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(voiceover), Diane Byrne, Mark Pascoe, Dean Stoneman
Diane Byrne 00:02
Welcome everyone. Today I am pleased to introduce you to Mark Pascoe and Dean Stoneman, who run the British superyacht tender builder Falcon Tenders. While Falcon is a new name in the sector, Mark and Dean are anything but new to the world of highly detailed, well-performing craft. In fact, they are pairing their collective experience to bring something new to the superyacht tender sector, a small, family-style operation that can rival larger companies with its highly skilled craftspeople capable of delivering fully custom designs. We’ll talk about those designs, including one that Falcon tenders will reveal at the Monaco yacht show in September, and about the evolution of super tenders overall, including how mark and Dean are prioritizing sustainable materials and systems as well. So Mark and Dean, welcome to Megayacht News Radio. So each of you has a pretty intriguing background in terms of how you got into the marine industry and how you ended up working with one another. Mark. I know several people will probably recognize your name. But do tell us about your entry into this sector, because obviously some people may not be familiar with you. And then Dean, you can jump in and talk about your experience in the racing world and how you got together with Mark.
Mark Pascoe 01:27
Yeah, so I started out doing a Marine Engineering apprenticeship for the steel shipbuilders in London funnily enough, and then I came down to Southampton to start working for our high performance, powerboat builder called Kuhn marine. This is many many years ago, and we went on to build in excess of 30 class one powerboat. I was then tempted away by various race teams and ended up managing class one powervault teams all over the world. As the powerboat racing world declined, particularly in the United Kingdom here in Europe, I realized there was a need to try and find, you know, continued employment, powerboat race teams tend to go through a cycle which is either the owner runs out of money, you win everything and so he gets fed out or you do so badly. He gets fed up. So there tended to be a sort of four year cycle. So I decided to start a high performance, rebuilding business and use my client base. Were all my contacts from powerboat racing. So I started out building between sort of 60 and 90 mile an hour, nine to 10 meter rigid inflatable sports boats, which led on to then clients tracking me down they saw the high quality that we were producing and the high performance that we were delivering. And a client that was building a very special yacht called The Maltese Falcon tracked me down that a Tom Perkins and came and tested one of my nine-meter RIBs and we ran him out in the Solent here at about 90 miles an hour. And he said, ‘this is fantastic, I’d like to order four very special tenders. ‘And that was how we that was how I personally started in the tender business. We delivered as Pascoe International to the 210 meter yacht tenders for the Maltese Falcon, and then went on to build a further 200 or so tenders for some of the world’s largest yachts. So we now have a lot of experience in the industry. And for one reason or another, Pascoe International and myself decided to part company two years ago, and I’ve gone my own way. And with a smaller business, Pascoe international is now a very big company, our production operation, which I felt was difficult to produce the quality with the passion that’s needed for these very special one off project. So now, we’ve put together a really small team of people here we’re about 10 people at the moment, we plan to build to about 2025 staff in total, building four or five very specialized projects each season. And that was how I got together with Dean, who was in fact I’ve known Dean father for many many years, who was powerboat racing years ago, when I was heavily involved with powerboat racing thing was racing in go karting and then went on to Formula Two well, Dean can probably tell you a little bit more about that history, but that was how I have known Dean since a child and Have a father. And we’ve all come together. They’re investing heavily in the business. And we’re going on to build this first project, but I’ll let Dean tell you a little bit about his motor racing background.
Dean Stoneman 05:15
Hi, Diane. So my background has been from the year 2000. I started in go karting, went through all the categories and won every championship I could until I got to the top and then decided to go into car racing. And my car as the season started in 2007, and 2010, I want the former two championship tested for Williams and Formula One. In 2011, unfortunately got diagnosed with testicular cancer, which is like a season out of car racing. And after beating about cancer, I decided to go powerboat racing for a season just to have a bit more enjoyment rather than going straight back into car racing. I won nine out of 10 races and come second in one race. So we won the championship. And then after that, I felt the time was right to go back into car racing. And see if I still had the ability to win championships and race at the front. Which I succeeded very well coming back into GP three. I finished second in the championship and then I was sponsored by Red Bull in 2015. Brace in America 2016. With Andretti Autosport, Michael Andretti, and Mario Andretti. So yeah, but since then, it’s so slow down slightly, he was always at the wrong place at the wrong time. And didn’t quite make it back to Formula One. But throughout the, after the cancer, I decided that I want to start building boats. So I’ve had four or five my own projects, from the Holland deck painting, laminating rigging. I’ve done that all myself, I’ve been self taught. So I’ve done that and marks seeing my workmanship and what I’ve done. Yeah, and over the last year or so we’ve been in talks with Mark. And we’ve finally put together a great team of guys. And hopefully, we can produce a great product,
Mark Pascoe 07:21
Well we also feel that there’s a great deal of similarity between this high level of motor racing and powerboat racing in CBO, in the CBO world, because both industries kind of you’re bringing your show to people it’s all about everything has to look 100% no fantastic, the engineering has to be flawless. And also boundary breaking. So again, you know, in these racing career, obviously, he’s seeing the engineering changes and developments that are brought about by by the racing world and the money behind those industries. And the superyacht industry, very similar to be on owners are looking for the latest in technology, the highest standard finishes. And of course, now moving further forward, you know, looking for sustainable solutions, which society to involve hybrid hydrogen, battery power, and this kind of thing. So, again, the racing world and the CBO world, I see quite a lot of similarities in the sense that, you know, when the boss is on board, the yacht has to be immaculate, the food service is immaculate, the engineering has to be flawless, the tenders have to be working, you know, 24 hours a day. And, you know, crews are expected to be seen and not heard a little bit, you know, a little bit the same as the backroom team in a race team, a motor racing team or a powerboat racing team, you know, the spotlights on the drivers, and how the cars looking on the day. And it’s a very similar, lots of similarities, I think. And this is where we developed the engineering techniques that we’re using in the boat from motor racing and powerboat racing background. So that’s how we’re achieving very, very reliable, clean, smart electrical systems, etc. So we thought we can bring a lot to the industry with those backgrounds.
Diane Byrne 09:27
Yeah, I’m glad you talked about the sustainability because I definitely do want to get into that. But first, I want to talk a little bit more about something else you just mentioned, which was the fact that owners these days are really looking for everything being a step above right, the looks of the boat, the performance of the boat, the comfort of these tenders. Yeah, really, super hot tenders have evolved dramatically over the past decade, even the past two decades. I would say when I first got into the industry, it was the early 1990s and most tenders at that point were ribs. And that was fine, because that’s what everybody expected. But that’s so not the case these days, the standard tenders really so much more. And the even the crew tenders are quite different these days. So what what would you say about that evolution? What do you think has driven that?
Mark Pascoe 10:20
No, I mean, you’re absolutely right. And I think you know, when when I first started in the industry, delivering the the ribs to the Maltese Falcon, you know, I always thought to myself, I need to look at Monaco bay and think we’re going to run out of superyachts to supply tenders to suddenly the bigger ones. But the reality is the CBR building industry is building CPR, it’s quicker than we can make tenders and our other competitors building tenders. So I think what’s happened really is the yachts have progressively got larger and larger, and that’s pushing the yards further offshore. So a lot of the 100-meter-plus yards, are unable to even enter the port. So they’re forced to anchor maybe one to three miles from the shore. So now the run to the restaurant, for the owner and his guests, the run for the crews fiddling and taking rubbish rounds, etc., has become a greater distance. And the further offshore you are, often the greater the sea that can be running. So the seakeeping of the tenders become more important. So I think they said why we’ve seen the tenders grown in size, there is no substitute for the length of your bone when it comes to running in a seaway. And so now what we’re seeing is owners choosing a set of four tenders for the one Moti aarto you’ve probably got a nice RIB. Stiles holds bow that the crew we’re using most of the time but doubles up as a sports boat waterskiing, running the water, toys, etc. Then we’ll see an open beach lander style boat owners can go to more areas like in the Caribbean, where there are so many marinas and in places like Abu Dhabi and Saudi where again, there’s not so much developed marinas and shore side restaurants, the beach landers are coming into their own. So this is like a drop fronted landing craft almost so owners and their guests can step ashore almost without getting their toes wet. But then, in addition to that, we’re saying limousines, which are fully enclosed, you know, tab between 10 and 60 meters, fully enclosed air conditioned environment with luxury seating finishes matching the main cabins on the super yacht. So fancy veneer, finishes, etc., inside these boats, and anything costing everything up to 2 million plus for a 10-meter tender. But they are very special pieces of equipment and used as I say, for transitioning owners and the ladies in the evening. We don’t have a hair out of place, no wind, we’re fancy evening dresses and what have you. And they’re really great projects to be involved with. And sometimes, you know, we work with an owner that’s interested in the project, it can be very challenging, but very interesting, because they’re all very, very successful businessman. And some are really interested in engineering and really like to get behind the project. But there’s also a lot of owners that don’t like boats, in fact, and the yacht is more of a hotel. And so it’s very important that they don’t start feeling seasick and a little tender rolling and rocking about they want to feel very stable, or certainly don’t want to be sitting at anchor on the main mothership, with the boat pitching and rolling all night. So we’re even incorporating stabilizers in our new tenders. So there’s a lot of technology going in to make the ride very stable and comfortable.
Diane Byrne 14:10
Yeah, good point. And along those same lines, excuse me. Um, in terms of the designs, the looks of these yachts, I know you’re working with some of these very high profile super yacht designers. So who are some of the people that you are working with, and what made them the right people to become your partners?
Mark Pascoe 14:33
So we as Falcon Tenders are not tied into any particular design house. So we have a technical design team in house here that we’re doing using to produce working drawings and build drawings. But in terms of styling and design, we were able to work with almost anyone, and we have these partnerships with Tim Heywood Design with my colleagues design. We also have Patrick Banfield, who’s a major naval architect, I think does most of the naval architecture for almost all of the big tenders, and has the experience behind making these boats run well. And in terms of, you know, styling and new ideas, we have some other not so well known designers like Uros Pavasovic and David Weiss that are producing some very, very interesting designs, specifically for us that we’re now offering and we’ll be offering, really from Monaco, we’ll be launching a lot of these designs, and attracting some of the owners. But of course, that doesn’t stop us bringing in one of these top designers to do something specific for now. And make the tender match and sympathetically match the mothership, bring the same styling to the tender as the as the CBR has. So we’ve got some great partnerships here. And this first boat that we’re building is in partnership with Michael Leach and his team who were award winning designers. And it’s a real joy to work with them.
Diane Byrne 16:18
That’s great. Dean, what do you think? What’s your perspective on the creativity that people like Michael Leach and these other designers are bringing to the table? They all would bring something different, I would imagine?
Dean Stoneman 16:33
They all bring something different. But for me, it’s a completely different as well come into the soup, soup your industries, something completely new to me. So I’m learning along with obviously marks been it for many years. I’m learning all the time. But yeah, seeing all the designs between the handful of designers that are brought to the table. I mean, it’s very interesting, exciting. But the moment you know, it’s there’s a lot of work going into what we’re doing. But designers themselves have created some amazing drawings for us and sketches. And it’d be exciting if we can build one in the near future.
Mark Pascoe 17:14
I mean, the reality is that the stylists as as we call them all, and we’re referring to as designers can take a pencil, and then a few minutes, create some fantastic lines. But it also in that few minutes creates something very difficult to me. And it’s all candu that’s where we specialize in working with these people because we can put the reality onto that. And I think what we see is from stalwarts like Tim Heywood, you know, we see a very classic, long design with longevity, very classic lines. From my colleagues, we’re seeing some, a little bit classic, but bringing in a little bit more of a an off road style, which we’ve been working towards a chunkier boat with a bit of a rougher field. So it’s a bit of an off road vehicle. So you can treat it a bit rougher. Sometimes some of these tenders are very pretty and fragile. And crews are not so careful when they’re using them, particularly when the owner is not around. But then working with Uros and David Weiss, you know, we’re seeing much more radical design coming in that totally new. And that’s something that we’re very interested in getting involved with putting a fresh approach, some completely new style, something that hasn’t been seen before. And I think that’s what we can do with some of these smaller, not so well known designers, we can really bring some really radical designs into the into build
Diane Byrne 18:53
in terms of these designs that these incredibly talented people can create for you. And in terms of some of the real visionary owners that are out there. These boats are more than toys, right for a lot of these customers. So because so many of these owners want something that is truly their vision, when is the right time for them to come to you to start commissioning, I realized that there are at times, tenders have kind of been an afterthought. It’s the focus is really more so on the big yacht, the mothership, right? So it’s all those design elements, all those systems elements, all the big decisions that have to go into that and then it’s the thought about the tenders and the other toys. So should it be a little bit different should they be coming to you earlier?
Mark Pascoe 19:44
Yeah, so this is a very good point. Very often, in all the tenders or most of the tenders I’ve been involved with building in the past. We’re having to design the tender to fit a very small space and of course the owner has a requirement. I want to minimum of 12 guests I want to conditioning I want to wet our I want the day head in there. And now suddenly you’re trying to squeeze all this engineering and technology and seating into a stupidly small space. And then the owner is like, Well, why are you not going to 60 meter yard? Why have I only got a four meter tender, you know, which is unacceptable to owners nowadays. And so, again, this is one of the great things of working with some of these really well known designers. So the design in the yard, we are working together from the get go from when the yard is being started. And we’re saying, Okay, let’s leave enough space, let’s put this tender into the yacht design, before the keel is laid, and then owners are able to say, Well, you know, okay, I’ve got a fantastic tender, because I got, I’ve got a limousine that I have with full standing headroom, etcetera. So the right time to be ordering the tender is at the same time as ordering the yard, or, in fact, at design stage of the yard, before the order is placed with the yard. Because otherwise, you know, the tender design is so heavily compromised. However, often even if that happens, owners are pushing, you know, more air conditioning or whatever, on the mothership. And sometimes suddenly, another air handler appears in a garage space that we have to then chop a bit of tender away to allow that facilities to be there. So it’s very, very advantageous. If the owners talk to us, at the same time as talking to the main designers of the mothership and go right, this is the tender, I would like, please design that into my yard.
Diane Byrne 21:50
In terms of some of the materials that you’re using the sustainable materials and systems, I should say, is that something that is also being driven by the owners? Or is that something that you and your team have decided to kind of prioritize? Or is it a little bit of both even?
Mark Pascoe 22:11
Yes, I think that’s absolutely right. I mean, Dean and I, in setting up this business have taken a conscious decision to look to be as sustainable as we can, and responsibly source material. So we’ve been looking to find old tea blogs that have been lying at the bottom of a river for 50 years and bring those up and, and use those rather than cutting down new trees. We’ve looked into other types of softwood, that can be impregnated with resins, high pressure, and almost looks the same as tea. We’re sourcing our leather from sustainable red farms. So it’s a really important side for us. And again, you know, the composites we used to manufacture these boats, that’s the main structure of the boats are generally oil based resins, which are not degradable in any way. And again, you know, the oil is running out. So we’ve worked very hard to find a plant based epoxy resin, which is coming from the resins from plants. So it’s a totally sustainable resin system we’re using for the main structure of these tenders. And it’s an important side, you know, we see that as the team that we’re kind of the tender builder, we’re bridging the gap between sustainability and performance.
Diane Byrne 23:44
Dean, I would imagine that this, this dive into the sustainable materials and systems is a real educational process for both of you as much as there’s a lot of information out there, you’re probably uncovering new information all the time.
Mark Pascoe 24:00
Yes, and we’re still having to spend a lot of time researching because there there are new breakthroughs coming through all of the time. And, you know, I think we’re going to get to the point where even the laminate reinforcements we use will be some sort of cotton or plant based material rather than carbon fibers and cap laws that cannot be disposed of and not sustainable long term. So I think we’re going to see this growing and growing and growing. More interesting use of materials.
Diane Byrne 24:35
Definitely, Dean, what do you think? Do you think there’s a heck of a lot more for all of us to tap into?
Dean Stoneman 24:41
I think so. I mean, we’re learning all the time or researching new products. Like Mark said, we’re trying to keep as much as possible from the UK as well. So it’s more just a British product. So we’re trying to source as much of the product from the UK. But yeah, we’re learning all the time, you know, on a day The basis with search in what how can we improve it and making the boat green and hybrid system is one of the main areas in the boat at the moment.
Diane Byrne 25:11
Right, great. So one last question. Before we wrap up, I’d love to get into a little bit more detail on the designs that you will be revealing at the Monaco yacht show. We were talking a little bit earlier about the mike Leach design, for example, being more of an off road feel even a little bit, you know, tougher and rougher. Anything else you can tell us about it as a good little teaser for people to make sure they come see you.
Mark Pascoe 25:37
Well, the off road sort of Land Rover Defender style. tenders are something we’ve been working on, actually for a client. So we can’t say too much about that. The actual boat that we will be revealing in Monaco is a Michael Leach design. And we’ve done some really interesting new features with him. We have some external details on the boat, which are going to appear like they’re made of metal, but they’re not really made of metal. So it’s going to have some really interesting finishes, we’re doing a stone flooring in the interior rather than let, rather than a teak flooring, which is very common in these limousine tenders. We’ve got some really interesting finishes going on the main bulkheads in the tender because, you know, we’ve been able to spec this without an owner. So we’re trying to show the diversity that we’re including in our range of products. And again, this is a sort of pressed bamboo veneer. So it’s again a very sustainable, interesting finish. And it’s a traditional sort of Venice style taxi limousine with a single helmsman at the front, main saloon behind and then we’ve got this very interesting hybrid system which allows the boat to operate fully all systems air conditioning, main propulsion, etc., is all operated from a lithium battery bank up to around nine knots and then seamlessly as you accelerate and go to put the boat on the plane, the combustion engine comes in and takes over and operates. So it’s self charging then. And then as you arrive that said the yard or arrive at another Marina, you start to close the throttle down, it automatically shuts down the combustion engines and takes over on fully electric again. So and it can be switched to operate electrically only. So for operating in, let’s say canals in Venice, or on a lake where combustion engines are not allowed. There’s a way of stopping the combustion engine coming in and just operating electrically for, for, let’s say up to one hour. So we feel it’s a it’s a really great bridge between fully combustion and fully electric fully electric systems. Whilst there are great systems out there. It’s not going to run all day. And some of these tenders need to run all day. So unless you have fast charging points, and again, this is where if we can work with the designers from the from the get go of the superyacht, then a fast charge point can be incorporated into the yards garage or onto the yard swim platform. And then a fully electric tender can be charged in under an hour, let’s say. So the technology is going forward all the time. But this is a real, we’ve got some really interesting details and features, lots of CNC custom milled billet stainless components and just to show really what we’re capable of as a business and the quality that we’re able to produce. So there’s going to be some real wide eyes, I think in Monaco when when we unveil this boat finally.
Diane Byrne 29:03
Great, great. Well, you heard it here first, folks, get prepared.
Mark Pascoe 29:10
Diane Byrne 29:11
It’s excellent. I really look forward to seeing it myself. I really appreciate the two of you taking the time today to speak with me more and to tell more about what you’re doing with Falcon. It’s definitely been an education for me as well to learn more about the design and the technology and the whole evolution. So I appreciate it.
Dean Stoneman 29:31
Okay, thank you, Diane. Yeah, it’s been a pleasure talking with you.
Diane Byrne 29:35Everyone, if you’d like to learn more about what Mark and Dean and their team are doing, you can visit their website, which is falcon-tenders.com. That’s Falcon dash tenders dot com. Until next time, I’m Diane Byrne.