Dutch boat builder Xtenders has delivered a new eight-metre limo tender to the owner of 67m motoryacht Global (ex-Kismet), refitted at Lürssen last year. The boat, which was designed by Vripack, was built using autoclave pre-preg carbon, pushing the limits of boat building. We speak to designer Marnix Hoekstra at Vripack about the project.

“The project came together after we were contacted by the shipyard, as we have done a number of projects with them,” says Hoekstra, who was given a brief for a boat that could carry 10 guests and two crew. “Following on from what we did on the limo tender for Quinta Essentia, which mimics the style of the motoryacht, we had to create a boat that didn't exceed the dimensions of the existing tender garage.”

Drawing inspiration from the exterior styling of her mothership, the tender has been designed to work in harmony with the look and feel of Global. One of the main exterior features of the boat are the long side windows in the hull and superstructure that offer views out to sea and reveal the waterline below, creating the illusion of flight when underway.

“The owner is young, which brings with it a certain energy and lifestyle that falls in line with guys like us, as young designers,” reveals Hoekstra. “Unfortunately, the owner didn’t have a massive amount of input into the design of boat and while it is a sleek product, every boat gets better when you have an owner actively involved. With that involvement, the designer’s arm becomes an extension of the owner’s voice.” 

“It is beautiful to sail on this boat and when you are underway, the limo
moves as though it is on a track and makes a ticking sound similar to that
of a train.” – Marnix Hoekstra.

The team at Vripack are strong believers in creating a connection with their client and sparking emotion to create a vessel that identifies with him or her. While the owner didn’t give much direction on the limo project, Hoekstra explains that there was good communication between the owner, build and design teams. “The captain and chief engineer had input into the project, as did the owner’s stylist,” he says, explaining that the studio isn’t threatened by other designers.

The interior offers a light and tranquil feel finished in off-white Bentley stitched leather, which is married to dark woods with a matt finished. Other features of the interior include a refrigerated champagne cabinet, custom mood lighting, air-conditioning and various multimedia appliances.

“When it came to the interior, because you are so close to everything you see every little defect, hinge and hook, so you have to design it in a different way and there is a lot we can learn from the automotive sector,” explains Hoekstra. “At SuperyachtDESIGN Week two years ago, we met with former head of colour and trim at Bentley, Pete Cullum, and discovered how his team cared more about the selection and detail of the materials used than anything else.”

Another trick the team included in the interior was the integration of handrails in the ceiling of the salon. With windows in the ceiling, Vripack were able to take advantage of the depth afforded by the structure of the roof and included a recess on the edge of the window, providing guests and crew with support when moving through the limo. “It is an idea that we took and interpreted from the cabins in aeroplanes,” says Hoekstra. “Great thing is, you don’t see it but it is there when you need it.” It is a simple and discreet solution.

In addition to the detailed stitched leather, the team has included armrests that double as champagne glass tables. When additional space is needed, these armrests fold back into the seat. “It was hard to find the right hinges and hardware to accommodate the armrests, which ended up coming from the automotive sector,” explains Hoekstra. “They also prevent guests from sliding up and down the seat when only a few are in transit.”

Xtenders’ founder, and former Olympic sailor, Herbert Dercksen set out to build the limo to the highest level of modern carbon fiber pre-impregnated construction possible. “Uni-direction carbon is exceptionally strong and renowned for its ability to deliver the ultimate performance in the most challenging conditions while keeping weight to a minimum,” he says.

The main benefit of a lightweight structure is its positive effect on performance. This allows the team to fit the limo with smaller engines (offering better fuel consumption) to reach the same level of performance compared to heavier comparable boats. Powered by 300hp Volvo Penta D4 engines, the tender can reach in excess of 35 knots.

“It is beautiful to sail on this boat and when you are underway, the limo moves as though it is on a track and makes a ticking sound similar to that of a train,” says Hoekstra. “It is so swift and the sound isn’t something we could have planned for but it is a soft sound created as the spray rails hit the waves at speed.”

The Dutchman reveals that since taking delivery, the owner and crew are very pleased with the results. “The limo tender has a distinctive look which is both unique and modern,” says chief office of Global, Sam Mandeno. “All crew members have been blown away by how she looks and above all how she performs.”