Imagine that your driveway is your dock and your garage is your slip. Thus the appeal of Sealegs, an amphibious boat designed to bring the water to those who do not have the benefit of direct waterfront property. Sealegs is built with technology created for rapid response from beach to water using two hydraulic wheel motors that come up like landing gear once the boat is submerged. Resembling a Zodiac with three legs, the vessel looks like a fish out of water when on terra firma, but the convenience of being able to drive your boat to the town pier at Children’s Beach, go for a cruise and then drive home, would be for many a dream come true.
N Magazine decided to take this craft out for a spin and got behind the wheel of a boat that drew more attention than a UFO landing on Surfside. Engaging the marinized wheel motors with stainless steel hubs and aggressive rubber tires, the boat will not break any land speed records at a paltry six miles per hour maximum, but it was able to keep up with crawling traffic on North Beach Street as we headed toward the Children’s Beach boat ramp. Driving the vehicle into the water past a pick up truck precariously unloading a boat from its trailer made the convenience of this craft self-evident. Shifting the power source from the wheels to the prop, we pressed the retraction switch, pulling up the three legs and transforming our erstwhile car into an extremely competent, ridged inflatable 23’ 5” boat. With a self-bailing V-shaped hull, and a 150 horsepower Evinrude ETEC outboard motor, we powered our way out the mouth of the harbor, easily cutting through three- foot chop, and returning for après boating drinks at Galley Beach.
If ever you want to make a grand entrance at a restaurant, try driving your boat from the surf onto the beach and up to a banquette table. If you cannot get the wait staff’s attention doing this, then clearly you have picked the wrong restaurant. While drinking and boating is not advised, there is something about a signature Galley Beach “Moscow Mule” cocktail being brought to your seat, which happens to be your captain’s chair. With the attention afforded a rock star, we finished our libations, signaled to unsuspecting dinner patrons that we were setting sail, and drove back down to the shore powered by a twenty-four-horsepower, 4-stroke Honda motor stowed beneath the driver’s bench. One could spend $300,000 for a new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and not get the kind of looks one generates by having your amphibian emerge from the water, drive up the ramp and head toward town.
At $180,000 per copy, Sealegs can in no way be considered inexpensive, but with the cost of waterfront property, never mind a boat slip, a yacht club member- ship or even winter storage fees, owning Sealegs could be a remarkably economical alternative for the dedicated boater. You will never see Sealegs at the Daytona 500. However, try driving a stock car to Tuckernuck. If only the boat knew how to mix a “Moscow Mule” it would be perfect.