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. We take a look at some of the finest examples from around the world...
Shadow boats: Standout superyacht support vessels
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.
Damen Yachting support vessel Pink Shadow was launched in 2019 under the name Joy Rider and was recently delivered to her mothership, the 53.7 metre Baltic sailing yacht Pink Gin VI. Pink Shadow 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. A striking mermaid mural with bright pink hair adorns the bow and matches the bright pink spinnaker of her mothership under sail.
The first hull in Incat Crowther’s shadow cat range, Hodor has ample deck and storage space for all the tenders, toys and additional equipment any adventure could need. The completely customised 66-metre yacht features a reverse bow and low propeller draft of 3.1 metres. Among Hodor’s cargo is five tenders, the largest of which is a 17-metre chase boat, Jet Skis and quad bikes. Hodor also includes a submarine garage, dive equipment with compressors, and a hospital with a decompression chamber. The helipad meanwhile sits aft of the main deck. The tenders and submarine can be launched from the upper and main decks via two large knuckle boom cranes.
Delivered by Dutch yard Damen Yachting in late 2017, New Frontiers straddles the boundary between support vessel and superyacht by virtue of its three guest cabins. These allow the owner and his friends to enjoy a wild weekend away, since the layout and interior finish is more conducive to extreme sports than formal entertainment.
A 2017 launch for Australian yard Echo Yachts, Charley will serve as the shadow boat for the upcoming 84 metre trimaran White Rabbit. Measuring 51 metres LOA, 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.
De Hoop Fast Crew Supply Vessel
Dutch yard De Hoop is a new name on the superyacht scene, but its strong commercial background means that this project is a prime candidate for a support vessel conversion. This flexible design was created by naval architect Cor D Rover, based on an existing 55 metre steel hull that was launched back in 2016. Her 230 square metres of deck space could be used to accommodate a helicopter, submarine, sailboat, sportsfish yacht and much more besides.
The hybrid diesel-electric drivetrain is a key part of the De Hoop Fast Crew Supply Vessel’s high-tech appeal, with a maximum speed of 22 knots and a Navis dynamic positioning system that allows for stop-offs in environmentally sensitive areas without having to drop anchor.
Delivered by Damen Yachting in 2014, 6711 serves the Nobiskrug superyacht Project 783. 6711 allows its owner to carry and launch a wide range of toys, tenders and submarines without disrupting the luxury experience on board the mothership. One standout feature is her fully stocked dive centre, which can mix its own gas from oxygen, nitrogen and helium.
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 of the YXT 24 series and the first hull of the YXT 24 Evolution series hit the water in October last year.
Unveiled at the 2016 Boote Düsseldorf boat show, Sherpa is the first hull in a new range of vessels from Arcadia Yachts. She features two large sunpads on her 41 square metre aft deck, but Arcadia adds this platform can be left bare for tender storage, making this a potential superyacht support vessel.
Built in Naples, this 16.76 metre shadow boat is the smallest in a range that currently stretches up to 35 metres. Powered by Volvo Penta IPS600 engines for a top speed of around 25 knots, Sherpa will certainly be able to keep up with the mothership.