Throughout its production life, the Moonraker was in constant development. There were at least six different series and two different builders.
Throughout its production life, the Moonraker was in constant development. There were at least six different series and two different builders. From 1970 to 1972 the boat was built by Buxton Marine Services of Brundall trading as Moonraker Marine, from 1972 onwards by Moonraker Marine International a company set up by Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman.
Most Moonrakers were built within the first four years: by 1975 the then builders JCL were concentrating on the development of a new Range of Italian-styled motor cruisers (the Mirage, Mystere and Mamba). This proved to be a mistake. None of the futuristic new craft were to prove as popular as the Moonraker, and in 1980 the builders folded, a victim of the recession which gripped the industry at the time.
In 1972, when Le Quatre was built, buyers could choose from one of three different versions of the Moonraker the Sedan (aft cabin, open wheelhouse), the Cruiser (aft cockpit, open wheelhouse) or the Sports Yacht (enclosed wheelhouse/deck saloon, flybridge, aft cabin). The Sedan and the Cruiser were powered by twin Perkins 6.354 115hp six-cylinder diesels, the Sports Yacht by turbocharged T6.354s developing 175hp. The 175s were also available on the Sedan and the Cruiser in a higher-spec version called the Express most buyers opted for the extra power.
Le Quatre, unusually, carries the designation “900” on her superstructure. This was a short-lived idea where the flybridge models were badged 900, and the non-flybridge models 700. Otherwise, she appears to be the same model as the boat originally tested by MBY in 1973 , which carries the more widely used badge “350”, introduced in 1972 to denote the combined engine power.
There is a relatively wide choice of Moonrakers for sale at prices between £40,000 and £50,000 a lot for a boat nearly 30 years old, reflecting its popularity. Although these are asking prices, a 1972 model fetched over £50,000 in a recent sale, so they are not too ambitious. You can find Moonrakers for £25,000, but at this price you should expect to have to do extensive renovation work.
The Moonraker Club
There is now a Moonraker Owners’ Club, run by Morvyn Phillips, who owns the 1991-built 36 Darius. Formed in January 1997, the Club already has 57 members, not just in the UK but as far afield as Ireland and Norway. It publishes a newsletter and offers a growing programme of cruises. For further details call Morvyn on +44 (0)1235 831369.
Moonraker 36 Data
LOA (inc davits) 40ft 6in (12.03m)
Beam 11ft 6in (3.50m)
Draught 3ft 0in (0.91m)
Displacement 6.5 tonnes(flybridge model)
Fuel capacity 190gal (905lt)
Water capacity 100gal (477l)
Accommodation Sleeps six: forecabin with vee-berths; saloon with dinette/double berth; galley; toilet/shower; wheelhouse/deck saloon; aft stateroom with double berth and ensuite toilet/shower
Engines Twin Perkins diesels, 115-175hp
Built Approx 400 between 1970 and 1980
Designer Robert Tucker
Manufacturer Moonraker Marine, subsequently JCL Marine, Brundall, Norfolk.