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Outboard failure prevents Sealegs' end to Strait crossing

Friday 25th January 2008

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Outboard failure within sight of the shore frustrated the attempt by Sealegs this morning to set a record by crossing the Cook Strait in an amphibious vehicle.

Sealegs CEO David McKee Wright says "Everything had been going to plan until the outboard failed less than 500 metres from the finish at Owhiro Bay. It was very disappointing and totally unexpected."

The Sealegs RIB had left Arapawa Island in the Marlborough Sounds at 7.30am as planned and in moderate seas and a light swell was on target to hit the shore at Owhiro Bay before 8.30am. Repeated attempts to re-start the outboard proved unsuccessful and in the end the Sealegs RIB had to be towed to shore. "But once in shallow water, we were able to drive up onto the beach powered by the Sealegs inboard engine," he says.

McKee Wright confirmed another attempt on the Cook Strait crossing will be made next Tuesday (January 29) at the same time. "We are not going to let a setback like this beat us."

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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