This is another neat new item that caught my attention at the Newport show back in September. At first I laughed out loud when I saw it, as it seemed so over the top. A carbon-fiber RIB dinghy with a teak deck! Talk about overkill. But then I inspected the craft in detail and fell in love with it. This iteration, the Pure 450 Open T, which is about 15 feet long, has a super-clean look and ultimately its aesthetic, I think, is very elegant and understated.
Construction, for a tender, is robust and extremely high tech. The hull body is carbon fiber reinforced with layers of Kevlar underneath (for increased impact resistance) vacuum-bagged over a CoreCell foam core. The structure is then post-cured in an oven to assure maximum laminate integrity. The inflatable sponsons are made of Valmex, a commercial-grade workboat fabric that is as long-lived as Hypalon (figure 10 years plus on lifespan) but can be heat-welded, which allows for superior seam construction and maximizes air retention over time.
One would think, of course, that the fancy teak deck is nothing but dead weight on a boat that is otherwise so lightly constructed. But accordingly to Pure Yachting's co-founder and president, Josh Trout, the deck's teak veneer is relatively efficient in terms of impact resistance, which is especially critical in this area of the boat (imagine, for instance, bouncing a 20-lb propane bottle during a transfer from tender to mothership). The weight of the 450 Open-T, complete with its teak deck, is just 215 pounds, according to Trout. Though the company originally planned to field an SL (super-light) model without teak decking, it turned out the extra laminate needed to gain the necessary strength in a deck without teak added nearly as much weight as the teak. So the SL models are on hold for now, and the sexy-looking teak is currently standard equipment.
Pure Yachting's other co-founders are Peter Johnstone, founder of Gunboat, which builds super-fine performance cruising catamarans, and Brendan Rooken-Smith, who is Gunboat's VP of Operations. So far the operation seems to be an entirely Gunboat-related incident, as the tenders are built at Gunboat's construction facility in Cape Town, South Africa, and the only customers, so far, have been owners of Gunboats. These are, of course, perfect tenders for a lightweight high-performance sailing catamaran like a Gunboat, but ultimately I think they'll be attractive to any owner of a large high-end yacht, whether it flies sails or not.
An entire range of Pure tenders are in works, starting with the Pure 360 (about 12 feet) up to the Pure 730 (about 24 feet). Custom one-offs will also be available. You can, of course, buy a Pure tender with steering consoles and other fancy structures imposed on it, but for my money the clean simple look of an open teak deck is what works best.
And just how much money is that? (I hear you cry.) Not suprisingly, these puppies don't come cheap. Mr. Trout informs me the Open T tender I ogled at Newport goes for a cool $16K. Which is about 8 times more than I spent on my Avon tender, which is not dead yet. Meanwhile, any WaveTrain riders with deep pockets who are in the market for a dink should check these sleds out.