The fascination in designing and building large yacht tenders lies in the endlessly different needs, applications and restrictions placed on us by customers with vessels ranging from 20m sailing yachts to 100m+ motor yachts. Even when starting with a production tender, there are so many options to choose from that there really are no two the same.
Amongst the most unusual tenders are bespoke landing craft.
Built to fulfill a variety of functions, landing craft can be a great way to deliver less mobile guests to a deserted beach, or for landing ATV’s, motorcycles or even a car.
Well designed landing craft are surprisingly seaworthy and are definitely worth considering if yacht owners are adventurous – the ability to put vehicles or large amounts of gear ashore in remote locations, or even as a comfortable platform for visiting distant surf breaks make them a flexible choice.
A comfortable air-conditioned cabin can provide seating and protection when the weather is less favourable, whilst the large flat load area can adapt to provide seating for many and with a shade awning becomes a great space for relaxing when not loaded with cargo.
Tendacentre work alongside the world’s leading civilian landing craft manufacturer to design vessels to meet diverse requirements and to a range of finishes, depending on budget and intended use.
The biggest surprise for most customers is the superb sea-keeping ability of a custom built landing craft – these vessels are a far cry from the flat-bottomed military designs that spring to mind. Available with a single V or twin hull, depending on application and payload requirements, a custom built landing craft will far exceed your expectations in terms of usability and invariably be pressed into service far more often than expected.
Deep V mono hulls are suitable for offshore use in heavy seas, with 16 degrees of deadrise at the stern and wide forward chines for lift and stability. The bow design also ensures that spray is kept out of the boat and that they stay on the plane with minimum power.
A shallow draft allows for trouble-free beach landing and at anchor the bow door provides easy access for swimmers or recovering watersports equipment. For greater stability when stationary and to allow the vessel to remain level when dried-out, a twin deep V tunnel hull is ideal. It retains excellent handling and sea-keeping characteristics, with the additional forward volume being well suited to carrying heavy payloads, such as 4x4 vehicles.
Constructed from marine grade aluminium, the all-up weight of each vessel is kept to a minimum, allowing crew to hoist them aboard the mothership where possible. If you don’t have space to carry a landing craft onboard for long passages, they can easily be shipped as deck cargo to join you in your destination cruising ground. Thanks to the shape and construction of these tenders, they are ideally suited to being safely shipped by any commercial service throughout the world.
Power is normally supplied by outboard engines or inboards with stern drives or jets, primarily to ensure safe operation in shallow water and to facilitate drying out. Easily driven hulls give excellent fuel economy and range, with most models able to achieve speeds of 35 to 50mph. A huge variety of power plants and drive options can be utilized to meet customer requirements and to ensure as much compatibility with other tenders as possible.
Aluminium construction gives the flexibility to incorporate almost any custom feature, from side doors and through-hull hatches, to cranes, winches and fire pumps. Likewise, the pilothouse can be built to incorporate a wide variety of features, such as guest seating, a galley, head and a convertible berth for overnight use.
Reverse cycle air-conditioning ensures that you have a comfortable environment, whether you are exploring in the tropics or the poles.
The flexibility of a luxury landing craft is such that with a removable full enclosure and comfortable seating in the load area, many guests can be transported with full weather protection – admittedly not with quite the same style and comfort as a limo tender, but then how many limo tenders can deliver a Range Rover ashore the next day?
Chances are you have not thought about a landing craft tender before, but if you are looking for versatility, load carrying ability and a great sea boat, you should give this concept serious consideration.
Whether you are looking for a tender of under 5m that can carry an ATV or motorcycle, or a larger multi-purpose vessel to transport guests, pull a wakeboard, collect provisions and go exploring, you won’t be disappointed. As with any custom tender, finish and colour schemes can be produced to the same high standard as the mothership, with matching details incorporated into the design itself if desired.
A bespoke landing craft is a smart and practical addition to any yacht’s inventory; owners and crew invariably use them more and more as they discover just how versatile they are.
You don’t need to be planning an invasion to own a landing craft and they have come a long way since the first designs entered service in 1915. Now almost a hundred years old, this design concept has come of age in the leisure environment and is proving just as useful as its military forebears did in the last century.
Simon Billington is the Managing Director of Tendacentre, a specialist supplier of superyacht tenders and chase boats. Simon and his colleagues work with a wide range of market leading manufacturers to develop new products and improve existing ones, ensuring that the needs of their customers are catered for. Highly experienced in both custom and production vessels, Tendacentre can also offer maintenance and charter from their service centre on the Gulf of St Tropez and regularly ship tenders all over the world. Operating from offices in the UK and France, Tendacentre is part of the Private Yacht Group.