As the share of very large superyachts within the global fleet has increased in the last decade, the demand for tenders has followed suit. Here, we speak to experts from across the industry to get the inside scoop on what the owners of today (and tomorrow) are looking for from their tenders. Photo: I.C. YachtFirstly, it is obvious that, as with many things in the superyacht industry, size matters. Tom Southern from the Southampton-based company Pascoe International, explains that the company has noted a marked increase in requests for 10-metre-plus tenders to accommodate the operational needs of the mothership. This trend continues across the pond with Audrey Hodgdon, Director of Sales & Marketing at the Maine-based Hodgdon Tenders commenting that “as superyachts increase in size, the tenders are relied upon more and more as yachts are likely to be anchored further out.”
Notably too, involvement of owners in the tender-choosing process has also seen an uplift, to beneficial effect on the final product. As Tom Southern from Pascoe highlights: “This rise in the level of owner input on the selection and design of tenders is a major positive for the quality of the final product, allowing us to ask the owner directly how they want to use each tender and what they’d like to see done differently from previous ones.”
Photo: I.C. YachtAnd what, exactly, is the average owner looking for from their tender? Well, of course, there is no such thing as an average superyacht owner, but our experts have observed some commonalities. Good aesthetics and complementing the mothership in appearance are key.
A popular combination of tenders for today’s owners noted by Richard Faulkner, Founder and CEO of Hamble-based company Compass Tenders, is for owners to opt for both a stylish limousine tender to transport guests to and from the mothership, and a more practical, open, utility-style tender to serve as a base for watersports and beach activities. In addition, a dedicated crew tender can also be accommodated for where space allows, so that guest tenders are reserved for the owner’s use. In addition, with the often-noted trend of 2020’s owners becoming increasingly adventurous with how they use their yachts – seeking out locations further afield – the tenders have adapted to match. As Faulkner highlights: “Tenders are being used for extended periods of time and are required for a wider array of uses – it’s no longer just about getting from superyacht to shore in comfort, but exploring stretches of coastline and facilitating sports activities.”
In today’s market therefore, where versatility in tender usage is key, an owner can reap the benefits of a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ tender, which has the ability to take owners and guests from A to B, as well as packing storage for toys, provisions, dive gear and so on. “This modularity is a key feature as having multiple tenders requires a substantial amount of space,” Rene Markus from DutchCraft explains. “Our tenders can easily be transformed from guest shuttles into spacious tenders designed for provisioning.”Photo: I.C. YachtOnboard space is, naturally, a key consideration for any owner looking to add tenders to their arsenals, and should be taken into account as early as possible in the design stage of the vessel. As Hodgdon recalls, "One captain recently told us that the decision on the tender is just as important to the owner as which engines go into the superyacht.”
Where the tender is stored on board contemporary vessels has seen a shift in recent years, according to Pascoe International’s Tom Southern. “The typical location for tender garages on large yachts was an aft garage with side doors, however as the design trend has moved towards expansive beach clubs with fold-out balconies, we are now seeing more tender garages moving towards the bow in order to accommodate full beam beach clubs.” Photo: Guillaume PlissonFinally, there is one trend in tenders which would be remiss to omit: the drive towards sustainability. “The tender niche follows the trends in pleasure yachting,” says DutchCraft’s Rene Markus. “Driven by environmental changes, owners are definitely becoming more ecologically-savvy and caring about the environment.”
This desire from owners to greenify their tenders will also have implications for the future of their designs, meaning that tender builders need to keep abreast of the latest trends. Richard Faulkner from Compass sees the tenders of the future as “undoubtedly electric powered, which may generate a difference in hull forms to increase medium speed efficiency.” He continues, “Solar panels may also be required to be incorporated within the tender design and our design team is currently researching and developing this area.Photo: Compass TendersThis article was originally published in the Tenders and Toys issue of The SuperYacht Times newspaper. To receive all future issues straight to your door, subscribe to the newspaper here.