AB Nautilus 17

While dining with friends aboard a 92-foot motoryacht, I was a little surprised to see a heavy fiberglass tender tucked up on the flying bridge. With the available plethora of quality inflatables, such as the new Nautilus 17 from AB Inflatables, the heavy tender struck me as a bit of an odd choice.

As it turned out, it was the owner's choice, and the captain was not happy with it. The excessive weight already put on the bridge by personal watercraft, motorcycles and a smaller tender did not help the boat in heavy beam seas.

The Nautilus 17 may have been a better choice. She weighs less than 1,000 pounds, making her an ideal tender, especially when stowed on deck.

Her tube construction includes durable five-ply hypalon-neoprene. Tube seams overlap a full inch and are taped on the inside. The rounded tube ends permit the double rub rail to wrap around the back of the tubes for enhanced protection. Multiple air chambers are incorporated into each tube. The bottom is double-molded, handlaid fiberglass.

A bench seat with armrests, cup holders and stowage is abaft the console, which has full instrumentation and a windshield. Additional seating in the bow area includes extra stowage for dive gear and water toys. The nonslip deck will keep the six guests firmly affixed.

Engine options include twin outboards up to 60 hp each or a single 115 hp unit.

AB Inflatables; www.abinflatables.com.