Cavalier 36 Yachts

The home site for Cav36 class yachts BOO

Welcome to the Cav36 web site

This site has been established to record and maintain the history of this class, and any other information of interest to the owners of these yachts.

We are always on the lookout for more material, so if you have something of interest please send us a copy.

Current owners are invited to send details of their vessel, of its voyages, modifications, equipment, maintenance, or anything else that would be relevant to other owners.


Bullfinch has new owners, Megan Adamson and Jan Charman. Bullfinch is currently at Seaview Marina and Megan and Jan would love some input from other Cav36 owners as they sort her out.

Windarra was recently spotted on a mooring in Oban, Stewart Is, looking tidy as ever.

The Cav36 STOLY has a new owner who is keen to trace its history. What we know so far is that it entered the Sydney-Hobart race in Dec 1978 as HI JACQUE and was registered in Western Australia in 2008.

She is currently in the States about to undergo a restoration. Any info would be much appreciated.


The Cav36 yachts were built between 1976 and ? by Cavalier Yachts Ltd, at 81 Ellice Road, Glenfield, Auckland, New Zealand.

  • The design was by Doug Petersen.
  • The dimensions are length 10.36m, Breath 3.53m, Depth 1.74m.
  • Peter Smith was the founder of Cavalier Yachts.
  • Peter has provided the following history:

Company History

The Cavalier Yacht story started as a partnership between Peter Smith and John Salthouse, trading as Salthouse Custom Glass Boats Ltd. The name was later changed to Custom Glass Boats Ltd. They produced the very successful Cavalier 32 as well as the Coronet Trailer Sailer and the Corsair 36 launch. More than 20 Cav 36s were built.

John and Peter amicably parted company with Peter taking the Cavalier Yachts portion, as yachting was his passion. Peter introduced two new partners, Pat Sullivan as the Administrator and Accountant and Grant Bennet who ran the factory floor.

At their peak Cavalier Yachts had 11 designs in production, and were the largest production boatbuilders in Australasia. Under pressure from the Government they developed a sophisticated fibreglass production unit at 81 Ellice Rd to meet the new health and safety regulations for fiberglass construction. These regulations were later withdrawn.

The dream came to an abrupt end when the then Prime Minister Muldoon introduced the infamous 20% sales tax to the boatbuilding industry and the orders dried up. Although the company had diversified into modular shower units, caravan tops and spandrel panels, amongst other products, the yachts were the lifeblood and without them the business was in trouble.

A Receiver was appointed and successfully traded the company out, repaying all of its debts. The business was then purchased by Jim Lawry, who formed Export Yachts Ltd, believing that export was the future for the company, and a number of Cavalier 39s were sent to Australia and the States.

Grant Bennet died unexpectedly in 2006, a sad loss to all his many friends.

Development of the Cav 36

Brief history as far as I can remember: basically we (Cavalier) were looking for a performance racer/cruiser to fit between the 32 and 39. We helped Bevan Wooly & Chris Bouzaid and his boatbuilder Tim Gurr fair the hull and develop the keel and rudder for his half finished Petersen 36, a slightly more powerful and larger version of Doug Petersen's Ganbare. The one-tonne Cup winner in year ?. Entered a license agreement with Petersen and became his Australasian agent, and lifted moulds off Streaker's hull, then had Lorry Davison redraw the decks to our brief (we didn't like Petersen's profile), and built the deck plug on the first glass hull from the mould for John Wrightson (Hot Canary). Other tit-bits: present mayor of Manukau, Barry Curtis, had a Cav 36. A couple of Cav 36s have circumnavigated. My own boat (#5) was called Warchild. First NZ built FRP boats using NPG (neo-pental glycol) gelcoats. Boats still have their following as family cruisers, just don't push too hard downhill in fresh conditions.

Peter Smith

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