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Tenders and Toys

When choosing a tender for your yacht, you have a world of options. Here are two new contenders that have recently come to our attention. Maybe they'll catch yours as well.
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Tough Guy from Protector

Story By Cecile Gauert

There are many factors that make the newest Protector, the Tauranga 38, so attractive. The name of the line alone—“Protector”—gives it an aura of masculinity and toughness before you ever set foot aboard, and that’s just the start.


The New Zealand Coastguard approached manufacturer Rayglass boats, based in Auckland, to transform its sturdy composite boats with a deep-V hull into rescue vessels. The builder looked at the design and added the collar typically associated with RIBs. America’s Cup teams battling it out in New Zealand a few years back took notice of how well they handled rough conditions. Pretty soon, the company built a whole line of these boats for the recreational market, from a 20-foot open jet boat to the Tauranga 38 cabin boat, the second largest boat in the Protector line. Protector USA, located in California, finishes up the boats destined for its American clientele at its facility in Oakland, outfitting them with all the little luxuries including electronics, teak decking and upholstery.

There is plenty of nice teak on the Tauranga 38, which is much more than a “RIB”. Yes, it does have the hypalon air-filled tubes (with seven chambers), but it is a solid 14,500-pound hand-laid fiberglass boat, built for adventure-minded boaters. It has a large cabin with plenty of headroom and an enclosed head (which can be made into a shower), two very comfortable and adjustable side-by-side Stidd seats for the pilot and co-pilot completely sheltered from the elements, a large teak-led cockpit with additional seating, a nicely-sized swim platform between its two 350-hp Yahama V8 engines (other power options are available), walk-around decks (with grab bars in all the right places), seating at the bow (sun pad optional), and plenty of storage for things such as a pair of diving sets. Plus, it looks good.

We tested one of the latest Tauranga 38s (the line was introduced in late 2010) in Riviera Beach, Fla., after the Palm Beach International Boat Show. It was a great ride, and within the confines of channel markers along a calm waterway, we flirted briefly with a 50-mile per hour speed. We would have loved to try it in rough seas, but the calm Caribbean-clear channel proved ideal to test the boat’s more subtle moves. Equipped with power steering, it handles like a charm, making a nice tight loop at a reasonable speed. Other useful features include a side-power bow thruster, autopilot, chart plotter and an auto anchor system (optional).

Its 250-gallon fuel tank gives the boat a range of approximately 300 nautical miles. Its sweet spot for fuel economy is around 30 knots. The tubes (you can select your color and add custom lettering) help soften the ride, serve as very effective spray rails and, naturally, are a great protection against nicks and scratches to the mother boat. An extensive list of custom options is available.

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Carbon Craft 130T: Petite Performer

Story By Erica Cooper

I step aboard the small carbon-fiber boat and sink into the cushioned leather-like seats. The 143-hp, jet drive engine rumbles to life and we slowly slip out of the marina while Ken Pierce, Carbon Craft’s co-founder and a yachtsman like his business partner, Mark Levey, explains all the boat’s features.


From bow to stern, the Carbon Craft 130T is only 13 feet, but you would never guess that from the boat’s extensive list of amenities. Hidden storage compartments under seats and floorboards hold fishing rods, drinks, towels, purses or tote bags and specially designed beach chairs. The ergonomically designed center console, though compact, includes a speedometer, tachometer, a seven-inch Garmin GPSMAP system, a Fusion electronics sound system which can play radio, satellite or your iPhone or iPod, and gauges for fuel, water and voltage. While not all of these features are standard, they all fit comfortably in the limited but smartly designed space.

And the innovation doesn’t end there. It is easy to hook up a towrope for various water toys, which the light, but powerful tender can handle whether they have a single, or multiple riders. A fold-down swim platform includes a hideaway ladder. Built into the bow is an adjustable passarelle, which is deployed via a hydraulic system, for land or dock boarding.

When pulling up alongside the mothership, there’s no need to worry about scratches since Carbon Craft tenders come equipped with an attractive foam collar that serves as a buffer. To top it all off, an optional carbon-fiber hardtop quickly folds down for storage and can be removed entirely for full sun.

All this is well and good, but such features don’t mean much in a boat that underperforms. That won’t be a problem with the Carbon Craft. The boat, built in Bristol, R.I., rides smoothly across calm seas at more than 40 miles per hour. It turns on a dime, and although its 100 percent carbon construction makes the hull light enough to be lifted by a single person, never does it feel as though we are in danger of careening off course. At low speeds it is quiet enough to allow conversation even by people at opposite ends of the boat, and at full speed you can still chat with the person sitting next to you. The foam collar that helps keep your yacht and your tender scratch-free also helps keep guests dry by directing spray away. Carbon Craft boats are currently available in 10 and 13 foot models.

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