Top Yacht Design magazine has drawn up the top 15 of the most significant mega-tenders (or day cruisers) of the moment, outlining the evolution of this type of boat. We discover in 3 different episodes the world of mega-tenders and how it works.
Tenders have evolved technically and aesthetically from their humble beginnings to occupy a whole new market niche of their own.
To some, they are simply tenders. Others prefer to use the term ‘chase boat’, others still refer to them as day cruisers. The only thing that is certain is that there is now a whole new family of boats designed in great part to meet the needs of super and megayacht owners. But make no mistake about it: support boats are not new. Far from it. If we look back a little, we see the likes of the stunning Riva Junior which was part of the complement of Odysseia (now Kalizma), the 50 meter Richard Burton bought as a gift for Elizabeth Taylor back in the day. Not forgetting either, the glorious pair of mahogany Hacker-Craft motorboats that more recently were embarked aboard Christina O. As far back as the 1930s, however, the 80-meter Reveler, now known as Thalita G and owned by the Getty family, had two 10-meter tenders.
These may have been isolated cases but they still sowed the seeds for what has burgeoned into a full-blown trend. Fuelling it is the need for boats that can do more than simply ferry the owner and his guests from the mother yacht ashore and back again. Size, however, is the major limiting factor, although it is not such an issue in yachts of over 100 meters, of course. The latter will often use the likes of the Torpedo 12-meter runabout being offered by J Craft. The 113-meter Le Grand Bleu, however, has a 21-meter Sunseeker as her chase boat, while the owner and guests of the brand-new 116-metre Ulysses will be able to call upon a Princess 68 for their off-board trips.
Cranchi E 26 Classic
Designed by Christian Grande, this 7.81-metre is a reworking of the classic motorhull and its styling cues.
Designed by Zuccon, it has generous exterior spaces and comfortable interiors that mean it can work either as a daycruiser or a mega tender to suit requirements.
Fjord 44 Open
Day cruiser or mega tender? With a top speed of 40 knots, this 13.45-meter offers a zingy combination of fun and versatility.
Vanquish VQ 48
A joint effort from Guido de Groot, Studio Delta and Wester, this 14.6-metre makes the ideal daycruiser for large groups.
Tecnomar Evo 55
The Tecnomar Evo 55 is a day cruiser that will stretch to a weekender at a pinch. Designed by Gianmarco Campanino, it will, when packing
a VOLVO IPS 1200 set-up, deliver maximum speeds of up to 40 knots. That fact combined with exceptional onboard comfort, captivating lines, generous deck space and a choice of three different interior fit-outs makes it perfect as a support boat for even the most luxurious of megayachts. The Evo 55 has either one or two cabins with bathroom and can welcome aboard a large crowd very comfortably indeed. After spending years devoting itself to affirming its supremacy in the 80 footer segment, the yard thus makes a very welcome and rewarding return to the market with this 55’ sport yacht. The model displays clear automotive influences too. It is an incredibly striking craft even though its performance figures alone are intriguing enough. But design is design and the time is just right for these new runabouts to slot into the new niche that has been opened up in the market for megayacht support vessels. The Evo 55 looks set to be one of the big players in that particular game.
It is quite another story, however, if we look at the 40 to 80-metre superyacht segment. This is where the real game is a foot. There are many factors to take into consideration here.
First and foremost are design-related issues and centre around the changing ways in which certain areas of yachts are being used. The most revolutionised of those areas has been the transom which was originally used to stow tenders but has now become more of a pivotal hub of onboard life because it affords owners and guests such close contact with the sea. This has resulted in tender stowage being moved mostly forward. Another limiting factor is the length and height restrictions on tenders. In many cases, this means that they have to be customs (the so-called limo tenders fall into this category) so that they can be stowed in specific spaces or, in the case of J’ade, in floodable garages that can accommodate production craft of the likes of the Riva Iseo.
In both instances, the tenders are no larger than 10 metres. However, owners are tending to go for larger craft and, in many cases, those with cabins so they can be used for mini-cruises allowing the mothership can stay where she is while owner and guests go off to explore. Megatender design is an area of huge creative growth right now.