This year’s Monaco Yacht Show witnessed the public debut of the latest edition to the ROAM range of adventure tenders designed from the keel up for the superyacht explorer market. Richard Johnstone-Bryden was invited on board to take a closer look …
The ROAM brand was given a soft launch last year by its founders, Superyacht Tenders and Toys (SYTT) and Argo Navis. SYTT were founded by Josh and Claire Richardson about 12 years ago to source and manage the build of luxury tenders on behalf of superyacht owners and their representatives. Over the years, they have sold and project-managed the construction of hundreds of tenders ranging in size from 15.24m (50ft) chase boats to 3.5m (11ft 6in) RIBs. Operating from offices in the UK and Monaco, SYTT are typically involved in the construction of over 50 tenders a year, split between several manufacturers. As a result of this experience, they encountered a lot of similar problems and tried to highlight them to the various companies that they regularly dealt with. Some of the boatbuilding businesses managed to address these issues, but the Richardsons gradually came to the conclusion that they, and their team, could harness their extensive experience to tackle many of these issues more effectively themselves. This ultimately led to the creation of the ROAM brand in partnership with the Serbia-based company Argo Navis, which employs 130 people, including 38 naval architects, and now builds the majority of ROAM’s boats. The two companies have worked well together for several years, and the joint venture proved to be a natural progression in their working relationship. They have developed a range of designs under the ROAM banner, including a 5.5m inflatable landing craft, RIBs up to 16m, a 14m catamaran tender, a 10m limousine and the 24m ROAM Shadow yacht support vessel, which they describe as the ultimate toy carrier.
As one of the smaller members of the range, the new ROAM 8 is an 8m (26ft) D RIB with an aluminium hull and PEH30 foam-filled collar coated with polyurea. Aluminium was chosen for the hull to allow the dimensions of future boats to be easily tailored to an owner’s precise requirements without incurring the additional expense and lead times required to produce new mould tools. It also avoids the use of toxic resins and non-recyclable composites, which is an increasingly important consideration due to the greater focus on the issue of sustainability within the superyacht industry as a whole.
The ROAM 8’s refined yet robust appearance hints at the contrasting requirements for a typical superyacht tender. On the one hand, it must look as smart as its mother ship, which is why all of the ROAM 8’s painted surfaces have been finished to superyacht standards using the Awlgrip system. This has been complemented by non-slip Esthec biscuit decking, with an engraved pattern to replicate the look of a traditional teak deck, and Spradling upholstery. On the other hand, its structure, fittings and equipment must be capable of standing up to eight hours’ use every day in a broad range of conditions, which is reflected in the ROAM 8’s CE category rating of B. It also has to have a set of lifting points that will stand up to the RIB’s frequent launching and recovery – potentially several times a day. Unsurprisingly, these requirements drive up the price of such craft compared to those RIBs developed for the leisure market.
The ROAM within
The adoption of a D RIB design maximises the ROAM 8’s interior volume and storage. It has been designed to be equally suitable for either an inboard or outboard engine, with the final choice influencing the layout of the customisable seating arrangement. The example in Monaco was fitted with an inboard Yanmar 8LV370 370hp diesel engine coupled to a sterndrive with two stainless steel counterrotating propellers, which enables it to reach a top speed of 40 knots. The engine hatch can be raised by pressing a button on the console, and it provides good all-round access to the engine for routine maintenance. This choice of propulsion allowed the adoption of a seating plan consisting of bench seats up in the bow and ahead of the console, two bolster seats for the helmsman and crew, a third bench seat and a good-size sun pad on top of the engine hatch. The relatively high sides of the hull and raised bulwarks at the bow provide a nice enclosed feeling for the passengers and help to keep them dry while underway. The robust-looking powder-coated black aluminium handrails provide added reassurance for those moving fore and aft along the wide decks either side of the console and central seating.
To bring the ROAM 8’s air draught below 2m to fit within a typical superyacht garage, it has a folding T-top. The console’s helm position is well laid out, and everything is within easy reach. Its equipment includes a Simrad GO9 9in multifunction display, Simrad RS40-B VHF radio, wireless phone charger and even a couple of cup holders. The console’s two comfortable seats have flip-up bolster cushions that enable the helmsman and crew to either stand or sit as they wish, while the Plexiglass windshield offers a good level of protection from the elements. These seats and the bench seat immediately aft are mounted on top of useful storage lockers.
Supporting water sports is a core part of the ROAM 8’s design. Her open transom and bathing platform, with its retractable stainless steel boarding ladder, make it very easy for those wanting to swim, dive, paddleboard or use a kayak, and get in or out of the water. The stainless steel pole at the stern enables the ROAM 8 to be used for the full range of ‘towable fun’, including waterskiing and wakeboarding. The GRP T-top’s powder-coated black aluminium roof rack is capable of carrying a paddleboard or kayak, while the options list includes a removable bow ladder, Seabob storage under the bow seating and racks capable of storing up to four dive tanks each side – features that led to ROAM describing the RIB as the ultimate compact toy carrier.
The ROAM 8 combines a high standard of finish with an abundance of practical features required for the variety of roles that it will be called upon to perform, from running guests ashore to exploring secluded bays and facilitating a variety of water sports. Circumstances prevented a run-out into Hercules Bay to get a real feel for the ROAM 8’s characteristics at sea during the Monaco Yacht Show, but Josh Richardson did manage to slip out for a few photos off the pontoons. During the show, Port Hercules was more like Piccadilly Circus due to the never-ending stream of launches retrieving or dropping off guests from the pontoons. In the course of trying to find a clear window in between all of the other boats for the photos, Josh proved that the ROAM 8 can be easily handled in the congested waters of a busy marina with pinpoint accuracy, thanks in part to the occasional brief blast of the 2.2kW Lewmar TT 140 bow thruster, while heading back astern into her stern-on mooring seemed equally effortless.
Prices for the ROAM 8 start at €295,000 (exc. VAT). Future ROAM 8s can be fully customised to an owner’s precise requirements, and the existing list of options includes different types of decking, a JL Audio marine audio system, an electric windlass with remote control, a shower on the transom with 100L tank and a YETI cooler space with drainage.
- Length overall: 8m (26ft)
- Max. beam: 3m (9ft 10in)
- Static draught: 0.55m (1ft 10in)
- Deadrise: 20 deg
- Engine: 1 x Yanmar 8LV370Z 370hp diesel engine with DPI drive
- Weight with engines (dry): 3000kg
- Fuel capacity: 400L
- Max. speed: 40 knots
- Cruising speed: 26 knots
- Seating capacity: 6 guests and 2 crew
- CE category: B
- Starts at €295,000 (exc. VAT)
- UK office: +44 (0) 238 001 6363
- Monaco office: +377 999 06298
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org