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Advice for New Maricat 4.3m Owner in NZ


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Hi there! I am a new member of the forum and come from Auckland in New Zealand (across the ditch). I recently bought an early model Mari 4.3m (Sail No. 883, with split tramp) to relive cat thrills from 20 years ago (and let the kids experience these thrills) when I owned a Windrush 14. I suspect there aren't many of these Maricats in NZ, or an association sailing them, therefore I joined the forum after having seen how useful it is. I have taken the Mari out 3 times and am now getting a feel for the things that need tweaking. Being an old boat I am slowly identifying missing or incorrectly setup things.

The Mari came with a main sail and a furling jib (both fairly tired), however there was no bridle with the jib and the jib sheet was just tied to the clew of the jib. Each side of the hull has one sheave and an eye/cleat combo for the jib sheets. The short wire cable at the top of the jib that attaches to the hound on the mast is stuffed but I can determine the original length from the existing cable. Below the furler there is just a length of cord that I assumn was attached to the top of the bridle.

I have a number of questions so best to just list them and see what advice is out there. Here goes:

1. What is the length of bridle (assumn consists of 2 equal length cables joined at centre with shackle). A photo of the setup would help. I assume that use of the jib does not replace the need for the two forestays?

2. Recommended setup for the jib sheets. I have seen on some cats two pulleys attached to the clew with separate port and starboard sheets going through the pulleys back to the tramp either side of the mast. I have also seen continuous looped sheet so you don't have any ends trailing on the tramp. A diagram or photo again would help.

3. There is not much mast rake on the existing setup and it looks like the sail is obviously not recent and therefore not likely suitable for the mast setup where the top of mast is 200mm in front of rear cross beam (as noted on the maricat Assoc website). Last time I sailed the Mari (which was yesterday) the wind came up suddenly to make white heads on the waves so the Mari honked along. However the bows started to dive under main sail power only (maybe my 100 kgs was not enough balast). The mast mount on the front beam has not been ground away in any respect to allow the mast rake to be significantly increased or the mast rotation to be extended. I can probably only shorten the side stays by another 25 mm using the existing turnbuckles (without making new stays up) to give some additional rake and add a shackle spacer to the forestays. Would this help much with the bow dive? Obviously I can't put too much more rake as the boom will sit lower. Also I assumn that with a jib added to the powerhouse the bow will want to dive more too. Any advice greatly appreciated.

4. I use to have trapese wires on the old Windrush. Are these common on Maricats or is it a no no? Can the mast hound take this loading?

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The bridle wire length should be no shorter than 1010mm from inside bearing surface of thimble to inside bearing surface of other thimble. Of course you would add shackles etc to that but 1010 is the min (to limit the sideways pull on the bows). If you are using a jib, you can remove the other forestays, it sails better without them most of the time any way as the forestays stop you from getting you jib luff tight otherwise. Other specs such as these are available from the NSW/ACT Maricat Assoc website. Trap is optional. Putting a gold coin etc under the mast is the mast step will help to lift the mast, allow a bit more rotation, and allow you to get more rake. I have attached a photo to show the amount of mast rake I carry, you may also be able to zoom in to see jib setup etc.



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I have an "old fashioned" main and I race with the 'modern' mast rake. A sailmaker sewed a D ring about 6" up from the old clew. I then put both the old clew D ring and the new one onto the boom which then lifts the boom far enough up to allow the mast rake.

If your boat has been around for a while it would be worth replacing the dolphin striker cable, when they go (and if you're not fast enough) the whole boat folds in half like a sandwich toaster (apparently, I've not seen it myself). Mine cost about $30.

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  • 4 months later...

Nutha new Maricat NZ'ldr

Hey there, I too am a new maricat owner in NZ. Well new owner of old maricat actually.

I've got mine up at Pauanui, launched and sailed it for the first time in January, capsized

it for the 1st time in January, righted it for the first time in January, and had a blast on it

for the first time in January ! And then the 2nd, 3rd, etc.

Seeing as you're using words I don't even know yet I'm guessing that makes me a pretty

green sailer, but I'm learning fast :-)

Chris ;)

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Get enough wind behind her, and any cat will nosedive and cartwheel.


Mast rake helps reduce nosediving a little, but mostly it increases weather helm, which drives the rudders harder and gives lift (pointing ability) when going to windwards.

Offwind in a strong breeze, I sit behind the rear beam; on the hull next to the rudder, with a foot under the toe strap and leaning backwards. If it's still nosediving, then round up a little bit to take some wind out of the sail.

The tricky bit is the lulls between the gusts; if you keep sitting back there the nose will lift up and the boat will stop like you've got the handbrake on. If you move forwards, then you may be vulnerable when the next gust hits. A bit of practice and keen eye on the approaching gusts is required.

All good fun.

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