The trademark glossy wood finish and low lines summon up the romance of yesteryear — those heady days of Hollywood when film stars like Clark Gable and Brigitte Bardot lolled oh-so-casually in Riva tenders off the French Riviera coastline.
Fast forward to the 2020’s, when a classic tender is still one of the ultimate superyacht accessories. Here are 5 standouts that are making a splash.
One of the biggest names in classic tenders, Swiss builder Boesch offers a range of handcrafted luxury wooden runabouts. Established in 1920, the brand was propelled to greatness in the 1940s with the establishment of the Boesch Horizon gliding principle, and by the 1960’s, Boesch boats had a reputation for extraordinary speed and power.
Since the turn of the 21st century, a line of stunning classic Boesch tenders have been released, including the popular 970 St. Tropez Deluxe and the 9m Boesch 860 Monaco Deluxe. This classic runabout is available in V8, diesel and an electric powered version (at present- EU only), has a top speed of 37 knots and has a reinforced wooden hull finished in glossy mahogany. The good life is assured on board, with a bathing platform, light-filled cabin with toilet, a retractable top for all-weather cruising, and a seating area for up to 8 guests.
Who could forget the great icon of the classic tender, the Riva. This legendary tender brand began on the shores of Lake Iseo in 1842; Over one hundred years later, Riva was truly cemented as a jetset icon with the launch of the Riva Aquarama, the tender of the stars.
Today, Riva is owned by the Ferretti Group and their tenders are made of fibreglass rather than wood. But there’s more than a touch of that classic heritage in the current model, the Rivamare, where the mahogany detailing traces a direct line back to the Rivas of yesteryear. Launched in June 2016 and reaching a top speed of 40 kots, this 11.88m classic-inspired tender features the latest in marine technology, including Seakeeper NG5 stabiliser, underwater lighting, and a swim platform with sunbeds. The interior features a galley, head with shower, and a cabin for overnight trips.
The 12.8 J Craft 42 is built on the Swedish island of Gotland, where the boat-building tradition stretches back over a thousand years to the days of the Vikings. Founded in 1999, J Craft has an extremely exclusive history, with its first cruiser launched for the King of Sweden. More than 20 years later, there are still less than 30 J Craft vessels in existence, most from the 12.8m Torpedo series.
Highly customised for each owner, the J Craft Torpedo RS brings together the best of tradition and modernity, with stunning classic lines and shiny mahogany meeting modern features and technical brilliance. The new RS version stands for Racing Supercharged and is J Craft’s most powerful engine - 2 x Volvo Penta IPS 650 hp - with a top speed of 47 knots. Guests will enjoy the tender’s large sunpad, swim platform, day head, and a convertible lounge which converts into a double cabin, with an additional double bed below the cockpit.
Another major player in the classic tender scene is Comitti, one of the last remaining Italian manufacturer of classic motorboats in GRP + wood composite. The Comitti boatyard was established on the shores of Lake Como in 1956 by Mario Comitti, who quickly built a reputation for elegant high-performance wooden tenders. The tradition continues with the tenders currently manufactured by Comitti, where the Venezia 28 Elegance stands up as the highest evolution of the wooden tenders first envisaged by Mario Comitti, models which have had great success and many updates up to the glamorous Elegance models of today.
The 8.7m Venezia 28 Elegance offers astonishing speed thanks to its engine power up to 430 Hp, available in either Mercruiser or Volvo. All the three Comitti models available in Elegance trim (V22, V25 and V28) can be seen as the more classic and traditional expression of Comitti craftmanship, but they offer all the luxuries of the modern day-cruisers, including twin 1.85 metre sunbathing platform, refrigeration in the cockpit, fresh-water shower at the stern, and a stowable cockpit table.
Last but definitely not least is the Hinckley Runabout 34, manufactured in the US by Hinckley Yachts, which was founded in 1928 as a fleet of exceptionally elegant yet tough fishing boats running out of Maine. With a classic design dominated by a retro windshield and sweeping curves, this beauty brings together the best of a golden era and the technology of today.
The Hinckley 34 is powered by twin waterjet propulsion, offering an enviable 22 inches of draft, allowing you to get in close to beaches. All the mod cons are on board, including controlling the yacht’s features from a touchscreen device and a retractable bimini.
A classic wooden tender offers the best of yachting heritage and modern technology.
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