Safety and weight
Although weight savings were a primary goal, safety was never compromised to achieve it. Our hulls have impact-resistant Twaron™ (the same material used in bullet proof vests) throughout. The building methods and designs make for a stronger boat. Our cats tend to be wider than traditional designs. While greater width obviously adds more living space to the boat, it has much bigger positive effect on stability.
All of our boats are CE certified by the ECB. The lighter weight of our catamarans is a safety factor as well. The boats can carry a larger payload of food and fuel without compromising there on water capabilities. Lighter weight means a lower centre of gravity: another safety plus.
Weight was only the beginning
Innovation never stops at African Cats. We looked at every component that goes into making a boat so we could deliver a catamaran which delivers the promise and let you “live the dream.” As an example, the interiors are beautiful and our light weight, Corian™ coated counter tops make preparing meals a joy and clean up easy. Solid state LED lighting, throughout the boat, reduces power consumption and keeps maintenance to a minimum. We started the company with a design philosophy, which guided our every design decision.
At African Cats the combination of enthusiasts and professionals make a boat with incredible performance and an attention to detail that can only come from a group of sailors with extensive experience in racing and cruising. An obvious example of a “big thing” is the weight of the boats. African Cats are much lighter for their size than comparable cats.
Weight versus Speed
Weight is the enemy of speed. Not only are lighter boats faster, but they are more easily driven to a given speed with less force, thus making them easier to handle and safer. The fundamental weight savings come from using high strength light weight building materials including epoxy resin, Twaron aramid, carbon, basalt fiber, Divinycell closed cell foam and Nomex honeycomb through vacuum infusion. Our own developed method results in 30% weight savings in the complete boat. Still, our cats are stronger, stiffer and they perform better than conventional built catamarans.
Out of the box
No amount of “attention to detail” can overcome choosing the wrong building materials. It isn’t enough to use the most modern building techniques; one must follow through on the details, both large and small. Sometimes this requires “thinking out of the box.” One great example is that we broke with tradition and neither use gel-coat on the hull or flow-coat on the insides of the boat! Instead we use a much tougher polyurethane 2k-paint. We didn’t use it just because it was much easier to colour match and repair. We used it because it saved in our model 445 over 500 Kg or 1100 lbs weight. This represents over 8% of the total weight of the boat. Gel- and flow-coat are required to be used by other manufacturers to make the boat impermeable to water. African Cats fundamental building materials are naturally non-water absorbent (epoxy) and do not require this protection. So the result is a lighter boat that is easier to maintain and will keep its low weight regardless of how long it is in the water. A scratch on an African FastCat/GreenCat is just a scratch, not an entry way for water migration.
A smaller detail is the angle we chose for the built-in seat backs on the aft deck and saloon. They are slanted at the optimum angle for comfort. This same angle also reduces the amount of material required and thus the weight by over 30 kilos. It makes access to the electronics easier as well! Every structure within the boat is analysed in the same manner.
We never compromise strength for weight savings. Eliminating unnecessary weight allows us to reinforce structures which benefit from additional materials.