SHADOW VESSELS ARE GAINING POPULARITY AMONGST SUPERYACHT OWNERS AND ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING TO STAY BELOW THE 500 GT MARK
Slim Bouricha founded Lynx Yachts in 2011 driven by his vision of how a yacht should be designed and constructed, fine tuning the engineering and build process. A businessman with considerable experience in shipbuilding, Bouricha decided to take advantage of the grand tradition of Dutch yacht building and chose Nijkerk, in the Netherlands, as the Lynx Yachts
headquarters. This area, rich in skilled artisans, has contributed to the creation of a team unsurpassed in their shipbuilding experience.
With a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the Netherlands, international visits are made easy by the proximity to the Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport. The shipyard boasts a temperature controlled build hall and a 70m long quay allowing room for the construction of up to three yachts simultaneously.
Lynx Yachts President, Slim Bouricha explains his rational behind the YXT concept “The main reason for owning a shadow vessel is really to unleash the potential of the main yacht and to considerably enhance the owners or guests yachting experience. More and more, owners and charterers are demanding a greater choice of toys and tenders. The YXT concept will deliver more than the bigger yacht can, and at a starting price just below 2M€ this is a great investment. As for the operating expenses, a YXT will be very economical. The variations are endless, whether we are carrying nautical tenders or cars, buggies or motorcycles … even extra accommodation, the shadow vessel just makes sense.”￼
Superyacht support vessels are increasing in popularity within the industry whether they are used as a tender garage, extra storage for an array of toys or as a floating helideck. Owners are becoming more adventurous and demanding more from their yachting experience. If they want a 12 metre tender, a dive centre or even a submarine, why would you compromise on the luxury of the superyacht when a support vessel can offer you the perfect solution?
When asked, Filippo Rossi Lynx Yachts Sales & Marketing Manager says “There is a lot of curiosity around this topic and we are receiving enquiries from all over the world. First of all, the owners want to understand the costs and the delivery time, but the main issue is always the capacity to accommodate a big rib or a limo tender on board. Usually a 50-60-meter yacht doesn’t offer the possibility to have a limo tender on board, and you can’t tow a limo tender, hence the shadow vessel is the right answer to this kind of need.”
The necessity for larger tenders or indeed a dedicated sport boat, multiple PWCs, All Terrain vehicles and more inflatables is pushing the limits of the superyacht. The support vessel is therefore the natural choice and provides the increase in capability the owner needs at a fraction of the cost of a larger superyacht.
A dedicated support vessel will certainly increase safety in terms of freeing up deck space and allowing your crew to safely and efficiently deploy the tenders and toys. It also allows you to tailor the equipment you load dependent on destinations, activities and guests demands.
It is however to remember these vessels are not just the load carrying donkey. Many owners demand the same level of luxury for the support vessel as they have on the mothership as they tend to spend a lot of their free time during the day on and about the support vessel. It is also important to note that owners demand the same level of crew quarters on the support vessel as they have on the mothership – they want to give both crew equal standing. Rossi from Lynx Yachts mentions that “ Every shadow vessel is a different project, based on the owner’s needs and wishes. If the client is not interested in speed we always suggest a steel hull. On the other hand, if the need for speed and related weight of the yacht is an issue, we suggest aluminum. Again, it is a choice of the client and we build the yacht around him.”
The aesthetics and technology going into support vessel development is on a par with the larger yachts, no expense is spared in the interior finishing, it’s just the outside deck areas that are designed for the storage of the larger tenders and array of toys. The vessels also lend themselves to having much large beach deck areas meaning a greater number of guests can join the fun, learn new watersports and parents can relax and be closer to kids in the water. These vessels can really take your yachting experience to a whole new level.
A greater level of freedom is also granted to the mothership. There is no need to delay departures, waiting for the slides to be deflated and stored or the PWCs and tenders loaded and secured. The support vessel can also race ahead to the next anchorage, prepare, set up and be ready for the owner and guests to arrive. The support vessel can also accommodate other yachting professionals. Rossi notes when asked about crew accommodation on board, “The vessels also cater for another category of professionals, staff like for example a Scuba Dive Master or a sailing instructor, or a personal trainer. Those are professionals that are neither guest nor crew, and with a shadow vessel you can also host this kind of people, who can increase the quantity of activities you can offer family and guests, without sacrificing the space or privacy on board the main yacht.
Other advantages are that the mothership can remain under the 500 GT mark, with the support vessel taking over on storage, they can be easily manoeuvred in smaller locations or marinas and cruise in rougher conditions whilst the mothership enjoys quieter anchorages.
There is no doubt that owning a support vessel is more economical and more practicable than up-sizing to a larger mothership: the flexibility it gives is endless.