The history of the Cobra catamaran.

Back to results page.
Back to Cobra Assn' home page.

Here are some words from Peter Fletcher, the designer of the Cobra.

My first venture into boat building was to build a VJ for my eldest son David. A boat plan was published in the Sea Craft magazine telling me I can build this boat for 15 dollars in todays money, which I did for no 2 son. These boats got plenty of use as the lads were in the sea scouts and attended many regattas.

Next I purchased plans for a Manta cat from L. Cunningham and built it. It got good use by my family and the scout people. They once took 50 scouts around the bay.

Next I met Neil Fowler at catamaran week, he had the Arafura Cadet on show, it was popular with young members so I bought a set of plans, made the boat and immediate success. I ended up selling 94 plans and built many boats. This was followed by the Arrow an enlarged version plan. Sales were good, over 100 plans and built many boats. So I had established a working relationship with Neil Fowler over this time.

Next I built a Stingray as I was invited to sit in on their plan and promotion meetings. We sailed it on Botany Bay the Harbour and Port Phillip and we enjoyed the experience, and the thought of a father and son boat was in the back of my mind, not too heavy, not too demanding yet large enough to carry 20 stone or 280kg. I had this in mind when Neil brought the Mosquito to Blairgowrie. Little notice was taken of it, but it had good points, it was light, moved speedily through the water, so I asked Neil for the rights to build and sell plans, and he agreed and said he would send the necessary papers from Darwin. I received plans and the agreement was under way, so I built one and introduced the Mosquito to the scouts and the sailing club, it became popular and I had sold about 10 plans when I received news that the rights to sell plans and make boats was cancelled and a firm in Victoria would control it in the future. Yes I was angry but we had a much better idea on the requirements of a father and son boat.

We made the boat 5 meters and carry the same size mainsail as the Quick Cat 129sq ft, hoping to attract some of those sailors over, then we experimented with hull shape to handle the 20 stone best in most winds. To reduce nose diving and increase speed, we increased buoyancy in the bow section of the hull and fitted a jib to balance. We chose a suitable mast, and was undecided on the centre boards, retractable or vertical. We settled on retractable because I learned the IYRU was looking for a suitable trainer for the Tornado and perhaps the Cobra would fill the gap? We pushed the design hard, it was a very rewarding challenge and we enjoyed doing it, great help from Colin Ball, who pushed it along the Qld coast, with success, Tasmania and Victoria also helped.


A few items of interest included, I was talking to Warwick Player and he had just returned from the Tornado World Titles held in Honolulu, had bought the winning boat back and was sailing it on Botany Bay, in the morning race he was on a reaching leg and he was unable to overtake a Cobra sailed by my two sons I hesitated in believing his tale, but more and more reports came in. The 2nd report came from Lake Illawara Regatta where the Cobras started 10 mins behind the Mosquitos, well Laurie Mcdonald (national Champ) sailed well, made up the 10 mins and through the Mossy fleet, this upset them and they always started after Cobras from then on.

My final item is the report on the IYRU trials held at Long Beach California, when the Australian trials were over we were given the OK to go over. We decided to contest with two Cobras No 1 with a top crew and No2 under 16 age crew hoping to impress the people who run the under 16 age regattas. Here I admire and thank the Long Jetty Sailing Club because they raised the money to send these lads to America . I made the 2 Cobras packed them up and shipped them to LA, my agent appointed to take delivery and deliver to the Long Beach Club. Well the Saturday before we left he rang to say he had 2 beautiful boats, but no masts. Panic stations, we located the masts, they had been unloaded in Brisbane by mistake. Had to arrange for them to be flown over with us it was a costly exercise and we all know the IYRU chose an English design called Dart and I have not heard much about it since.

Back to results page.
Back to Cobra Assn' home page.