8 months ago

2018 27th Annual BC Sportsmen's Show

BC's Largest Sportsmen's Show Official Show Guide


BY JOHN DOWD Discover the Benefits of Sealegs Amphibious Craft once heard that wheels on small boats I would some day be as common as outboard engines. I mean, it makes sense with no more fussing with trailers at the ramp, no need for a dock, and no mooring headaches – just drive in and drive out, single-handed. The concept for Sealegs was devised 15 years ago by New Zealanders Maurice Bryham and David McKee Wright. Their challenge was to solve the problems of previous amphibious attempts and come up with a top-performing, aluminum hull that was design-fitted with rugged, retractable wheels that could fully withstand saltwater and handle most shoreline conditions. They did it. By 2015, Sealegs had sold its 1,000th unit, and Sealegs rigid inflatables (RIBs) and all-aluminum models are now available in more than 50 countries. They are used by the Coast Guard, flood rescue, military as well as by boat commuters and recreational users. They are an obvious fit for those with low-bank, waterfront properties. One of the early Canadian adopters was Ken Schley, co-founder of the Quality Foods supermarket chain on Vancouver Island. He liked the Sealegs so much he bought three RIBs. The model under power on land with the wheels extracted. Years later, in September 2017, he formed Kelland Watercraft and bought 10 more (with another 70 on order), and signed an exclusive deal to sell them across Canada. The Sealegs’s chief engineering achievements are the marinization, wheel mechanism and strength of the individual components. The bow’s fork-design is routed from a solid block of aluminum and the hull is 5083 marine-grade aluminum that’s reinforced with six lengthwise components and a dozen cross baffles, making it as strong as a tank. The ATVtype wheels lift fully out of the water for unimpeded 30-knot on-water performance. The electronic options are constantly upgraded to the best available and outboard power choices are Evinrude or Yamaha. The wheels feature independent hydraulic motors, which are powered by a 22 hp marinized Honda beneath the operator’s seat. The larger model has a 35 hp Briggs and Stratton under the console. Speed on land is is 10 km/h (AWD). Sealegs don’t come cheap. The 6.1-m Sport RIB (20 feet) runs at $189,000, the 7.1m Sport RIB (23 feet) is $219,000, and 16

Power options available are from Yamaha or Evinrude. The Sealegs’s key highlights include the marinization, wheel mechanism, and strength of individual components. Ken Schley at the helm of one of the Sealegs models. the new nine-metre Interceptor (30 feet) comes in at $349,000. However, Sealegs owners claim to use their craft up to four times as much as boats without wheels. As one potential buyer was overheard saying, “I spent that much on a dock that washed away the next year. Plus, this looks like a lot more fun.” Ken Schley just may be on to something. FOR ALL THE DETAILS ABOUT SEALEGS RIBS VISIT SEALEGS.COM 17

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