Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mercury Class - Design 296


The Mercury Class design was developed in 1939 as a junior sailing boat. They are well built by Cape Cod Shipbuilding or Wareham, Massachusetts. Early models were constructed of wood. Cape Cod Shipbuilding made the transition to fiberglass construction in 1948. A successful club boat, fleets were established from Maine to Florida. The boats are still in production today. We still receive the $2/boat royalty that was established in 1940.

You can still rent one in Boston, Massachusetts and Flushing, New York. They're great boats.

Here are the plans.


Here's an early brochure.


Principal Dimensions
LOA 15'-0"
LWL 13'-10"
Beam 5'-5"
Draft Centerboard Model 0'-6" (board up) 3'-10" (board down)
Draft Fixed Keel Model 3'-3"
Weight Centerboard Model 470 lbs
Weight Fixed Keel Model 730 lbs
Ballast (Fixed Keel Model) 300 lbs
Sail Area 119 sq ft

1 comment:

  1. This boat was designed a year after the Lightning, in my opinion one of Olin's greatest creations. Their shared DNA is apparent in the shape of the board, skeg, and rudder. The shear looks similar. Even the angle of the stem looks familiar to my eye. The rig is not dissimilar, except for the Lightning having a proportionately shorter boom to accommodate a permanent backstay. And, of course, the Lightning had jumpers.

    The one big difference (other than the round bilge hull, of course) is the location of the centerboard. It looks like it might be 6-8" farther aft than the Lightning's. This leads me to wonder if the original Lightning carried a bit more weather helm than Olin might have liked. If so, he needn't have been concerned because competitive pressure soon enlarged the jib to more than fill the foretriangle. In fact, modern Lightnings carry something like four feet of rake to balance their powerful jibs. To the uninitiated eye this looks freakish, but one quickly becomes accommodated to the boat's appearance and it then looks cool. Really cool. And the boat balances perfectly.

    Paul J. Nolan

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