Chase boats – largely used in the superyacht arena as an additional support vessel – come with their pros and cons, but one of the reasons they are finding themselves in the spotlight today is, arguably, due to its power over the limited functionality of the average tender, in the context of today’s more demanding and adventurous owners.
For John Apps, managing director of EYOS Tenders, there is a specific size of superyacht that is finding the chase boat a particularly attractive addition. “We are finding more and more yachts in the range of 40 metresto 65 metres are leaning more to having the addition of a chase boat, as well as their on-board tenders. With these sizes of yachts, where space normally only allows for a tender of up to around 6.5 metres to 7 metres, then a large chase boat can significantly upgrade the on-board experience for owners and crew alike.”
Apps is fast to identify the pros of a chase boat – largely time efficiency. “As far as making the job easier, it’s a double-edged sword. The larger tender, or chase boat, will enable all passengers to get off the yacht in one go, so making trips ashore easier, and as the boat is always in the water, then there is not the delay for launching and recovery of the on-board tenders at the beginning or end of an operation. They are also better in bigger season, as they have the benefit of additional hull length and will be more comfortable and drier for guests. The downside is that it will permanently take away one member of the crew, and when arriving at port the yacht will require two berths rather than one.”
"The larger tender, or chase boat, will enable all passengers to get off the yacht in one go, so making trips ashore easier, and as the boat is always in the water, then there is not the delay for launching and recovery of the on-board tenders at the beginning or end of an operation."
These reasons for utilising the chase boat have also been highlighted by Jonathan Sadowsky of Outlier Yachts in TheCrewReport.com’s debate forum. Sadowsky noted: “While you may see larger tenders or toys on the decks of expedition-style yachts, it appears to be the rare exception on today’s superyachts. So, if the owner wants more capacity and greater utility from a tender, a chase boat that has full-service amenities such as air-conditioning, a full hear or two, a comfortable salon and a cockpit area suitable for conversation, fishing, diving, wake-boarding or kite-boarding, may be just the ticket.”
It is important not to confuse chase boats with tenders – they are different vessels and are not mutually exclusive. There is room for both and, it seems, a demand for both. “Chase boats will always be an addition, although they will take a lot of work from the on-board tenders,” concludes Apps. “The industry has always been aware of chase boats – some yachts even have chase yachts to carry the chase boats! But I think that owners are beginning to see the advantage of having something accompanying the main yacht, as they make for a much more comfortable and stylish way to get from shop to shore. The difficult part is recognising how the yacht will operate. The chase boat has to be large enough and sea-worthy enough to handle ocean passages, or it will need to be left behind.”