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
Damen 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 has been launched and named Hodor. Measuring 66 metres, the support catamaran has ample deck and storage space for all the tenders, toys and additional equipment any adventure could need. The completely customised 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 meanwhiles 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 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. Damen is widely considered to be the market leader, with 11 superyacht support vessels launched so far.
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.
The 69.15 metre Game Changer was launched in May 2017 the flagship of the Damen Sea Axe yacht support range. She was designed as an evolution of the successful 67.15 metre Sea Axe 6711 range, with the addition of a fully certified helicopter hangar. Described as a "crew paradise" she boasts spacious accommodation for a staff of up to 22 people and a dedicated crew gym.
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 in 2014, 6711 is the second hull in the 67.15 metre Sea Axe 6711 series of superyacht support vessels after the 2012 launch Garcon. She serves the Nobiskrug superyacht Project 783 and both vessels are currently offered for sale with Imperial Yachts.
6711 allows her 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.
Many of the vessels now used as superyacht support boats started life as commercial vessels and have been refitted. This 54 metre Damen Sea Axe patrol vessel is one such example — she had a four month refit in 2015 and emerged as a superyacht support vessel named Ad-Vantage.
Ad-Vantage was lengthened during the refit and relaunched by Diverse Projects in New Zealand. She was also fitted with a submarine garage, a large deck crane and a helicopter pad.