Maricat 4.3m – The all Australian Designed “Off the Beach” Catamaran. The Maricat is an Australian manufactured catamaran. The boat was originally designed by Alan Mayer as a 14 footer in the mid 70's in conjunction with Claude McCullock. Claude had a “build your own boat” factory, Sea Mac Boats, where Alan produced the prototype.
About 100 or so of the original 14 footers were built before some major modifications were undertaken to produce the now famous Maricat 4.3m. The name came from Claude's wife ‘Mari'. The original boat plans are now held by the National Maritime Museum and form part of Australia 's marine architectural history.
For a number of years the boats where manufactured in Haberfield NSW by J & S Fibreglass (Jeff Simmonds) until the company's demise in 1982. The manufacturing rights where then taken over some time later by Mariglass (Richard Ward) who remained in the Haberfield factory until the mid nineties. The manufacturing rights now belong to Ross Guinea who is located in Brisbane at Brisbane Catamaran Centre.
To date some 3500 or so Maricats have been sold, many to people just looking for an easy boat to rig and sail. It certainly is:
A great number of boats were sold to the hire fleets where many people experienced the thrill of catamaran sailing for the first time only to return home from the annual holiday and seek out the manufacturer to buy a boat. Today if you wander around any suburban streets and look in the back yard you're most likely to find a Maricat.
A Little Bit Of History
Originally promoted as "THE COMFORTABLE CATAMARAN" the basic asymmetrical banana shape of the Maricat 4.3 hull has not altered over the years. As the popularity of the boat increased only small modifications where made to keep the cost down. For example, the rear beam and the traveller track were integrated into one extrusion and a one-piece trampoline replaced the original two piece one laced up the middle. The small cruising jib however, was replaced with a larger racing jib, developed by Graeme Bundock. The racing jib made the sloop rigged cat very competitive and large numbers of sloops soon appeared at regattas and State and National Title.
The boat was well known for the many multi-coloured sails. In the early and mid eighties, where a racing fleet of eighty plus Maricats was not uncommon, the coloured sails made a spectacular sight at many coastal & inland venues. Pictures featuring fleets of Maricats often appeared on post cards & other tourist destination promotional material.
One of the original early sales brochures for the 14 footer best described the boat: “The eighteen months of development work show up the instant you jump aboard. This lady has class!" From the fine entry bows to the high aspect ratio rudders, the boat is complete in every way. The expensive ‘go-fast' options offered on other craft are standard equipment on the MARICAT 14. Full width traveller, six-block mainsheet, geared down haul, etc., are not an expensive afterthought you will need to buy later – they are standard equipment.
Your safety and comfort are well catered for. A righting rope is, of course, standard equipment. Should you hole a hull the large lockers double as buoyancy tanks and will keep your boat afloat. “Saddle sores” are a thing of the past when you sit on a MARICAT 14. The diagonal cut trampoline joins smoothly into the curved fibreglass decks and this provides comfortable seating whether you are pottering along in a drifter or straining to hold a hull down on a screaming reach. The versatility of your MARICAT 4.3m will also be appreciated…Go racing on Saturday and take two or three or maybe even four with you for a spin on Sunday. You don't need a crew, but the buoyant hulls ensure that you need not leave them behind.