If a large yacht toting a variety of small boats is called a mothership, then surely a shadow yacht can be considered mommy’s little helper. That’s the thinking that inspired Rob Doyle of Rob Doyle Design to create this concept project, a 154-footer (47-meter) that will accompany a luxury megayacht and be dedicated solely to toting toys, extra provisions, additional crewmembers, and even helicopters or sea planes. Doyle calls her the Explorer Support Vessel.
While some megayacht owners are attracted to the idea of a super-size superyacht as an “all under one roof” solution, Doyle argues that it’s often more of a headache than a help. Consider the seemingly simple touch-and-go helicopter. The touch-and-go aspect is indeed a simpler solution than a permanent heli, plus it allows the landing area to normally serve as a sundeck or other guest and owner enjoyment area. But, say you or your guests are arriving or departing via the helicopter. Furnishings need clearing, as do people—for obvious reasons of safety. Even if there’s a permanent helipad, regulations in popular ports like Monaco prevent helicopter operations from occurring in their waters. That means the crew needs to start the engines, leave the dock, head offshore, anchor for the helicopter, then return. In contrast, with an Explorer Support Vessel, you can continue having lunch on deck, soaking in the hot tub, etc., and your crew need not halt their regular duties, either, since “mommy’s little helper” and her team are at the ready.
Doyle says that the Explorer Support Vessel offers similar benefits in terms of freeing the primary megayacht to dock in quiet coves and even in standard marinas. It’s especially applicable if the main megayacht is in the average size range, say 131 feet (40 meters) on up to about 200 feet (61 meters). It’s no secret that megayachts in the 230- to 250-foot-plus (70- to 80-meter-plus) range have deeper drafts, and fewer marinas have the capability to accommodate them. A quaint anchorage that would have been ideal as the day’s stop becomes a far-off vista or even wishful thinking when running aground is a concern. And there are plenty of stories of owners being disappointed (to say the least) that they have to dock at a commercial wharf because their boat’s too big.
Consider further that, with a hull design intended to take on a variety of sea states and a displacement under 500 gross tons, the Explorer Support Vessel can remain a constant, dependable companion to whatever number of new megayachts owners commission over the years. “This is about keeping superyachts as yachts and not straying into the domain of shipping,” Doyle explains. “And when depreciation, regulation, and construction time are considered, the option of a shadow vessel and moderate-sized superyacht to operate as a pair are significantly better value.”
For more information directly from Doyle Yacht Design about the 47m Explorer Support Vessel, please fill out our contact form.