The ‘Magnum V’ was one of a series of highly successful designs to the International Moth class rules by Mervyn Cooke and John Claridge. The ‘V’ was the first of these skiffs to carry weight well (and hence suitable for me!) and had a good all-round performance, though tacking was very slow and cumbersome compared to the scow. Unable to spend the time or energy developing the mark 4 scow (see the design section for its predecessor) - and certainly not having the time to build the rather time consuming space-frame necessary for stiffness in such a thin-bodied design - and with design development apace ( as it so often is in the class) the simplicity and speed of such a design appealed, particularly as I had discovered the delight of open-meeting racing and wanted to be competitive in the usual moderate wind conditions on open water. As plans were unavailable, I bought a bare shell from Claridge, then framed and decked it myself. This boat proved to be the most demanding, exhilarating, heart-stopping racing boat that I have ever sailed, one that I continued to race even when it was no longer competitive simply because of its looks and its wonderful acceleration and the sheer delight in mastering such a highly-strung beast. Not for the faint of heart, though!
For the full 11 years that I owned this boat, it proved to be not only water-tight, but air-tight too: on a summer’s day, if you pulled one of the bungs, the air fair whistled out; in winter, after 5 minutes in the water, the foredeck would suck down so much that it became hollow and the framing stood out. I always pulled the bung and reset it before setting out, but the deck would again suck down after 15 minutes and remain that way until the end of the race.
Yes, I would go faster if I kept the boat flat! Note that when sitting forward on the wing like this, the helm was feather light whether or not the boat was heeled or upright; when planing and sitting back, however, unless the boat was absolutely flat, there would be tremendous lee or weather helm depending on which way the boat was heeling - letting the boat heel was not an option!
Eleven years later, the epoxy was no longer crystal clear, but the deck looked much the same as here when this photo was taken when the Magnum had had about 5 years of summer and winter racing.