Family boat-builders Yeld Cat Marine have launched a new 22-ft model on the back of a strong local order book.  The Zululand yard, situated in Monzi close to St Lucia on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, reports ongoing interest in their popular range of ski-boats that date back almost 50 years.  “The first 22ft has already been made,” Shannon Yeld told SABBEX.

The company has also revised some of its other designs, including the popular 16ft model which replaced the iconic ‘Vidal Cat’ – particularly well-known in the offshore fishing community. 

Yeld Cat Marine is now owned by the three brothers Mark, Shaun and Craig, who took over the business from their father Peter Yeld.  Now 84, Peter launched his boat building career when he built his own boat for spearfishing. By popular demand he began building more boats, dubbed Zulucat, and later on developed the eponymous Yeld Cat.  Business subsequently snowballed and the business now has several staff who work on an eight-hectare site among the farmlands. “It started off with him (Peter) just making a boat for himself – he was originally a spearfisherman,” Shannon said. “The boats are custom made and a lot of the input has come from the fishermen themselves so we like to think of the Yeld Cat as the People’s Boat – made for the fisherman by the fisherman.  The boats are made for these waters – which is why they have the cat design so that they can operate in shallow waters and launch off the beach.”

“The finishes are all done by hand. We don’t mass produce and I think that is why we are still in business. We have a continuous flow of orders,” she said.

The company had also noted a trend towards smaller ski-craft, possibly as a result of people needing to economise which was why the 16ft was launched.   

“It was also time to re-invent the larger popular design which prompted the move to launch a 22ft model,” Shannon said. “Clientele includes buyers who come down to fish in KZN or further afield in Mozambique.”

“People get to know that when you buy a Yeld Cat, you don’t just by a boat – you are in for the long haul and you become part of the family,” she said. 

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