Williams 565 boat test. Can a tender be both practical and exhilarating?
Captains, crew and owners often see jet tenders – in fact most tenders, whether drive, outboard or jet – as enjoyable and useful, but unreliable and potentially dangerous. A combination of high power, fragile components, protruding pieces of hard metal and volatile gasoline brings unwelcome maintenance and handling challenges.
Williams have been developing a new range of dieseljets that eliminate or at least address all those concerns. We were lucky enough to drive a 565 earlier this year at their test facility in the UK (hence the wintery looking photos).
Before even driving the tender, it’s good to know that power is delivered by a 150hp Yanmar 4BY3 diesel (or 180hp for the “S” version). The reliability of these engines is legendary and maintenance is easily covered by Yanmar’s global service network. Once out of warranty, the engines are relatively straightforward to maintain and the easy access on the 565 will be welcomed by yacht crews responsible for keeping them going. There is also the compelling advantage that no gasoline need be stored on board the mothership.
Williams have thought hard about making life easier for crew in other ways. The 565 tubes are designed to be removable in the event of a mishap (although the toughness and quality make that necessity hard to imagine.) To help guests on and off, there are removable boarding poles – rigid vertical poles that provide stability in a chop. Once on the plane, convenient grab handles are everywhere, reducing the driver’s fear of propelling the boss into an unwanted freedive. The central driving position (as opposed to aft) provides great all-round visibility and reassuringly quick access to all parts of the tender.
To crane the 565 up to her dock, the fixing points are accessible and hassle free. There are no protruding fins or props to cause injury or chips in the paint, and once in place the vertical space occupied is reduced by the fold-down windshield.
Any suspicion that this practical machine might be boring is blasted away by a drive. The Yanmar engine, coupled to Williams’ own waterjet, delivers exciting acceleration and performance: a top speed of 36 knots, constant grip and torque from start to sprint and the feeling that there is plenty in reserve for towing skiers. Our driver put the boat in the air off her own wake on a test lake just long enough to reach top speed.
As Williams dealers naturally it is in our interest to rave about this product, but I feel entirely justified in doing so about a boat that offers genuine solutions to a number of problems. In fact everyone we know of that has encountered a 565 has been similarly enthused. That includes boat test journalists, whose tough lot in life it is to travel the world putting boats and yachts through their paces. Have a look for example at Motor Boat and Yachting’s review and youtube movie.
Overall the Williams 565 is a versatile and well balanced product that looks set to be seen darting around the Med and further afield. If you need yours to look different, choose custom tube colours, upholstery, dashboards and sound systems.
Test driving and photos by Gerard Falcó