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:
Well – here we are. Summer has come and gone – way too quickly! Cool nights are upon us, leaves are starting to change color and soon we (northerners!) will be shoveling and plowing snow!
With all of that ahead – you may be wondering what you need to do to winterize your Nauticraft boat.
First of all, if you live in a climate that is going to freeze, you will want to take your boat out of the water. Ice can cause damage to the pedal drive system and moving ice flows may also cause the hull to become misshapen.
You will then need to drain any water which may have entered the boat during the year and accumulated between the hulls. This step is especially critical for boats that are stored in freezing weather conditions.
Drain holes for both the Encore & the Sprite can be found at the rear of the boat on the keels. These drain plugs should be removed to allow any water (this should be very minimal) to drain out. MAKE SURE TO REPLACE THE DRAIN PLUGS AFTER THIS PROCESS!
Water in the Escapade should first be pumped out via the bilge pump. A sponge can then be used to clean out any excess water in the Escapade’s bilge.
If you have an electric boat, we suggest disconnecting the battery after charging it fully and then attaching a trickle charger to protect it from becoming too depleted. If storing the battery on a concrete floor, you may want to set it on a piece of wood. This will prevent it from getting too cold and reducing storage capacity.
We highly recommend storing your boat inside. If it is necessary to store it outside, you will want to cover it tightly to keep dirt, moisture and squirrels out. Make sure that the cover is heavy enough so it won’t rip and let water inside. You will also need a support to keep the cover well above the windshield to protect it from the weight of snow accumulation.
You might want to check out the videos on our website which further describe winterizing your pedal, pedal/electric or electric boat. We think that you will find these very helpful!
It looks like spring has finally arrived! The snow is melting and thoughts are headed in the direction of getting out on the water and doing some pedaling in our boats! We thought this might be a good time to give you some cleaning tips so you are ready to hit the water when it finally thaws out!
Nauticraft boats may be cleaned with ordinary household or marine cleaners. For more stubborn stains and ground-in dirt a power washer may be used. Removal of Seats and Cushions is recommended when using a power washer. Use of abrasive cleaners is not recommended as they will scratch the surface and eventually accumulate more dirt.
For cleaning the Windshield it is recommended using mild soap and a soft cloth, and particular care, as this clear plastic will scratch easily.
The Seats are a marine grade vinyl, and it is recommended cleaning with only a mild soap and water. Household cleaners and commercial cleaning products may have potential chemical incompatibility that may affect the service life of the vinyl.
We hope this information is helpful to you!
We have been asked if it is possible for an Encore Pedal boat owner to add an electric motor after they have already purchased a pedal boat. And though all of our Encore boats are built with the same hull, the installation of an electric motor requires special tooling and installation skills. It is something that is built into the boats at the factory and is not something that we would recommend being done in the field.
The electric motor should therefore be considered as a built-in option – not an add-on option.
Please be advised that our toll free number is no longer in service at this time. You may continue to reach us at 231-798-8440 – or E-mail us at: [email protected]. Thank you – and we look forward to hearing from you!
Nauticraft Corporation is thrilled to see that one of our Escapade boat owners has developed a forum for those persons owning or anticipating ownership of an Escapade.
Persons can share their stories, adventures and any adaptations they may have made to their boat and look for feedback from others.
Just click on the above link and you will be taken directly to the forum.
(Note however that while Nauticraft Corporation is interested in being privy to the things that owners do to enhance the enjoyment of their Escapade, we do not necessarily endorse any modifications that would compromise the integrity and safe use of our Nauticraft products.)
Check out this interview with Curt Chambers (owner of Nauticraft Corporation) and Bob Norris of Lost Lake Radio – and learn some history and fun facts in regards to our pedal boats. Enjoy!
Hi Mary, Curt,
Sorry for the delay but been running around quite a bit. I successfully have had two very nice excursions in my new Escapade. I really love it and I’m quite impressed on several fronts. The overall quality, fit and finish etc. is shall I say, “top drawer”. The rotational molding approach really seems to work out well. Comfortable motion and everything functions reliably and predictably. The quadritwist works brilliantly. The storages areas are simple and work ok. I was worried about the “built-in” flexibility of the rudder and prop but that seems unfounded as they work perfect. The bilge pump works great. After washing the boat with fresh water it’s amazing how much water hides somewhere down there!
The design is outstanding. Pedals effortlessly and moves through chop and 2-3 foot waves with ease. Dry and seems to not lose any momentum through swells and the directional tracking is nothing short of phenomenal. The seat is quite comfortable and the steering is nicely responsive and easily controlled. Ok, I’m sure you’ve already heard all the accolades from other customers.
Let me tell you about my first two outings. My primary home is in Sri Racha which is a seaside community. Quaint and at the same time a bit busy with nearby fishing and mussel farms. The later should give some indication of the coastal depths. Very shallow. Launching and retrieving really is only feasible at fairly near high tide. After about an hour of just getting familiar with the boat we anchored and visited a friend for lunch. I didn’t calculate very well the tide movements and as you can see by the photo we were left literally high and dry! Drank a few beers and waited about 4 hours until the tide returned. No damage to the boat but just a bit longer visit than we’d planned. The coast there is like knee-deep for hundreds of yards. But once well enough offshore we really got a chance to learn the boat. Fun but not the ideal coast.
Yesterday I took the boat to our beach property in Rayong, Oriental Beach Village, which is only about 1:20 minute drive. We live there about half time. In the picture it’s a few houses back from the beach. Ironically the coast line there is perfect for the Escapade. The slope is angled so that launching and retrieving is a breeze and tides don’t make much difference. Many little seaside restaurants places to explore. It was/is delightful. We pedaled around for about 5-6 hours and really really enjoyed it. Granted a bit sore to be truthful, but that’s a nice pain if you know what I mean. Good exercise and badly needed. The only somewhat negative was the temperature! This is the hottest season in Thailand and now in excess of 100 degrees most days. It was pretty hot out there! (We have 3 seasons; hot, hotter, and hottest). J I think I might experiment next time with the windshield removed. But it looks so awesome with the windshield in place. The water is like bath water warm so getting in and out of the boat is not uncomfortable. You can see some small islands off the coast that are really nice for picnics and just goofing around. Only a few miles offshore but once there it seems like a million miles away! I’ll keep the boat stored near the beach house with a guy who will launch/retrieve as often as I like, clean, maintain and keep ready for about 30 bucks a month. I’ve had “boatboys” with my other sailboats and it still amazes me how inexpensive this service is. I just phone up and tell him I’m coming and everything will be all done and ready to jump in and pedal away when I get there. When I return I hand it over and he does the rest with clean-up, washing and storing etc. One of the nice benefits of living here. Good cheap labor that makes things really convenient. (Live-in maids, cooks, drivers, gardeners, etc its cheap to have a personal staff. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.
I made a few additions that were simple and are working out well. I have two types of anchors and both function nicely. A sand anchor that screws into the bottom (you can see in one of the photos) and a standard small Danforth. Both very easy to use. On my anchor line I’ve added a Danik Hook. Nice little adjustable device that makes anchoring even easier. When not in use its attached to a small eye strap on the right side that you can also see in one of the photos. You can see my waterproof Bluetooth speaker (A33 from TDK) up in the bow for some music. Its mounted on a shelf made from one of my wifes cutting boards! Now instead of serving up tuna its serving up tunes! J I added two drink holders, an emergency paddle, a throw flotation cushion, whistle and horn. (Waterproof GPS on order). Fishing rod holder being considered. A small portable cooler holds the drinks we take such as Gatorades etc due to the heat. Now the escapade is truly customized and it feels like “mine”! Hmmm,,,,now just for a name??? My next ride this weekend will likely be with my little buddy Boston Terrier dog. He loves the water and he is so excited with the boat too.
I better stop here or I’ll just keep rambling on!
Attention: Home Pedal Boat Builders
We have a limited supply of used drive units priced at $250. These include a 2-blade propeller. Shipping not included. Please contact us at [email protected] if you are interested in purchasing one of these. Thank you!