I have to admit, when I first saw pictures and videos of the Blue Sky boat I was skeptical. The catamaran-style hull and swivel pedestal seat powered by a pedal system looked like a frankenboat gone wild. So, I was anxious to check out the new ride at Paddlesports Retailer tradeshow in Madison, Wisconsin.
When I arrived to the Blue Sky booth to give the wild ride a test drive, I had to wait again, in a long line of other skeptics. As I watched the boat tool around the large pond at the demo day, I noticed skeptics were returning with smiles on their face. When it was my turn to take the boat for a ride, I was more than pleasantly surprised.
Stepping off the bank onto the wide deck the boat barely tottered. I settled into the seat that reminded me of sister company Jackson’s famous comfort throne. The seat can be moved forward and aft, up and down with control arms like an office chair. It even swivels like an office chair allowing the angler to fish 360 degrees.
The Blue Sky is powered by Jackson’s FD shaft-driven pedal drive. This gives the boat a shallow draft and a pedal unit that pops up when it hits an obstruction. According to the folks at Jackson, the Blue Sky’s narrow pontoons reduce drag to allow the pedal drive will push the Blue Sky faster than a traditional hull. One angler told me he’s reached speeds up to eight miles per hour. I can attest that the pedal system easily and smoothly pushed the boat.
The boat is controlled by a pair of rudders that operated with levers on either side of the seat. That means you can turn the boat with either the right or left hand.
The 360 Angler has 34 square feet of standing area, including a “front porch” and “back porch,” so there’s plenty of room for fishing accessories, electronics, gear and even a dog or kid. Blue Sky offers cool add-ons like a horizontal rod holder and even a mount for an electric motor.
The whole unit weighs about 130 pounds, but it breaks down into three sections for easy storage and transport. The boat moves quickly and easily with confident stability. With more hybrid motor/pedal/paddle boats hitting the market, the Blue Sky will appeal to serious anglers looking to cover a lot of water and carry a lot of gear.
It would be a great addition to the summer cottage or fishing lodge where anglers want to hit the water quick and easy to catch a lot of fish. After a couple laps in the Blue Sky, I was smiling too.