Mokai jet-drive boat breaks down into three nesting pieces for easy transport
By C.C. Weiss
March 31, 2014
Designed to give sportsmen and outdoor explorers a motor-powered means of reaching more distant waters, the MOKAI ES-Kape is an innovative boat with an integrated jet drive system. It eliminates the need for trailers and racks by breaking into three pieces that nest inside each other, allowing it to fit inside an SUV.
The ES-Kape is the culmination of a research and development process that unfolded over the past 15 years. The goal was to design a boat that could ferry fishermen, hunters and explorers over hard-to-reach waters, including moving upstream and through shallow sections. The result is a two-person craft that is easy to transport to the water and easy to control when on it.
The heart of the ES-Kape design lies in its modular, three-piece hull. The 11 ft 3 in-long (3.4-m) vessel breaks down into a 6.5-ft (2-m) cockpit mid-section with shorter stern and bow sections. One thing that separates the ES-Kape from other three-piece boat designs like the Point65 Tequila is that the stern and bow can nest inside the mid-section, creating an even more compact package.
MOKAI says that you can fit up to four compacted ES-Kapes in a pickup truck and one in a full-size SUV. The nested boat should also prove a little less awkward to carry to water's edge than a full-length boat, though it's not exactly a light haul at 165 lb (75 kg). Those that already have a rack or trailer can also transport it as one solid boat.
Once you arrive at the water, the ES-Kape assembles within about two minutes, without any tools. The stern attaches to the cockpit with an alignment pin and threaded clamp, and the bow attaches with a spring-loaded pin and spool system. MOKAI says the machined anodized aluminum bulkheads create a secure connection that's easy to align.
Another aspect of the ES-Kape that sets it apart from other modular boats, and helps it meet its objective of empowering users to reach distant waters more easily, is its motor system. A typical outboard motor would interfere with the boat's nesting design, but the stern-integrated jet drive has no such issues. The "captain" controls the 7-hp electric-start Subaru EX-21-powered jet system with a simple push-button starter and joystick mounted on the deck. These controls allow for up to 20 mph (32 km/h) of speed or eight to 10 hours of drive time (1/2 to 3/4 throttle) from the 3-gal (11.4-l) fuel tank. The joystick controls the throttle and steering.
The ES-Kape is made from high-impact polyethylene and uses a stepped planing hull that MOKAI says reduces drag without interfering with the jet drive's water flow. While the cockpit appears to have single-person, kayak-style seating, it's actually designed to accommodate a single adult and small adult/child in tandem. The electronics are built to IP65 to IP68 dust/water protection standards.
MOKAI launched the ES-Kape last northern summer and showed it at the Boot Dusseldorf show earlier this year. It is available now for US$4,800, plus shipping ($350 to $450+ in the US). The company ships its boats directly from its Newburgh, NY plant and has an international office in Dublin, Ireland. According to MOKAI's website, the ES-Kape is not yet available in California because of a regulation issue with the boat's industrial engine.