February 24, 2009 Tradition is ingrained in the marine world and there's a sense of fragility and mistrust which most boaties harbour for amphibious watercraft – so the successful completion of a 3015 km (1873 mile) circumnavigation of the rugged New Zealand North Island by a Sealegs 7.1 meter amphibious craft today might go some way to allaying those fears. The 7.1 amphibious RIB averaged 46 km/h (28.6 mph) over 65 hours of driving time.
The two-man team, headed by Sealegs Corporation CEO David McKee Wright, set off from Takapuna towards Cape Reinga last Monday (February 16) and completed the journey at 1.25pm today in approximately 65 hours of driving time, at an average speed of 46km/h. The Sealegs RIB was powered by an Evinrude E-Tec 150hp outboard.
The ambitious venture took the craft from Auckland up to Cape Reinga, down the west coast of the North Island past New Plymouth then Wanganui. The team then ventured across the Cook Strait to Nelson before returning to Auckland via Wellington, Napier, Whakatane and Whitianga.
Sealegs CEO David McKee Wright says “the journey has proven the reliability, durability and mature design of the Sealegs amphibious marine craft.
“The investment the company has made into design and manufacture was evident in the craft’s performance in the testing conditions found through parts of the journey, including swells up to five metres and winds in excess of 40 knots.”
The purpose of the trip was to evaluate the performance of the new 2009 US Coast Guard compliant Sealegs craft in some of the harshest conditions found in the world. During the circumnavigation, the amphibious craft was demonstrated to many people who had not yet been exposed to the hassle free launch and landing of the Sealegs amphibian.