Sep 042007



What you’re looking at is not a racing boat, it’s a lifeboat cum tender designed by Christian Stimson of Stimson Yachts in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. Don’t look for it on a reefer near you any time soon because it’s designed for megayachts, for which the most serious emergency is likely to be running out of toast for the caviar or deciding whether or not to pronounce the ‘T’ in ‘Moet’*.

It’s interesting because it’s designed to serve both as a lifeboat and a tender. It’s meant to be launched and recovered and, because it is a tender, the megayacht crew get experience in launching it on a regular basis. Basically, every time the crew have to go ashore to, say, buy more polish for the silverware or get a new Lalique lampshade or pick up the Rolls Royce mechanic to fix the carb in the Grande Corniche on the afterdeck, it’s a lifeboat drill.

Old and grizzled salty seadogs might remember the days before new-fangled concepts like containerisation, ro-ro, and steam, when ship’s tenders were the lifeboats and the crew got regular practice launching them and consequently didn’t need a lifeboat drill because they had one every time anyone went ashore to visit a knocking shop in Rio or buy wacky baccy in… wherever.

Today, one has lifeboats to save lives that need regular drills to teach seafarers things the old style seafarers knew almost instinctively and cost more lives than they actually save.

Wouldn’t it be an awfully good idea to design lifeboats as tenders or vise versa and make sure they’re used as such on a regular basis. If the reward for a successful launch is the opportunity to appreciate the favours of a lady of commercial virtues for the half the price of a California lap-dance then perhaps a few more lives might be saved.

I know little of the primped and pimped save-me-mobile pictured above except that it appears to be a twin-fall design and the designer belongs to a community whose members have some idea what they’re designing – Stimson has done work for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and the conditions under which their products will be used. Lifeboat designs for merchant vessels often seem to be cooked up by someone who’s closest approach to a ship is a plastic ducky in bathtubA point to ponder is that a megayacht owner is likely to insist that his lifeboat does its job because he’s likely to be onboard his gin palace when it sinks.

You can read more about the Stimson lifeboat-tender here Just don’t drool into your crewmate’s coffee.

*Yes, it’s Mo-et, not Mo-ay, trust me.

 Posted by at 10:00

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