Nauticraft Corporation, a leader in manufacturing of pedal and electric boats, is excited to be celebrating the birthday of their premier Escapade Pedal Boat. It was 1996 when Nauticraft first began building the rotomolded version (It had previously been built by Hoyt-Harken as the Mallard).
A look back at the long success of the Escapade:
- Early 1980’s – Garry Hoyt, renowned yacht designer from Newport, Rhode Island, designed a pair of pedal boats.
- The first of these boats was the “Waterbug” of which the Harken Brothers (makers of yacht hardware) then built. And while the performance of the Waterbug was outstanding, there were some shortcomings to this boat (i.e. the small, tight cockpit made it unbearably warm in the summer, it was very heavy, it was expensive to manufacture).
- Hoyt addressed these shortcomings of the Waterbug by designing the “Mallard”. This was a larger and more open boat with a stunning avant-garde design, but the fiberglass process was still costly.
- Unfortunately, both of these boats were ahead of their time and Harken pulled the boats out of production.
- 1994 – Curt Chambers, a custom injection molder from Michigan, became aware of the Waterbug-Mallard project and the tooling and inventory for the two boats, along with a license to build, was purchased by Chambers and transferred to Muskegon, Michigan. The Waterbug project was set aside and focus on making the Mallard more cost effective began. The drive unit was replaced by an entirely new one which was developed around the rotational molded housing.
- At that time the rotational molding manufacturing process for small boats was evolving, and it was determined that this could be viable for the Mallard. Molds and manufacturing equipment were contracted for and a new and simplified pedal drive system was developed. The Mallard name was then changed to “Escapade” to reflect this evolution.
- 1996 – The rotomolded Escapade goes into production.
- 2002 – The Escapade Pedal boat earns a Guinness World Record for the fastest pedaled-powered English-channel crossing!
- 2005 – The low windshield Escapade is offered.
- 2016 – Nauticraft has molded and manufactured over 350 Escapade Pedal boats since their inception. We continue to receive rave reviews from happy boat owners. Pictures of the fun adaptations individuals have made to their Escapade can be seen at the end of this post.
In regards to developments made to the Escapade over the years….it really is basically the same boat. The same mold is used & therefore the design is the same. The material is similar though in recent years black specs have been molded in with the white material – which in turn helps to hide dirt/smudges. And the windshield arch is now removable for a more open feeling.
Escapade Customers’ Customizations:
We get a variety of questions when folks call inquiring about the boats and often it’s to ask if it is big enough to fit a pet. I say pet because, although it is mostly dogs, we do have a few folks ask about other 4 legged friends as well. In this month’s narrative, read Curt’s version of “Chelsea’s Pedal Boat Adventure” from Summer 2011.
Our thanks to John for this update of his trek:
Dear Folks: Here is an “end of trip” summary of my Erie Canal Escapade with emphasis on the boat and our performance. The trip, from Tonawanda (Buffalo) to Waterford (Albany), 324 miles took 20 days at about 7 hours or less per day. During that time, there were two additional down days due to weather (rain). Nine of the days were last summer, when I interrupted at Lock 25 near the Cayuga-Seneca Canal junction. I picked up again at that point this year on August 15th. After 5 days of 90 plus degree weather and bright sun, I was close to heat stroke. I docked at the Holmes Marnina at the east end of Oneida Lake and went back to “home base” at Canandaigua Lake for 7 days. I then completed the trip over the next week.
The Escapade performed magnificently throughout. The so-called “prevailing westerlies” never materialized. On only two of the 20 travel days was there significant west wind, with virtually no pedalling. (John installed the sail kit from Sailboats-to-go). On many days there was significant east wind, and the rest NE wind. With the east wind, the boat, without the windshield and with bimini up, penetrated easily.
I noted the cadence: with minimal effort I could maintain 60 cycles/minute for long period-about 3.5-4 mph. Reducing the rate to 55 cycles/minute- no effort, which I could maintain indefinitely, I still went more than 3 mph.
NOTE: We regret to say that we will no longer be at the Tampa Boat show. We will certainly keep you notified of future shows where we will be in attendance. We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you! The boat shows in Florida are starting to ramp up! Check out one of our 4-person Encore Pedal/Electric boats at the Tampa Boat Show, taking place in less than two weeks. Details are as follows:
Tampa Boat Show
September 7–9, 2018
Tampa Convention Center Friday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
333 S. Franklin St. Saturday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Tampa FL 33602 Sunday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Nauticraft is looking forward to hearing how well our Escapade Pedal boat and its owner perform at the upcoming Seventy48 race. Yep – a 70 mile race with a time frame of 48 hours. Did we mention that it is a race of Human Power Only – i.e. pedal, paddle, row?! It is taking place starting June 11, 2018 and starts in Tacoma, Washington and ends up in Port Townsend, Washington. Check out the below video and see “The AquaVan” in action!! (Note that Nauticraft does not condone the use of our boats in rough waterways or extreme conditions. It is solely the boat owner’s choice as to how/when they use our boats.)
We’re excited to be at another boat show in Florida! Come check out our Encore Pedal/Electric boat at the Big Boy Toyz Expo:
February 23 – 25, 2018
Charlotte Harbor Event & Convention Center
75th Taylor St, Punta Gorda, FL 33950
NOTE: Were sorry to say that we will no longer be at this boat show. We will, though, be at the upcoming Big Boys Toy Show coming up in Florida. More details to follow!! We’re starting off the 2018 New Year with yet another boat show! Come check out the Encore Pedal/Electric boat at the Charlotte County Boat Show in Florida. Specifics are as follows:
17th Charlotte County Boat Show
Date: January 11-14, 2018
Venue: Charlotte County Fairgrounds
Admission: Free admission to the public and $5 parking.
Address: 2333 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte, FL, 33948
Hope to see you there!!
If you missed seeing our Encore P/E boat at the Fort Myers boat show – not to worry! It will be on display at the upcoming Cape Coral Outdoor Expo & Boat Show. Be sure to stop by and check it out!!
Dec 8 – 10, 2017
German American Social Club
2101 SW Pine Island Rd
Cape Coral, FL
Nauticraft is excited to have our Encore Pedal/Electric Boat on display at the Fort Myers, FL boat show. Come check it out!!
45th Annual Fort Myers Boat Show
NOV. 16-19, 2017
- Harbourside Event Center & City Yacht Basin
Downtown Fort Myers, Florida
Thank you, Nancy, for the pictures you sent of your most recent 8-mile excursion on the Mallard Pedal boat in St Petersburg, FL. The Mallard was the predecessor to our Escapade Pedal boat. What a great job she has done in keeping the Mallard looking so good!
Nauticraft has for sale an original Mallard – as well as some original WaterBugs – both designed by Garry Hoyt (renowned yacht designer from Newport, Rhode Island) and built by the Harken Brothers (makers of yacht hardware). (Please reference our blog posting of March 10 which gives a further description of these boats & their history.)
We also have two fiberglass Mallard boats available for sale which were built by Nauticraft in the early years.
The Mallards are all in good operating condition. The Waterbugs will need some refurbishing and are being sold in “as is” condition. Call or E-mail us if you are interested! 231-798-8440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.