Frequently Asked Questions

General

When did Great Lakes Watercraft start?

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Great Lakes Watercraft was started during the spring of 2020. Portable boating was something that Max, Mason, and Bill have always sought after. After years of messing around with kayaks, row boats, jetskis, trailers, and nonsense, we finally found unique brands of portable watercrafts that would enable us to hit the water in a low cost, low maintenance way. Considering our struggles to get on the water without a lake front property, we thought others could benefit from the brand research and relationship that we developed with those brands. Great Lakes Watercraft launched with two brands, Takacat and MiniCat, just before the infamous "two weeks to slow the curve" of the global pandemic. During that time, people were more anxious than ever to get out of the house and on the water, putting Great Lakes Watercraft in a position to help!

What are your business hours?

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We answer the phone so long as we are awake and not on the line with another customer. Our phones ring day and night for several months during the peak season in the Midwest, tapering off in the fall and winter. The warehouse is open, by it is by appointment only! Please contact someone on the team to schedule a visit and make sure we have staff available to help you find what you are looking for.

Where can I see you products?

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Great Lakes Watercraft is exclusively and online store front with inventory stored at our warehouse location in Milford, MI. To stop by the warehouse and check out a boat, give us a call or send an email to sales@greatlakeswatercraft.com to schedule and appointment. We also do our best to participate in locally sponsored boat shows and events! Contact us for more information on where we will be next!

You can also visit one of our sales partners to check out the products! We are proud to have a network of local business helping us to share our unique products with the region.

Can I schedule a demo?

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Of course! Contact us at sales@greatlakeswatercraft.com to request a demo. If you are local to the metro Detroit area, we will set up a time and location to do the demo ourselves.

You can also visit one of our sales partners to schedule a demo near you! We are proud to have a network of local business helping us to share our unique products across the region.

MiniCat

Does MiniCat have a guarantee?

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Yes they do! MiniCat has a full 24-month warranty from the manufacturer for defects in material or workmanship. In the unlikely event that you should experience any defect at all, please contact support@greatlakeswatercraft.com for help processing your claim. Be sure to fill out the warranty registration from. The form can be found at this link or in the back of your Owner’s Manual. Email it to us or directly to MiniCat to activate your warranty.

I know MiniCats are portable and lightweight, how can they also be a quality product?

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MiniCat has proven their quality since inception in 2006. The entire product is manufactured and shipped from Europe. German-made 35 mil thick Hytex 5509 reinforced PVC hulls are resilient, light weight, and easy to repair. Modular design makes replacement parts cost-effective and easy to extend the life of your boat. Simple design with few custom parts makes customization with non-OEM parts possible. All components and fittings used in manufacturing are either made in the Czech Republic or sourced from a world class sailing manufacturers such as RONSTAN, SEASURE, CLAMCLEAT, and SUCHOMEL. You can find pictures of the masters at work by following this link!

How much time does it take to assemble your boat?

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From experience, we can tell you the assembly time ranges from about 10 minutes with the MiniCat Guppy to about 50 minutes with the MiniCat 460. There are definitely some efficiencies that you can develop in your technique over time to speed things up! For example, the first time we put together a MiniCat 420 it took us about an hour. After plenty of experience over the last few years, it only takes about 35-40 mins. Check out this mediocre video of us assembling a MiniCat 420 Evoque!

Which are the most portable options?

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The MiniCat 310 is the best portable option for those looking for a fully featured sailboat that packs down into a single bag. The Sport model is even equipped with a continuous line furler for the jib sail. The MiniCat Guppy is also an extremely portable option. It weighs 61lbs and can be assembled in 15 mins or less. Kids can manage to right these boats by themselves!

Can a MiniCat be assembled, launched, and sailed solo?

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Of course! The MiniCat is specifically designed to allow for a single person to assemble, disassemble, launch, and sail on your own. The MiniCat Guppy and 310 are the most portable options that fit into a single bag. With a little more effort and careful planning, solo sailors can step up to the MiniCat 420 or 460.

Can MiniCats be sailed on the Great Lakes or other large bodies of water?

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Some of the best sailing in the Midwest is on the Great Lakes! Just make sure you plan your passage safely and leave equipped with the proper gear. MiniCat also offers an optional outboard motor mount. An outboard can be used as a back up plan incase of dangerous conditions. Great Lakes Watercraft has waterproof Torqeedo electric outboards that are a perfect fit for the cats.

Is MiniCat safe?

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Safety is always first. MiniCat products are well engineering and undergo lots of testing to ensure stability and strength in all components. MiniCat recently celebrated their 15th anniversary, they are experienced boat builders that design for safety. That being said, Great Lakes Watercraft recommends that you do not go sailing on your own, and always let people know where you are and when you are likely to be back. Safety first, then teamwork.

Takacat

Are Takacats quick and easy to assemble?

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The Takacat line of boats are designed for quick and easy assembly. Takacat did a great job designing simplicity into a very rigid boat. They use drop-stitch PVC technology in their air deck floor. As the floor inflates, it fits perfectly in place between they hulls. Inflation with the supplied manual pump takes about 15 minutes, depending on the size of the boat and your urgency. Inflation with an electric pump takes about 8-10 minutes. Check out Great Lakes Watercraft's assembly video of a T380LX!

Can Takacats be deflated and packed away easily?

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Packing up your Takacat can be just as easy as inflating the boat. The removable Tube Transom® enables the Takacat hulls to be folded in thirds and then rolled-up like a a burrito. This makes it easier to store & transport than traditional inflatable boats. The big advantage comes by way of weight savings which makes carrying the boat easier, but also makes the boat nimbler on the water and faster with smaller HP outboards.

The smaller boats can be folded up and shoved in the bag eaily. The bigger boats require a specific technique, but can still fit if you follow the process. Check out this video of a Takacat being packed away for the technique.

What outboard motor should I buy for my Takacat?

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Takacat boats utilize a catamaran hull design, this means that the boats have far less wetted surface and are much more efficient on the water than flat-bottom or V-hull boats. You can use less horsepower than other boats to achieve the same speeds. The most common gas outboard is the 6hp. It is lightweight and portable which completes the package for the Takacat. For example, a 420LX with a 6hp will plane with a 440lb payload.

The catamaran design results in greater fuel efficiency as well! This is great for the Torqeedo Electric outboards and petroleum outboards alike.

Are there any concerns with putting a large outboard motor on the Takacats?

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If you pair a Takacat boat with the manufacturers maximum recommended horsepower, you may experience cavitation issues. These issues are easily resolved with a cupped propeller or a cavitation plate. From our experience, the Permatrim plates available in our store work the best as a solution for cavitation.

Cavitation with the Takacats occurs because the boats are lightweight, while the motor is heavy. Because the issue is payload-dependent, not everyone will experience it. We recommend giving your set up a try before rushing to purchase the equipment to fix a cavitation issue. For example, the T420LX is 110lbs while a 25HP outboard can weigh more than 130lbs. If the payload that the boat is carrying is lightweight, you may experience cavitation. Of course if you purchase the equipment to resolve the issue, your performance will also be better (you will being FLYING across the water).

Cavitation occurs when there is an extreme reduction in pressure on the back side of the propeller blades. You essentially reduce the atmospheric pressure and create a cavity near the blades, even causing the water around the cavity to boil! Vapor bubbles are created and implode against the blade’s surface toward the center of the blade, where the pressure remains higher. The resulting energy released can cause cavitation burn on your propeller. One symptom of cavitation can be felt at full throttle. You can hear the engine RPMs go up while the forward speed of the boat is reduced, almost pulled backward.

How do I attach my Takacat to my davits?

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Takacats work will all types of davit systems! Because the Takacats are so lightweight, the best options are rocker or weaver davits. However, Takacats can be fitted for sling or crane-style davits as well. You can use stainless shackles to attach to the lower transom bar through the holes in the top of the wheel brackets. The bow attachment point can be easily attached by running a lifting line around the floor (before inflation) but between the two under-floor D-rings.

Can I tow my Takacat?

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Catamarans in general track really well while in tow! We recommend towing your Takacat by making a 3 point bridle to the two bow safety line D-rings and the under-floor D-rings.

Where are the Takacat boats designed and manufactured?

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The Takacat LX, Sport and Explorer models are all designed by our lead engineer, Greg Sowden, from Aukland New Zealand. The boats are manufactured in Qindao, China by the same boatbuilder since 2007. This is the same Chinese province where other inflatable boat manufacturers, such as zodiac and achilles, have their PVC work done.

What is the assembly mechanism of the Takacats? Are the boats as high quality as it's competitors?

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"The main difference between Takacat and it's competitors is that the Takacats have cold-glued seams as opposed to the traditional heat-welded seams of other inflatable brands.

Cold-glued seams allow the Takacat boats to be folded and unfolded hundreds of times in their lifetime. Heat-welded seams on a traditional inflatable boats become brittle, preventing the boat from being folded and stored in a bag. Heat-welds do have a reputation for strength over the cold-glued seams. Takacat uses a quadruple overlap of PVC near their seems for maximum bonding area to ensure the strength surpasses that of a single-layer, heat-welded seam. "

What type of PVC is used to build the Takacats?

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"Takacat does not use a PVC brand name of note. It is a Korean made 0.9mm, 1000 denier custom made PVC fabric that has been UV stabilized just as well as any other PVC fabric. Name brands such as Valmax rubber is still UV stabilized PVC, just like the material used by Takacat.

Takacats have been made at the same factory since their inception in 2007. They are hand made and are the original catamaran all-inflatable dinghy."

Do I need to register my Takacat?

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Yes! Regulations do vary state to state, but Great Lakes Watercraft recommends every Takacat inflatable boat used with a motor be registered. We provide a Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (a title) and a bill of sale with each boat purchase. Both documents are required for registration and are included with your product shipment.

How long have you been working with Takacat?

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Great Lakes Watercraft has carried products from Takacat since the beginning of 2020. Our experience with the brand started with a 2013 Takacat 340 Sport. Our family has kept in inflated on the Chesapeake bay every since (not always covered). The boat looks a bit washed but still rides fine and holds air no problem. We loved the product and we are excited to be one of the first licensed US retailers for the brand.

Torqeedo

What type of Torqeedo works best with inflatable catamarans?

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"The Torqeedo Travel Series is our number one seller for both our Takacat and MiniCat inflatable catamarans. Either the ~1.5HP Travel 603S or the ~3.6HP Travel 1103C are a great fit! The Torqeedo Travel Series is silent and eco-friendly tech. Additionally, it has a compact design with the battery built into the cowl, and optional accessories for live solar power and a head-up display on your mobile phone.

They perform great, especially when paired with the Takacat LX Series. For example, onboard a T260LX with a payload of 350lbs, the Travel 1103C can get the boat on plane and moving between 7-8mph at full throttle. If you dial the speed back to about half throttle, a single 915Wh battery can push the boat for ~24 miles. This data is anecdotal and will vary depending on payload, water conditions, etc.

The Torqeedo Cruise Series is the high-performance option for the catamarans. They work well with Takacat, but not so much for MiniCat. The 24V or 48V battery is separate from the outboard and can weigh up to 70lbs. This fits well on the air deck floor of the Takacat, but is not a good fit for the trampoline on a MiniCat sailboat. "

What are the advantages of electric compared to a petrol outboard?

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Horsepower for horsepower, the Torqeedos are ahead of everything else in their performance class. They are more efficient and have a greater maximum range than comparable combustion engines. They are also quieter, more convenient and better for the environment. The initial investment to go electric is roughly 3x what you would expect to pay for a petrol outboard, however, you can save money on fuel, maintenance, and winterization. This makes the total cost of ownership lower in the long haul.

Are the Torqeedo electric outboards waterproof?

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"The Travel Series from Torqeedo is completely waterproof. Like all motors and batteries from Torqeedo, the Travel 1103/603 also offers protection class IP67, which means immersion at a depth of 1m for up to 30 minutes without suffering any damage.

The Cruise Series is also 100% waterproof. As with all other motors and batteries from Torqeedo, the Cruise 2.0 R/T and 4.0 R/T as well as the Power 24-3500 (the battery) offer protection class IP67."

What factors determine the running time?

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"Running times are determined by the battery capacity and high-current capability. The type of boat, weight on board, water currents, wind, etc will also play a role. The battery life drops drastically when you go from half throttle to full throttle, so for longer trips, take your time and travel at half throttle. The built in HUD on the tiller will let you know how fast you are going and how much juice is left. If you want to get fancy, check out the TorqTrac accessory to turn your smartphone into a larger display of the on-board computer. It shows the range, a waypoint capable map, it tells you when to turn around based on remaining battery life, and much more!

When paired with a Takacat, the 5HP Cruise 4.0 with two Power 24-3500 batteries manages up to 52 miles when travelling slowly, running for 10 hours 45 minutes. The running time at full throttle is around 1 hour 10 minutes. The 3HP Travel 1103C with the built-in 915Wh battery manages up to 24 miles when traveling at half throttle, running for 9 hours. The running time at full throttle is around 1 hour."

What shaft lengths are appropriate for my boat?

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Both the Torqeedo Travel Series and the Cruise Series outboards have short shaft and long shaft outboards available. For use with a Takacat or other inflatable dinghies, a short shaft is ideal. The Takacat transoms are specifically designed for a short shaft. The outboard motor mount accessory for the MiniCat catamaran sailboats work best with a long shaft outboard. However, the short shaft outboard from Torqeedo is 2ft long and will work fine with the MiniCat up to the 420 series in a pinch.

What about maintenance?

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The Torqeedo outboards are designed to be low-maintenance systems. No more oil changes or making sure you don't get oil in your fuel lines! We will give an overview below, but you can check out the link for the full operating Instructions for Torqeedo outboards.

The motors should always be taken out of the water after use. There is a built-in tilting mechanism for this. After use in salt water or brackish water it is advisable to rinse all components off with fresh water. Always store the motors in a dry state. They recommend that you spray the contacts a few times a year with WD-40. You can use any cleaning agent suitable for plastics in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions in order to clean the motor. Generally available cockpit sprays produce a good effect on the plastic surface of the Torqeedos.

For storage, the battery must be charged after use once the charge level falls below 50%. Please note that we recommend a charge level of at least 50% if you are storing the battery for up to 6 months and a charge level of 100% for any period over 6 months. If you intend storing the battery over several years, you should check the charge level at least once per year.

Does Torqeedo also supply solar chargers?

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"Yes. There are 3 different solar charger options for different Torqeedo batteries:

With the Torqeedo 45W solar charger, you can power the batteries of the Ultralight 403 or Travel 1103/603 models. You can connect the 50W solar charger to both Travel models. It is lighter, smaller and easier to handle than the 45 W solar charger. Either panel can also power all other 12V electric devices. For the Cruise Series, there are solar charger controllers specially designed for the 24V and 48V batteries that allows safe charging with a custom built panel up to 210W, though Torqeedo does not provide the panel itself.

The panels will charge your battery even when you are travelling on the water and at full speed! You can even travel slowly when the battery is completely empty, as the solar panels with output live power up to 50W. You'll never get stuck with a dead battery on the water!"

What is Torqeedos warranty?

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The warranty is 2 years from date of purchase.

Torqeedo asks that you retain your proof of purchase. If you've lost it, Great Lakes Watercraft has can provide a copy. If service becomes necessary within the warranty period, Torqeedo will require a copy of the original invoice indicating the date of purchase.

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