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Winning a Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show Award is an achievement for any boat brand, but winning two is even better. The small yet growing Dreadnort Boats picked up the runner up position in the Most Innovative Boat Award for their Dreadnort D4000 in 2022, and then in 2023, they came away with the All Purpose Family Boat Up to 6m, with their V4000-Tiller. A remarkable achievement for a brand that is not mainstream.

Dreadnort, I hear you say. While they are a small player in the alloy boat market, what they have built and are still producing is exceptional and distinctive. Designer Blair Lewis doesn’t mind pushing the boundaries, and his boats don’t always follow convention. So is that good or bad? I reckon it’s good and gives the market something different to consider. From the logo to the finished designs, Dreadnort Boats are different. The logo contains a ‘Vegvisir’ (pronounced “VEGG-vee-seer”), often called the Viking or Norse Compass, which is an Ancient Viking Rune intended to help the bearer “find their way in storms or rough weather”. Dreadnort Boats is a modern take on the name for the next generation of revolutionary powerboats!


When the Dreadnort D4000 was introduced, it had mixed reviews. Designed essentially as an alloy alternative to the fishing jetski, the boat attracted much attention for Dreadnort Boats. It was like nothing else we had seen before and got people talking more about the brand. Fast forward 12 months, and Dreadnort turned up at the Hutchwilco Boat Show with another winner. While the V4000 may look like just another tiller steer runabout, something different makes you sit back and have another look.

Much like the Dreadnort D4000 did. The prolific use of a customised U-Deck accentuates the high-impact finish. Interestingly every fish symbol on the deck is exactly 30cm long, the legal length for a Snapper. Based on the same hull as the D4000, the layout is different, and so is the bow. The V4000 doesn’t have the distinctive Dreadnort bow but a more conventional vertical one.

The layout has been designed to cater for diverse users, from soft bait fishermen to divers and those just looking for a stable fishing platform. While boat #1 was painted inside and out plus covered with U-Dek, it is available unpainted and with a tread plate floor. “We have had a really wide interest level, from painting it in camo for hunting to using it as a tender with lifting hooks for a davit crane, ” says Blair. Being a semi customisable boat, there are a lot of changes that can be made. While the standard boat has no individual seating or items such as a ski pole, bait station, trolling motor or drum winch, they can all be added.

Should you be looking for more protection from the elements, an optional forward dodger is available, which folds out of the way when not in use.


I got to run the first V4000 on the calm waters off Herald Island, Auckland, immediately after the boys from Yamaha had done some prop testing. Running a 13” 3-blade alloy, the Yamaha 60 pulled 6500 rpm and bounced on the rev limiter. Unfortunately while needing a 14” prop, there was none available at the time, so I had to do my review with the 13”.

Despite not being the right match, the V4000 is still a little rocket ship. Acceleration is instant and doesn’t take long to reach maximum speed. In this case, it was somewhere in the low 30- knot region. The boat had no tacho or speedo, but my phone showed around 31 knots. While the Yamaha 50hp is probably enough power, I would go for the Yamaha 60, as it is the same weight as the 50hp, and there is nothing like having a bit more power when you need it. There is not enough height under the floor to build in a decent size fuel tank, so provision is made for a pair of tote tanks.

The best cruise was around 16-17 knots with about mid-trim. In hard turns, the boat hangs on with no side slipping. Having run a tiller steer boat for almost five years, I know the concept. I always steer from the starboard side, and in the case of the V4000, you have the choice of sitting on a Dometic fish bin or the fat coaming. I preferred the bin as it is lower than the coaming and closer to the extended handle. You have complete control, and you stay dry. A full-width rear bench seat is also available. Blair says he firmly believes in attention to detail, which is very obvious when you look through the boat. The boat weighs more than most due to complying with scantling calculations.

The lightship displacement is 520 kg, and we had a test weight of around 800 kg. Construction is all 4mm over a solid subframe with segregated buoyancy chambers. The welds are clean, and the workmanship is exceptional. The V4000 is unsinkable, with buoyancy chambers under the side decks and under the floor. Overall, just over a tonne of positive buoyancy


The V4000 T is a versatile runabout that I see being used more for fishing than anything else. You can tow water toys or use it as a dive platform or maybe a tender for big boats, but it’s the fishing market that I see being attracted to the V4000 T. If you don’t want a tiller steer, then Blair says they can do a side or centre console based on a slightly larger 4.25m hull. Dreadnort Boats is the product of a collaboration between two companies, Transformarine Naval Architects and Altech Marine. This combination of collective expertise forms the next generation of cutting-edge vessels with no compromises on safety and quality.


  • Brand Dreadnort
  • Priced From $NZ39,000
  • Priced As Tested $NZ45,000
  • Model V4000 Tiller
  • Builder Altech Marine
  • Designer Blair Lewis
  • LOA 4.00m
  • Beam Internal 1.79m
  • Beam External 1.90m
  • Deadrise 18 degrees at transom
  • Trailerable Weight 700kgs
  • Power Yamaha 60 4S
  • Top Speed 31-33 knots
  • Power Options 40-60hp
  • Fuel Tote Tanks
  • Decking U-Dek

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