We were sick of seeing people going out on the water in small, unstable boats, having something unexpected happen and the (sometimes tragic) outcomes that result.
There had to be a better way. A Better Boat.
Something that was safer, more seaworthy, that could take a load, and wouldn't risk capsizing if someone moved. Something that was self draining, so it would empty itself of water without the need for a bailer or forward motion.
It also had to be affordable.
That is the problem we set out to solve.
A large part of the solution was to move from a monohull to a catamaran platform as the supporting buoyancy moves to the extremities rather than the middle. It also gives the opportunity to massively increase the volume and space available by spreading the hulls. This solves some objectives but creates other challenges that must be solved and the answers aren't always obvious.
The first prototype was built by Blair McLay in his garage in 2015. Blair was working for the renowned Yacht Engineering firm Pure Design at the time. (He was there for 8 years) He built the Prototype in the evenings/weekends while during the working week he was helping create the structures and drawings for the likes of Emirates Team New Zealand, the Volvo Ocean Race and other leading edge vessels. To develop further and fund future prototypes, Blair placed the boat on Trademe in 2018.
Independently identifying the same problem, Roger Tweddell came across the boat on Trademe and bought it looking to use it as his own test bed. Roger soon got back in touch and rather than compete, the two joined up, co founding Lightning Marine (which we later rebranded to FatCat). A second prototype was then built and taken to the Auckland on Water Boatshow to gauge response. The feedback was great - people made all sorts of comments and helped shape the next steps. Following the show we had enough confidence to move forward, developing the hull further until we were completely happy. We then built the moulds and tooling for the production boats.
In late 2019, the first production FatCat 4000's was delivered.
Within 6 months, word had got out and we began exporting.
Many people have now seen our boats, understand the concept and love our solution.
With their feedback, we are now also developing more models of different lengths to suit a wider range of boaties.
With the growth, the single garage has also now been replaced.
We have built a great team and now work out of a 330 sqm factory in Whangaparaoa, Auckland, New Zealand with support from many suppliers across the NZ Marine Industry.