Pending Divorce from Cats
It’s now six months since the maiden voyage of my 6.8 hardtop Vindicator. My journey started in August 2012 when I went to the Brisbane Boat Show looking to replace my old 6.2 Kevlacat with a new hull, I didn’t want new motors as I had only just purchased two new 4 strokes the year before. I made approaches to a couple of cat builders and was told “Ours don’t go out without motors” and the other response was “You remove the motors and looms, forward to us and we will complete the fit up“, due to the remote area I live in, it increased the price by approximately $8k and an additional $10k to freight it back. So I started the search for custom alloy builders, twelve queries later to builders around Australia, I received two replies, one from Victoria and one from Watson’s Marine. Frank Watson followed up the email reply with a phone call and he convinced me to take a leap of faith, I have owned 4 Cats over the past 30 years and was in love with them, from early Markham Whalers, Webster Twin Fisher, and Kevlacat, the love affair was soon to end. I understand the position of the cat builders trying to protect their reputations in wanting to set their boats up, and I thought they would have sold that many, mounting of steering and motors would be a standard process as they would use standard templates to drill holes, however they would not budge on their decision, even the offer of cash wouldn’t sway their decision.
My decision to commission Frank Watson to build my new boat was based on 3 things:
- He replied to an online query
- He followed up with a phone call
- I had the wife’s approval to buy a new hull
I had some ideas which I raised with Frank, like side access, unpainted hull, very defined delivery date and the deal was done, Frank was always positive during the building process, sending photos at every stage. On the agreed delivery date, I turned up at Watson’s Marine in Gympie with a Fridge that I was going to fit under the port side seat box, Frank wanted to ensure that the fridge was going to fit and had to make modifications over night to ensure it fitted, including making sure that it worked and was able to be used for the 4 day journey back to the Territory. While we were going through the fixtures and fittings, Frank said to me “If you’re not happy, I will write you out a cheque right now“, I liked the man, He offered phone numbers to speak to other owners, here is a company that has no worries about their product, and he made a big claim, He believed it to be as good as my old cat.
6 Months on
I’ve clocked up approximately 100 hrs in 6 months, due to my love of boating and fishing, the only thing I can say is these hulls are awesome. I will admit I was a little uncertain on handling having spent so many years in cats, but the Vindicator hull soon built confidence in all seas. I had to learn to drive a monohull to get the best from it, and I am thrilled with the handling, the build quality, and the ride is superb. The hull looks good, when I first arrived back in town with the boat, the first four weeks was spent fishing in the front yard, with mates, beer in the fridge and dreaming of fishing. I commenced fit out, clear coated the hull and mounted the motors. My wife loves the fact that I can load and unload the boat without her help, due to the heavy duty Vindicator custom built aluminium trailer it sits on, a new love affair has commenced.
Chris & Shelley Andrews – 6.8m Vindicator Half Cabin – NHULUNBUY, NT, 881