Micro Cat Sidewinder

by Gary Brown

The unique 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat is an extremely versatile boat that will have you going over a bar and getting into very shallow water with ease – and this boat has been designed with the not just the angler in mind. It could be used by motor and quad bike users, hunters, campers, divers and for BBQs. Or you could stand and cast lures along the edge of mangroves, wash boards of oyster leases, wharves, mud and sand flats and weed beds. The list is endless.

Craig Jones from Blue Water Fabrications has a background in marine engineering and has spent 10 years coming up with the design of the Micro Cat, and has built it and the trailer from the ground up. When I first laid eyes on the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat I thought of a BBQ boat. How wrong was I! This boat is much more than that.

The Honda 40hp 4-stroke outboard had the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat powering at around 50 knots on calm water with two people on board. This would be less if you had a full capacity of five adults on board or any other major equipment like a couple of motor or quad bikes. Once onboard you will realize how much floor space there is for passengers or vehicles.

Even though the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat sits high in the water it doesn’t have much draft. This enables you to put on a short shaft outboard, which in turn allows you to travel over very shallow water. Craig took me for a spin over extremely shallow water to show me how shallow you could get – I would say we were in around 30cm of water.

By contrast, we also crossed out through the bar (not rough, but a few waves) and the boat came up to and down off the swells with ease. The spray rail chines that run about one third the length of the boat did their job by keeping any spray away. I don’t know how it would go if there was a wind coming from the side, but looking over the side I would say that it would keep the spray going downwards.

The unique 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat is an extremely versatile boat that will have you going over a bar and getting into very shallow water. Craig Jones from Blue Water Fabrications came up with this design from the ground floor.
There is some storage underneath each of the beach seats. You might put on a hatch to keep the stored gear away from the elements.
You may find it a bit of a hassle at times taking off and putting on the trailer lights. Just remember to tie them on each time and loop the wire through the rails.
The rear panels have been left open so the air can pass through them to stop extra resistance. At the rear, there is a built-in preparation table with four rod holders. This is a great place to cut up those baits and deploy the berley.
The drivers console has storage for the battery and cables. Maybe you could put in an extra shelf and a small hatch.
The boat slides off and onto the trailer so easily you will need to use the strap when launching. Craig also has a secondary rope for when you have unclipped the strap. You can climb along the trailer to get onto the boat, and you could have a walking platform installed on the bottom rails to make it easier to walk along.
The 60L fuel cell is situated behind the passenger’s chair. If you required a larger one you could ask Craig how much one would cost.
Craig Jones also designed the trailer to take the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat demo boat. The spray rail chimes only run about a third of the length of the boat, but this easily deflects any spray coming in from the sides of the boat.
Notice how the pod has directed the bulk of the water to either side of the motor. Then on either side of this it is clear flat water making the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat skim across the top of the water.
To the rear of the boat you will find a buoyant deflection pod that enables the outboard motor to be mid mounted. This pod deflected the water either side of the motor allowing the outboard to have a short shaft leg for that shallow travelling.
Both driver and passenger have their own cushioned, fold down swivel seats set up behind a console. Both consoles have a grab rail, covered storage, windscreen and small dash area.
You can drive the 4.4m Micro Cat Sidewinder right up onto the shore. Makes getting on and off easy. If you had a motor or quad bike you could make up a set of ramps to get on and off.
As you will see the front of the boat is completely open. You would need to rug up during the cooler months of the year if you were sitting up front. There is so much floor space to play with.
The preparation table has four of the eight rod holders onboard.

As we were scooting along I took the chance to sit up front on one of the bench seats, and was amazed that was very little (a couple of drops) water came in over the front. This would be due to the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat sitting slightly higher in the water at the front.

The launching and retrieving of the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat was a breeze. It was just a matter of taking off the trailer lights, backing the trailer down (keeping the bearing out of the water), undoing the safety chain and slowly unwinding the strap with the winch handle.

Once it’s about to clear the rear skids, you engage the ratchet and climb through the centre of the trailer. Once on the boat, you start the motor and put it into gear, and you can then unhitch the hook and reverse off and tie up at the wharf. What I would get installed on the base of the trailer is a grated walkway, which would make traversing the trailer to get to the boat much easier.

The internal design of the webbing and struts of the boat make the sponsons extremely strong and less prone to vibration and flexing when travelling. The sponsons have been nitro filled to stop any water coming in, and this also stops any corrosion.

If you enjoy camping, this craft would be ideal for family and friends to take their camping gear and pull in right at the water’s edge and set up camp for the night. You could also set up a couple of swags onboard and sleep under the stars for the night.

All in all, after testing the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat, I found that the options for its use is endless. The hull is designed for both rough and smooth water applications, and can go into 30cm of water at high or slow speed. The boats represent the cutting edge of technology and fishing ability. Nothing looks like a Micro Cat, and nothing goes like a Micro Cat.

For the full Sidewinder Series range, from the 4.4m Sidewinder Micro Cat tested here to the Sidewinder 495 and the smaller configurations of the 360 and 320 tiller versions, head to www.aussieboatsales360.com.au . They are based in Canberra, Batemans Bay, Freshwater & Patterson Lakes, and you can contact Jason Graham from Aussie Boat Sales on 0433 531 226 or email aussieboatsales@gmail.com.

  • Quoted performance figures have been supplied by the writer in good faith. Performance of individual boat/motor/trailer packages may differ due to variations in engine installations, propellers, hull configurations, options, hull loading and trailer specifications.

SPECIFICATIONS
Boat length        4.4m
Boat width         2.1m
Length on trailer (motor down)  6.5m.
Width on trailer    2.4m
Height on trailer   2.4m
Weight                   740kg
Capacity                5 adults
Maximum hp       50
Hull thickness     4mm
Side thickness     3mm
Floor thickness    4mm
Keels:                     6mm

Internal construction: Aluminium square tubing (secret design)

FEATURES
2 x Highback Skipper spring, cushioned, fold-down swivel seats
1 x battery for motor and electrics
60L fuel cell
Honda 40hp 4-stroke outboard
Humminbird 197 DI sounder
Trim and tilt gauge
RPM gauge
Fuel gauge
4 toggle switches
4 fixed rod holders
4 swivel rod holders
Navigation lights
Fold down bimini

Price as tested: $32,900

A large range of accessories are made for the Micro Cat so you can customise it to your own needs.