SABBEX talks to Hammer Yachts co-founder Peter Wiersema about the HammerCat 35’s nomination for ‘Multihull of the Year’ in the PowerCat category
1) This nomination is further acknowledgement of a great boat. What does it mean to you?
The nomination is the acknowledgement that our work is recognised by people who know about power catamarans. More and more prospective buyers, the international press and people in the maritime industry are understanding the HammerCat concept: building light, strong and elegant power-cats that are very fuel efficient.
2) The nomination is also a tribute to all the hard work of those involved, notably Uwe. How important was the Uwe factor in producing these boats?
Uwe’s extensive boat-building experience was instrumental during the build of first hull. We had a target weight, and he delivered. Despite some hiccups during the build, Uwe’s knowledge & skills made the difference.
3) I recall Uwe saying the intention was largely to break into the US sports fishing market. Are you seeing that and what in particular is it about this boat that gives it that penetration?
The HammerCats are targeted towards the US market, you can see that in the bold look, big volume and Carolina bow. Now it is up to the marketing team to show the US market what makes the HammerCat stand out from other sport fish power-catamarans. We are proud to say that sales have been strong, we have our order book filled with HammerCat 35 orders well into 2021.
4) Despite Covid some sectors of the boating industry continue to see strong growth. Are you seeing that in sports fishing in the US, or is the market fluctuating?
During Covid, more and more people are realising you only live once, and the best times are often spend on the water with friends and family. Boat sales have been excellent in the US in the past 10 months.
5) What would you say are the most innovative / appealing aspects of the HammerCat?
What sets the HammerCat apart is the power to weight ratio. Most center console fishing boats are very heavy, they need quad engines to get decent speeds. The HammerCat is built using epoxy composite materials, thus 40% lighter and we can get the same speed and double the efficiency with just 2 engines (in lieu of 4 / “quads”)
6) On the back of the success are their plans for other models / further expansion?
We are working on the final design of the HammerCat 45. We expect to go in production for this new model in the first part of 2021. The HammerCat 45 is geared towards the higher echelons of the sportfish / center console market and we hope to sell some to super yacht owners as tenders.
7) From a market perspective, will you remain focused on the US market or are you looking to expand your footprint further afield?
At this stage our focus is on the US market, all our HammerCat sales have been in the US so far. Our production is semi-custom and we consider ourselves a ‘boutique boat yard’. Whereas other builders are geared towards mass production, we want to grow organically and keep the brand more exclusive.
8) How has Uwe’s passing impacted upon the production side and who has stepped up to fill the gap?
Uwe’s passing came as a shock to everyone, he was such a ‘mensch’, his integrity and values are part of the DNA of Hammer Yachts.
Upon Uwe’s passing, Hammer Yachts stepped in both financially and operationally: none of Uwe’s employees was laid off or missed a paycheck. Francois van der Merwe was instrumental in keeping the organization and logistics of the boatbuilding going while managing 2 jobs at the same time. The support from suppliers, vendors, friends and family has enabled Hammer Yachts to continue. Uwe’s team has remained intact but under a naw name, “Hammer Yachts PTY Ltd”. we literally build on Uwe’s legacy. Hammer Yachts recently moved to a new factory in the Airport Industria complex, this move enables us to be more efficient, be closer to our suppliers and work force while having more room for growth for upcoming projects like the HammerCat 45.