5 Feb 2020

Trailering/Launching a Nauticraft Boat

A common question that we hear from new Nauticraft boat owners is how they are going to get their Pedal (Electric) Boat into the water.  And once it’s in the water, how to best store/dock it (to be discussed in a later blog posting).

Keep in mind that our boats are somewhat large and heavy. The 4-person Encore Pedal Boat weighs 375# without any accessories. Add the electrical components to it as well as a battery, and the weight increases to almost 500#. With a length of 14’2”, this is a sizeable pedal boat.

Our 3-person Escapade Pedal Boat weighs 325# without accessories. This boat is two feet shorter in length than the Encore, but still a sizeable boat.

We would highly recommend that a boat owner purchase one of our boat trailers for use in launching their Nauticraft boat.  We start with a Karavan personal watercraft trailer and then modify it to fit the deep keels on the boats.  With a draft of just under two feet for each of the Encore and Escapade boats this modification is needed to allow the boats to sit comfortably on the trailer. (Note that we would suggest purchasing the trailer at the same time as the boat, as shipping a trailer at a later time is very expensive.)

Modified trailer as pictured on the right
Drop bar has replaced rear cross member & bunk risers added to modified trailer as pictured on the left

In lieu of a boat trailer, an Encore boat owner might consider using our Launching Wheel set to launch their boat in/out of the water.  Note that a hard surface is needed to more readily maneuver the boat; as well as a boat ramp without a significant degree of tilt.  A bar will also be needed to place thru the cross hole in the bow to better allow two persons to lift and move the boat. (Note that if the boat is shipped, this bar will be included as part of the packaging.)  Please refer to the maintenance videos on our website for additional information on the launching wheel set: https://www.nauticraft.com/boats/encore/encore-videos/


A Nauticraft boat owner may rather prefer to use their own personal watercraft trailer in which case bunk risers will be needed. These can be purchased at a local major trailer/marine dealer or on-line.  Note that the trailer will sit higher, and as such it will be necessary to back it further into the water to safely launch the boat.

A boat marina is another suggestion.  Most (larger) boat marinas have the means to launch a boat and retrieve it out of the water.  Having a new boat delivered to a boat marina is an ideal way to get the boat into the water and may even cost less for shipping purposes. (Note that boats shipped from Nauticraft are packaged on a skid and in a large cardboard box.)

Sietech Dollies are another option – more so for an Escapade Pedal Boat.  With its large tires, the Sietech Dolly helps with maneuvering a boat thru the sand. Note, though, that pulling a boat out of the water onto a launching ramp requires a very strong person.  Also, the Sietech Dolly doesn’t travel very well across hard surfaces.

Bottom line – if the boat is being launched just 1x/season, most likely 3-4 able-bodied persons can lift the boat in/out of the water.  If the boat is to be launched more frequently, though, we suggest using one of our modified boat trailers or one of the other options as described above.

15 Mar 2017

Earth Fair Expo to Feature Escapade Pedal Boat

Nauticraft will have a display of the Escapade Pedal Boat at Muskegon’s 6th Annual Earth Fair Expo .  It will be located at Montague High School, and is scheduled for April 22nd from  11am to 3pm.  The Escapade is the boat which crossed the English Channel in record time & helped Paul Tucker make it into the Guinness Book of Records. Come check it out and visit all of the festivities!

Escapade Pedal Boat
Escapade – 3 persons
Escapade with Bimini
23 Mar 2012

Pedal Drive Unit: Quadritwist Belt Drive

We are asked from time to time by prospective new customers just what our drive units are like and what is meant by the term “Quadritwist”.

As far as what our drive units are like, the first impression on seeing one in a Nauticraft boat is that it “belongs there”.  This visual impression comes from the drive unit housing being made from the same material as the boat – a white plastic with black specks (we had the black specks incorporated into the material a few years ago).

On our original drive unit (which we now also call our “inboard unit”) the driving belt twists four times going through its path, from the pedaling sprocket to the driven sprocket, over the idlers, and then back around to the start – hence the term “Quadritwist”.  We have a very positive regard for this system because it gives us the required directional change as well as the required speed increase (a 1:4 increase) with no energy robbing torsional or axial side effects; with this type of layout the twists of the belt are actually “natural” ones.

Looking further at the drive unit it is obvious that the pedal cranks come from the bicycle industry, and this is so, as we purchase these cranks as well as its axle assembly (known in the industry by the unlikely term “bottom bracket”) from a bicycle parts supply house.  The pedals also come from there and, because they are often used that way, are of the “barefoot” type (some sophisticated customers, familiar with upscale bicycling, sometimes change these pedals for their own particular choice).

An even closer inspection of the drive unit shows that the mechanical aspects (all of the moving parts) are located on the outside of the drive housing.  Our drive unit is designed this way because the mechanical parts (particularly the belt and sprockets – being of plastic materials) do not need oil or grease lubrication as do metal parts (the plastic materials also are not susceptible to water corrosion as are metals).  Also, because all mechanical assemblies need care and maintenance from time to time, it is far easier to service an assembly that is out in the open.  For instance, although it will serve for a long time, the drive belt can be changed for a new one without removing the drive unit from the boat – and without requiring any tools.

We designed this system ourselves (using the quadritwist philosophy originally proposed to us by Phil Thiel, a marine engineer from Seattle) and have been happily using it in our boats for over 15 years now, with only incidental changes.  We manufacture it right here in our own shop – from rotational molding the housing through all of the subsequent assembly steps.

Next time I’ll talk about the “swing down” drive unit used in our Sprite model – why it doesn’t use the quadritwist system, but how it is similar to it as well as how it is different.

Printable View

4 Jan 2012

Curt’s Corner: Summer 2011

Chelsea on Super Sprite

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.




24 Jun 2011

Pure Michigan

With summer officially here, Nauticraft invites you to Michigan for a visit.  In looking at a US map you can’t miss it, it’s the state that looks like a mitten with all the water surrounding it.   There’s tons of stuff to do here, including fishing, boating, and watching the sunset over Lake Michigan.  There is golf courses that are nationally recognized, campgounds on the beach and fine dining.  Michigan hosts music festivals and county fairs, NASCAR  and Broadway shows.   We have our share of big cities and small towns, and some big cities with a small town feel. 

Go to Michigan.org to see all the great things going on in Michigan this summer!  And then take a look at Nauticraft Boats!

6 Dec 2010

Happy Holidays!

Although many parts of the US are cold and even snowy, we are confident spring is coming!  Think ahead to warmer days this holiday season, give the gift of a Nauticraft boat!  And if you order prior to Dec. 31st, we’ll throw in a gift for you.  Purchase an Encore and we’ll include a bimini top

Encore Pedal Boat with Bimini Top

Purchase an Escapade and we’ll ship you a Storage Cradle at no charge to you.

Escapade Pedal Boat on Storage Cradle

15 Jun 2010

Announcing the Super Sprite

We are so excited!  The Coast Guard has approved the Super Sprite and it is officially ON THE MARKET!  We are in production, and will be sending an announcement and press releases for a major introduction prior to June 1st 2010.  The introductory price for the Super Sprite pedal boat is $1,995 US.  Check out the specs and see great photos:  Super Sprite Pedal Boat Brochure with Specification

18 Sep 2009

Pedal Boat and Erie Canal Part 2

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.

15 Apr 2009

Earth Day Exhibition features Encore P/E and Escapade

Don Clark of Sea Lark Sales, will have a display of Nauticraft pedal and electric boats at Rochester’s 4th Annual Earth Day Expo, the largest earth day celebration in Michigan.  It is located in downtown Rochester, and is scheduled April 18th from  10am to 6pm and on Sunday, April 19th from 10am to 4pm.  We are proud of Don’s efforts in this endeavor, and invite all to visit the festivities.    

23 Sep 2008

Escapade owner cruises the Erie Canal

John H. approached us a year ago, asking if it was possible to travel down the Erie Canal using the Escapade.  We said yes, of course, which prompted him to order one last January.  He picked up his Escapade here in Michigan in June of 2008.  Read his accounts of the preparation for the trip, then his voyage down the Canal during the summer of ’08.