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  De 1959 à nos jours...Les Maïca recensés ou attendus DiversEscales techniques...

À la hune : Tanit


  CMN N°34 - 1965

N° de voile : GBR 2188


1992 (or 1993) : Mowgli racing near Brighton.
Her owner, Mike Jones, is in the cockpit wearing the sailor's cap
Photo Nick Hall

The year 2010 saw the 50'h anniversary of the Illingworth and Primrose Maica.

Michael Jones is the proud owner of a Maica built in Cherbourg in 1965. Here is the story.....

Mowgli, the Story of a Maica

By Michael Jones
Crédit photos : Nick Hall, anonymous
Infographie : Stéphane Hupin

The first yacht was built in 1960 for a French owner - Henri Rouaut - by Burnes shipyard at Bosham and it was named `Maica'. `Maica' was immediately successful in the RORC and won the Class III Points Championship in 1962 ; `Maica' had a transom stern and all the Maicas built in Britain at this time were the transom stem type.

However when John Illingworth sold the plans for the Maica to the French naval yard at Cherbourg - Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie - the boss of the Company, Felix Amiot, insisted, it was said, that the design should be modified with a counter stem. No doubt this was for obvious aesthetic reasons since M. Amiot wanted a Maica for his own personal use. Consequently in 1963 Illingworth and Primrose produced the plans for the Maica à Voûte (counter stern) and CMN started to build this version in series adopting a comparatively new type of hull construction - cold moulded triple skie mahogany with longitudinal and diagonal planking.

imageHowever one of the things, it was also said, that Illingworth and Primrose may have forgotten was that the counter stem would add weight in the wrong place and unbalance the yacht under sail. They may have been aware of a possible problem because the 1963 plans have a large notice : "Regardez"! La construction d'un yacht de course croisière exige qu'on supprime tout poids inutile dans la charpente et les aménagements": In other words : `Watch the weight' ! Consequently following sailing trials, during the building programme, the design was modified, first, by adding more weight to the lead keel and moving it forward and, second, by shortening the main boom and moving the sheeting point from the back to the middle of the cockpit. `Mowgli' which was number 34 in the series of Maicas built by CMN benefited from these major modifications.

The Maica's masts were supplied by both Sparlight and Proctor as standard items and it was intriguing to note that the double spreader spar had the necessary tangs for a second inner forestay and runners. Obviously John Illingworth who was a well-known enthusiast for the masthead cutter and had used it successfully on a Maica built in Britain had it in mind that it would suit the CMN Maica. However although the idea was considered for 'Mowgli' it was ruled out as being too costly and complicated and `Mowgli' litre most of the Maicas built by CMN remained a masthead sloop.

imageAnother intriguing Illingworth feature was the 1963 sail plan which included a quadrilateral genoa. `Mowgli's new sails which were made by Lucas initially included the quadrilateral but only after one RORC season it was abandoned since it attracted a stiff penalty under the RORC rule and was difficult to sheet when hard on the wind. However the quadrilateral happily came back much later in Mowgli's racing career when the CHS rule was introduced and the handicappers had apparently forgotten ifs effectiveness.

`Mowgli' was launched at Cherbourg in April 1965 for an invoice price of £ 7.000 and was owned by Michael Jones and his cousin Quentin Jones. Both were committed RORC members and had started offshore racing campaigning an RNSA 24 owned by Norman Jones... This yacht built by Camper and Nicholson in 1949 and never fitted with an auxiliary engine was another brilliant Illingworth inspiration designed in partnership with Laurent Giles. Needless to say any suggestion that `Mowgli' should be built without an auxiliary engine was ruled out and CMN obliged with the French Couach 4/5 hp BD1.

After a trial sail `Mowgli' left Cherbourg to be based in the care of Solent Marine Services at Gosport. The next two years saw a succession of minor and major problems. First, the topsides were damaged by another yacht not properly moored nearby. Then the headsail wire sirops broke on passage to Harwich to take part in the North Sea race ; next the jib halyard again wire parted white beating in the Cowes Dinard causing the race to be abandoned. Then the following year worst of all `Mowgli' was dismasted on the North Sea race again while beating. The louver port shroud had failed. She limped to Burnham-on-Crouch under engine and jury rig where repairs were organised by the William King yard including a new Proctor mast and replacement of all standing and running rigging; the wire which had been supplied by CMN from an unnamed source was obyiously below specification. Finally alter these teething problems, the failure of the yacht's Goiot sheet winches and a spinnaker destroyed in a broach seemed to be only a minor nuisance.

Thankfully nothing much else happened in the ensuing years when `Mowgli' was being campaigned in RORC races. For the record she won plenty of prizes in class but no trophies. During the seven years up to, the end of the 1971 season she had entered thirty-six RORC events including four Fastnets and she had finished thirty of them. Also there had been plenty of excitements in those pre-GPS days. In the 1967 Fastnet she narrowly missed being swept onto the Rock when the wind dropped at a crucial moment. You could have heard a pin drop on deck as we just edged past. Then in the 1968 Lyme Bay race, we only located the Lyme Bay buoy in the middle of a black night by the sound of its bell and by identifying its naine with a torcha somebody had forgotten to tell the RORC that the light wasn't working !
Next in the 1969 Cowes-Dinard, we ran for forty miles under spinnaker from Les Hanois in dense fog to, the fmishing line in the rock strewn entrante to, St. Malo and were extremely lucky to, pick up the lights on the RORC committee boat at the finish only 50 yards ahead.

During the lace 1960s and early 1970s competition in Class I I/IV of the RORC fleet grew extremely fierce with the arrival of the fin and skeg Sparkman and Stevens and Carter designs and this was particularly noticeable in 1970 when the RORC rating rule was abandoned for the IOR. The fact was that the Maica was designed to be built as a Class III RORC cruiser racer and was one of the last of a breed of long keeled yachts to be built in series to, take part regularly in the RORC programme. (The others included the Nicholson 32 and the Holman North Sea 24). Up against the new arrivais some of our results were slightly depressing. Angus Primrose who had ended his partnership with John Illingworth in 1967 was consulted on possible modifications and although several recommendations were made including the inevitable new sails there was only a marginal improvement in Mowgli's results.

In 1972 `Mowgli' was laid up for the whole year at Gosport and in 1973 Quentin Jones sold his share in the boat to, another keen RORC member - Harry Carter Jonas. During this period further hoped for improvements to racing performance were made including wind instruments (which never worked properly) and a new Proctor metal boom to replace the original wooden one and carrying a smaller mainsail to improve handicap. From 1973 to 1975 a further ten RORC races were entered with no better results and in August 1975 it was decided to, depart from the UK for a stay in the Mediterranean. From 1975 to 1977 `Mowgli' was based on a swinging mooring at Andratx, Majorca. During this time long croises were made to Malta, Greece and Spain but no racing. In 1977 the yacht sailed back to the UK and from then on was based on a swinging mooring at Wicor, Portchester and laid up for the winter at Wicormarine. In 1978 Harry Carter Jonas offered his share to Michael Jones who now became the sole owner.

Alter the drama of the 1979 Fastnet which `Mowgli' was lucky enough not to, have entered, the next RORC challenge was the non-stop Round Britain and Ireland race in 1980 and before that the removal of the original Couach engine to be replaced by a Petter AC ! A diesel producing 7 HP. As for the Round Britain race for the second time `Mowgli 'suffered major rigging problems which caused unscheduled stops at anchor for repairs (which were allowed) but happily not the abandonment of the race. This time it was the Talurit splices which caused the trouble and in the circumstances it was a major triumph to complete the 1860 mile course. As for other RORC events in the 1980s the yacht took part in several including one Fastnet and two holiday races to South Brittany, all very enjoyable but no prizes. In 1983 the RORC introduced a new rule permitting the use of hyperbolic navigational aids e.g. Decca which previously been banned. There was a gond deal of controversy over this step which was opposed by many members including Mowgli's owner who did not take advantage of this massive benefit to small yacht navigation while racing offshore. Now of course with GPS actual navigation is hardly necessary and offshore racing navigators are out of a job! On a much less controversial note by this time `Mowgli' had acquired a new partner, Norvela, Michael Jones' wife. Norvela was an RORC member and had some years before had put in an offer of partnership in the yacht which had been tumed down. Alls well that ends well !

In 1989 after a cruise to NW Spain and a winter spent on a swinging mooring at La Corunna `Mowgli' returned to Wicor to learn that the insurers required a survey. The surveyor advised a major refit including the replacement of the plywood decks but not the coachroof. Illingworth in his now classic book 'Offshore' reckoned that plywood was the ideal material for the decks of small yachts providing it was of the right quality and it could be expected to last 'at least en years'. Mowgli's decks had donc better than that but there was trouble with water penetration between the swept up wooden toe rail and the deck to which it was fastened. Wicormarine did the job and it was decided to use the opportunity to do away with the original toe rail and replace it with a modern aluminium type of uniform height. Although Maica purists threw up their bands in horror at this major modification and the yacht's freeboard was marginally lowered, in the owner's opinion the elegant lines of the hull were unaffected and if anything slightly more pleasing to the eye. Also to re-manufacture and re-fasten a new wooden toe rail would have been a very expensive and difficult job. Furthermore the aluminium toe rail had the advantage that its slots could now provide plenty of sheeting positions for headsail blocks and spinnaker sheet and goy snatch blocks which were an innovation for a Maica. This modification necessitated a new design pushpit and pulpit which incidentally had the effect of slightly reducing Mowgli's length overall.

In 1992 `Mowgli' left Wicor to be permanently based in Brighton Marina. It was the first time that the yacht had enjoyed the luxury of a pontoon berth. Some time before this moue took place there had been a chance meeting with a committee member of the RORC who suggested that under the new CHS handicap rule which had just replaced the IOR `Mowgli' might be better off bringing back lier quadrilateral genoa. Consequently the new sail had been ordered from Lucas and in 1991 the yacht now armed with a Decca navigational ail won her first RORC trophy - the Myth of Malham Cup, highly appropriate for a Maica ! The race was a short one - the 110 mile Cowes-Fecamp course and sailed in very catin conditions.

During the 1990s the week-end RORC races tended to become shorter in distance. Whereas in the part they had normally started on a Friday evening and were a minimum length of 200 miles, now they usually started on Saturday morning and were finished comfortably on a Sunday. Although `Mowgli' continue to compete from time to time in the RORC programme, it was decided to start taking part in some 'Round the Buoy' racing and short passage events like the 'Round the Island' race. Most of the 'Round the Buoy' races were organised from Brighton marina under the flag of the Brighton Marina Yacht Club (BMYC). They took place on every Sunday throughout the year and on Wednesday evenings in the sommer. They were all very enjoyable and `Mowgli' notched up quite a few prizes but it bas to be said that she did better under the PY handicap rule than under the CHS. As for the 'Round the Island' one major setback occurred in 1996 ; the yacht suffered a port and starboard collision on the beat back near the Forts and damage to the hull below the waterline was serious enough to have the boat lifted out of the water in a hurry at Gosport. At the protest hearing the other yacht was disqualified but when asked at the hearing why `Mowgli' had not hoisted a protest flag, the skipper replied: "No time ! We were sinking"! Camper and Nicholson quickly completed an expert repair but the risks of the 'Round the Island' should not be underestimated !

In August 1999 after ending her RORC career on a high note with a class win in the Fastnet, `Mowgli' left Plymouth for the French Mediterranean coast. She found a berth in the large marina at Bandol where the facilities and climate were excellent for the upkeep of an elderly wooden boat. Furthermore Mowgli's racing career was far from over. She took part in many local regattas, several coastal passage races and one offshore event to the island of Pantelleria with stopovers in Sardinia and Sicily. For all these races `Mowgli' received a handicap under the French national system which was not very favourable because the Maica was officially listel with the larger mainsail and no allowance was made for Mowgli's smaller modified sail.
So the results apart from a few exceptions in the longer passage events were disappointing. Incidentally one of Mowgli's main rivals an immaculate Nicholson 32 modified with a taller double spreader mast. On the other hand despite being a series built yacht, 'Mowgli' was accepted by the CIM for the classic regattas where she received a more favourable rating and gained a few prizes including a class win at Ajaccio. Other regattas took place at Palma, Mahon and Antibes. But the favourite venue was of course Saint-Tropez where the yacht took part on four occasions. However unfortunately in 2003 she suffered a second port and starboard collision causing considerable damage. At the protest hearing the other yacht was disqualified and the accident may have had something to do with the fact that yachts of greatly differing sizes started at lie saine time on the saine line ! The repairs were expertly carried out by Monaco Marine at Cogolin but for the second time in her racing career `Mowgli' was the innocent victim !

Soon after her arrival in Bandol, it was necessary to install Mowgli's third auxiliary engine - this time a Yanmar GM10 (9 HP) with a new propeller. This was a much better auxiliary for Mediterranean conditions. Also it was decided to engage a local Company - Chantier Naval des Baux (CNB) to carry out a complete refit and repainting of the hull using the West epoxy system bit without applying the tissue cloth. The work was carried out in the open at Bandol and CNB quite rightly insisted that the topsides colour should be changed from dark blue to white - an essentiel change for Mediterranean conditions. The job was dope in 2001 and ever since thankfully Mowgli's hull has required very Little upkeep.

In Mowgli's bulging file - 'Important Repairs, Replacements and Modifications' - over 100 items have been listed, the great majority of which have been the product of a long racing history including some 80 RORC races and countless other events. Featuring, of course, in this List are new sails and it is interesting to note that at the time of writing `Mowgli' is currently using her tenth No 1 genoa, her firth No 2 genoa, her sixth spinnaker and her eighth mainsail and some of these need replacing if further racing is contemplated. It has often been said that all yacht racing especially offshore is like standing under a cold shower fully clothed tearing up £50 notes ! There are no regrets but when in 2006 the insurers demanded another survey it was reluctantly decided to call a hait to further racing and concentrate on Mediterranean cruising. After all the Maica was designed as a cruiser/racer. Consequently in recent years long cruises have been made to the Balearics, Italy, Corsica, Sardinia and the Costa Brava. By modern standards Mowgli's cruising comforts mat be Spartan but the yacht behaves impeccably in all weathers and if the sails are trimmed properly will happily sail herself if the wind is forward of the beam.

How many Maica are in existence to-day is not known. A few have been spotted on the French Mediterranean in varions stages of modification and repair and at most marinas where `Mowgli' has been tied up the yacht has been recognised as one of those marvellous Illingworth creations which has introduced offshore racing to British and French sailors alike.


Registered Name Mowgli (of Portsmouth)
Official Number 903851
Sail Number GBR 2188
Builder Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie
Designer Illingworth and Primrose
Year Launched 1965
Builder's Serial Number 34
Type Maica à Voute (7 berth)
Auxiliary Engine Yanmar GM 10 (9 HP)
LOA 11.09m (modified)
LWL 7.50m
Beam 2.74m
Draft 1.78m
Displacement 5.5 tonnes
Ballast Keel 2650 kg
Sail Area 38 sq m (modified)
Radio Call Sign MVWX8
Fuel Tank 18 litres
Water Tanks (3) 165 litres

Hull Triple skip mahogany 18mm (lOx4x4nun)
Floors Galvanised Steel
Ribs Ash
Keel Bolts Bronze 28mm (buried in lead keel)
Mast Proctor (height 12.60m)
Deck Plywood 16mm (7/6" modified)
Rigging /standing) Ixl9mm s.s. 1991 (some replaced since)
Boom Proctor
Spinnaker Booms 2 ( 1 Sparlight)
Sails 1963 Sail Plan (includes rigging)
Mainsail Banks 1999
No. 1 Genoa (quadrilateral Elvstrom 2003, Lucas 1995,
No 2 Genoa (heavy) Lucas 1995
Spinnaker Lucas 1995, 1989
No.! Jib (working) Elvstrom 2010, Lucas 1993
Storm Jib Lucas 1983
Trysail Lucas 1983

Ground Tackle 1 CQR 35 Ibs (16 kg), I CQR 15 Ibs (7 kg) Chain 1 lm, warp 37m

Liferaft Lifeguard 4 man 1999
Dinghy Avon 3 man 1992
VHF 2 (1 handheld)
GPS 2 (both handheld)
Compass 2 (1 Sestrel, 1 Plastimo)
Winter cover Canvas specially made with ridge poles
Awning Specially made for Mediterranean use Cockpit cover

Details of ratings, measured sail areas, paint, antifouling etc available on request.


See also : News du 21 juin 2016


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