Mercury Class Yacht Racing Association

Mercury Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I sail a Mercury?

Strong class organization and local fleets in which you can race. In California, One Design sailors have so many class choices many of the fleets have become diluted and can no longer support local fleet racing. You don't want to have to drive 2 hours to find someone to race against ! The Mercury class has a strong commitment to both local fleet racing and National events usually within a very short drive. The best One Design class to race in is the one in your local area. More than likely you will find a Mercury fleet nearby.

Isn't this an old and outdated design?

Like the Star and Snipe, the Mercury is an older design. But also key to the continued success of the these classes, the Mercury continues to evolve into a sophisticated racing sailboat. As the boating industry has seen changes, the class has adopted those enhancements as long as it didn't obsolete existing boats. Aluminum masts, advanced fiberglass and epoxy laminates for hull construction and new sail cloth technologies are reviewed and adopted by the class as appropriate. The class has also left the rules open to rigging layouts for running rigging, limiting only those parameters such as weight, hull shape and sail area that directly affect performance. Owners are free to experiment with the latest in mast and sail control technology.

What kind of car is needed to tow a Mercury?

All up towing weights are well under 2,000 pounds. (Class 1). Most of today's small cars, SUVs and trucks are Class 1 rated and have no difficulty towing a Mercury.

Will it fit in my garage?

Hull and trailer will fit in a standard one car garage space. This saves on storage and/or slip fees. The protection from the elements also reduces maintenance.

Do you have to have 250 pound crew to be competitive?

No. As mentioned earlier the class continues to evolve and adopt the latest thinking in sail and mast control technology. When used correctly this technology allows lighter crews, such as husband/wife teams to race competitively even in heavy air conditions. Downwind they even gain an advantage!

How much do used boats costs?

Wooden hulls with trailers and masts are generally found in the $500 - $1,000 range. Used fiberglass hulls start around $1,000 and go to $9,000, depending on equipment and rigging.

What sailmakers are involved with the class?

Major sailmakers such as North, Doyle, Ullman and Elliot-Pattison and Sobstad are involved in the class. In addition local lofts also provide competitive racing sails. A set of new sails range from $1,200 to $1,600 depending upon cut and options.

Can you buy a new boat?

Yes,Moore Sailboats is currently licensed to manufacture new boats. New hulls are balsa cored, use epoxy resins and are vacuum bagged. Moore Boats is one of the premier west coast builders in business today. Contact Moore for  pricing, delivery options and schedules.

How do you launch a Mercury?

For ocean racing, Mercs are generally launched from a small boat hoist. The low weight (approximately 1,300 pounds) allows it to hoisted off most club or public small boat hoists. All boats include hoist lifting rings and take only minutes to haul in. For lakes, ramp launches are easily accomplished by tying a line to the trailer tongue, and releasing it down the ramp using the trailer ball as a snubber winch. Loading is achieved the same way.

How long does it take to set up and break down for trailering?

Depending upon the complexity of the individual boat, set ups may take 20-40 minutes to be made ready for a hoist launch. Breakdown is quicker, usually not taking more than 30 minutes maximum.

Are the older boats competitive?

Yes, you will see many actively racing in the association. Many sailors eventually move up to fiberglass boats not for a speed advantage, but to reduce the maintenance requirements. This is very in common in classes with both wood and fiberglass boats.

How do you put up the mast?

The mast is stepped in less than a minute by one person. With the boat on the trailer the mast is lifted from its horizontal travel position. Standing on the side tank it is lifted to vertical along side the boat. Lastly it is lifted straight up, then positioned over the mast gate and lowered into place. The light weight (approximately 25 pounds) makes this an easy task.

It is safe for juniors to sail?

Because it is a keelboat with very forgiving sailing traits, the Mercury makes an excellent boat for juniors, especially as a "step up" from smaller classes.

Is it competitive to race with my wife or girlfriend?

Yes, many Nationals and regattas have been won by either male/female or parent/child crews. Strategy, tactics and sailing technique win, not rail meat.

Will they capsize or sink?

Mercury's are self righting keelboats. They will not capsize and stay on their side. The keels' righting moment automatically turns the hull upright. Older hulls without floatation may fill with water and sink if sailed in a careless manner. These hulls can also easily retro-fitted with fore and aft floatation, eliminating this risk. All hulls manufactured since 1970 come with full floatation and will float even when completely filled with water. 

Can Mercurys be used for anything other than racing ?

Mercs also double as an excellent family daysailer. Stability and a well balanced sail plan make them a responsive and fun boat for all members of the family to sail.

How well do they sail in 20 knots of wind ?

Mercury's were originally designed for sailing on the windy conditions of the San Francisco Bay. With today's modern sail and mast controls, the boats are easily controlled and provide an exciting ride.

How much does it costs to join the MCYRA ?

Annual memberships for skippers are $40.00 per year. This includes the class yearbook and emails of race results. Founder and crew memberships are also available for $10.00. $5.00 is the one time initiation fee for skippers.

Is the MCYRA recognized by U.S. Sailing ?

Yes, MCYRA is a nationally recognized class and member of U.S. Sailing.