Mariquita is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful classic yachts sailing today. Designed and built for industrialist Arthur Stothert by William Fife III she was launched in 1911 at Fairlie on the Clyde in Scotland. As a gaff rigged cutter Mariquita is a direct link to the historic Big Class and a precursor to the J-Class that would follow in the 1930′s.
Mariquita was launched in May 1911 and joined three other 19 metres: Octavia, Norada and Corona in a new class that caught the imagination of everyone that followed sailing just before the First World War. The arrival of the 19 metre class in 1911 marked the return of Big Class racing which had been extinguished in 1896 when Prince Albert Edward had quietly retired his yacht Britannia from competition after being upset by the German Kaiser and his unsporting behaviour at the previous Cowes Week.
The “Great 19′s “ travelled far and wide: The Clyde, Cork, Harwich, Cowes, Dartmouth and abroad to Kiel and Le Havre. Mariquita performed admirably in the three seasons from 1911-1913 especially in light winds. Not only was the arrival of the 19 metres unexpected but the quality of the racing was astonishing. The racing was very competitive and close, after five hours racing the yachts would often finish within seconds of each other. The threat of war in 1913 stopped sailing in its tracks. William Burton the owner of Octavia put her up for sale marking the end of the 19 metre class. Mariquita was sold in 1915 and spent five peaceful years sailing in neutral Norway.
By the 1950′s all the other 19 metres had disappeared but Mariquita had been moved to a mud berth at Pinmill in Suffolk on the River Orwell where she was used as a house boat for over twenty five years. Her glory days were far behind her. In 1991 Mariquita was moved to the Hamble where she was later restored by Fairlie Restorations. In 2003 she set sail once again and is now one of the stars of the classic circuit. Over the last decade she has sailed on the Clyde, Cowes, Falmouth and countless Mediterranean regattas including Monaco Classic Week, Regates Royales Cannes and Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.