The Iguana 29 is a new take on amphibious vehicles, using retractable caterpillar tracks to deliver surefooted drive across extreme terrain at up to 8 km/h (5 mph) while on water it is quick to plane and has 35 knot speed. Most impressive of all is that the hybrid version of the Iguana can run in electric only mode in nature's most delicate areas. The Iguana 29 and its retractable caterpillar design looks to address an important need for boats capable of entering and exiting the water in complete independence. The Iguana has enough carrying capacity to be very versatile and could serve as tender, to land anywhere, as a leisure craft offering freedom from marinas, berths and other constraints, or for transporting goods and equipment. Larger versions of the currently ten-seater amphibian are planned.

Amphibious vehicles make sense. Nine out of ten humans live on land near the water, and having one craft that can handle both means unhindered access, even to normally remote areas, easy transit to-and-from islands and most of all, short point-to-point times.

We've tracked the fortunes of dozens of amphibious craft in Gizmag's archives.

What makes the Iguana most different from the current crop of amphibians, is that it was conceived to handle almost any condition, having been inspired by the difficulties of the boat owners in the town of Antoine Brugidou, between the bay of Mont St Michel and the south of Jersey, where the tide can go out for miles and where one has to navigate between sandbanks, rocks and currents. Hence the Iguana has more genuine off-road capabilities than most of its competitors and an armchair ride for the boat's occupants.

With its specially designed caterpillar tracks, its 40 hp onshore engine and optimum ground pressure (lower than a pedestrian's), the Iguana 29 is capable of negotiating all types of terrain with ease. On land, the boat is steered using a joystick.

The concept (which is subject to a world-wide patent) is based upon the integration of a caterpillar system within the hull without affecting its aesthetics, performance, or its seaworthiness.

The retractable under-carriage had to respect the lines of the hull, and the design effort has been worthwhile, as the Iguana's wave piercing bow and v-shaped hull make it highly capable on water.

The starting price for the Iguana 29 is US$375,000 which includes carbon hull, outboard engine, inboard engine and hydraulic system with electronic command, high gloss hull painting, leather upholstery, Flexiteek deck, Bose sound system, fresh water shower, refrigerator, stainless steel handrails, retractable cleats and ... much more.