Spring 2004 Issue


How a 10-foot Tender Launched an Entire Boat Company 10 Years Ago

By Chris Burk

In 1994, Roger Dunshee and his wife both retired for several years, were cruising the Bahamas in their 37-foot Tayana sailboat. One typical evening turned out to be not-so-typical as they were stepping into their tender headed out for dinner. For the 14th time in as many days, his wife complained about how unstable and wet the little boat was. She asked, “How come you can’t build a better tender?” Dunshee’s response was classic to his inventive and curious personality. He thought about it for a few minutes and retorted “I CAN!”

Immediately, he began researching why his little boat was so unstable and invariably splashed them all the way to dinner and back every night. He came across the catamaran-style hull or “cat” and began tinkering with it.

Within a matter of several months and after researching many of the cats on the market, Dunshee commissioned a small catamaran tender to be built to his exacting specifications.

That original 10-footer was designed so well that Dunshee’s cruising buddies immediately wanted one, and another, then another, then an-other.

Dunshee then launched an 8- and 14-foot model to accommodate his growing list of existing and new friends and, suddenly, discovered he was no longer retired!

As it turns out, Dunshee’s very determined “I CAN” exclamation that evening was the ignition for an entire boat company; 10 years later, Twin Vee, Inc. is the largest builder of power catamarans in North America with 9 different sizes in 16 different models ranging from 10 to 36 feet.

This past month at the Miami International Boat Show, Twin Vee introduced a new flagship to its line: the 36-foot Twin Vee Ocean Cat 3612. One prominent boating editor labeled it ‘The best riding 36-foot boat on the water.”

Although the 8-footer is no longer available, Twin Vee keeps the 10-footer around because the company comes from the cruising world. The company knows it is The Perfect Tender and knows firsthand how badly cruisers need this boat.

The proper tender will allow the cruiser to anchor his big boat in the good anchorages. Then, he will use the tender to make a safe crossing to town or to visit nearby dive locations, sites by water, and other boaters.

One of the most important decisions many cruisers make is the type of ‘cruising boat’ to live aboard and many are choosing catamarans. Another critical decision is the type of tender to service this home away from home. The tender can make the cruising experience delightfully wonderful or completely miserable because so much of your life, as a cruiser, revolves around the tender.

The tender serves as your taxi as well as your daily station wagon, carting you and your loved ones from place to place. It moves groceries, friends, supplies and even your laundry. Very importantly, it also makes a great lifeboat

There are a number of items to look for in an ideal tender. First, it must provide a dry, soft ride. It should also be fuel-efficient, as fuel is sometimes hard to come by. Tow-ability is also important. The tender’s efficient hull should tow straight and keep drag to a minimum. Also, it should be equipped with duel towing eyes and the ability for easy lifting onto davits.

Very importantly, the rubrail should be a soft material with a foam center so it does not mark the topsides of your larger vessel, ship, or anything else for that matter.

The 10-foot Perfect Tender by Twin Vee meets these requirement and then some. It was designed with safety in mind as it has a foam-filled, self-bailing hull and comes with a limited lifetime hull warranty. The rubrail is THE rubrail all cruisers want, made with a foam core and soft nylon-webbing exterior. The efficient hull keeps sailboat drag under a knot. In addition, its efficient hull will allow the tender to scoot along at 23 MPH with two adults in the boat.

The 10-foot Perfect Tender by Twin Vee has, no doubt, served more purposes than first anticipated. In fact, one customer purchased it specifically to do his laundry: the Starboard sponson serves as the ‘wash’ and the Port sponson serves as the ‘rinse.’

The 10-foot Perfect Tender by Twin Vee appears to have all the requirements true cruisers need in a tender.

No wonder such a capable 10-foot boat was the beginning of a remarkably successful catamaran boat company started only 10 years ago.


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