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Creating waves

How do you improve the definitive land yacht? By putting it on the water, of course.
Article illustration

Ten years ago Paul Beckett developed the Blokart land yacht in his Papamoa garage. A lightweight speedster that could fit in a car boot, the Blokart was a culture and style statement with a fanbase that travels the globe, chasing the wind and each other.

So how do you improve the definitive land yacht? By putting it on the water, of course.  “The country’s oldest teenager”, as Beckett is known to his friends, has developed the Katalyst: a lightweight, speedy catamaran that can also be packed into a car-friendly package and is as safe and user-friendly as its beachbound cousin.

It even uses the same frame and sail. Probably expecting the early adopters to be the existing Blokart fans, the company has made Katalyst to be an extension of Blokart land-sailor. “The machine is designed to allow the existing Blokart to hook onto two hulls with utmost ease,” says Ash Rawson, Blokart’s sales and marketing manager.

The Katalyst packs down small enough to be transported without a trailer. Since Beckett wanted the machine to be as portable as Blokart, all the fittings were designed to fit inside the hulls. Owners don’t need to worry about warrants of fitness or registration requirements. The high-performance fibreglass floats have a durable gelcoat and all components are anti-corrosive. Since Katalyst is designed for recreation and family fun, it can suit anyone from the age of eight, says Rawson.

Article illustrationEasy transport: Components pack into the floats … floats load onto car roof rack … Blokart packs up and sits in the bootBike-like steering: In place of complicated tiller steering systems, there’s simple handle bar steeringOther design features: injection-moulded rudders for ultimate durability; precision components; materials such as aluminium spars (the bars which connects the two floats); fibreglass tillers (used to steer the machine); and tread pad for getting on and off the KatalystNo rigging: the existing Blokart sails gives the sailor four sail-size options with no riggingFace forward pilot positioning: pilot sits facing forward instead of the traditional sideways positioning. This allows sailors with limited mobility (such as paraplegics) to enjoy the sport

Keeping with the ‘urban’ aspect of this sport, the Katalyst has fulfilled one more need. Many Blokart owners sail on the beach when it is low tide, says Rawson. “When the tide comes in, sailors can continue sailing by mounting their Blokart on a Katalyst. Sitting facing forward and steering with a handlebar and controlling the sheet rope, sailing has never been easier.”

The Blokart experience has helped with safety, too. The makers say it’s very difficult to capsize even with the maximum load of up to 150 kilograms. “The blokart mast is soft enough to cushion gusts and helps to prevent flipping over on land. On water, the mast behaves identically which makes the Katalyst blokart edition a very stable sailing craft,” Rawson says.

So when can you have one? Sorry, punters, but first we have a trade imbalance to correct. Demand from Australia, Europe and the Middle East is so high that the company has decided to focus on meeting export markets before focusing on home.

After conquering land and water, what’s next for Blokart? The mountains. Beckett says he’s working closely with several ‘tinkerers and inventors’ in the cooler climates, testing prototypes of Blokart ski kit.