Tenders for Polar Regions
Posted Jan. 29, 2015, 12:21 p.m.
In the polar regions the main uses for a yacht tender will be for landing on or exploring around ice, observing remote wildlife and for transport to other activities such as mountaineering, hiking, camping and scuba diving. Needless to say the chosen tender needs to conduct these tasks in a safe and efficient manner quite often in high seas and winds and up against rock and ice, where no failure in the tender’s performance is acceptable. The tender therefore needs to be multipurpose and not only transport guests but also run ground tackle and assist the mother ship for whatever role is required. Only the toughest and most practical vessels should be specified which are able to withstand both the weather and, importantly, contact with the shore. As part of the solution we are now seeing an increasing demand for fully inflatable boats to meet these criteria, which compliment the usual rigid bottom boats in use already on the mothership. Their ease of launching and recovery and the fact that they are as comfortable in ice as they are on a rocky shore as well as having an enormous amount of reserve buoyancy and stability makes them a good choice. Recent improvements in inflatable materials such as Dropstitch (the material used to build stand-up paddle boards) and Hypalon (the material used on RIB tubes) are also allowing us to design better performing craft.
From our experience, Superyachts do not generally already have a suitable tender for landing in polar regions, local exploring and pulling up on the ice. Boats often have large custom tenders with rigid hulls (limousines, chase boats, classic tenders etc.) which do not provide the flexibility of smaller inflatable craft, nor the reliability due to the complex systems and thus we often provide an inflatable tender with outboard engines which can be relied upon when needed when close to shore to compliment the other craft on board. This inflatable tender is often stored on deck so that it can easily be deployed and recovered. Owners are always pleased that they do not cost a fortune as well and can be used and abused rather than worrying about custom paint jobs, expensive electronics and the heavy hulls of their traditional tenders.
Below is a recent custom build we have designed for a client from initial concept and it is available as a fully inflatable landing craft, able to be powered by a petrol or electric outboard engine. This can carry an ATV, have removable mounted dive racks, has a folding beach landing bow door and can carry a large number of passengers due to its high stability provided by the catamaran hulls. The first of a series of these will be delivered this summer.
Tenders for the less able bodied
We have been involved in a number of boats that have been designed to accommodate people with disabilities or less able users. With these it is very important to be involved in the design from the very beginning of the concept so that the boat can be built around the needs of the users. In reality these clients want the same thing as abled-bodied users i.e. the same type of boat and the same immersive enjoyable experience. This has some challenges from a design point of view but these can normally be distilled down to physical support, access in, out and around the boat. Powerboats are generally able to be modified relatively easily if designed with these considerations in mind from the beginning - large boarding poles, steps, flush decks for ease when moving around, grab handles, and wide access corridors all contribute to a more user friendly boat.
We are often asked to sell sail boats on superyachts to be used as toys. These offer more challenges. Generally on superyachts we supply keel boats and dinghies but with support vessels becoming ever more popular there are a number of larger yachts being placed on board and used as tenders or stand alone vessels for simply enjoying going for a sail. The same considerations over mobility exist as for yacht tenders however angle of heel becomes much more of a consideration. Mobility is harder as a consequence and whilst decks have become more flush and clean there are considerably more things to trip over and catch yourself on than on a powerboat. A popular small to mid sized sailboat for less able persons is the RS Venture Keel. This has good stability and all lines and sail controls have been configured so that they can be controlled easily and by a number of different means. The seating and configuration can be changed as per the users requirements.