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Credit: Lloyd Images

Raising the bar: trialing Falcon Tenders' new beach club open boat Miss LeBlanc

12 June 2024 • Written by Andrew Johansson

With a head-turning exterior design and an interior closer to that of a superyacht than a tender, Falcon Tenders continues to grab attention with the arrival of its latest offering. Andrew Johansson puts her to the test...

When the sun is shining, there is nothing better than cruising down the heart of England’s capital on the River Thames, which is where I am today for a sea trial on Falcon Tenders’ new beach club tender, Miss Leblanc. Sharing the same Michael Leach Design exterior as its sister boat, Miss Wonderly, the 10.6-metre open boat is easy to spot in St Katherine’s Dock.

As we make our way out of the marina, it is quickly evident that Falcon Tenders is continuing to do things differently with its builds, incorporating ideas to help set it apart from its competitors. “The thinking for this boat was to give owners the feeling of being on an open terrace and not just the sense of being taxied back and forth,” says Mark Pascoe, CEO of Falcon Tenders.

Credit: Lloyd Images

There is a real feeling of comfort and elegance as I start by sitting in the main seating area amidships as we pass under the historical Tower Bridge. The pathway from bow to stern is asymmetrical, crossing three distinct sections that add interest and create the impression of a larger overall length.

The first is the helm area forward with a service station just behind, complete with a hand-beaten copper sink, fridge, automated freshwater system and glass stowage. The storage units are finished with polished Macassar ebony veneer and a marble worktop.

Credit: Lloyd Images

The second is the main seating area amidships, which has been fitted with movable sofas that are bolted into place, providing crew with flexibility and convenience in circumstances where additional space is needed. The sofas are constructed from tension webbing straps that are covered in Mariaflora exterior grade fabric and sit on free-standing polished stainless-steel frames. This design offers a secondary benefit in making the space visually lighter with the exclusion of a box unit mounted to the deck.

This section is sandwiched by long sweeping arches, giving the exterior its distinctive look and finished with tinted glass for views out to sea when sat. “The arches are finished in a metal coating, which you can have in any colour,” explains Pascoe. “This [Miss Leblanc] has a zinc finish covered with a satin clear coat, but you can do it in steel so that it rusts over time or in copper so that it patinas. It’s done in other industries but not necessarily on boats. It is something different. Everyone wants to touch it and figure out what it is made of.”

Credit: Lloyd Images

The final section is a swim platform aft that includes two custom-built loungers using the same materials as the sofas. This space includes a removable boarding ladder, thermostatic shower and boarding poles. Offering a soft visual division between these areas are retractable glass windbreakers that sit within cabinets on either side of the central seating space. Much like a sportscar, these structures are practical additions for increased comfort when underway but can retract to achieve a more open feel when in port.

“When we finished the [limo] tender and I saw what had been achieved, it brought a tear to my eye,” says Colin Stoneman, business partner and investor alongside his son Dean Stoneman. “The only other time that has happened is when my son Dean won the Formula 2 championship. These boats are just fantastic — they perform really well, look fantastic and have grabbed a lot of attention at the boat shows.”

Due to speed restrictions on the Thames, I’m capped to a maximum speed of 12 knots. To better understand the true performance of Miss Leblanc, we need to get out onto the open sea, specifically onto The Solent, just off the coast of the Isle of Wight. With a bit of wind but good sea conditions, we head out of Cowes marina to see what this boat can do.

Credit: Lloyd Images

I open up the throttle and unleash the twin 250bhp Yanmar 4LV250 engines. The Yanmar ZT370 sterndrives transform that power into speeds around 37-38 knots on a boat full of fuel and water. After tweaking the trim, we are soon pushing 40 knots, achieving a top speed of 40.6 knots. Handling is good and gives confidence in the controls and performance, but ultimately that is not what this boat is about. It is an extension of a superyacht — a comfortable and inviting space in which to enjoy a leisurely ride to and from a superyacht. It is a head-turning tender that holds its own with style, performance and elegance.

Pascoe has confirmed that there are promising discussions for orders since its launch at the 2022 Monaco Yacht Show alongside the build of a custom 9.7-metre fully closed limo tender and a pair of matching 10-metre tenders.

Technology is key

Technology plays an important role in any build, including on Miss Leblanc. While the swim platform and service station feature teak decking, amidships has been fitted with stone — a refreshing break from the norm. “We have developed a bonding system for the natural slate and porcelain flooring, using a Bostick glass bonding system that remains totally flexible once bonded to the main structure,” explains Pascoe. “The tiles float on a rubberised bed of bonding with six-millimetre caulking gaps.”

Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover the use of inflatable rubber seals on hatches, an upgrade from the standard practice. “One of the main warranty issues during my time at Pascoe was as a result of crew stopping too quickly, backwash would then come over the stern leading to saltwater dripping down into the engine bay,” says Pascoe. “If we stop that, we stop a big problem, improve reliability and the longevity of the tender.”

Falcon Tenders' Miss LeBlanc
LOA: 10.60m
Beam: 2.96m
Overall height: 2.11m
Static Draught (drive up/down): 0.56m / 0.85m
Dry weight (with basic engine package): 4.90 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 350lt
Water capacity: 75lt
Construction: Green epoxy composites, utilising foam sandwich construction
Engines: 2 x Yanmar 4LV250 diesel
Propulsion: 2 x Yanmar ZT370 sterndrives, full joystick control
Recommended maximum power: 600hp
Max speed: 40 knots
Cruising speed: 25-30 knots
Range at cruising speed: 150 nautical miles
Price: £1.2m - £1.4m
Builder: Falcon Tenders

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