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Stand-up paddle board, the new yacht tender

Stand-up paddle board yacht tender

Sailing aficionados Candice and Damien live year round in Toulon on their sailboat "Pantaï". He is a telecommunications specialist and she is a vessel traffic controller, and they head out to sea at every opportunity. They share a love of simple pleasures and outdoor activities. Their big plan for 2018 is to sail across the Atlantic. And they wanted to test using inflatable stand-up paddle boards to replace their sailboat's tender. Here is what they had to say.

ON-BOARD INFLATION

The first time using our SUPs was very simple thanks to the YouTube tutorial made by the brand and the user guide written on the carry bags: inflated and ready to use in under 10 minutes.

- Manual inflation: the best thing is to stand at the bow of the boat on the flattest surface you can find.  The last 5 psi are a bit tricky—inflating becomes quite tiring! But certainly not impossible, you just have to switch the pump from double action to single action to reduce the amount of effort required...

- Inflation with an electric pump: with the pump using up to 15A in 12V, we chose to finish the last 5 psi by hand so as not to blow our 10A fuse (we are going to fine-tune the maximum pressure using an ammeter). The electric pump is really a plus because the floor space of a sailboat does not let you position yourself well for manual inflation, and it also gives you a chance to get the rest of your equipment ready while the SUP inflates itself.

Once inflated, launching the SUP couldn't be simpler: just throw it overboard. At anchor, the SUP is tied to the back of the boat by its leash (cleat, stern rail, stanchion, etc.). The SUP is very lightweight and is easily recovered and brought back on board quickly.

SUP sailboat tender
stand up paddle boat

STORAGE ON BOARD

For inshore sailing, we attached our SUPs to each side of the sailboat, making them ready to use almost instantly once the boat is at anchor!

Tip: We used bungee cords as a practical and efficient way to tie up the SUPs. The great benefit of inflatable stand-up paddle boards is that in the event of a collision, there is no risk for the boat or board—it absorbs shocks!

For offshore sailing, the SUP is quick and easy to disassemble, deflate and store in its bag, and the whole lot stows away into the hold. 

Good to know: it is best to choose detachable paddles because they are easy to store in the bag that comes with the stand-up paddle, preventing you from having to attach them to the deck of the boat.

USE FROM THE BOAT

We did all of our trips on the SUPs (return trips to other boats, administrative procedures at the harbor master's office, sightseeing, etc.).

It is very easy to get to grips with and accessible to all. We had never paddled a SUP before but we quickly realized that it was best to stay on your knees until you are away from the boat to avoid falling and hitting the hull.

Each time we went to shore, we left our SUPs on the beach just like you would a yacht tender, or tied to pontoons, with no issues.

Despite the durability of the inflatable SUPs, we remained vigilant when coming alongside (ports, coves, etc.) where the surface is rough (shells, rocks, etc.) so as not to damage them.

Precautions: we rinsed the SUPs and paddles before packing them away to remove salt residue (present in the shafts and fastenings). Doing so keeps them in top condition ready for the next time we use them.

boat stand up paddle
tender boat SUP

WHAT WE THINK ABOUT THESE NEW TENDERS

The ease of launching, the sense of calm (no engine noise coming from the tender), in addition to the added sporty touch, all make the SUP very attractive as a sailboat tender. 

Lastly, discovering SUP as a means of transport and recreation has been a very nice surprise for us! We did not need to launch our tender during our stay in Corsica.

What a pleasure to get to a small deserted cove and have a great view of the underwater world while standing on the board!

As novices, we sometimes chose to kneel down in strong winds to give us more strength and stability when paddling. This proved very effective! This is how we regularly transported cooked dishes and other items to our friends' boats for some great evenings at anchor!

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