MOSQUITO – The racing catamaran
The Mosquito was designed in 1966 by Neil Fowler of Darwin as a one person (on trapeze) cat rigged yacht. Later the jib and the second trapeze were added and the Mosquito became an easily converted one-person/two-person yacht able to be built at home by the amateur or by professional builders but not restricted to one manufacturer.
At first the Mosquito gained acceptance in Darwin and South Australia in MkII mode (two person sloop rig) while in Victoria the one person MkI (cat rig) dominated. Soon after it also became established in NSW, Qld and Tasmania. There are also Mosquitos sailing in South Africa and even Canada (we know of one!).
Although it can be loaded up with an esky for a day cruise (on a quiet day) it doesn’t suit the cruising role; the Mosquito is a racing catamaran.
The Mosquito has been around now since the the late 1960s and in that time its performance has been shown to be consistently good for a 5 metre catamaran, often beating much newer designs around the course. The current YV yardstick is 84 for both MkI and MkII.
While it is fast the Mosquito is not loaded up with excessive sail area. Instead it achieves its performance through efficiency and light weight. The Mosquito has a very low minimum weight; 55 kg for the bare hulls or less than 80 kg fully rigged. It is very easily handled on the beach from trailer to water and back again.
The Mosquito is not as wide as most 5m cats at 2.185m. Combined with the light weight this make it a fairly lively and exciting boat to sail. When it was introduced it was criticised for having a tall, high aspect rig which the “ordinary” sailor would never be able to handle. Times change and these days the Mosquito’s once tall mast could be regarded as a little shorter than the average.
The Mosquito is easily converted from MkI to MkII and although not all skippers take advantage of this some find it convenient to keep a jib and a pair of cleats in the car for when the family want to join in the fun. MkII skippers can easily remove the jib if they want to sail and the crew can’t make it.
The Mosquito can be bought as a complete set of hulls (in fibreglass or timber) for owner finishing but many prefer to sharpen up the plane and saw and create their own. The Mosquito is built from ply using the stitch and glue method. Timber frames are used at the pickup points for the main and rear crossbeams and at the forestay chainplate points. Foam frames stiffen the rest of the hulls. Many builders add extra foam frames as they weigh little for the amount of stiffness added.
Timber hulled boats are finished in two pot paints or varnish. The class rules are structured so the amateur builder can conform without too much trouble and so that although the boat is basically one design owners can individualise their boats with variations in hull internals, rudders, deck layout, fittings and rigging.
Click to see full size imageThe Mosquito has a lot to offer; performance, light weight, resale value, good competition and an active class association plus the ability to change between a one person and two person boat without losing performance.
For more information contact one of the State Associations or NMCC officials. Contact details are available from our contacts page. You can also download an information brochure in PDF format.