It looks like the boat equivalent of a ride-on car. Make no mistake, though, the Rapid Whale Mini Boat is a functional watercraft that’s designed to let you take a leisurely cruise around the water.
Billed as a “ridiculously small” electric boat, the watercraft measures just six feet long, making it look like a veritable toy floating in the water. Seriously, you’ll see kids riding inflatables bigger than that. Despite the toy-like appearance, Rapid Whale promises it’s truly a “blast to ride,” ensuring it will facilitate hours of riding fun.
Designed by Josh Tulberg, the Rapid Whale Mini Boat is a DIY kit that lets you build a tiny one-person watercraft. That’s right, you’ll actually have to put this thing together on your own, which should be fun if you enjoy building stuff in your spare time. We don’t know how long building one of these things will actually take, but we imagine it can take up an entire weekend (maybe more). If building a boat sounds daunting, well, it kind of is. For this project, though, Tulberg simplified the process as much as possible, relying on the popular “stitch and glue” method of boat building. Except, he simplified it further by replacing the stitching part with binding the part using zip-ties instead, which should help speed up the build in a considerable manner.
The kit includes laser-cut marine plywood parts, various 3D-printed plastic components, a thick Plexiglas steering wheel, steering shaft bearings, and various sizes of gaskets. If that doesn’t sound enough to build a boat, you’re right. The kit is designed to pair with a list of items you can get off the shelf, all of which are available from an Excel sheet on the product page. It’s quite a long list, so it could be overwhelming, although they did include a direct link to a specific recommended product from either Amazon or Chesapeake Light Craft, so you can just click on the links to order everything in one sitting.
Off-the-shelf parts you’ll need for the Rapid Whale Mini Boat include all the stuff it needs to run (electric motor, battery module, steering rope), construction supplies (zip-ties, epoxy, wood glue), and simple boating amenities (seat, light, emergency paddle). According to the outfit, all the extra components should cost around $500, although it can go up to over a grand if you choose more premium models than the ones they recommend.
As for the finished boat itself, it comes with an interior bulkhead design that ensures the darn thing will float even when the deck is flooded, with a flat bottom hull design that should stay perfectly stable all throughout a ride. Using the recommended motor, the boat can cruise at maximum speeds of 3.5 knots (4 mph), although it can probably go faster if you get something more powerful. Of course, we don’t know how it will hold up to greater speeds, but you’re welcome to try. It can support riders up to 6’2”, as long as they weigh 200 pounds or less.