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When Cats and Dogs play nicely together


Blackdog Cats are the marine brainchild of Whangarei-based business Blackdog Steelworks. The self-confessed recreational fishermen and divers saw a gap in the market for a boat that had the stability and space of a catamaran, but performed and functioned like a monohull. So they created the Blackdog Cat.

We recently took a trip to the Auckland on the Water Boat Show to take a closer look.

Blackdog had three of its five boat styles/sizes on display and quickly invited us to board the 5.1 hardtop. We hopped on from the back and didn’t even have to take our shoes off – the joys of it being finished in exposed metal. The first thing we noticed (of course, since we had to squeeze past it) was the huge, yet single 140hp Suzuki outboard (Blackdog Cats have been set up to not require two engines).

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Blackdog calls the 5.1 Cat the ‘Space ship’, as it will comfortably take six people and still has room for things like dive gear and fishing equipment and, I have to say, for a seemingly small boat, the ‘space’ is noticeable – there certainly was plenty of room to move around freely.

As I mentioned before, the Cat is stable – very stable. The mechanics are simple; essentially, by having two enclosed pockets of air in the hull, it achieves outstanding buoyancy, however, rather than simply explaining it, we were all asked to stand to one side and lean over.

The Cat barely noticed we were there. This, of course, underlines that fact that it’s a great recreational vessel – divers and fishermen (people) can group together where they like without fear of vessel roll.

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On the water, the Cats offer a softer ride; less rise and smash in heavier swells and, because of their innovative catamaran and pontoon design, they optimise the trailer boat’s safety and stability. Continuing with the ease of use (recreational) theme, the Cat’s fuel tank is basically two removable jerry cans, so you don’t even have to drag the boat to the pump.

It’s great to see Kiwi boat building’s heart is still beating strongly. Since its inception in 2009, Blackdog has already produced more than 200 boats and has the capacity to build about eight a month.

They are already fulfilling orders from across the ditch and are looking to expand both locally and across the Tasman – that is, when they’re not out on the water themselves, of course!

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