Boating | Amphibious model has legs | Mark Rothfield

IT'S GOT LEGS: Sealegs 7.7-metre Sport D-Tube has a patented all-wheel drive system.
IT'S GOT LEGS: Sealegs 7.7-metre Sport D-Tube has a patented all-wheel drive system.

WHO needs Pelican boat ramp, or any other for that matter, when you have your Sealegs? Just drive straight through those pesky swimmers and sunbakers and continue on your merry way.

These amphibian craft have a patented all-wheel drive system with hydraulically lowered legs and wheels, propelled by a marinised 22 horsepower inboard engine. Top speed on land is a leisurely 7.5 km/h – the same as Cliff Young – but they certainly boogie once on the brine.

They’ve been around for some years and can be seen dotted among the ritzy waterfronts of Port Stephens, primarily in a rigid-hulled inflatable format. Sealegs has beefed up the concept into a new 7.7-metre Sport D-Tube all-aluminium runabout.

It combines unbreakable construction, high volume and exceptional seaworthiness without compromising the single-handed launch operation that eliminates the hassle of backing trailers, winching and parking. Perfect for those who want to fish or cruise in remote locations.

Using the amphibious system, the 7.7 can be driven from a trailer or storage pad straight down the beach. Once afloat, the legs retract clear of the hull to avoid drag, and you reverse the procedure when returning to land.

Kiwi-designed, the 25-footer is bred to handle tough sea conditions. The 21-degree pontoon hulls are constructed from 5-millimetre alloy, providing inflatable-like stability with the added benefit of withstanding hooks, gaffs or the occasional croc bite. It’s rated for 150hp to 200hp outboards, the latter giving a top speed of around 39 knots.

There’s plenty of walkaround space either side of the centre helm console while the high cockpit sides allow you to fish securely. Along with an optional T-top it gets six rod holders and bait board, plus scope to mount a stack of electronics.

Sealegs CEO David McKee Wright reckons the new model was developed in response to international demand.

“Customers loved the 6.1 D-Tube, but they were wanting something bigger with more space and more features,” he said. 

Meanwhile, European automotive icon Bugatti has taken the car/boat concept a tad further with a 66-foot carbon sports yacht that’s straight from a Bond flick, boasting a spa, champagne bar … even a fire pit apparently.

GET YOUR BOND ON: Bugatti's 66-foot carbon sports yacht has a champagne bar, spa and fire pit.

GET YOUR BOND ON: Bugatti's 66-foot carbon sports yacht has a champagne bar, spa and fire pit.

Inspiration came from the Bugatti Chiron supercar, with the saloon windows’ horseshoe curves paying particular homage. Aquatic aspects were handled by premium international boatbuilder Palmer Johnson. 

The central hull is super slim to provide higher speeds with lower power, but is stabilised by outer sponsons – a good thing when you’re running at 44 knots under the parry and thrust of twin MAN 1000hp V8 diesels with water jets.

The water jets, incidentally, allow a draft of less than one metre.

Each boat will be customised and bespoke, befitting the $US2.2 million price and the demands of your average cigar-toting Bugatti buyer. Alas, only 66 of these 66-footers will be built.

I think I’ll have mine with a 7.7 Sealegs on the side.