Traditional East African outriggers provided the inspiration for the innovative Exploration Eco trimaran. Modular and fully customisable, this locally conceived and built 5,5-metre boat is designed to be as suitable for fun day trips as it is for long-haul adventures.
The brainchild of Crusoe Craft and Marine’s Guy Joubert, the Exploration Eco was designed in collaboration with internationally acclaimed boatbuilder Wayne Robertson.
“Even the entry-level craft has all the upgrade attachment points already in place to make later modifications or personalisation a breeze,” explains Joubert. Accessories include a breathable deck tent and waterproof stretch tent, as well as photography, fishing, diving and surfing rack solutions. There’s even a choice of three trailer options (ultra-light, light off-road or 4×4).
Specs include a wide beam, flat hull profile and fine entry bow that produces very little wake when under sail or when powered by the correct sized motor. Tremendous reserve buoyancy and a shallow draft (230 mm unloaded and 280 mm fully loaded) further complement inshore efficiency for sailing in lagoons and shallow rivers. Moreover, a virtually indestructible Teflon rubbing strip fixed to the keel means it will survive the odd reef scrape and can be dragged up the beach or slipway when necessary.
In full touring mode, 21 separate stowage compartments are located across her deck and pontoon areas. Each compartment is sealed and some are lockable, which makes for easy storage of fuel, water, food, sporting equipment, camera gear and more.
You can take one of the recommended four-stroke outboard motors if you want. But if you’d rather go green, you can opt for the Torqeedo electric outboard instead. A bank of two or four deep-cycle batteries drives the motor (equivalent to a 4,5 to 5,9 kW outboard). If you’re planning longer adventures there’s the option of fitting a small, low-emission Paguro 3000 diesel genset and turning it into an electric/diesel hybrid.
With the prototype and the first two orders under construction, Joubert says he was planning to showcase the company’s first boat on the water at the Cape Town Boat Show in October. He’s also thrown out an invitation to join him on a tour of the Eastern Cape Garden route on a Crusoe Craft after the show “to explore some of our lesser-known inshore treasures”.
At press time, Joubert had already received 85 solid enquiries from as far afield as the UK, Venezuela, New Zealand and the United States – and that’s before his prototype had even hit the water! By all accounts, the future seems extremely bright for this cleverly thought-out local design.
There are three models in the range: the entry level Rogue, the mid-range Classic and the top-end Stealth. All three versions differ essentially in trim and finishes. Prices are tricky because of the large variety of customisable options; as a benchmark, a Rogue with one outrigger, Yamaha F4 outboard and basic trailer will set you back about R183 000. At the other end of the scale, a Stealth with two outriggers, carbon collapsible mast and spreader fully rigged for sailing, waterproof stretch tent, electric Torqeedo motor (with two 160 A deepcycle batteries) and water-cooled diesel genset costs in the region of R511 000.
For more information, contact Crusoe Craft and Marine on 021-424 4386 or visit www.crusoecraft.com