Boating: Try a Little Tenderness

<< Back to Robb Report, August 2002
  • Fluto Shinzawa

Although Mark Holowesko’s new boat has yet to be delivered, he already can picture an October blue-sky day in the Bahamas. He’ll be behind the wheel of his 45-foot WallyTender, piloting his wife and four children from Nassau across 30 miles of ocean to the island of Andros, where he’ll spend several hours bonefishing, break for lunch, then cruise back to New Providence. The image is surprisingly vivid considering that Holowesko, one of 11 WallyTender owners, has never even been on one of the boats. Photos of the vessel, along with the approval of a friend who tested the tender for him, were enough to convince Holowesko to purchase the WallyTender. “It was love at first sight,” says Holowesko, who spotted the WallyTender in a yachting magazine last year. “There’s nothing out there like it.”

The friend’s test-drive, which took place in Monaco, confirmed what the photos suggested. “He said it was amazing,” says Holowesko, president of Templeton Capital Advisers in the Bahamas. “It rode incredibly well for a boat of that length. It got up to speed very quickly. It rode very quick and stable, and it turned incredibly well.”

That’s actually what Wally Yachts President Luca Bassani intended when he personally managed the design and production of the WallyTender. Bassani used to own an America’s Cup tender, a large open vessel that transports sails for the racing boats, and for three years he took fam-ily and friends on the tender for day trips before deciding that Wally could design and build a similar vessel.

Bassani’s goal was to create an aesthetically appealing tender large enough to cruise comfortably through choppy water. He envisioned a boat that would be suitable for a daylong jaunt to a favorite island or resort, and could serve as an actual tender for a megayacht. “Usually, a tender is smaller than six meters, and that doesn’t allow you to leave [the mother vessel] in windy conditions because you get completely wet,” says Bassani. “With a tender of this size, you can stay in a bay for days without having to dock in the harbor. You can go back and forth from your yacht with the tender. You can go ashore for dinner and come back afterwards.”

After five months of design work, the plans for the WallyTender were completed. In addition to its modern technology and amenities—a head with shower, a Sony stereo system, and twin 420-hp Volvo engines that propel the boat to a top speed of 60 mph—the boat features a teak deck that lends it a 19th-century look. “When you view the boat from far away, it looks like a very classic boat,” Bassani says. “When you get close, it immediately looks very modern, but simple and neat as well. It has two souls: traditional and modern at the same time.”

It’s also versatile. In addition to visiting Andros, Holowesko plans to cruise the WallyTender to Harbour Island, which is a two-hour ride from New Providence. The journey involves motoring through deep ocean as well as negotiating around the Devil’s Backbone, a series of shallow, dangerous reefs. The WallyTender’s size will provide for a smooth ocean passage, and its 2-foot draft will allow Holowesko to skirt the reefs without risking damage to his boat. “It’s problematic,” Holowesko says of the cruise. “You need to go across the ocean and get around the Devil’s Backbone. You need a great boat to do that.”

Wally Yachts, +377.93.1000.93, www.wally.com

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