A close collaboration between Sealegs International, Naiad Design and Naiad’s Australian builder Kirby Marine has resulted in the launching of the largest Sealegs-equipped vessel yet – an 11.5m Naiad tourist boat capable of carrying 30 passengers.
The journey started about three years ago when tourism operator Robert Pennicott started investigating a possible operation in the pristine wilderness area of Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria, Australia. Robert already had an award-winning adventure tourism operation in Tasmania, using no less than nine 11.3m and 12.5m Naiad boats.
The operation in the Promontory was open to all applicants, but the Pennicott Wilderness Journeys pitch won out because of the benefits of Sealegs amphibious technology. Sealegs System 100 AES means that there is no docking or jetty requirement – so the Promontory can remain the pristine environment it is today.
Sealegs worked with Naiad to refine the design in collaboration with the customer and builder. John Cowan from Naiad said “The challenge was to maximise the passenger numbers yet keep within operating weight and size limits. Our emphasis on great hull performance meant we designed a new boat from the keel up to best carry the weight of the amphibious system”.
The result is the Naiad 11.5m Tourist Sealegs, with seating for 30 passengers plus two crew. Powered by twin Yamaha 350hp engines the boat achieves an amazing 38 knots on the water at half load – well above normal cruising speed of 25 knots, and 9KPH (5.6MPH) on land.
Like all Naiads it is built in aluminium for strength and durability. The Sealegs drive system is hydraulic, powered by a 100hp Kubota diesel engine fitted into a small engine room under the aft deck.
All three boats are now in operation. Robert Pennicott comments: “The Sealegs technology will allow us to share a spectacular coastal environment with visitors in a way that wasn’t possible previously”.