Barry 2019-04-12

While there are several aluminium, trailerable power cats on the local market, GRP constructed versions are a rare breed. 


Roger Tweddell and Blair McKay partners in Lightning Marine have changed that with the release of the FatCat range. Currently, there are two models available; the 3.8m FatCat Max and the 2.4m Mouse. Due for release later this year is a 5.0 m version to known as the FatCat Ultra , a 3.0m called the Mini and a 2.5 m Micro.

PPB had a chance recently to have a run in the Mk2 version of the first FatCat Max that was released at the 2018 Auckland On Water Boat Show. Roger was quick to point out that the latest version while fundamentally being the same boat has had very significant changes made to the underwater sections.

The running surfaces of the sponsons were altered, and a centre V pod was added into the tunnel to assist in sending clean water to the propeller. This also adds to the structural strength of the bridge deck. The cockpit floor is absolutely flat with no trip hazards.

Due to the semi asymmetrical hull shape, the boat stays level in the turns and feels like it is on rails. There is no cavitation, and it gets onto the plane with virtually no bow lift. At a  maximum speed around 28 knots, the FatCat Max runs very flat with the water peeling off the hulls about half a metre from the stern.

Being a cat, it also has exceptional load carrying capabilities, and during our run, it made little difference to the speed and handling with one or two aboard. With two up, sitting one on either gunnel, the FatCat Max runs level and this hardly changes with only one aboard. The FatCat Max is unsinkable according to Roger who says they have filled the boat till the water is running over the decks. Power options are any outboard from 25hp to 40hp.

The standard boat has no seats or storage lockers, but all can be added. You either steer the boat from the side deck, from a rear bucket seat or there is also the option of a jockey console.

While the FatCat Max we reviewed was built in conventional foam composite, Roger says that they will also be offered in a high-performance polymer.

The FatCat Max is targeted towards the recreational diver and fisho and also as a tender for charter boats. Due to the stability aspect, it is also a great boat suited to commercial applications.



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