot faster than I expected.

Anybody care to estimate what it's worth? It's a '92 model, Kevlar, nice wood gunnels and thwarts, cane seat, and comes with a Granite Gear full spray cover. No really gruesome scratches, but a couple of gelcoat dings on the stern that are down to fabric.

I'm really tempted, but don't know how much I should offer.


as far
as I know bell doesn’t sell wooden boats and Al at The northwest canoe shop doesn’t make new composites. if it is wood it is a Merlin If it is Composite it is Merlin 2.(as far as I know)

…and beyond:
Seems that Bell made a (non-wood) Merlin until at least 1992, designed by someone named Kunz (?).

At some point they replaced it with the Merlin II (designed by someone whose name I should know, but don’t).

Neither boat is related to the wooden boat of the same name, unless they were designed by the same designer.

Original Merlin
Yes, the original was designed by a guy named Kunz and the II by a guy named Yost. And Bell did make the original for years in composite layups, some not too stiff in the bottom and if left upside down in hot sun could hog like you describe. If under 1/2 inch or so it probably won’t affect the paddling to any noticeable degree unless you paddled it back to back with a perfect example of the same layup. You could push the bottom down with a support from the thwarts to the bottom like Seda puts in their Scout tandem from the yoke to the bottom; or the shock absorbers that Wenonah put from the thwarts to the center rib on their whitewater tandem layups.

If the trim is solid and the hull doesn’t flex from side to side if you twist the ends in opposite directions, then $500 is probably fair for a Kevlar layup and less for the glass version.

It is the better paddling of the two Merlins.


Re: Original Merlin
Thanks, that is the kind of info I was looking for.

Now, about that price… ;^)