The adventure starts on the big boat. A yacht carries you to far-flung waypoints and sets the scene for making lifetime memories. Once you drop the hook outside that must-see port of call or anchor in teal waters off a deserted, white-sand beach, it’s time to explore the coast or head ashore for dinner and some cultural immersion. The mothership’s faithful companion, the tender, stands at the ready to launch into the nuance of a destination. And choosing a tender is as personal as building the big boat. Here are seven vessels, from stylish and speedy to bold and super-size, for your consideration on the journey.
Boston Whaler 380 Realm
Boston Whaler’s 380 Realm is the flagship of the series. An electric grill and refrigerator are in the cockpit for making lunch in your favorite cove with the kids. For cruising from the big boat to dinner ashore or taking in a sunset with friends from the water, the foredeck lounge has a table, cup holders and seating for six. (A foredeck sunshade is optional.) The helm has a bench seat for two with another seat to port. Abaft the helm is seating for two more, and there’s a transom foldout bench seat as well. Power is quad Mercury outboards to a maximum of 1,600 hp.
For stability, a Seakeeper is available. Foam-filled unibond construction makes the 380 Realm “unsinkable.”
Technohull Omega 45
Technohull refers to its Omega 45 as a mega-RIB. Designed as a large-yacht tender, the 45-footer has the size to fit the name. The 45 also has power. Quad 400 hp outboards are the biggest engine options, and they reportedly propel this tender across the brine at 74 knots (hold on to your hats). For owners who don’t need to fly at the speed of sound, triple 300s are an option, as are diesel inboards. With every engine package, four shockproof seats are under the optional T-top for rider comfort. The Omega 45 also has the builder’s DynaStream hull, created via algorithms that determine strakes, steps and variable deadrise distribution. The boat has an infused, foam-cored, carbon-fiber hull.
Intrepid 430 Sport Yacht
Intrepids are perennially popular as tenders, and the semicustom Intrepid 430 Sport Yacht should follow suit. Wraparound seating abaft the helm keeps guests and the skipper close. A foldable cockpit bench seat handles the overflow. Owners can set the mood for sundowners with cockpit and underwater LEDs. Those who like to entertain can add a refrigerator and ice maker here. Belowdecks are berths for four, including a forepeak step-up berth for the owner and a guest stateroom aft. Like to catch dinner? Add outriggers and a livewell. Power plants, fabrics and woods are all owner’s choice. The hardtop is an option, and the aluminum can be powder-coated.
Four 627 hp Seven Marine outboards reportedly blast the Gulfstream 52 over the water at 70 knots. The vessel has a twin-stepped hull form, and the hull and stringers are foam-filled, making the 52 “unsinkable,” according to the builder. The single-level deck is designed for safe transit in a seaway. The 52 is for the yacht owner who likes aggressively styled vessels with performance to match. Fishing and cruising layouts are available. One layout option has a removable aft bench seat, and a European option has a sun pad abaft a U-shaped dining area under the hardtop. The 52 can accommodate four guests overnight. Not big enough? A 66-footer is on the way.
Scout 355 LxF
With a dual-step hull design, epoxy-infused hull and Seakeeper gyro option, the Scout Boats 355 LXF is a tech-forward tender. Power is triple 300 or 350 hp outboards from Yamaha or Mercury. Top-end speed is about 55 to 57 knots. For comfort at speed, the helm has three bolster-style seats at the centerline helm station. Abaft the helm is seating for two more, as well as foldout transom seating for another two guests. Tanning enthusiasts can sprawl on the sun lounge just forward of the helm console. Hull color, engine color, cushion style and sunshades are all owner’s choice. Other notable options include Garmin electronics at the helm, and teak for the swim platform, helm pad and foredeck table.
Brabus 800 Shadow by Axopar
The Brabus 800 Shadow by Axopar has a razorlike profile, deep-V stepped hull, carbon-fiber accents, seating for 10 to 12 guests and 50-knot speed. On the performance side, the tender is equipped with twin 400 hp Mercury outboards. Cruise speed is 35 knots. On the style end, stainless-steel stanchions and handrails are painted black, creating an upscale feel. Fittings, cup holders and hinges are black powder-coated. Black also carries over into the hardtop, which has a retractable roof for catching rays while underway. Red Silvertex on the cockpit seats creates a striking contrast. The cabin’s soft goods are covered in Brabus fine leather and Alcantara.
The HCB Estrella’s 65-foot length overall makes jaws drop, but it may be the five 627 hp Seven Marine outboards hanging off the boat’s stern that make eyes pop. They combine for 3,135 hp and a blistering top-end of about 52 knots. This vessel aims to be a 300-footer’s best friend. The Estrella is the world’s largest center-console, and she has amenities usually reserved for other types of vessels. There’s sport-fisher-style mezzanine seating in her cockpit, a dining settee on her foredeck, and two rows of helm seating. Dinner for eight to 10 under the hardtop? No problem. The Estrella is a beast of a boat with a public debut scheduled as you read this, at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.