Little Sisters

These 13 yacht tenders will get you to your destination in comfort and style.

Having a big vessel to run long distances, chase horizons and discover that out-of-the-way cove is the pinnacle of the yachting experience. But what do you do when you want to head ashore for lunch on the beach or look for shells with the kids? Go into town for provisions and dinner? That’s when you’ll want your on-the-water SUV, your tried-and-true tender, at the ready.Courtesy Boesch
Boesch B Series Elegance and athleticism: It's a tricky combination. Olympic gymnasts have it. So do Boesch boats, which makes them welcome in the exclusive tender garages of superyachts. The beauty comes from an arduous lamination process ­including up to 11 layers of mahogany, six layers of epoxy resin and six layers of gloss. The result: supermodel looks in a solid ride that makes for top-notch water skiing and wakeboarding, with engines positioned at the center of the boat. This configuration helps the hull track true and plane with little effort at the helm — because no one should stress, sweat or wince on a boat of this caliber.Courtesy Boesch
Cockwells 7.6M Cockwells customizes its tenders with as much detail as the superyachts they're paired with. The U.K. builder works with ­design teams to ... well, for example, a 7.6M (25 feet LOA) was recently ­customized with the 1930s in mind, so even the chrome fittings were cast from original 1930s parts.Courtesy Cockwells
Carbon Craft CC180 Carbon Craft's stylish center-console, like its predecessors, is 100 ­percent carbon fiber, making it lightweight and a solid performer. Look closely: You won't find inflatable tubes either. One Carbon Craft owner says his tender's style gets him noticed often: "Wherever we go, people are taking photos."Courtesy Carbon Craft
Chris-Craft Launch 36 Superyacht owners who appreciate the classics have gravitated to the Launch series in recent years. The 36 is more than a day boat because it has a cabin, amidships berth and above-deck cooking area for weekends ashore. At 8 tons and with a 286-gallon fuel capacity, it gets to those distant shores with muscle and style.Bill Doster
Hacker-Craft Sport 27 A glance brings one word to mind: craftsmanship. It's why Neiman Marcus and Tommy Hilfiger used Hacker-Craft in their ad campaigns. The mahogany models take more than 1,400 man-hours to build in Hacker's upstate New York facility, though the company also offers the Sport 27 and custom tenders in fiberglass.Courtesy Hacker-Craft
Wajer & Wajer 38 S The 2016 model year marks Wajer & Wajer's 25th as a family-owned builder. These customizable tenders have attracted niche followings in the French Riviera, Ibiza, Geneva, New York's Hamptons and south Florida. The 38 S stands out as the Dutch builder's first center-console, but it won't be lumped into the offshore-fishing category. The focus of the 38 S is open and elegant entertaining on ocean rides, with guests moving easily from the big cockpit sun loungers up to the bow — all while staying dry. Cavernous stowage is intended to house toys like Seabobs and dive gear. Standard power is twin 310 hp Volvo Penta diesels matched to IPS pod drives (owners can opt up to 370 or 435 hp diesels).Courtesy Wajer & Wajer
Williams Dieseljet 625 Williams recently delivered a brand-new Dieseljet model to the family trust of Formula 1's Eddie Jordan. The tender has been matched to his Sunseeker 155 Yacht, Blush. "It needed to be a reliable, dry-riding and safe water-sports workhorse, and the 625 completely fits the bill," Jordan says. The Dieseljet 625 is available with two Yanmar diesel options: 180 hp and 260 hp.Courtesy Williams
New England Boatworks Sea Blade 35 If you have the need for speed, the 65-plus-knot Sea Blade 35 could be the tender ticket. Power comes from twin 300 hp outboards. This aluminum-hull speedster is the fourth generation of the Sea Blade series from New England Boatworks. It features a super-deep-V form with hull panels at 0 degrees to +/- 50 degrees set in longitudinal steps with a pad keel for a soft ride, easy planing and optimum performance.Courtesy New England Boatworks
Hodgdon Yachts 10.5 limo tender There is a quiet, two-way, tree-lined road in Damariscotta, Maine. It's easy to drive down this stretch of pavement, imbibe the serenity and get lost in your thoughts while white noise plays on the car stereo. But if you do that, you'll likely miss the large hangar that seemingly and suddenly appears out of ­nowhere, between the trees. Inside this facility, Hodgdon Yachts' staff is creating top-notch tenders that complement and accompany some of the world's largest, most ­luxurious superyachts plying the big blue marble today. The builder's latest launch, a Michael Peters-designed, ­34-foot limo tender, debuted at the ­Monaco Yacht Show in September. Peters'design was based on an original concept by A.J. Anderson of Florida-based Wright Maritime. This Hodgdon mini-superyacht is the builder's 422nd hull. It started constructing vessels way back in 1816, when Abraham Lincoln was just 7 years old. The company, which has created many ­notable, investment-grade sailing yachts, has come a long way since the days of ­building clipper ships. But its first-rate craftsmanship, as seen in this tender's sleek, finely faired hull, painted in an eye-catching sea-foam green, is classic and timeless. The 10.5 limo tender is part of the builder's custom Venetian series and gets its inspiration from the water taxis in Venice, Italy. This craft features room for up to 11 guests. Don't worry if any of them are tall, either, because the entire hardtop can be raised via hydraulics. Side windows on both sides lower to help with boarding too. Fine leather, high-­definition entertainment and a refrigerator and bar round out the ­accoutrements.Courtesy Hodgdon
Hodgdon 10.5 limo tender This stainless-steel hardware, including the flush anchor setup, was custom fabricated by Hodgdon Yachts.Courtesy Hodgdon
Hodgdon 10.5 limo tender Tall guests? No problem. The hardtop can be raised and then lowered hydraulically. The windows open as well.Courtesy Hodgdon
SACS Strider 50 Style meets function in the SACS Strider 50. This Italian builder, which has produced special-edition tenders for Ferrari and Jaguar, makes the segment über-chic with this larger-than-life vessel. There's room for everyone on this 50-footer, with four seats at the helm (two forward-, two aft-­facing), a U-shaped lounge all the way aft and seating for two just forward of the helm station, as well as two benches forward to port and starboard. An optional teak sole accents the racy, metallic-silver hardtop, adding a luxe touch. (White hull and deck are standard.) This is a true ­entertainment platform once you add the generator, air conditioning and cockpit grill. Want to overnight? Yes, there's a full cabin.Courtesy Sacs
Novurania LX750 Novurania's LX750 is equally ready to take your party ashore for dinner or out for a day of snorkeling. With a 24-foot-7-inch length overall, the LX750 can handle up to 11 guests and is powered with either a single diesel or an outboard. Its teak deck and the ability to add custom hull colors give it an upscale sensibility.Courtesy Novurania
Ribcraft 6.8 Ribcrafts were originally designed for safety professionals and military use. Ribcraft's signature deep-V hull and heavy-duty hypalon tube allow owners to ride in rough seas with confidence. Powered by single or twin outboards up to 230 hp, the 6.8 will reportedly reach speeds of 44-plus knots.Courtesy Ribcraft
Protector Targa 30 Brian Peterson, a sales representative with Protector Boats, had just finished a rugged four-day, 1,098-mile run from Juneau, Alaska, to Seattle in Protector's Targa 30. Once in Seattle, he was asked to show the boat to a potential client, who felt intimidated at first by the Targa's twin 300 hp Mercury Verados. "I kept having to reach over and push the throttles down because he was too scared to do it," Peterson says. "We finally got the boat up to 44 knots, even though it will go a lot faster. We trimmed it out, and he's smiling now. Then I turn around, and his daughter is falling asleep in his wife's lap, and his son is sitting there, grinning."Brian Peterson

Mini Megas: Building a first-class tender

  • The best things in life really can come in small packages, but designing a great small package takes significant skill.

  • When New York-based ­Hacker-Craft is preparing to build a wooden tender, it starts with owner input on hull form and aesthetics.

  • Space is always a concern, but working in wood, Hacker-Craft can design most of what an owner wants in a fixed footprint.

  • A custom limo tender takes about 6,200 hours to complete.    

  • Hodgdon Yachts in Maine takes two to three times as long to build its fiberglass tenders as it does a 36-foot ­production boat. 

  •   Why? These craft feature an intricate, labor-intensive design with myriad parts that must be joined and faired by hand.

Origins: Evolution of the Rigid-bottom inflatable boat

Rigid-hull inflatable boats did not start off as large-yacht counterparts. The RIB was introduced to the boating community through the commercial sector 45-plus years ago as a rescue craft because of its combination of safety and high performance. Students at Atlantic College in South Wales, working from an inflatable boat, combined a deep-V hull form with inflatable tubes, modifying an earlier design by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution that featured a flat bottom of plywood. Zodiac Milpro presented the first commercial RIB, the Searider, through its subsidiary Avon at the 1969 London Boat Show. While RIB tender design continues to evolve, these boats have seen regular service as yacht tenders since the 1970s.