Think it takes more time to build a boat than make a French omelette? Think again. The Quickboat is the first foldable boat we've seen that a team of two can put together in a minute or less. That's insanely fast compared to the build times of other foldable boats we've covered, such as the Transporter (10 minutes)and the Smartkat (20 minutes). In fact, the boat is so easy to construct says Deryck Graham, the Managing Director of Australian company Quickboats, that one person with a beer in hand could assemble the boat in three minutes even with friends around to distract them.
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It’s impressive on other fronts too. The entire boat packs down flat into two separate bags, one measuring 3.6 x 0.7 x 0.13 m (11.8 x 2.3 x 0.4 ft) weighing 36 kg (79 lb) and other measuring 1.5 x 1.2 x 0.08 m (4.9 x 3.9 x 0.3 ft) weighing 18 kg (40 lb), making it easy to transport and store. It can apparently even be hung on the wall and carrying it around is similar to transporting a few surfboards on a car roof rack, the company states.
All the parts click into place during assembly and the boat opens out to be 1.7 m (5.6 ft) wide and 3.7 m (12 ft) long. It can comfortably seat four adults and cruise at a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h / 23 mph) powered by a 9.8 hp motor. The Quickboat doesn't come with an engine but any outboard motor up to 10 hp and weighing less than 30 kg (66 lb) can be used to power the boat.
What makes it truly special though is the design. Foldable boats have been around since the 1970’s, but they’ve not really caught on because most are made of light and flexible parts and continue to be flexible even in the water. This results in vessels that tend to wobble or give the impression of walking on a waterbed.
In an effort to tackle these challenges, Quickboats hired industrial designers and aerospace material engineers. “Our brief to the designers was two-fold,” says Graham, “Our Quickboat had to look like an Apple and get delivered like a Dell.”
To get the boat to be stable, dry, safe and highly buoyant, engineers used advanced composite materials such as Kevlar, high-end glass and foam cores in its construction. Armour skins were also thrown in as top sheet materials to make the boat hard to penetrate and give it the ability to slide over sand and pebbles like Teflon. The end result, according to Graham, is a boat that is a "quantum jump" in technology. “It lays flat in a bag yet flexes sufficiently to open and be loaded with seats and deck to become rigid – the holy grail of a folding boat,” he explains.
The simple five-piece click together assembly process and one minute assembly time is intended to do more than just please recreational boaters. The company is in engaged in talks with aid organizations and government agencies to use the boats in "first response" rescue efforts in floods and other disasters. However, its creators say it is only suitable for use in bays, rivers or lakes and not for ocean travel, channel crossings or commercial fishing.
Has Quickboats created an Apple of the boating world that’s not only beautiful and functional but also bucks convention? Attendees of the Sydney International Boat Show can decide for themselves when the boat officially launches there on August 1st. Deliveries for Europe will begin in the early summer of 2014, followed by the US and Asia. For now you can get on a waiting list at the Quickboats official website. The price is set at AUD$4,375 (US$ 4,045).
The Quickboat assembly process is demonstrated in the following video.