The yacht tender market continues to grow and evolve at a rapid pace, with many new and innovative models debuting at the recent Monaco Yacht Show. As the yachts that carry them grow in scale and sophistication, so do their tenders, creating interesting challenges for designers and manufacturers, who often need to meet a range of precise but conflicting requirements.
Several manufacturers have been busy designing and testing new Limousine Tender concepts, to meet the growing demand for these specialised vessels. Pascoe International will be unveiling their new SL range at the Monaco Show, with an open top model on display. Available as either an Open or Limousine Tender, the SL range is built on a common “platform” concept, allowing for different sizes and styles to be easily configured around the well proven hull and propulsion package. Particular attention has been paid to creating a tender that can cover long distances safely, whilst offering a number of comfortable seating options for guests.
Chase boats are increasingly popular for yachts that don’t have room for Limousines or other large tenders onboard. Offering better protection for guests and increased range, along with bathroom and galley facilities, Chase Boats can fulfil a number of useful roles. Goldfish Boats of Norway have recently launched their new 50ft model, with a 40 footer to follow by spring 2014. These are ideal Chase Boats, offering plenty of comfortable seating, with the range, performance and sea-keeping ability to make day-long excursions exciting and comfortable. Capable of over 65 knots, these are multi-function tenders that can greatly enhance the yachting experience for owners and their guests.
Cockwells, a UK based custom builder of wooden and composite tenders, will be showing their new 9.5m tender at Monaco. Powered by twin Yanmar engines and Hamilton water jets, this classic retro-styled tender provides a remarkably smooth and dry ride at speeds of over 40 knots. The light weight epoxy foam sandwiched hull is exquisitely finished with an external Awlgrip paint system and beautiful teak decking. The luxurious interior provides spacious leather seating for 12 guests. Extra features include a wet bar, folding bimini and bathing platform with underwater lighting, dive ladder and shower. The forepeak contains a carbon fibre electric toilet with a hand basin and elegantly hidden in the bow is a self-launching stainless steel anchor and chain. Electric bow thrusters are fitted and when used in conjunction with a full fly-by-wire joystick control they provide exceptionally accurate manoeuvring and stability.
Another highly respected British boat builder enjoying success in the tender sector is Hunton Powerboats of Romsey. A racing pedigree stretching back over thirty years and with countless championship victories under their belt, Hunton have a clear vision to create the most complete luxury performance boats on the market. Their experience and attention to detail gives them ideal credentials for building luxury yacht tenders, with a well thought out range offering very capable RIBs of 8.3 and 10m and rigid hulled models of 11.5 and 13m. All of the Hunton range offer the performance and build quality you would expect from such an experienced manufacturer, giving us some excellent tenders and chase boats that should be on every buyer’s shortlist. The XRS 43 even has enough comfortable seating down below to operate as a Limousine tender when needed - not bad for a sportsboat with a top speed of 65 knots!
Amongst the trends that are growing in popularity are “D” RIBs, which give greater internal volume for seating by doing away with the inside of the tube that encroaches on the cockpit and attaching the outer half to a rigid coaming. This type of tender is a useful hybrid, with improved internal layouts that are more akin to a typical rigid-hulled boat, while still retaining the advantage of inflatable tubes when coming alongside. However, with more and more tenders being stored in garages, many crews are choosing to do away with tubes altogether and revert to rigid-hulled tenders that maximise the useable area inside the garage, without giving up otherwise useful space for inflatable tubes. Given that additional fenders are always used for coming alongside, even for RIBs, this is well worth thinking about if you would benefit from a slightly larger tender.
Propulsion systems have seen some interesting developments recently and there are even viable electric options that can meet the requirements of a busy charter yacht. One of the best electric solutions is the Goldfish 23 eFusion, which uses a powerful electric outboard that was developed in conjunction with ReGenNautic USA. The 145kw brushless motor is equivalent to a 200hp petrol outboard and can cover 45nm per charge and go from a standstill to over 50mph in less than 10 seconds. Since a yacht tender spends much of it’s time alongside a mothership that is permanently generating electricity, it represents an ideal application for electric power, particularly as the latest battery technology allows for a 30 minute “fast charge” if the tender is in constant use. For those not ready to make the move to fully electric, there are also some excellent hybrid power systems coming into the tender market from the automotive industry and these models, that combine electric and diesel power, are quickly going to become a standard installation for many manufacturers. Coupled with an efficient jet-drive, this package overcomes many of the environmental and safety issues traditionally associated with tenders and sportsboats.
There are certainly a lot of new and interesting developments in the world of yacht tenders and the level of sophistication the industry has reached is very impressive. However, it’s always important to remember that complexity can bring a host of problems if not well executed and a seemingly impressive vessel can become a nightmare after a year or two in service. As enticing as it can be to choose the tender with the most gadgets and features, it is often the simpler model that is well conceived and carefully built that provides the better service in the long run.
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.
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