Nuvolari Lenard is perhaps best known for its showstopping super- and megayacht projects that push boundaries, creating exciting and innovative features that are often adopted by the wider design community....


  • Carlo Nuvolari gives an insight into how he, partner Dan Lenard and their team approach effective custom tender design
  • Discover how 55m CRN M/Y Atlante, 109m Oceanco M/Y Bravo Eugenia and 88m Lürssen M/Y Quattroelle tenders were realized from the scratch
  • The Italian design studio unveils Thunder, the hybrid luxury Venetian taxi

Nuvolari Lenard is perhaps best known for its showstopping super- and megayacht projects that push boundaries, creating exciting and innovative features that are often adopted by the wider design community. But alongside its superyacht projects, the Venice-based studio has been building up an enviable portfolio of custom tender projects that are just as ground-breaking as their big sister superyachts in terms of technology and practical innovation.

Here, Carlo Nuvolari gives an insight into how he, partner Dan Lenard and their team approach effective custom tender design, as well as an exciting new project that is set to make an impact on their local Venetian community and the wider yachting world.

First and foremost, we always keep in mind that a tender is a working boat. The client will have their own particular requests that we can’t forget, usually with a focus on styling, but it helps to have operational input from the captain on how the tender will be practically used on a day-to-day basis. What are the weight and height limitations? Will it be an open tender, used for watersports or a limousine style? Will it need to double up on its usage? There are a lot of requests and requirements to fit into a small space compared to a superyacht, but we find that it is a fun and stimulating challenge to have.

Many of our clients for superyachts specifically ask us to create custom tenders that will have a “family” look that is similar to the styling of the mothership, so these are not usually standalone projects. A great example of our past custom tender projects was for the 55m CRN M/Y Atlante; the limousine and open tenders have a distinctive look that is instantly identifiable as belonging to the mothership – angular, contemporary and with a sleek silver and black livery. Another example is the pair of custom tenders we designed for 109m Oceanco M/Y Bravo Eugenia, which mirror the elongated and refined lines of their mothership.

Although at first glance the styling of a mothership and her custom tender may appear very similar, technically there is a completely different set of challenges in designing the two categories of watercraft. Nuvolari Lenard may be famous for its superyacht projects, but the studio has a vast amount of experience in the design of serial production boats, so the team is very familiar with the materials and requirements of smaller vessels.

Because we create the complete design of a tender, both interior and exterior, and then follow the entire construction, we provide turnkey solutions to clients. Even if each project is custom designed with a unique “look”, the studio tends to use the foundation of a proven hull and engineering platform from a trusted builder, to provide multiple benefits to the client. Not only is this method a “safer” choice because there are unlikely to be unexpected surprises in new product development, it is more cost effective because multiple tenders can be constructed from the same mouldings, the maintenance and parts sourcing is easier for the crew, and the overall cost and delivery times are reduced. Nuvolari Lenard uses a number of proven platforms from which clients adapt layouts to their requirements, such as 30-foot and 40-foot tenders. Atlante’s tenders were built by I.C. Yachts in Italy, Bravo Eugenia’s tenders were built by Tenderworks in the Netherlands, and the tenders for 88m Lürssen M/Y Quatroelle were built by Colombo in Italy, which makes great classic-looking boats.

It is not unusual for a superyacht to need both a custom limousine tender for guest transportation in all conditions and a custom walkaround sport tender for more adventurous activities. In this scenario, one of the most underestimated advantages of using an identical hullform and engineering platform comes into play. As the tenders’ hulls are the same weight and shape, including positioning of the hoisting points, they can be stored interchangeably in the tender garage, which significantly streamlines operations for the crew.

We have had fantastic feedback from captains for whom we have provided multiple tenders to a single superyacht. They have said that the convenience of being able to put a limousine tender and a sports tender in the same stowage space is priceless. It saves time when owners are waiting to use the tenders and it makes hauling them out a quicker process. Even when the two tenders look completely different, they can share these technical features; a great past example is of the classic-look sport cruiser and limousine custom tenders we designed for Quatroelle, which can be stored interchangeably on board the mothership.

As Venetians, Dan and I feel a strong connection with the city and have experienced first-hand the damage that is being caused to its delicate structures, through air and noise pollution as well as physical erosion. We felt that it was crucial to address the problems facing our beautiful hometown, and that Nuvolari Lenard was well placed to lead the charge in finding a solution, through a unique project dedicated to helping Venice.

And so, during the 2019 edition of the Venice Boat Show, we organised a forum to discuss potential designs for a hybrid luxury watercraft that could solve Venice’s pollution problem. Diesel electric hybrid propulsion seemed to be the most logical solution for Venice’s particular requirements. Short battery life is a common concern for many hybrid propulsion systems, but in Venice the water taxis make regular trips to the airport in open water where they travel at speeds of up to 30 knots using diesel, which gives the batteries time to recharge for when the vessel returns to the low-speed confines of the city’s waterways, at which point it will only draw on the stored electric power.

The first unit of the 14-seat luxury water taxi, Thunder, has been built at Cantieri Vizianello in Venice and this progressive model for transportation in the city will hopefully change the mindset of the historically conservative taxi drivers.

Although the technology on board is modern, we made every effort to respect the stylistic heritage of the classic water taxis for which Venice is famous, and so the new designs use traditional wooden materials with some modernisation. Nuvolari Lenard has received a request for the 9.2-metre vessel to be used as a limousine tender for a superyacht client, which gives an idea of the degree of comfort and quality of the project. 

For another prototype experimental project, we are currently in discussions with Hyundai about the potential for using a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system, which is a very clean technology as the only by-product is water. Current limitations on the storage of hydrogen on vehicles mean that the horizon for this kind of innovation is a few years away, as it could not be certified or sold on the market. More round-table discussions with Hyundai and other companies are set for this coming June, and we look forward to taking the project further with our various partners.

Pushing boundaries in design and technology for marine transportation is something we try to do each day with our superyacht, production yacht and custom tender projects. And so Nuvolari Lenard is very proud to be doing something for Venice, as it is so close to our hearts and a stunning place that we want to help preserve for future generations.

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