Yacht tenders. They serve an obvious utilitarian purpose: to get owners and guests to and from the yacht. But they also make a statement about the yacht. Or as the people at Hacker-Craft suggest…tenders are “the luxury that starts long before you reach the yacht.”
Hacker-Craft has been building tenders since the early part of the last century. In fact, The Hacker Boat Company is the oldest constructor of wooden motor boats in the world. Its founder’s major design and engineering accomplishments include the invention of the “V”-hull design and the floating biplane for the Wright brothers. The company was known for its superb runabouts, utilities, commuters, and tenders. And it still is.
Two grace the Christina O, the former Aristotle Onassis yacht. “Hacker” tenders have and do serve on other well-known yachts: Talitha G (owned by John Paul Getty, Jr, and named after his wife), Bread, Odessa II, and more.
While Hacker-Craft continues to build Runabout and Sport model tenders, the company is now building more custom projects such as limousines and a new commuter model, which sell for around $1 million. They also build their Open Sport model, which is a hybrid of their Sport model and is available in 28’, 30’ and 33’LOA.
“The new 35’ commuter design is intended to offer the feel of a Venetian style water limousine, but more luxurious, with an air conditioned cabin, plush upholstery and running water, and with improved seakeeping characteristics and as much open outdoor space as enclosed space for passengers”, says Jeff Brown, the company’s naval architect, who trained at the Southampton Solent University in England for yacht and powerboat design, and is an associate member of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects. He adds, “this is a welcomed design option to the currently popular fully enclosed limousine type tender.” The Commuter can accommodate up to 12 passengers in air-conditioned comfort.
Unlike builders of fiberglass tenders or RIBS, Hacker-Craft tenders are built of mahogany, by hand, using traditional methods, but with newest technology. The hulls and sides are constructed using the W.E.S.T. System (Wood Epoxy Saturation Technique) which offers unparalleled strength, resistance and impermeability for the wood. The mahogany is further protected with an ‘Enhanced Protective Pre-treatment’ (EPP) process, a multi-stage procedure which ensures that adverse effects on the boat are minimized.
Jeff Brown says, “we design and build our tenders to be resilient, maneuverable and safe in the most challenging conditions. They have deep V hulls up forward, transitioning to a shallower aft for minimal draft requirements, plus ample freeboard, to better handle swells and avoid guests getting wet on the ride to the yacht.”
Details on the company’s tender make life easier for crew and include double point lifts, bow thrusters, stainless steel rub rails and extra cleats to hang fenders. Propulsion can include gasoline, diesel or hybrid power.
In addition to the traditional mahogany hull construction, Hacker-Craft tenders can also have the sides and bottom with a GRP sheathed hull construction that remains visually identical to mahogany Craft models, and is available in several colors.
Hacker-Craft tenders look classy and stunning. They’re a luxury on its own, whether one intends to use them as a yacht tender or as a picnic boat. You’ll turn heads wherever you go.