Designed and built for industrialist Arthur Stothert by William Fife III, she was launched in 1911 at Fairlie on the Clyde in Scotland. MARIQUITA combined Fife’s design with the high build quality of his celebrated yard.
In 1915 she was sold, ending up in neutral Norway where she spent the war years. She returned to Great Britain after the war and was brought to West Mersea by Arthur Hempstead. His firm undertook the decommissioning. Her fine mast was chopped away above the deck, her keel bolts let go and 40 tons of lead cut into scrap on the Mersea Hard. The hulk of the once beautiful yacht was towed to Woodbridge on the River Deben and in 1958 moved to Pin Mill, on the River Orwell. After 30 years as a houseboat in Suffolk the timely intervention of William Collier and Albert Obrist in 1991 led to her landmark restoration at Fairlie Restorations.
After years of painstaking work MARIQUITA finally appeared in 2004. With MARIQUITA’s restoration, her owners sought not only to save a unique yacht, but also the quality ethos to which she was built and raced back in 1911. The MARIQUITA Project was one of the most professional and well-resourced classic yacht programs ever undertaken. She started a highly successful nine-year campaign that saw MARIQUITA star at regattas throughout Europe.
However, in 2012, MARIQUITA was unexpectedly offered for sale. The syndicate who eventually purchased her was helped by inheriting some of the existing MARIQUITA crew. With a yacht as complex as MARIQUITA where everything is done by hand, working as a team is paramount. It took time for the crew to bed in but by the fourth regatta in Barcelona the skipper George Newman was seeing signs of real improvement. Despite some dramatic conditions in both Mahon and Cannes and some very close racing with her great rivals Moonbeam IV and Cambria, MARIQUITA arrived in Saint-Tropez for the final regatta of the season in good shape with six podium finishes under her belt.
Her 2014 season ended with even better results – after winning overall the Big Boat class in the Panerai Grand Prix, MARIQUITA then went on to come second in Les Voiles de St Tropez, behind the mighty gaff schooner Elena. She is now ready to be passed on to her next custodian.