I was at a race and watched the J-boats pull inexorably away from me with their 18'6" water line. I noticed that they were having a much more difficult time going against the current and into the wind. At the Buoy turn the wind shifted and now we had a head wind with a tail current. The Comp Cruisers stayed in the shallows and went for the wind breaks. My Merlin just kept chugging along with no problem.
This was the first boat I built by myself although the canunut helped me in person as did Red Cross Randy. It is an excellent solo tripping style boat as it is light and handles confused waves well, with good storage space. It heals well and turns if you work at it. It does not track as well as Jensen designed J-boat but then I can not stand up in one of those. I would like to make another one and get some of the wood working faults out then I would rate the boat as an eight for my purposes, which are citizens racing and touring. I also want to thank Kurt Loupe who had built one before me and sent me a CD of his progress and finishing. If you have any questions about this boat feel free to contact me. I really like the boat but having built it I know every flaw so it only gets a "7".