Sealegs now goes even further with All Wheel Drive
The amazing amphibious inflatable craft called Sealegs from New Zealand has gained quite a following from rescue services, commercial and recreational users, even the Mumbai police department. Now Sealegs promises to conquer even more challenging terrain with the added agility of All Wheel Drive (AWD).
With the front and two rear wheels driving, Sealegs can scale steep river banks and beachheads to power seamlessly from sea to shore, without breaking a sweat. This new option is available on Sealegs amphibious boats built from May 2010 onwards and means that an additional wheel motor is added to the front wheel. Having all three wheels driving provides additional traction to significantly increase Sealegs’ capabilities on steep slippery inclines or when traveling across heavy mud or quagmire.
Switching from rear drive to AWD happens at the flick of a switch on the console when stationary. While rear wheel drive mode allows greater top speed, AWD delivers the greatest agility albeit with the top speed reduced by 33%.
For easier maneuvering with AWD activated, Sealegs runs in limited slip mode which makes the craft very capable in most situations. When maximum traction is required, a quick push on the button on the hydraulic joystick engages full diff lock mode. This allows all driving wheels to turn at the same rate for reduced wheelspin and is generally only required for a few seconds when climbing over a beach lip or shelf.
AWD is listed as an option as most recreational customers probably won’t need its added traction. After all, there are already over 400 Sealegs boats getting along very capably worldwide with standard rear wheel drive. In fact, simply reducing tyre pressure to minimum inflation (approx 4-6psi) will provide a significant improvement in traction.
Other Sealegs owners may face more challenging terrains and that’s where the AWD option will be in demand. AWD is in its element on marginal beaches with soft sand shingle or pebbles. In those conditions it is only needed for a short amount of time when exiting the water.
2/. For maximum reliability, the AWD option is not able to be retro fitted to existing Sealegs boats already in the field, it is only available for new builds.
The Sealegs manufacturer envisages that AWD will appeal mainly to anyone who encounters the most challenging beaches, mud and slippery terrain, so it will increase Sealegs’ appeal to more users in more environments.
AWD can be ordered as an option for a standard Sealegs model or the Extended Run Time (XRT) variant. The XRT model is typically used by rescue and emergency services, military and commercial users. AWD should be ordered together with the XRT option to ensure the craft is equipped for more demanding work environments and heavier duty cycles.