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We scoot down to France for the new-improved Platypus. Named after a duck-billed beast that is happy above and belowthewaves, this boat is the brainchild of French entrepreneur François-Alexandre Bertrand (FAB to his mates) and has been quite some time coming.
Founded in 2009, penning draft one in 2011, and producing a working prototype in 2013, the production model is now just about ready for public consumption.
The Platypus prototype started as a two-man catamaran powered by two Torqeedo electric motors. A small two seat pod was suspended between the two hulls raised and lowered by hydraulic arms. (Two seems to be a common theme.)As a dive site came into view, passengers were lowered into the water with full-facemasks rendering scuba tanks unnecessary. So far, so good, but FAB sensed a few tweaks would make the Platypus even better.
The slick fresh contemporary 2016 version has advanced from catamaran to trimaran status with the central hull providing added above- and below-water stability.
Engines have been upgraded to 9.9hpMercurys (unless you’re a calm lake-only client in which case the Torqeedo will be perfect) and steering now resembles a jetski (handlebar and throttle) but from the rear which gives the pilot full view of passengers. Oh, and, speaking of passengers, that tally has been upped from pilot plus one to pilot plus four.
Former F1 driver, Philippe Streiff, wheel chair- bound after a pre-season crash in 1989, has had a hand in the fact that the
Platypus allows disabled to dive safely and easily. FAB is going to charge around €60,000 for the base model up to €150,000 for the bells-and-whistles range-topper – somewhat less than the rumored millions you’ll have to part with for an SYS3.
Special Thanks a lot to Sarah Drane for this article.