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Aspen Carbon Cat: Next-Generation Boat Tender

The unique hull shape of the extremely stable Carbon Cat dinghy combines the best attributes of both catamarans and monohulls.

Man holding the tiller of a small Carbon Cat boat with woman sitting in front of him while crusing along

The boatbuilding team at Aspen Power Catamarans has developed a new line of lightweight rigid tenders that are unlike any dinghy built before. Carbon Cat's patent-in-process hull form provides the stability of a catamaran or an inflatable RIB but utilizes lightweight carbon fiber construction making them fast, efficient, and easy to handle, according to company founder Larry Graf.

"The idea was to have a lightweight boat that would run very soft in a chop, which is hard to do, and a catamaran shape that delivers stability," he says.

Carbon Cat boat tender sitting on rocky beach with blue water and trees in the background

The rugged carbon fiber composite construction makes the tender beachable, even on stones.

The hybrid design starts with a deep single-entry forefoot that smoothly cleaves through waves for improved tracking and spray resistance. The hull contour then gently widens aft and at the stern resembles a modified catamaran hull which provides lateral stability and lift. The resulting stability allows riders to step on the gunwales while boarding, and the sharp entry forward ensures a fast, efficient, dry ride. Take a look for yourself.

Aspen Carbon Cat Tour

The Carbon Cat construction and design means that the power requirements should be 35% less than typical inflatables due to the hard bottom and hybrid cat hull shape, according to Graf, who notes during sea trials, the T11 model reached a top speed of 21 mph powered by a single 9.9-hp Yamaha outboard. Using more moderate horsepower increases fuel efficiency and reduces weight. This makes the Carbon Cat and its engine easier to stow on board and easier to launch and retrieve.

Optional transom wheels make beaching the Carbon Cat even simpler.

Woman and man carrying a Carbon Cat boat tender through a parking lot

The Carbon Cat is not nearly as heavy as it looks.

The gunwale is finished with a thick foam bumper made from SeaDek HD for durability and to eliminate scratches and abrasions. The seating area is also cushioned with SeaDek creating a softer surface and better grip.

The three current models, T9, T10, and T11, are 9, 10, and 11 feet respectively and weigh between 126 and 151 pounds. Prices range from $9,900 to $10,800.

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BoatUS Editors

Contributor, BoatUS Magazine

Award-winning BoatUS Magazine is the official publication of Boat Owners Association of The United States. The magazine provides boating skills, DIY maintenance, safety, news and more from top experts.