Nauticraft is currently offering a 10% discount off the Encore Electric boat. This is for a limited time, only, and while supplies last. Call or E-mail us for more information!
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.
We are often asked what makes our boats special and different from other pedal boats out on the market. Though we feel inclined to think it is enough that they have a way of evoking a deep love for them by their owners – including being enamored by their sleek design – realistically there are some specific answers to this question.
One of the most important things that Nauticraft pedal boats have over others on the market is operating function. Their carefully crafted designs focus on enabling them to move through the water smoothly and efficiently, and this functional efficiency carries over into their aesthetic shapes, as their forms present an eye catching and welcoming view. Although pedal boats don’t necessarily attain a high speed (compared to a powered boat), Nauticraft boats give the operator a pleasing sense of performance relative to input effort.
Nauticraft boats are propelled through the water by large, relatively slow turning propellers (two propellers on both the Encore and Sprite models). Over the years it has been repeatedly test proven that a propeller drive is still the most effective means of moving a pedal boat. The Nauticraft propeller was specially designed to push our boats at an effective pace that ordinary humans (non-olympic type athletes) are able to comfortably maintain over an extended period of time. Further, the completely submerged propeller pushes the boat quietly through the water, not disturbing or upsetting underwater marine animal/fish life, and also is comforting to the boat’s occupants.
Boxy commodity market (inexpensive) paddle boats are usually driven by paddle wheels and have the advantage of simplicity, but the noisy splashing they make when throwing water in unwanted directions is not at all efficient. Almost everyone has had the unsatisfying experience of peddling one of these boats at one time or another.
With Nauticraft boats, the high freeboard enables you to feel comfortable in hopping in and going with just street clothes on. Canoes and kayaks have their appeal, as they are generally inexpensive and easy to use, but with some of them their low sides can let errant waves wash in over the side. The paddle operation of canoes and kayaks requires the use of hands/arms, as opposed to the stronger leg muscles used on pedal type craft. Also, the paddle requirement of arms/hands precludes their other uses, such as handling field glasses, eating/drinking, waving to other boats/shore people, etc.
Another feature of Nauticraft’s Sprite and Encore boats is that two (pedaling) people sit next to each other in a companionable side-by-side position. When canoes/kayaks are multi-seated it is in tandem – one behind the other – in a less personally comfortable mode.
Nauticraft boats are rotationally molded of plastic polyethylene material (as are many canoes and kayaks). Polyethylene is a material of “soft stiffness”, and the production process of rotational molding naturally gives outer edges and corners of the molded part a thicker material cross section. This added thickness gives additional impact resistance when a boat inevitably comes into contact with the elements. And, as rotational molding material has its color integrated throughout, scratches and scrapes show less than other boat materials.
Nauticraft boat seats are ergonomically designed to contour fit the human body in a recumbent style, giving both seat and back support. As individual seats they are rotationally molded of the same plastic material as is used for the boats. A 1 ½ inch thick layer of cushioning foam is adhered to the seat facing, followed by a cover of weather resistant marine vinyl, all of which combines to give comfortable full body support. To give the proper pedaling position the seats have a fore-aft travel adjustment of 12-13 inches (in one inch increments), which will accommodate most adults and older children.
Nauticraft boats are controlled with large steering handles which fall readily to hand. Rather than cables these handles operate push-pull rods to control a large spade type rudder (two rudders in the pedal Encore). With the rudders located in the slipstream of the driving force of the propeller this system gives quick and immediate steering.
There are many different choices of boats out on the market, and each has its own appeal, but here at Nauticraft we love the boats we build and use ourselves. The testimonials we get from our customers – that we call our Nauticraft family – indicate that owners (virtually around the world) love and enjoy them too. This gives us great satisfaction in performing the jobs we do – to make our boats the best boats we can.
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:
All of Nauticraft pedal boats use a specially designed drive unit that mates bicycle pedals and crank arms with an industrial toothed belt and molded sprockets.
The Quadritwist belt transfers the motion of pedaling into the turning of the drive shaft and propeller. Two large and two small sprockets, providing a 4:1 ratio, are supported by a robust rotationally molded drive housing. The propeller’s axial extension transfers forward thrust directly to the keel of the boat.
The Escapade has one of these drive systems, the Encore has two, each of which perform independently from the other. This “separate action” allows the two Encore operators to pedal at their own cadence or rhythm.
Check out our full line of Pedal Boats.
The Encore E uses a Minn Kota trolling motor as its only propulsion method. The Encore P/E uses both the Minn Kota trolling motor and two of the pedal drive systems as discussed above.
View our line of Electric Boats.
Interesting Sites and Sales Partners
- Direct Boats
- Toys for Big Boys
- Escapade Forum
- Electric Boat Association of the UK
- “Electric Boat” by Wikipedia
- Human Powered Vehicle Association
- Mike’s Boating Page – Mike Lampi’s blog-A Nauticraft Hero
- Escapade Kite Boat Photos
- Nautic Expo
- Sailboats To Go – Custom sail available for Escapade
- Seitech Dollies – Customized dollies
- Vermont Lakeside Retreat
- Willets Brand Bicycles
- Weeki Wachee Canoe and Kayak Repair – Located in FL. Experience in repair of pedal boats.
United States Coast Guard Small Boat Test
These boats have been through the rigorous United States Coast Guard small boat tests. Polyethylene, the material used in the rotational molding process, has a natural buoyancy. This, along with cast-in flotation foam gives Nauticraft boats additional contingency flotation.
The Escapade’s deep keel gives protection for the propeller and rudder. The ballast filled keel gives ultimate stability making it exceptionally seaworthy. The sailboat-type hull positions the operator down inside the cockpit, providing a comforting feeling of safety, security, and privacy. The Encore has twin keels that protect both propellers. It’s massive size in length and beam gives it both stability and safety.
Lastly, all Nauticraft boats are safe for the environment. The manufacturing process utilizes clean technology — no hazardous pollutants are released into the atmosphere during or after the manufacturing process. And, of course, there is minimal effect on the environment while using these boats. Also, when the useful life of the boat is over, the polyethylene plastic has the potential to be recycled.