CHASE BOATS HAVE BECOME ONE OF THE LATEST MUST HAVE ACCESSORIES FOR EVERY SUPERYACHT OWNER. ONBOARD LOOKS AT THE MARKET LEADERS
There was a time when the small boat that attended to a larger boat, was called a tender. The initial use was to simply ferry owners and guests from the mothership ashore. The tender with need to carry out multiple tasks; take the guests skiing, or drop them and the BBQ gear on to a secluded beach and even assist the crew in bringing provisions on board. However, as the yachts themselves have got larger, so has the storage options for tenders increased. We now see a multitude of specialist tenders on board the mothership from ski boats to laydown the perfect wake, to limo tenders that are fancier than Rolls Royce to pure action boats that allow the boss to let down his hair as he scoots over the waves at an impressive 60knts. As explorer yachts become more de-rigueur, so the need for specialist tenders becomes more apparent. But the chase boat is slightly different in that it is seldom hoisted aboard a mothership.
Traditionally the chase boat was a fast open boat that chased after large sailing yachts competing in regattas. Back then it was quite legitimate to land or take on extra sails or crew to suit the weather and therefore the racing conditions. Today rules prevent such legitimised tactics but the chase boat name has evolved to cover boats that, while too large to be hoisted upon a superyacht, choose instead to chase it to the destination getting there long before it or following up slowly behind it, depending on the owner’s use.
Ironically, it is the smaller superyacht that is embracing the use of the chase boat rather than the larger money no object 100 metre plus yachts. Yachts in the 30 to 60 metre grouping seem to have embraced the concept of the chase boat with great gusto. They realise that if designed well enough the chase boat can act independently of the mothership and still provide a useful function in both guest entertainment and yacht operation scenarios. We know of one Captain who sends his chase boat way ahead of the slower mothership instructing the chase boat crew to bag the best anchorage spot at the destination. As the yacht’s Captain approaches so the chase boat vacates the spots and hovers around until the mother ship is safely at anchor and then it comes along side. Equally, we know of owners who prefer to travel at greater speeds than their yachts can comfortably cruise at. They, and their families, typically board the chase boat and enjoy it as a day boat returning to the mothership each night in much the same way as a family out motoring returns to their roadside hotel. But what this means is that the chase boat needs to cover many functions.
Chase boats work well for single season yachts. Yachts that cross oceans to enjoy a second season can find the cost of shipping the chase boat far outweighs their economic usefulness. And, believe me, you do not want to tow a chase boat across the Atlantic. For the Captain of a single season yacht, it is important to consider whether the yacht crew can handle the additional maintenance and logistics that come with operating a chase boat. Many skippers will hire additional crew just to operate the chase boat, so normal operations on the mothership are not interrupted.
So, let’s look at some of the market leaders in this growing segment of superyacht tenders….. I mean chase boats.