Expert insight: Dries Wajer talks the future of tenders

Written by Gemma Fottles

Wajer Yachts has been in the business of building luxury tenders for almost 30 years, though the Dutch shipbuilder's fleet is anything but traditional. Over the past three decades building superyacht-quality day boats, Wajer has constantly innovated and adapted. Always with one eye to the future of yachting, today, Managing Director Dries Wajer says, the Wajer fleet is more sustainable, more comfortable and more efficient than ever before. Dries WajerLast year, Wajer demonstrated as much by taking its most popular model to the next level. Revealing the Wajer 38|2 in the summer of 2020, the result is a fully upgraded design, incorporating client feedback to present sleeker lines, new materials and additional features. "Our Wajer 38|2 is a true day cruiser with all comfort you could wish for," explains Dries Wajer. "The new 38|2 has sleeker lines, increased protection from the large windshield, comfortable suspension seats in the cockpit and enough outside space for up to 16 people." Nominated for Best Tender in Boat International's Boat International Design & Innovation Award 2021, it's clear that Wajer's dedication to innovation resonates.Wajer 38 tender Photo: WajerJoining the family-owned business in 2009 and at the helm of Wajer since 2018, here we talk to Dries about sustainability, the future of tenders and the latest trends in the world of luxury yacht tenders.

What are some of the latest luxury tender trends?

Comfort is becoming more and more important for owners, and they want to be able to go from A to B quicker. Using the tender as a day cruiser for day trips is also becoming more popular with superyacht owners – 35% of the Wajer tenders we build are now delivered as a superyacht tender. This is due to the reliability of our yachts, build quality and global service support. Wajer tender How is Wajer equipped to deliver larger tenders?

Our 38 footer is the smallest model we make, which is already quite large for a tender! But the 55 footer – especially the 55HT – is becoming more and more popular as well. It offers more protection from wind, water and sun and because it’s bigger it’s more comfortable in the waves. We can customise all our models up to the owner's wishes.Wajer tender Are owners also venturing further afield, therefore, needing more stable tenders? 

Our customers already use the tenders in very different places worldwide, from Antarctica to the Bahamas and everything in between. We ensure that the tender is suitable for the purposes for which the owner wants to use it. For example, they must be able to be towed long distances (Amels motor yacht Kamalaya already towed their Wajer more than 50,000 nautical miles) or withstand significant temperature differences. For the eco explorer vessel Yersin, we delivered a Wajer tender that had to deal with extreme temperatures. Nothing is too crazy for us. We always make it work. 

But the majority of owners do not necessarily go further afield more now than they have in the past. It's more about comfort. Of course, the more stable, the better when it comes to comfort. The bigger the tender, the more significant the reduction in slamming and bumpy rides. Moreover, on a bigger tender, you can also bring larger groups or even provide one or two more sleeping places for the crew. This points to another trend of owners spending time on bigger yachts in different ways. Wajer tender How will the tender market adapt to appeal to increasingly eco-conscious owners? 

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for our customers and is also a hot topic for us as yacht builder. We see more and more of our customers asking for sustainable solutions. The car business is already way further in this development process, so it's an exciting challenge for us as yacht builders to develop alternative solutions and make this work for our industry to meet the customer's requirements and stay future-proof.

At Wajer, we have an in-house innovation team, including people from the Technical University Delft who are dedicated to developing sustainable solutions. We innovate our yachts continuously to make them more sustainable. In the long term, we are thinking of alternatives to diesel. In the short term, you can already see progress in technology like the foil assist, which realises a fuel reduction of up to 20%.Wajer tender Explain the foil assist system on the new Wajer 38.

Besides the fuel reduction, it makes riding on the waves more comfortable. The brand-new adaption of foil technology ensures a totally different sailing experience, meaning enhanced comfort, less slamming and better overall performance. The foil aid is placed amidships on the hull and lifts the boat, greatly improving sailing comfort and reducing fuel consumption while still reaching top speed. Preliminary technical research also has shown that the foil assist reduces fuel consumption by 10-20%, while maximum speed increases by 3-6% at equal power. This new foil assist on the Wajer 38 and 38 S is developed by Van Oossanen Naval Architects. Sailing these foiled Wajer tenders makes for a more comfortable ride as they literally fly over the waves.Wajer foiling tenderWhat is your vision of the tender market in the next ten years? 

Looking at the future, sustainability is one of the essential topics in our industry. As far as we are concerned, tenders powered in a more environmentally friendly way are the future. Internally, we are already preparing our yachts for this, our innovation team will ensure that the Wajer tenders become more and more sustainable in the future. A hugely interesting challenge that we'll share more about later. In the years to come, we will continue to demonstrate that we remain at the forefront of our industry when it comes to innovation in sustainability.Wajer 38 tender cruisingPhoto: Wajer Yachts2022 will mark 30 years since Wajer opened its doors. How will you celebrate this milestone?

We will certainly not let our 30th anniversary go unnoticed! We are known for our close customer community and the associated events that we organise for this, from our annual Start of the Season event in April, where we sail from our yard in Friesland to Amsterdam, to our Owners Challenge, a rally on the water with the Wajer tenders and afterwards a party in St Tropez and Ibiza. Our 30th anniversary is an extra chance to turn out big, especially after the COVID-19 rules limited us all so much in 2020 and 2021.Wajer 55 S tender cruisingPhoto: Wajer Yachts

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