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In recent years, custom boat builders Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders (LSB) has carved quite a niche for itself building bespoke tenders for some of the world’s most luxurious superyachts.
That’s because, says Aaron T. Clark, Captain of Artefact, the 2990 gross ton, 80m superyacht this LSB-built tender will serve, New Zealand boatbuilders do custom boats of this scale better than anyone.
“New Zealand doesn’t have the infrastructure and is too isolated to compete in building really big boats, but it can do high-end custom builds of this size like nowhere else on earth. You might pay a little more for a vessel that’s specifically designed for purpose, like this one, but with a Kiwi builder like LSB you can expect flexibility and understanding, superb workmanship and a long working life,” enthuses Clark.
A Kiwi with a background in engineering, Clark was charged with monitoring T2 Artefact’s build here in New Zealand and project-managing the superyacht build at Nobiskrug Shipyard in Germany.
Artefact is a unique vessel, the first hybrid superyacht to incorporate DC-BUS, with diesel-electric propulsion giving her an electric-only range of 18-20 nautical miles.
She is equipped with electric 2200kW pod propulsors from ABB, solar panels and seven tonnes of Li-ion storage batteries.
Her biggest tender, T2 Artefact, is also unique. Designed by New Zealand’s Bakewell-White Yacht Design, she appears like something born to the stunning-looking Artefact rather than built. T2 simply means Tender 2. Artefact has four tenders: T2 Artefact, which is craned aboard and garaged behind Artefact’s massive 32-tonne garage door, a 7.1m Sealegs, a 4.2m rescue tender and a 7m Novurania. The superyacht also carries three jet-skis and a submarine.
Bakewell-White referenced the big boat’s lines to give T2 Artefact a family pedigree and Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders engineered it “to German standards,” says Clark, to provide an operational lifespan of at least 15 years, but probably 20-plus.
Typical of all yacht tenders, this was a weight-conscious project. Construction is in high-tech, lightweight composite materials; T2 Artefact has three lifting points so she can be craned aboard the mothership, its cleverly engineered hardtop retracting for garaging.
A pair of D6 370hp Volvo Penta duo-prop sterndrive units propel the vessel to an impressive 45 knots, and whether underway or at rest, a Seakeeper 3 gyro-stabiliser system tames the worst effects of wind and waves. The gyro is sometimes used even when the boat is docked or when alongside the mothership, to make embarking and disembarking guests and supplies easier and safer.
“Everything about the design of this boat is tailored to ensure the comfort and safety of our guests,” explains Clark. As a superyacht tender, T2 Artefact has a variety of roles to fill, but transportation and recreation for Artefact’s guests is very important, whether going ashore, heading out fishing or diving, experiencing marine wildlife, or simply exploring one of the many exotic locations the superyacht will visit. T2 Artefact’s recreational duties will include game fishing, so she’s equipped with a removable game chair and outrigger poles, along with fixed through-gunwale rod holders and custom-built tuna tubes. She is capable of both luxury transportation and extreme recreational activities.
Because this is a multipurpose vessel, it has all the systems any recreational vessel of its size would have – a bathroom, sophisticated, fully integrated electronics, including a New Zealand-built commercial-grade WASSP seafloor mapping system, generous under-deck storage, a huge lazarette, Fusion entertainment system and much more – but with a whole lot of redundancy built in.
LSB’s head engineer Benji Saynor, explains: “We have tried to make things easy to fix before they actually need fixing. There’s excellent access around the engines for easy servicing, all the engineering and wiring is first-class and most automated systems can be by-passed if required.”
For example, normal vessel systems’ operation is directed using Mastervolt C-Zone digital switching, which can be by-passed should there be an issue. Likewise, two 16-inch ENL-supplied Furuno TZT 2 MFDs offer redundancy should one fail and the same is true for many of the vessel’s other systems, all of which are designed so that the vessel is easy to maintain.
Angus Small Marine Electrical did the electrical fit-out, which is immaculate, including four Mastervolt Lithium-ion house batteries and four conventional batteries for engine start, bow thruster and anchor duties.
C-Zone provides seamless systems integration, plug and play functionality, easy programming and built-in battery monitoring with safety shut-off. The owner wanted a clean dash, so the C-Zone functionality is enabled through the Furuno TZT 2 MFDs.
MaxSea charting and Furuno GPS and radar look after navigation duties, while two WASSP through-hull transducers allow T2 Artefact to transmit detailed seafloor mapping data to the mothership which carries a fully-fledged, ENL-supplied WASSPsystem. There’s a FLIR night vision thermal camera and five bilge pumps on automatic float switches with manual over-rides.
Before our review, the boat had already undertaken extensive sea trials, including an overnight fishing expedition 44 miles wide of Great Barrier Island. One sea trial comprised 225 nautical miles and 23 engine hours in a 36-hour period.
Fuel capacity is 800 litres, split between two tanks, with provision to offload fuel to the mothership to make it easier to crane T2 Artefact aboard.
On test day T2 Artefact delivered 43 knots into a head sea, which bothered the vessel not at all, the Seakeeper system ensuring rock-steady progress. Although this is an open, centre-console vessel, it’s so quiet you can conduct a normal conversation while travelling at 20 knots. With its long waterline length and plumb bow, it rides level with minimal spray. Beam on the waterline is almost the same as the maximum beam, so this is a roomy boat and vision from the elevated helm is excellent.
In keeping with its multi-role application, T2 Artefact’s layout is practical and versatile. The focus of the design was to deliver the best possible guest experience: comfort, stability and quietness. The walkaround teak decks have been left as clear as possible with no tripping hazards to catch the toes of the unwary and there are plenty of seating options, all high off the water with great sightlines to better observe the natural world. The cockpit is self-draining, cleats are flush, there is a deep underfloor hatch for fenders, a huge, deep anchor locker, and a demountable stainless-steel fairlead.
LSB was chosen for this project because of its experience with custom boats and its absolute commitment to quality.
“We are incredibly proud of this boat,” says Luke Hill from Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders. “Team leader Shaun Smith and his team have crafted a truly custom tender, which delivers exactly what the client requested.”
Artefact will cruise the Norwegian fjords, the Mediterranean, Chile, Patagonia and eventually New Zealand, her guests taking the opportunity to see the sights and observe the local wildlife at close range. T2 Artefact will be the vehicle used to explore these often extreme locations, so it was imperative she was built to the highest quality standards by one of the world’s finest boatbuilders./>