Choosing the right boat builder to produce your custom tender is not always obvious. Experience and good quality craftsmanship are among the key criteria, both of which US-based Hacker Boat Company — founded in 1908 — provide. Cost and style are also major factors, especially for the owner of 74m Odessa II, built by Nobiskrug and delivered in 2012. Captain Giles Frankal tells us what it was about the Hacker Boat Company that caught the owner's attention, and the quality of the finished product.
“The owner saw a Hacker Craft somewhere in the US and sent me a photo of the 27ft boat, which was for sale,” recalls Frankal. “He asked me to go and visit the yard and to discuss the possibility of building a custom boat as he liked the style.”
As the look of the boats produced by Hacker Boat Company was the main appeal, the brief delivered to the yard was quite basic, with Frankal making only a handful of requests. Among the points raised was for the boat to have a wide beam and deeper V-shape hull forward to better disperse water and improve comfort when underway. He also requested that the cockpit be central and for a Riva-esque sunpad to be fitted on top of the engine access hatch.
“The main design criteria were that the boat had to fit on the yacht and it had to be a little more sea-going than a lake boat, which is what they do traditionally,” says Frankal. “They always put beefy engines in their boats, which we are happy with and we obviously wanted marine diesel engines.”
During the development of the design, Frankal requested a small door be included in the topsides to make it easier for guests to board the tender from the mothership. “Other than that, I left them to it,” says Frankal.
Following delivery, Odessa II's crew has had to get accustomed to working within a constrained engine compartment, as the engine within this performance boat — which produces 560hp — is a snug fit. Although the boat is powerful and manoeuvrable, there were a few detailing aspects that didn’t meet the standards expected of a superyacht tender.
“We are very happy with the boat, but if you were to ask if they are used to building tenders to a superyacht standard, I would have to say no,” says Frankal. “I think they are probably a little too used to having boats that are built for fresh water lakes, and aren’t as used to having their boats out in the elements as much as we expect them to be.”
Frankal goes on to explain that the issues picked up on were minor and that your “normal punter” wouldn’t notice anything. He confirmed that the overall construction was very sturdy and that aspects such as the lifting points had been over engineered, "which is important as it gets lifted in and out of the water every day." Frankal admits that some of the issues experienced might have been avoided had he been able to visit the yard more often. However, managing more than the three trips he made out to the yard would have been difficult while fulfilling his role as the owner’s representative in Germany, where Odessa II was under construction.
“We had a very nice experience in general and compared to building a custom tender in Europe, it was very cost effective,” says Frankal. “She turns a lot of heads and the owner absolutely loves it. The first time he saw her, and the first trip we made with it was in Copenhagen and we used it up and down the canals, which he absolutely loved. It is very unique and very stylish.”
To read more about the design process, please visit our sister website SuperyachtDesign.com.