Shadow boats: 10 of the coolest superyacht support vessels

Superyacht support vessels are an increasingly popular way of extending the yachting experience, whether they are used as a floating helipad, tender garage or accommodation for specialist staff. Ahead of the Explorer Yachts Summit panel on the recipe for a successful support vessel, we take a look at some of the finest examples from around the world...

YS 7512

The 75 metre YS 7512 marks the largest support vessel ever built by Damen Yachting. The custom project was signed in 2019 and is expected to accompany an 100 metre plus superyacht.  Sporting a grey hull and orange boot stripe, she was launched in Vlissingen, the Netherlands with an entirely in-house design. Key numbers include a 12.6 metre beam and volume of 1900GT. She has the capacity to accommodate 45 people and features a helicopter hangar, a vast array of marine gear and additional tenders and toys.

Read More/75m custom Damen Yachting support vessel delivered and named

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Damen Yachting   75 m •   2023

Gene Chaser

Originally launched by Damen Yachting as Blue Ocean, this 55 metre support vessel has been transformed into Gene Chaser to accompany the Amels 180 superyacht Gene Machine. The shadow yacht will now be used as a working research laboratory to support the scientific research of owner Dr Jonathan Rothberg. The main saloon has been transformed into a working wet and dry laboratory while other interior areas will be used for conferences and other educational purposes. The sleeping quarters will be used to accommodate a total of eight visiting researchers or experts while the crew quarters will allow for a crew of seven and four full-time scientists.

Read More/On board Gene Machine and Gene Chaser with scientist Dr Jonathan Rothberg

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Damen Yachting   55 m •   2020


The 66 metre Hodor, dubbed the world's largest floating toy box, is the first hull in Incat Crowther’s ShadowCat range and it boasts enough deck space to house every toy imaginable. Among Hodor’s cargo is a 7.3-metre Novurania catamaran RIB, a nine-metre Metal Shark landing craft, a 16-metre Hydra-Sports 53 centre console sports boat with quad Seven Marine 627 engines, a Ski Nautique and an insane 388 Skater race boat, capable of a genuine 240km/h. Toys and tenders are launched for two knuckle boom cranes while a submarine garage offers a launch and recovery system for a submarine.


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Credit: Jim Raycroft

Axis belongs to serial superyacht owner Carl Allen, who first saw her at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in 2016. It was to be the perfect vessel to accompany his 50 metre Westport mothership Gigi around the world. Axis carries a Triton sub, an Icon A5 aeroplane, several tenders, Jet Skis and a complete dive shop. She also holds 60,000 gallons of fuel, so it can supply the whole fleet, and its watermaker produces 20,000 gallons of fresh water daily. A Viking 52 Frigate completes the Allen Exploration fleet.

Read More/On board Damen support vessel Axis with superyacht and private island owner Carl Allen

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Damen Yachting   55.3 m •   2016


Charley was launched in 2017 by Echo Yachts to serve as the shadow boat for the Australian shipyard's 84 metre trimaran White Rabbit, which was under construction at the time. Measuring 51 metres in length, this catamaran support vessel can also entertain guests with a sheltered observation deck and a piano lounge. However, it is her tender storage capacity that is the most notable feature, as Charley can carry a fleet of up to ten watercraft, including five tenders, four Jet Skis and a hovercraft.

Read More/On board the world's largest trimaran White Rabbit

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Echo Yachts   51 m •   2017


Garçon is an axe-bowed superyacht support vessel launched as one of Damen's Sea Axe models in 2012. With a length of 67.15m, Garçon offers 360 square metres of exterior deck space and 140 square metres of interior deck space accommodating 21 crew and staff. At full load, her top deck can carry five tenders, a submarine and four jet skis - launched and recovered via a double knuckle crane - as well as a helicopter. She was recently sold to a new owner.

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Damen Yachting   67.15 m •   2012


Credit: Kev Mitchell

The 67 metre support yacht Nebula is the latest ShadowCat to leave the Spanish shipyard Astilleros Armon. She now joins her ShadowCat siblings Hodor and Wayfinder on the water and features architecture by Incat Crowther. Nebula completed her maiden voyage to England in June 2022 and can be identified by several bright orange stripes that run the length of the yacht.

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Astilleros Armón   68.2 m •   2022

Bad Company Support

The 45.6 metre Damen Yachting support vessel was launched as Joy Rider in 2019 and was delivered to her first mothership, Baltic sailing yacht Pink Gin VI, in 2019. She has since joined the Bad Company fishing fleet and cruises as a sportfishing support vessel. She is helicopter-capable with space to carry up to two 10-metre tenders on her vast 120 square metre aft deck along with a Land Rover Defender. Known in the fleet as BCS 150, she currently carries a 43 Release sportfish and RIB and is midway through a three-year round-the-world tour.

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Damen Yachting   45.6 m •   2019

Roe Shadow

This robust, explorer-style support vessel comes from Dutch builder Lynx Yachts and features exterior design by Bernd Weel, naval architecture by Diana Yacht Design and interior design by Franck Darnet Design. The second hull in the series, named Roe Shadow, was delivered in 2020 to a passionate watersports enthusiast who enjoys kite-surfing, scuba diving and catamarans and sailboats. The 75 square metre main deck houses a 9.8 metre Pascoe beach lander, two Sea-Doos, and a knuckle boom crane with a load capacity of 3.930 tonnes. The lower deck has a beach club that offers direct access to this platform for easy access to the sea for either diving or kite-surfing activities. There's also a 100-inch outdoor screen for movie nights or sporting events.

The Explorer Yachts Summit, in association with Damen Yachting and in collaboration with, is the only international summit dedicated solely to the expanding explorer yachting sector and is taking place on November 10, at the Yacht Club de Monaco. Tickets can be purchased below.

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Lynx Yachts   27.3 m •   2020

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