Shadow boat: 7 superyacht support vessels as cool as their motherships

Whether they are used as a floating helipad, tender garage or accommodation for specialist staff, superyacht support vessels are an increasingly popular way of enriching the yachting experience. BOAT rounds up the superyacht support vessels as impressive as their motherships...

Koru and Abeona

Credit: Robino Salvatore GC via Getty Images

The 75-metre Abeona marks the largest support vessel ever built by Damen Yachting. Fitting, as the custom project accompanies Oceanco's flagship (and world's largest sailing yacht), the 125.8-metre Koru. Abeona was launched in October 2023 at Vlissingen, the Netherlands, sporting a grey hull and orange bootstripe designed entirely in-house. Key numbers include a 12.6-metre beam and volume of 1,900GT. 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 Machine and 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 yacht is being used as a working research laboratory to support the scientific research of owner Dr Jonathan Rothberg. The main saloon has been converted into a working wet and dry laboratory, while other interior areas are used for conferences and other educational purposes. Gene Chaser's sleeping quarters can accommodate a total of eight visiting researchers or experts, while the crew quarters 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

Lonian and Hodor

Credit: Clint Jenkins Photography

Dubbed "the world's largest floating toy box", the 66-metre Hodor is the first hull in Incat Crowther's ShadowCat range and 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 and an insane 388 Skater race boat, capable of a genuine 240km/h. Toys and tenders are launched from two knuckle boom cranes, while a submarine garage offers a launch and recovery system for a submarine. Her mothership is the ultra-private 87-metre Lonian, delivered by Feadship in 2018.

loading...Read More/Hodor: Inside the world's largest floating toy box

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Gigi and Axis

Credit: Jim Raycroft

The 55.3-metre 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 49.9-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 and her 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

White Rabbit and Charley

Charley was launched in 2017 by Echo Yachts to serve as the shadow boat for the Australian shipyard's 84-metre trimaran White Rabbit. Measuring 51 metres in length, this catamaran support vessel has ample space to entertain guests with her sheltered observation deck and 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. Other key features include a dive store, decompression chamber and sonar system for searching out the best wreck dives.

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

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Echo Yachts   51 m •   2017

Moonrise and Nebula

Credit: Guillaume Plisson

Featuring architecture by Incat Crowther, the 68.2-metre support yacht Nebula joined her ShadowCat siblings Hodor and Wayfinder on the water in 2022. Her primary mission is to support her 99.9-metre mothership Moonrise in helicopter operations, and she fits the bill with a wide enough beam to host a full-size hangar. It is the largest hangar found on any private vessel and can accommodate a twin-engine helicopter without it having to fold its rotor blades.

Read More/Nebula: The 68m support vessel with out-of-this-world accommodation for crew

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Astilleros Armón   68.2 m •   2022

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