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Mallard Backs Sealegs Cook Strait Speed Attempt

Ministerial Backing For Sealegs In Its Cook Strait Crossing Speed Record Attempt

The fastest Cook Strait crossing attempt by an amphibious vehicle later this month has been taken to a new level for New Zealand company Sealegs International Ltd with the news that Cabinet Minister, Hon Trevor Mallard, will join in the record bid.

The English Channel record crossing

Sealegs Chief Executive David McKee Wright confirmed that the Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Sport and Recreation will partner him on the record South to North attempt on Wednesday October 31.

"We are delighted to have The Minister join us on this exciting venture which we believe will be a first," he says. "To our knowledge there is no other recorded 'fastest time' across Cook Strait by an amphibious boat, or in fact, for any boat powered by an outboard motor. So we could be setting several 'firsts' with our run."

The crossing, set down for a 7am start, will leave from Okukari bay on Arapawa Island and the Sealegs RIB is expected to drive up on the beach at Cable Bay, near Makara around 30 minutes later.

For the record attempt, Sealegs will use its new-generation 7.1m Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), which can comfortably seat up to eight adults and has a payload of 700kg. It is capable of speeds approaching 80kms in flat conditions, but Mr McKee Wright is anticipating "the actual speed will largely be determined by the strength of the wind and the sea conditions."

The Cook Strait record attempt will be a first for The Minister who says his previous Cook Strait crossings have been either by Ferry or by air. But he is looking forward to the "Sealegs experience which I know will be a unique experience. It's not every day you get to drive down the beach into the sea and then drive up onto the beach at the other end without, so I'm assured, getting your feet wet!"

Back in 2005, a Sealegs 5.6m RIB driven by company founder Maurice Bryham staked its place in the Guinness Book of Records when it shattered the English Channel record mark for an amphibious vehicle completing the 21 nautical miles from Dover to Calais in 43mins 12secs. This halved the previous record of 1hr 40mins 6secs set a year earlier by UK entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.


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