Choosing the right tender for TANGAROA took time and careful consideration. We wanted a tender that was well-built, lightweight yet strong, and had a center console. It needed to be big enough to carry all of our dive & camera gear and/ or another couple. And it had to easily fit on the bow deck of Tangaroa.
There are many brands from which to choose and many excellent products out there. In the end, the combination of weight, quality, features, and customer service put Highfield Boats at the top of the list. (We’d also had a Highfield tender on our 36′ boat in New Zealand so we knew firsthand the quality of these tenders.)
The perfect tender for our needs turned out to be the Highfield Classic 360 Deluxe model. It’s not quite 12 feet in length, a bit shy of 6 feet in width, and weighs 392 pounds. These boats offer a wide deck, built in rear seat and low profile console, features that not only provide an unbeaten level of comfort and storage capacity but also a very useful platform for cruising & exploring away from Tangaroa.
With the 40HP Yamaha engine, the tender flies across the water while keeping us nice & dry.
The first time we saw the Highfield tender, it was at the Tradewinds Inflatables shop, in Santa Ana, CA. Up until that time, we’d been on the phone with Tom Watson at Highfield Boats, USA, in Georgia, who generously assisted us in choosing just the right model, with all the right accessories, for Tangaroa. He arranged the shipment of the boat to Ed and Ken at Tradewinds.
There, the boat was put together with all the components, such as a tachometer, depth finder, and switch panel on the console. They attached the Yamaha 40 hp engine to the fuel & steering systems, and everything else necessary to complete the package. It was pretty exciting to see it, still sitting in the warehouse, for the first time! But it was even more exciting when Ed delivered it to us by cruising it over to Tangaroa where we took it for a quick spin along the Newport Beach waterfront.
The next step was to get the cradle built for it. This is the stainless steel rack that is bolted onto the bow of Tangaroa. The tender has to fit perfectly in it and be locked down well so that even in rough sea conditions it remains rock solid in its position. Ed built a special lifting harness with cables and carabiners that hook onto the tender. The harness then hooks onto the davit, the crane that lifts the tender up & over the deck railing and down to the sea.
We’re now ready for adventures in our Highfield, the T/T (“tender to”) Tangaroa!