Superyacht regattas are packed with excitement, but for an entirely different kind of thrill, Sealegs hosted the largest amphibious yacht tender race in the world on New Zealand’s Waiheke Island.
The fun-filled race, sponsored by Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development and Sealegs, pitted 14 of the amphibious tenders against each other. The boats raced around Onetangi beach on Waiheke Island – notably, the island is home to the largest number of Sealegs boats per capita with more than 60 in use.
The Sealegs amphibious design allows the boats to be driven on land on rugged, hydraulic wheels that are steerable, motorised and retract into the hull when it reaches the water. The Sealegs tenders competing included both two wheel drive and four wheel drive Sealegs models, with a range of power options. The rules to the participants, which included some fiercely competitive teams, were clear: no tube riding, stay within the boundaries and follow all the normal rules of the sea.
As the video above shows, the race started on the beach with the drivers running from the starting point at the shoreline and jumping into their boats where they met their crew. The Sealegs boats then drove on their wheels across the beach and took to the sea off of Onetangi beach, driving headfirst into the surf, and getting up to speed as they rounded the buoys. The yachts are capable of up to 80 km/hour on the water. The teams look completely thrilled as they are soaked by waves running at high speeds to be first to the finish. Then wheels are deployed and they charge back up onto the beach an into a second lap, where the winner Simon Harding took the clear lead.
Simon Harding, who has won the race twice before, won first place, while Scott Unsworth took second place and the Edmonds family followed in third. New Zealand classical singers Sol3 Mio presented trophies to the winners.
From land to sea back to land, the race certainly showed off the capabilities of these amphibious craft.