Miah Dixon spent a morning taking a quick look at one of the newest boats to hit the NZ market – the FatCat 4000.
FatCat boats are the brainchild of Roger Tweddell and Blair McLay, who recognised a need for small to mid-sized trailer boats that were affordable without compromising on safety. Their boats look to fill a gap in the market for affordable plastic catamarans that can be used across a wide range of boating applications.
The idea for FatCat boats (sold under the Lightning Marine banner) came to be after Roger and Blair noticed people going out in small boats and exceeding the safe operating parameters of the vessels. Their decision to move to double-hulled boats was a no-brainer, for the stability and ample deck space that they offer. The plastic material that FatCat hulls are comprised of offers great buoyancy, particularly when built-in a catamaran configuration.
The FatCat range runs from the 2.7m ‘Mouse’ (a tender with full wrap-around fender option) to the 3000, 4000 and 5000 flat deck catamaran option. All three of the flat deck models can be configured as tiller steer, jockey consoles, or centre consoles to suit a range of needs.
Safety and stability are the fundamental principles behind a FatCat boat. The two hulls are foam filled, providing excellent buoyancy. When coupled with a high freeboard and sizeable flat deck, the 4000 feels sturdy and very capable.
From a fishing perspective, the FatCat 4000 is a blank canvas ready to be customised to suit your specific needs.
As a base, the 4000 comes with four grab handles, four-rod holders, transom reinforcement, and a large anchor locker with lid, forward locker lips, scuppers and tie-down points for fuel tanks. The two hulls provide a lot of floor space to work with – an entire four square meters. Being completely flat, there is nothing to trip on, and plenty of space for bins, gear and seating options. This makes the FatCat 4000 a great option for someone looking for a dive boat one day, but a fishing boat the next.
The FatCat 4000 has plenty of room to store your bin and gear in the middle of the deck, leaving ample space for sitting around the sides and on the bow.
Two storage lockers are moulded into the bow, with standard sealed plastic doors an option to keep them completely dry. Dips separate the deck in the floor, which direct any water straight down to the scuppers – not that you’d be worried about excess water – you can fill a FatCat boat right up to the sides with water, and it still won’t sink.
A large covered anchor locker provides ample space to store both your anchor and any other miscellaneous items.
The large anchor-locker provides room to store both your anchor and chain, but also as a quick access for other miscellaneous items.
The list of additional accessories available for the FatCat 4000 is exhaustive and gives the owner the chance to customise the boat to their exact needs. The Railblaza system is an obvious option to pair with the FatCat range, enabling users to choose positions for the StarPort mounts, but change out the accessories that are seated in them, depending on what the boat is being used for that day.
Moulded in swim steps, plus additional grab handles make boarding easy.
As far as the ride goes, in the 4000 model, there is little bow lift across a range of speeds. The hull pops comfortably out of the hole and planes quickly when paired with a 30HP Mercury outboard. The double chines keep the spray down, making for a reasonably dry ride.
The FatCat 4000 sits on a low-riding Aakron Express trailer. The FatCat and Aakron teams have specifically fitted this trailer to make launching as easy as possible. The two hulls sit on carpet-lined skids. The light weight of the FatCat makes it easy to slide on and off in only a foot or so of water.
At a mere 270kg base weight (hull and outboard), the 4000 is easy to tow and a very viable option for those who have a tow vehicle with just a standard 750kg tow rating.
For those looking for a brand-new boat, but with an entry-level budget, the FatCat 4000 is a good place to start. The boat, a 30HP outboard and Aakron Express trailer starts at $13,195, leaving change from $15,000 to kit it out with whatever else you deem necessary.
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