A very interesting proposition came about this winter just after a dismal, late January "Boats Afloat" boatshow in Seattle, one that had very few spectators and terrible weather. The fellow on the phone, as it turned out, was looking for a boat design that might be appropriate for his ex-wife to use to commute out to her summer home in the San Juan Islands. So the next week, Rick picked up Cyndie and me from a small local airport and we flew in his Cessna 180 up to Friday Harbor for a closer look at the "Diana". After more negotiations, I started work on the preliminary design that you see here and I can now report that the "Diana Too" will be our next boatbuilding project in the shop. The parameters for the design are very simple and uncomplicated with performance expected in the 24 - 28 knot range for top speed and 18 knots for cruising speed with good fuel economy of about a 5 gallon per hour burn. If all goes according to plan, you end up with a 17-foot kayak made of four-millimeter-thick marine plywood and sheathed in fiberglass cloth.
The whole process could be completed in a couple weeks of straight work, but we made it a several-months-of-weekends project, taking extra care with each step and adding ten hours to Pygmya€™s estimate.
The initial sea trials proved we had built not just a well-designed boat, but a well-designed kayak.
The entry of ASIS into the amphibious market will greatly increase the global supply of amphibious boats, as it will offer the "Powered by Sealegs" system as an option on its entire range up to 12 meters, including cargo, towing, firefighting, transporter, diving, recreational, rescue, anti-piracy, military, special forces and custom boats. ASIS Boats has a dominant market share in Middle Eastern markets and will offer Sealegs motorized, retractable and steerable wheeled system as an upgrade option for its entire range of boats from 5.1 meters up to 12 meters and across all sectors, including the recreational marketplace and fast growing commercial and military sectors. The entry of ASIS into the amphibious market will also greatly increase the global supply of amphibious boats, as it will offer the Powered by Sealegs system on all its models including cargo, towing, firefighting, transporter, diving, recreational, rescue, anti-piracy, military, special forces and customized boats (you can even order bulletproof cabins), and with its massive production capability, ordering an amphibious solution will no longer involve a prolonged wait. New Zealand's Smuggler Marine has also licensed the Powered by Sealegs system, having married its Strata 750 centre-console RIB with the Sealegs system to create a high-performance composite amphibious vessel. ASIS Boats' first amphibious craft to be powered by Sealegs is a 6.5 meter boat powered by a Volvo V6 225HP engine and driven by a Hamilton Jet.
Following the launch, Gizmag spoke to Sealegs Chief Executive Officer David Glen about the new licensing scheme and the roll-out of this new phase in the development of the company, ten years after its initial launch and with over 850 boats in the water.
As she lived on a small island that had no ferry service, she needed a boat to take her back and forth. Henry and Holly showed us the boat and after a short sea-trial and a lovely lunch, we flew home on one of those February days that shouldn't happen in the Northwest. A diesel stern drive will keep the engine space and noise aft and maneuvering has to be excellent as she will be single-handed most of the time. I was significantly younger when I completed my project but, judging by the comments of several of my acquaintances, no less obsessed.


I asked myself that same question as I examined the eight-foot-long pile of pre-cut marine plywood, 40 feet of fiberglass cloth, and three gallons of epoxy that arrived from Pygmy Kayaks (360-385-6143). Accounting for our time, I certainly didna€™t save any money by not buying an off-the-shelf boat, but when we launched her, we werena€™t thinking about fiscal matters.
The hull of the Arctic Tern has hard chines (corners where the bottom and sides meet), which result in confidence-inspiring stability.
With ASIS' production capability, ordering an amphibian will no longer involve a prolonged wait. Already the world's largest amphibian manufacturer, Sealegs' first licensee under the "Powered by Sealegs" scheme is Dubai-based ASIS Boats, one of the world's top three manufacturers of Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs). Now that capability will be extended to much larger boats, significantly reducing the hassle of launching and retrieving boats up to 12 meters (36 ft).
ASIS supplies many of the world's military forces with specialized solutions, and the Sealegs technology can be expected to become far more widely available through ASIS. It's robust and reliable and now we're getting ready to leap to the next level in the size of the boats that we can put Sealegs technology on, it was implicit in going up the scale that we were going to need to collaborate with boats builders around the world to propagate the technology.
The vast majority of issues we deal with in New Zealand are with owners ringing up about service issues and not technology issues.
The first is that it's no longer viable to build boats in New Zealand for a global market because, coming from far-off New Zealand, if they don't fit in a box, it's simply uneconomic to do so. You can imagine there are a lot of large boat builders around the world, particularly in the United States and Europe, so we set out to identify those builders and collaborate with them to put out technology on their craft.
There are a lot of people who still aren't aware of the benefits available from an amphibious boat. We've had a couple of boat builders using our technology on their craft in New Zealand successfully and that has given us confidence that it's not difficult to work with good boat builders.
We will only work with quality boat builders, people who have good skills, good existing boats, and a very strong position in their respective marketplaces. We've got quite a few people who are in wheelchairs and they go boating because they now can. It was sunny and almost warm, and Rick made the best of a bright, clear day with a ground and water skimming flight that would excite any of us. Accommodations are simple and neat -- an enclosed head forward and double berth with the galley out in the pilot area. Following the instructions (which are long on text and short on illustration), we set about bending and twisting slats into hull- and deck-shaped chunks and lashing them together with short lengths of wire, giving it the look of a vessel swarmed by twist-ties.


The marine industry in New Zealand is just one industry compromised by the strength of the New Zealand dollar. We started all over again with a clean sheet and used our decade of experience with the existing system to come up with what we consider to be some pretty clever new technology. The biggest single benefit is the convenience factor, the ease with which a boat can be launched and retrieved.
The year before, we had built the Sockeye 45 "Widgeon" for Henry Wendt and his wife, Holly, and I remember very well their little 28ft.
Seating is back up against the engine box for passengers or just lounging about swinging on an anchor.
Pygmya€™s Arctic Tern kit costs $935 with the optional bulkheads and hatches, one-third as much as a factory-built fiberglass equivalent. After running a bead of epoxy along the seams and letting it cure overnight, we snipped off the wires, half expecting the whole thing to fly to pieces. And it weighs ten pounds less than fiberglass boats, yet ita€™s their equal in strength and internal storage space. The hydraulic system looks after itself so long as its not abused and its maintained properly, so it makes sense to hand off the local manufacturing in different markets to companies that are already servicing those markets.
Hence, there's no need for companies overseas to think that only aluminum boats can be fitted with Sealegs technology.
Cyndie and Rick's son is 6-5" tall so the headroom is generous in the helm area, but the proportions seem to be fine even with a rather tall house.
In fact, though Noah would have scoffed at my handmade arka€”ita€™s 11.3 cubits long, not 300a€”it just might hold enough gear for 40 days and 40 nights, assuming you forget the livestock. Truth is, I had first looked and admired "Diana" out on the East Coast in Maine at the shop of my fellow designer and builder friend, Doug Hyland. I always keep my boat eyes open and occasionally, I see an example of a really beautiful and interesting boat.




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