While Lady Lola Shadow was Antrim's initial project, it's Shadow Boats' first vessel, Paladin Shadow, that has become the showcase boat. Looking at before and after photos throughout this story, it’s astonishing that the former OSV Ensco Tender, built in 1981, was transformed in just over three months into the yacht that premiered in 2005 in Fort Lauderdale. "I had guys welding on one side while [workers] painted on the other," Antrim says.
In order to rebuild, you often must first tear down, and one of the first jobs the refit crew performed was removing the amidships liquid mud tanks. Once gone, they gave Paladin four huge below-decks areas that Antrim says will be adaptable to any need a client can dream up. Well suited for additional fuel, they can also be converted into luxury guest suites or crew quarters, a full-service fitness center, a pool and Jacuzzi, a spa, a several-thousand-bottle wine cellar, a decompression chamber for avid divers—the possibilities are endless. However, the removal of these tanks also posed a problem: The vessel once relied on them for ballast. Antrim chose to add bilge keels as well as flume passive roll-stabilization tanks to compensate and help damp rolling motion.
After the decking was replaced over the gaping holes left by the removal of the mud tanks, the contractors were able to begin construction on Paladin's cavernous hangar. Sixty feet long, 38 feet wide, and 16 feet high, the hangar can provide dry stowage for a number of watertoys, autos, and tenders, with room left for a small chopper. Pad eyes provide sturdy tie-down points, and spotlights along the gunwales allow for nighttime launchings and retrievals. On Paladin, this area also provides access to the all-stainless steel galley and crew's quarters as well as the restaurant-size, walk-in freezer and two staterooms, which while spartan are meant to be back-ups to the megayacht. "Say you have a guest who stays too long, or you need more room for guests," Antrim says, noting that the extra space is just a short dinghy or chopper ride away.
Antrim compares these vessels to a Swiss Army knife: "They have many features, serve a utilitarian purpose, and are meant to require less care than the mega-yachts they are serving." They are also nearly infinitely adaptable, as the OSV platform provides a blank canvas on which clients can design and equip the vessel of their choice. For example, the company’s nearly completed next shadow boat, Mystere Shadow, will have a large, glassed-in observation deck forward of the helipad. And since these vessels have a proven design-to-launch timeframe of around six months, a 12,000-mile range, and proven offshore capability, some megayacht owners may now actually be purchasing a megayacht to complement their completed shadow boats.
This article originally appeared in the February 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.