Barry 2019-08-03

The McLay 741 Raptor brings a whole new dimension to amphibious boats and has some very unique features that distance it from its competitors.

We all know that amphibious boats are the answer to anyone living close to the water and wanting a quick and effortless launching of their ‘trailer’ boat. The newest player on the market, Tectrax, offers something very different from its competitors, being 100% electric. One of the first companies to fit the Tectrax amphibious system is McLay Boats. Named the Raptor, the 741 is the first in new series for this Milton based builder.

Based on the 701 Cruiser, the Raptor does have a number of significant differences that sets it apart from the model it has its roots in. Obviously the Tectrax system is the biggest change, but the hull has seen some small changes also. While the 701 Cruiser comes standard with a 5mm hull, the 741 Raptor is 6mm hull bottom. This was done to reinforce the structural integrity of the boat due to the extra 580 kgs which is carried over the bow and stern areas.

The gullwings either side have been extended 20mm, which gives wider flat areas aft to handle the extra weight. The rest of the running surface has remained unchanged apart from the pod extension which is now an integral part of the hull. This has increased the buoyancy at the stern to compensate for the extra weight of the two wheels and Tectrax operating gear.

The profile of the boat above the chine remains unchanged and in fact if you were to put a 701 Cruiser alongside on the water you would not see any difference. And that is what is so special and unique about the 741 Raptor that sets it apart from all other amphibious boats.

The difference between the 741 Raptor and other amphibious boats is the three legs and wheels are hidden from sight when not being used.

After the front wheel is retracted, the ‘bomb bay’ bow door closes with the help of an hydraulic ram and locks the door in place. It takes less than 30 secs from the time you start retracting the wheel till fully closed. The rear wheels retract up into a recessed wheel pod and are also completely hidden from view.



One of the downsides of having the retractable front wheel is due to the enclosed wheel housing there is now less space in the forward cabin. While the prototype model still had a couple of short quarter berths, plus storage spaces beneath, all this can be changed.

While the central position of the wheel housing cannot be altered, the rest is customisable.

The Raptor is available in a sleeper version, that has the cabin bulkhead and wheelhouse back 400mm . This gives you space for two full length berths and even an enclosed head. So while the wheel enclosure looks intrusive, there can be plenty of available space made if you are overnighting.

When it comes to the seating layout it is very much the same as the 701 Cruiser with plenty of options. While you might expect a lot of extra controls on the dash for the Tectrax system, not so. There is just one display panel which includes the rocker switches for the wheel functions and a joy stick for forward and reverse operation.

The 741 Raptor has a 3.6 sqm workable cockpit from the seats to the transom, so you and three mates can fish without encroaching on each other’s space. From the inside of the transom to the forward cabin bulkhead it’s a full 3.4m long, with 2m headroom under the hardtop.

Apart from being very quiet, one of the other advantages of having an electric amphibious system as opposed to hydraulics is there is no negative impact on deck space with all components tucked away neatly.

Compared to the 701 Cruiser, the 741 Raptor is around 600 kgs heavier so you would expect a drop in overall performance. However, it was less than I expected. Top speed is still a very respectable 32.5 knots (37.4 mph), with the Mercury 200hp V6.

The McLay 741 Raptor is certainly an amphibious boat like no other and offers a unique alternative to a well proven system. By incorporating the Tectrax all-wheel drive system into one of their standard hulls, McLay have turned an already great boat into something even better. Certainly Kiwi ingenuity at its very best.

Check out Barry Thompson’s review in the Sept-Oct issue of Pacific PowerBoat/Alloy Boat and also our exclusive video

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