After teasing the market for several months with glimpses of their new design, Jackson Kayak–and a new team led by industry veteran Andy Zimmerman, founder of Wilderness Systems–has officially turned to Kickstarter to back its new Blue Sky Boatworks fishing kayak, the Angler 360. “We invited fishing professionals and avid outdoors people to test late-stage prototypes to get their feedback, and the response was tremendous,” says Jackson president Eric Jackson. “They’ve given us great reviews and some terrific feedback. All that’s left now is to put the final finishes on the boat and get it into production for an early summer delivery.”
For them, Crowdfunding was a natural solution. “In the midst of our typical design-to-production mode, capital investment in new development is always taxing,” says marketing director James McBeath. “This project dropped into our laps as a really amazing opportunity that needs an extra shot in the arm to bring to fruition. We are still releasing our typical handful of new whitewater and fishing kayaks this year, but with the addition of such an ambitious project like Blue Sky Boatworks we are looking to this crowdfunding process so that the development process through to delivery is accelerated. Due to Kickstarter, we aim at an early summer production launch, which we never would have been able to achieve before.”
The campaign launched just the second week of March for Advanced Notice subscribers and was 100 percent funded in 40 minutes (view link here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/537578945/blue-sky-boatworks-pedal-paddle-and-electric-drive). The campaign ends April 18 and while some pledge levels have been sold out investors can still get on board at savings of up to 35 percent off retail.
With its funding, says Jackson, the development team can accelerate boat production while completing the Blue Sky E-Drive electric motor. Final boats will begin delivering in June and July, Jackson says, with the E-Drive ready by November. “All Blue Sky Boats come standard with our FlexDrive propulsion,” Jackson says. “The E-Drive is an add-on. It’s powered by a lithium ion battery, switches out with the pedal unit in seconds and it will amaze you how quickly it moves the boat. Kickstarter supporters will be first in line to receive boats, and will also be getting significant discounts of more than 30 percent off.”
With the boats built at Jackson Kayaks’ plant in Sparta, Tenn., Blue Sky Boatworks launches this year with two models — the 360° Angler and 360° Escape — both of which ride on sleek twin hulls and feature a patent-pending, full-turning luxury seat, Flex Drive pedal-drive system (with lithium ion-powered E-Drive option) and a generous platform for full-circle casting from any angle.