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Ultimate inflatables for new power yacht

Jan 1, 2003

Rigid-hull inflatable boats have become popular as yacht tenders. It is no surprise, then, that two such vessels have been built to serve the aluminum megayacht La Baronessa, still under construction at Palmer Johnson in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

The 195-foot power yacht will carry a pair of custom-built Zodiac tenders, completed this winter at Zodiac Hurricane Technology in Vancouver, B.C. The boats will be concealed beneath hydraulic hatches on deck. Although nearly identical in appearance, one boat is 22 feet and the other 24 feet in length. Each vessel cost roughly $100,000.

The 24-footer, equipped with an inboard 230-hp turbo Volvo engine that turns dual propellers, is capable of reaching 40 knots. The 22-foot boat, with a top speed of 34 knots, is propelled by water jets and powered by a 230-hp Yanmar engine.

The boats are similar to military craft built by Zodiac, according to Tim Fleming, a company official. "They are really military boats in disguise. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard use the same basic boats but in a different color," Fleming said.