Carbon Craft’s 130T tender combines out-of-this-world technology with style to spare.
I recently came across an announcement from a Japanese construction firm called Obayashi Corporation that claimed the company is going to build an elevator to outer space. Not only that, they are going to build it from space down. Upon reading this, I had only one thought: Wow, those Obayashi guys are really cocky.
Just two days later I found myself in a North Miami marina where two employees of Carbon Craft—a newcomer to the tender game—sat getting their inaugural launch, the 130T ($100,000 and up) ready for my sea trial. Shortly, one of the men asked if I was all set to take her for a spin. “I think you’re gonna like it,” he said, gesturing to the little black-and-orange shotgun slug of a boat, “we like to think we build the Ferrari of tenders.” I nodded and smiled, thinking to myself: Wow, these Carbon Craft guys are really cocky.
If Obayashi Corp. and Carbon Craft share a similar hubristic air, it’s probably because they also share a technology, the mythologically strong construction material known as carbon nanotubes. Carbon Craft infuses the nanotubes into the boat’s carbon fiber infrastructure. The infused fibers, which have an extremely high strength-to-volume ratio, are twisted into a yarn, and then thatched into a distinctive patterned weave. On the 130T that weave is often left visible, in part as a nod to the boat’s forwarding-thinking design, and also because it looks pretty damn cool. The boat is, inarguably, very stylish. Her lines are sleek (no small task for a 13-footer), her color schemes chic and numerous, and her materials, including that visible carbon, teak brightwork, and butter-soft leather upholstery, are choice. Her looks truly do recall a high-end coupe, though unfortunately that metaphor extends to her seating as well. Multiple Carbon Craft reps euphemistically told me the boat seats eight, which isn’t untrue, but would be more accurate if it were amended to “five full-grown adults and three Oompa-Loompas (or kids).”
Out on the water the boat is undeniably sporty as well. That strength-to-volume ratio is key here, trimming the test boat’s weight to a waifish 1,100 pounds. This helps keep the boat speedy—we hit 34.7 knots—but her steering also felt a little loose to me, as if more ballast might actually help. It didn’t feel unsafe, but it would take some time to master her wheel. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Mastery after all is the difference between cockiness and confidence. And that rule applies whether you’re headed to the moon, or just the nearest cay.
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This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.