Explorer and Expedition Yachts

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John S. DeCaro
Phone: 954-671-0107



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Explorer Yachts as Shadow Yachts

Q: What are Shadow Yachts and how are they different from Explorer Yachts?

150 (45.7m) Shadow Vessel
150' (45.7m) Shadow Vessel
A: Shadow Yachts is a term coined to describe what in Naval military terms would be named a "Support Vessel". Instead of carrying ammunition and other military hardware they carry large tenders, motorcycles, cars, jet skies, submarines and other toys that the primary vessel does not want aboard or does not have space for. Some of the elements they may have in common with their naval cousins are that they may carry extra fuel (bunkering vessel), extra food supplies, work shops, parts and any other number of support items. Any of these can be included in the inventory or design criteria of Shadow Yachts.

In many ways Explorer Yachts and Shadow Yachts are very similar, as Explorer Yachts are designed to be very self contained and in most cases have excess capacities that could be utilized by another vessel. Explorer Yachts often carry the same types of toys and accessories that a Shadow yachts carry. Where a Shadow Yacht acts as a support vessel to assist the main Yacht and provide all of the frills and range that they are not capable of carrying, an Explorer Yacht or Yacht Explorers are designed to carry these items and have these abilities and be completely self contained. In addition they are designed to carry the guests and crew in maximum comfort and safety. Most Shadow Yachts are not designed to carry guests, however a few are now adding a owner’s suite or guest cabins to house additional guests not able to be carried aboard the main yacht, blurring the line even more.

150 (45.7m) Shadow Vessel
150' (45.7m) Shadow Vessel
Reasons to have a Shadow Yacht:

  • These may be greatly varied, it may be as simple as the owner of the vessel does not want to "see" the toys and other items until he is ready to use them, he may not want the clutter they may create or have them near the guests areas.

  • The size of the vessel may have to be increase greatly to carry all of the toys would like to have available to him and this may cause problems in entering and acquiring dockage, limiting were he can go and how he can enjoy himself.

  • The cost to increase the yacht to carry all of the toys may be much greater then having a purpose built support vessel created and the custom support vessel can offer much greater flexibility in what can be carried now and in the future.

  • It may be that the Yachts range is very limited by the fuel it can carry and he may not want to be constrained by having to go to fueling port or he may be limited in storage capacity for other essential items not want to be limited to what the Yacht can carry. This may be critical supplies or the amount of wine available.
Bray Design 125' Shadow Yacht
Bray Design 125' Shadow Yacht
As in the early days of Explorer Yachts, a great number of Shadow Yachts/support vessels are conversions from commercial or military vessels. Like their predecessors many of the basic design features of the vessels being converted create constraints and limitations on what can be accomplished in the conversion and the end ability to maximize the function the vessel has been created to fulfill. This may be as simple as the way the vessel looks or as fundamental as the sea keeping and comfort abilities of the vessel. If doing a conversion, great care must be taken in selecting the vessel to be converted to maximize the end result.

A purpose built vessel may have more initial cost but the fact that it can be created to meet all of the known criteria needed and be designed to have maximum flexibility to conform to future requirements can save money and improve performance over the life of the vessel. The owner can have exactly the look and finish he wished to match the main yacht, range, speed and service requirements can be coordinated to maximize the support function and all of this can be done in a vessel that will be efficient, sea kindly and sea worthy.

Bray Design 125' Shadow Yacht
Bray Design 125' Shadow Yacht
The creation of a support vessel has many factors that need to be balance. Some of the most obvious conversion candidates have been found to have constraints that greatly limit their appeal and future resale. It is very important to define the role the vessel will play and the determine if a conversion or purpose built vessel is the best path.

I am happy to discuss with you your requirements and assist you in defining the past approach.

    If you would like more information for the new designs, please drop me a e-mail.

Warmest regards,
John DeCaro
All Oceans Inc.  
Vessel Links
150 (45.7m) Shadow Vessel
Bray Design 125' Shadow Yacht

Broker John DeCaro
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
Telephone: 954-646-1411

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