Tringa road-legal boat drives itself to and from the water
There's a conventional piece of wisdom you're almost guaranteed to hear anytime you start talking boats: the two best days of boat ownership are the day you buy the boat and the day you sell it. In between are a lot of wallet-emptying headaches relating to things like maintenance, repair, mooring, trailering and more. The French-designed Tringa boat won't solve every hardship of boat ownership, but it can eliminate the trailering and mooring headaches from the equation. Store this boat in your driveway and drive it directly down the street and over the beach into the water, no trailer or tow vehicle required.
Unlike most of the amphibious vehicles we've looked at over the years, which are more car/truck-watercraft hybrids, the Tringa is most definitely a boat, with some light land navigational capabilities. It's quite similar to the Sealegs vessels we've looked at in the past, but with one major difference: it is being developed with street legality in mind. So not only will it help with launching and retrieval, it'll get you to and from home, without requiring a trailer, tow vehicle or parking spot near the water. Sealegs' boats can launch from the beachfront, but its system is not built for public roads.
Of course, the Tringa comes with a few pretty big caveats – regulations for such a unique machine will vary from place to place, and the Tringaboat company is developing its boat specifically for French regulations. The company announced earlier this year that it had successfully lobbied the French government to allow roadable boats on roadways, but it also points out that there are limits to what you can do with this boat.
The Tringa only goes a max of 10 mph (16 km/h) on land, so you won't exactly be using it to drive cross-country to the lake house or coast. Tringaboat makes clear that it's really designed for distances of a few miles between home and water. Still, we'll bet there are plenty of boat owners who live near but not on the beach, who wouldn't mind simplifying things with a boat like this. And you can always trailer it for longer journeys.
Outside of France, regulations will vary. Tringaboat's ultimate goal is to create a global product, but it's focusing on getting launched in France so it sounds like international buyers will have to navigate local regulations on their own for now.
Being a boat with deployable wheels, the Tringa features a marine-focused construction with Selium aluminum planing hull, full poly-sandwich deck and outboard motor. Tringaboat's plans call for a versatile, little vessel that can be used as a fishing boat, ski boat or leisure boat. The company will offer a variety of standard and available features and accessories, such as a dining table for five, fishing rod holders, a bathing ladder, storage for up to four dive tanks, a water ski tow hook, a bimini top, a 128-quart (121-L) cooler, an 8-gal (30-L) fresh water tank, a sun bed and more.
When coming back on land, the Tringa relies on a dedicated ground propulsion system driven by a 27-hp four-stroke gas engine. A push-button system at the helm deploys the wheels from their covered hull compartments in seconds, and the engine drives a hydraulic pump that in turn powers all three wheels via in-wheel hydraulic motors.
The captain/driver controls the boat on land with a foot throttle, foot brake and powered steering, and the lights, windshield, mirrors, windshield wipers, seat belts and road-compliant tires help keep it on the right side of the law. The all-wheel-drive, anti-slip design and all-terrain tires keep things moving on dirt, sand and other non-paved ground that stands in the Tringa's path, and the Tringa can climb grades up to 38 percent. The road ride will likely be bumpy, but Tringa does offer suspended captain and co-captain chairs to take the sting out of the road and choppy water.
Tringa recently put together a prototype and is showing it this week at the Nautic Paris Boat Show. It intends to have the boat ready for production by mid-2018 for an estimated base price of €94,800 (approx. US$112,000) with 150-hp outboard motor. Those who want to get ahead of the curve can reserve their place in the production line with a €2,000 ($2,350) deposit.