The Ten­der Trap

Power & Motor Yacht - - BOATYARD -

How much does a yacht ten­der weigh, and how big a ten­der can fit upon a swim plat­form? The rule is to pick a ten­der that’s at least 2 feet shorter than the beam of the moth­er­ship. That leaves enough clear­ance for dock­ing mis­ad­ven­tures with­out dam­ag­ing the ten­der. At least with any luck. So, an ex­press cruiser with a 14-foot beam— the Monte Carlo 5, for ex­am­ple—should carry a ten­der that’s 12 feet or less on the plat­form.

The true lim­it­ing fac­tor, how­ever, is weight, not length. The Monte Carlo’s sub­mersible plat­form is rated for about 770 pounds. That’s ca­pac­ity aplenty for an out­board-pow­ered RIB. AB In­flat­a­bles’s Nau­tilus 11 DLX (11-foot LOA x 5-foot 10-inch beam) weighs 440 pounds. Add a 111-pound, 20-horse­power Yamaha out­board and some gear and it’s still un­der the limit. And there are many nice RIB ten­ders that weigh less than the Nau­tilus, and don’t need as large a mo­tor.

Of course, it’s eas­ier to launch and re­trieve a jet-drive like the Rib­jet 10 Sport ten­der. You can just sub­merge the plat­form and drive the boat on and off. The 10 Sport weighs 570 pounds dry, in­clud­ing the 60-horse­power Ro­tax jet pack­age. I fig­ure with fuel, PFDs, an­chor, and other gear we’re at 650 pounds. Still OK.

But what about a PWC? A typ­i­cal model can weigh 700 or 800 pounds. For in­stance, Yamaha’s 10-foot 3-inch Waverun­ner EX weighs 577 pounds, and the 11-foot Waverun­ner VX weighs 708 pounds. Both weights are dry, so add as much as 100 pounds more for full gas tanks. The EX makes the cut, but the VX is too heavy. (Note that the nom­i­nal plat­form weight lim­its in­clude a very big safety fac­tor three or four times what may be nec­es­sary, and some­times more), but we rec­om­mend go­ing by the book.

When plan­ning to add a sub­mersible plat­form with the in­ten­tion of car­ry­ing a ten­der, don’t just see if it’ll fit on the plat­form. Take into ac­count to­tal weight, too. And even on calm days, al­ways cover the ten­der and re­move the plug to keep out sea and rain­wa­ter. Wa­ter is heavy, and a half-full RIB will over­stress the plat­form in short or­der. In rough weather, it’s of­ten smarter to tow the thing.

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