Almost every luxury yacht carries a tender of some sort, but how they carry them separates the run-of-the-mill from the truly exceptional. Take a look at some of the finest examples from around the world, starting with Lady Fleur's award-winning float-in tender garage and swimming pool...
The owners of Lady Fleur had big plans for their next build, challenging the design team to fit a float-in tender garage and a swimming pool for their grandchildren on a yacht that is just 35 metres in length. The task fell to Bernd Weel Design and Holterman Shipyard and came to fruition on the first X-Treme Yachts X-105 model. The engineering allows this monohull to temporarily become a catamaran, at least for the aft third of the yacht. By splitting the engine room into two watertight sections and building a compartment between them, the aft centre section of the hull then lowers to allow the tender to float out or in. With the tender launched, the bay fills with seawater and rises to become a safe and secure 11-metre swimming pool that sits flush with the deck. Demonstrations created traffic jams at the Cannes Yachting Festival and the feature earned Lady Fleur two gongs at the BOAT International Design & Innovation Awards in 2023.
Nebula is the largest support vessel delivered by Astilleros Armón and Incat Crowther to date, conceived as a carrier for toys, tenders and crew. Below the helideck is the tender garage that houses a 12.3-metre custom catamaran, which designer Kirsten Schwalgien playfully calls "shadow kitten", as well as two RIBs and four Jet Skis. Beam cranes with 11-tonne lifting capacity slide the tenders out over the water for launch, and when the boat is hoisted on Nebula’s deck the top hydraulically lowers to reduce its height to three metres. Other toys include a full-size helicopter hangar onboard for an Airbus H145. As the largest found onboard any private vessel, it allows the twin-engine rotorcraft to slide in without folding its five blades and provides cover for the tender garage below.Read More/Exclusive: First look on board 68m superyacht support vessel Nebula
Aviva was built in Germany by Abeking & Rasmussen and delivered in 2017. At 98.4 metres, her interior was styled by British designer design house RWD and was the winner of the Best Lifestyle Feature at the Boat International Design & Innovation Awards in 2018 for her impressive Padel Tennis court (which the vessel was built around). Not the only impressive feature onboard, Aviva also houses a customised 14-metre Hunton XRS43 tender which is launched from a cradle in the garage via tracks over the bathing platform. Perfect for challenging seas, as the tender can follow behind and be lifted up as the yacht moves along.
Built to explore, Octopus has an incredible fleet that revolves around the cavernous two-storey 36-metre internal wet dock where the two main tenders are stored and launched through a giant transom door. Functioning as its own marina, the floodable dock is flanked by rows of smaller garages to store the entire toy inventory, which includes a 9.3-metre custom Vikal limousine and two 8.7-metre custom Zodiacs, one for diving, the other for guests. Two 5.8-metre Zodiac Milpro MK-V are also available for watersports, as is an array of WaveRunners, jet skis, kayaks, surfboards, wakeboards, kitesurfers, windsurfers and electric foil Fliteboards. An 18-metre Delta 54, 13-metre Hinckley, and a new Triton 3300/6 submersible complete the fleet.
Panam can accommodate a 5.5-metre tender in a garage transversally fitted aft of the engine room. Partially floodable, the lower edge of the garage’s side shell door lies below the waterline allowing for ease when launching and retrieving the tender. Baglietto designed the garage so that it can fill with seawater before the shell door opens and immediately drains when the retrieving operation is complete and the door is closed. The tender is towed inside by a winch and balancing cradle and essentially enters the garage floating, allowing for a simple, safe and fast embark.
The first Wider 165, launched as Cecilia, took what Wider had achieved with the Wider 150 and amped it up. The new flagship of the fleet has a float-in tender garage big enough to house an eight-metre tender and a three-person U-Boat Worx submarine (complete with a Jules Verne-esque manipulator hand, which clutched a bottle of Bollinger as she made her debut at the Monaco Yacht Show). The submersible slides out on a sophisticated crane installed overhead. On Cecilia, with the space flooded, both vehicles out and the aft end closed up, the tender bay becomes a saltwater pool, while broad swathes of superstructure fold down either side to open up the space and supplement the sunbathing area on the long stern platform.
Delivered as J'ade, the 58.2-metre CRN superyacht features a transverse float-in tender dock designed specifically for an 8.24-metre Riva Iseo and is accessed from the water through a shell door to the port. The dock takes up almost the entire cross-section of the hull and contains around 5,000 gallons of water that can be pumped out in less than three minutes. To achieve this, the engineers at CRN modified the existing naval platform used for the shipyard's 60-metre vessels and a study of the compartment’s effect on the ship’s trim had to be made to meet the classification requirements. The classic powerboat fits perfectly into the floodable garage and includes a tub to protect from damage and underwater lights for visibility and dramatic effect.
Sanlorenzo's first 52 Steel, Seven Sins, packs a number of premium features to match her impressive size. Chief among these is a float-in tender garage that transforms into a beach club. Water is pumped into the tender bay and once full, the transom is opened and the tender slips out. Terraces open to port and starboard, while a teak-soled section lowers from overhead, creating a large beach club with light filtering down from the glass bottom of the pool above. “It’s a lot of technical aspects in a reduced area,” says project manager Luca Ghirlanda, reeling off the challenges that had architects poring over plans and gangs of engineers crawling over the space. “The docking tender garage, the opening platform, the opening transom door, the swimming pool with 12 tonnes of water on top of glass... and the up and down floor level.”