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Nathan Smith: Chief Engineer of VQ32 Custom Tender

This week we had the opportunity to speak with Nathan Smith, chief engineer of a 58-metre yacht in Miami for which he ordered…

… a remarkable VQ32 Custom Tender.

Nathan: I have been working on this superyacht for three years having been chief engineer on three other boats before. My role includes managing the technical staff onboard and being responsible for all systems, electrical and mechanical equipment and communication gear. I am also in charge of the toys on board, including the diving gear, jetskis, tenders and the like. For the build of the VQ32, I acted as the liaison between the captain and VQ Yachts.

Why did you choose VQ Yachts?
Nathan: We previously had an American tender which simply failed to meet our strict requirements. It turned out that the tender generated so many costs that we would actually be better off with a custom-built solution that would resolve all the issues. So we composed a clear and precise briefing and a list of the client needs, including all our highly specific questions. We took this information to Novurania Yachts, Wally Tenders, Riva, Pascoe International, Van Dutch and VQ Yachts.

After carefully considering all the proposals, the VQ32 Custom Tender was easily my personal favourite and the captain and owner took very little convincing from my side to agree. The flexibility of the yard and the level of customisation were decisive for everyone. Moreover, the stunning ‘classy and fast’ design was the most appealing of all the proposals – my compliments to designer Guido de Groot.


Other issues that made the VQ Yachts proposition the strongest included the solutions for fitting the tender into the garage, the seating arrangements, the forward seating possibilities and the easy access options.

What will be the main purpose of this tender?
Nathan: She will mainly be used to transport guests to and from the yacht. The tender fits up to 15 people, and the size and capacity make her perfectly suited to swimming and diving expeditions as well as comfortable trips to shore. In addition, the practical swimming platform with stowable ladder and deck shower with hot water on board are ideal for the owners of the mothership. They will also be using the VQ Yachts to visit islands for scuba diving.

You’re clearly a very demanding client. Having discussed the boat in detail and put forward your specific wishes and needs, are you satisfied with the end result?
Nathan: Very much so. The overall design is attractive and modern yet timeless. The design and engineering are very well thought-out and the quality of the applied materials is extremely high. I think it will be a joy to work on as the access to the various spaces and the accessibility of the engines and systems is superb.

Another thing to mention is the extraordinary level of finish. We were able to propose various adjustments during the design process too. I thought it would be useful if the swimming ladder could be stowed in the swimming platform, for example (image 3), as this saves space while still being very easy to access. In addition, we added folding steps on both sides which can be practically stowed when not in use (images 4 and 5).


What about the performance of the boat?
Nathan: The owner is very pleased with how the boat handles: it planes very easily, accelerates extremely fast, cuts through waves very well and has an amazingly sharp turning radius. The seats are very comfortable, too, and the tender’s low weight helps reduce fuel consumption. The tender has an incredible top speed of 42 knots, powered by twin 260 hp V6 engines. This is combined with some awesome agility, enhanced by a joystick for precise manoeuvring.

Overall, did VQ Yachts live up to its promises?
Nathan: Absolutely. Any issues that arose were efficiently dealt with by Tom. He was also present for the hand-over on Rhode Island, and took the time to train the crew on how to operate the VQ32.

What do you think is the yard’s strongest point?
Nathan: Full customisation combined with Tom’s passion and commitment.

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