#TBT: What Ever Happened to the Shuttlecraft Hybrid Boat?

By Will Burgess

If you remember the heydays of the 90s personal watercraft scene, maybe you recall seeing a Windjet or Shuttlecraft boat. At one time lauded as the “next big innovation in watercraft” it is very rare nowadays to see a PWC-driven boat… if you can call it that.

These types of vessels were propelled entirely by one, or two detachable jet-skis, depending on the configuration you were going for. Whether you wanted to be the driver at the helm, or rely on the force of the jets behind you as you steer from the captain’s chair, watercraft and boat enthusiasts alike were watching for this amazing craft to hit their local beach.

The Windjet captured the hearts and minds of watercraft enthusiasts looking for the next big thing, but these “boats” came on the scene just as soon as they went.

So what happened? How come Shuttlecraft or Windjet aren’t household names?

It may owe in large part to the limited power of the PWC engines at the time which could easily propel these hulls, albeit sluggishly. The increased weight and strain on the engines also led to increasing engine failures until these companies began to disappear.

Today you can still purchase a detachable hull for your watercraft from specialty builders designed to work with modern watercraft. Maybe the era of having your cake and taking away a slice to whip around on the water all by yourself is not yet over.

Boat ownership among younger water sports enthusiasts is down but PWC ownership is up, especially during the pandemic. Maybe this kind of PWC cum boat would be a gateway for young aqua fanatics to get a taste of the boat ownership lifestyle.

Bon voyage!

Cover: the Shuttlecraft boat with detachable Sea-Doo PWC in a very retro 90s color scheme.

Will Burgess is a journalist with Adrenaline Powersports Mag


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