The classic Australian beach cat - the Maricat 4.3 - is proving to be undergoing a resurgence, with the largest fleet in many years attending the NSW State Titles at Queens Lake Sailing Club (Mid-North Coast NSW) last weekend.
Super Sloops stretching out on trapeze upwind in Heat 3 - Maricat 2013/14 NSW State Titles
Sponsored by long time multihull supporter - HARKEN Australia (harken.com.au), along with Mid-Coast Sails (midcoastsails.com.au), Albatross Marine and Port Stephens Marine, the event was a great success with terrific sailing conditions being provided by the picturesque Queens Lake Sailing Club. 27 boats attending the event, with entries evenly spread amongst the Super Sloop, Sloop and Cat divisions.
Screaming reaches in Saturdays fresh conditions - Maricat 2013/14 NSW State Titles
With National champions from various classes entering, plus most of the Maricat class experts, the standard of the fleet was outstanding with races won and lost on good technique and boat handling. As a one-design class - this aim is always for the sailor and not the boat to be the deciding factor.
A bit of 'star power' was in attendance as well, with Laser Olympian Krystal Weir chartering a boat for the series. Sporting a bright new set of pink and blue sails provided by Mid-Coast Sails, Krystal quickly fine-tuned her skills to two hulls and was giving the favourites a hurry-up in all the races. Krystal is becoming a regular at all things multihull, and enjoyed the Maricat racing so much, that she has promised she will be back on a Maricat again in the future!
Olympian Krystal Weir proudly sporting a Queens Lake 'Choc Top' as a result of a training pitchpole! - Maricat 2013/14 NSW State Titles
In the Super Sloop division (one-up, jib, trapeze), lead changes in all races were the norm. However, time in the boat always shows through in the end, and it was Mick Colecliffe sailing 'Humungus 2' who ended up winning the State Title convincingly. His dream of a perfect scoreline was only prevented by champion Frank O'Rourke snatching the win in heat 4.
Second overall, on his 30+yo Mark I Maricat 'Custard Truck', was Rohan Nosworthy. Rohan begrudgingly kicked his 5yo son off the boat for the weekend to compete in the Super Sloops, but has promised that he will be back on the boat for the next event!
Third place was Mark Colecliffe, proving that having lilac coloured sails and a boat called 'Pixie Dust Express' is no barrier to good results.
In the Cat-rigged division (one-up, mainsail only), young gun Lochie White sailed a smart regatta, and displayed consistency and technique far beyond his age. Lochie is a talented multihull sailor and is a name to watch for the future.
Second place in the race of the Cat-rigs, was another hot youth sailor - Nicholas Horde sailing 'Magic Marine'.
Third was Ethan Micallef on the oldest boat in the fleet - 'Sweet 16'.
Crowded bottom mark in the Cat division - Maricat 2013/14 NSW State Titles
In the Sloop division (two-up, jib), it was a battle of families, with the eventual results being first - skipper David Young on 'Don't Ask', second - skipper Mark Oakden on 'Lightening', and third - 'Dakota' skippered by Adrian Heap. The crews on these Sloops all put in a huge effort and kept their 'steerers' on the straight and narrow!
Volunteers and Sponsors - no event can be run without them! Thanks HARKEN Australia. - Maricat 2013/14 NSW State Titles
The NSW Maricat Association has elected a new committee who are working tirelessly, formulating plans to build the class participation numbers. There are hundreds of Maricat 4.3s sitting unused in sheds around the country, and any of these can be at the front of the fleet with a tune up and a set of new sails. Second hand boats are available from just a few hundred dollars for the 'project boats', to around $1500-2500 for a setup competitive racer. New foam sandwich Maricats are also available fully-rigged and ready to go.
Next NSW Events for the fleet include the Wildcat Mega-Multi regatta at Great Lakes SC (Forster) this October long weekend, and then the Mannering Park 14ft Cat Regatta Oct 12/13.
Mick Colecliffe and Phillip Johnston - Maricat 2013/14 NSW State Titles
Rohan Nosworthy (1890) and Krystal Weir (2828) battling it out downwind in Heat 3 - Maricat 2013/14 NSW State Titles
Super Sloop State Champion - Michael Colecliffe - Maricat 2013/14 NSW State Titles
Super Sloop start line - Maricat 2013/14 NSW State Titles
Packed rigging area at Queens Lake Sailing Club - Maricat 2013/14 NSW State Titles