Zar Formenti ZF0 ZF3 sea trial in Miami
9 mins read

24-knot maximum speed, surfing in 6 seconds at 9 knots. What these data have to do with a tender? At first sight nothing, especially is we only focus on a classic concept of tender: a slow support vessel, exclusively conceived for short boat-land transfers.
But if we broaden our mind to a new vision going beyond the classic concept of a small boat used to serve larger vessels, it’s easy for us to intercept a completely different idea of tender that has led Zar Formenti boatyard to build the Zf0 and the Zf3.
Measuring 3.05 x 1.80 m and 3.95 x 2.6 m respectively, both are luxury tenders with excellent sailing performances. And not only in terms of speed ( if the ZF0 almost reaches 25 knots, the ZF3 sails at 30 knots at maximum rpm speed) but, above all, in terms of stability, which is an essential characteristic even for a support vessel which aims to be used even in short-distance navigation.

Zar Formenti ZF3 navigazione prova Miami
The ZF3 starts to surf

We tested them in Pompano Beam, about 50 km north of Miami, under very variable ocean conditions and a wave of about half a metre that gradually weakened during the day.
The ZF0 is the entry level model of the Zar Formenti tender range. And she will certainly remain so because it actually seems difficult to be able to create something smaller with the typical features of Zar boats, especially in terms of hull.
After all, a common element that unites the two tenders is the capacity to embody all the key elements of Zar Formenti creations together with a design able to give a very strong identity to both models. In all the current ranges and even on larger models, lines seem to break near corners but instead find an harmonious way to link up with each other while the deep “V” hull and lateral tunnels ensure great power and stability while sailing. For both the ZF0 and the ZF3, the shipyard has preserved the same design approach: the forward tubular and the transom have been moved back to the stern in order to make the most of waterline length while detail-oriented solutions have been adopted on the deck for the best comfort and functionality on board the two tenders.

Zar Formenti  ZF0 prova in mare Miami
The ZF0, too, has a deep V-hull and side tunnels

The ZF0 offers considerable stowage volumes thanks to an anchor locker, three forward storage compartments (one is positioned on the left and other two ones are in the pilot station) and an aft locker. The same layout characterizes the Zf3, where, in addition to the anchor locker, the bow also houses an additional storage compartment where to stow tools and equipment.
In both tenders, the drive console hosts a seat which can accommodate the pilot and a passenger. The ZF0 has four seats: two behind the drive console, one next to the latter and another one positioned on the left.
On the other hand, the Zf3 can host up to 7 passengers thanks to the same arrangement in terms of console and lateral seats than the smaller model and the implementation of three additional seats obtained from those in the bow triangle.
ZF3 – Sea trial
When we start to test the ZF3, we have just landed from the Zar 49 SL. They are two completely different planets, it’s true. However, their similitudes are singularly impressive. We are not just talking about design, so highly distinctive on all Zar Formenti boats, but about performances, too.
Zar Formenti  ZF3 prova in mare Miami

Powered by a Suzuki 60 Hp engine, it’s not hard to image the easy handling and excellent speed of this Zf3. However, what really astonishes is the stability she manages to offer at that speed, considering her size and lightness (just about 300 Kg).
On the high seas, we still find about 50 centimetres of wave that, on board the 49 SL,  haven’t bothered us. On the Zf3, differences in stability holding are perceivable only sailing in a following sea, when the helm is required to hold the course reactively.
Sailing on a head sea, on the contrary, we appreciate the pilot’s seat where the adjustable steering wheel makes us feel well-protected even at high speed. We try to reach 4,500 rpm and, with neutral trim, we sail at 17 knots. We then try to add some negative degrees on the trim even though waves are so steep they doen’t allow us to move to the head. Not much is needed to gain other two knots. Progression is continuous and we finally reach 30 knots (maybe, a little risky under those sea conditions). The boat immediately starts to surf: with negative trim and full throttle, the Zf3 surfs in 3 seconds at 7.6 knots.
ZF0 – Sea trial
While steering the ZF0 we get the feeling that we haven’t changed tender. In fact, at first, the throttle seems to be perfectly placed and more user-friendly than on the larger model. In proportion, feelings are the same and the hull design produces the same effects on stability than on ribs and the larger model. Zar Formenti  ZF0 prova in mare navigazione
The smallest “member” of the Zar family, too, shows its teeth and, at full throttle, reaches 5,700 engine rpm and 24-knot speed. Surfing is a little harder condition. With two passengers sat on the stern and, above all, sailing against a 15-knot wind, the boat starts to surf with difficulty. But by moving load towards the centre, the ZF0 surfs in 6 seconds at 9 knots. The conditions under which we tested the two tenders are not those of a normal use. A test carried out on a 3-metre long boat sailing at 24 knots on high seas doesn’t indicate a normal use. Nevertheless, we can say that tenders like this allow to cover additional end use offering, when necessary, the possibility of very fast transfers even beyond the sheltered waters of an anchoring post. In practice, hull quality, power and easy handling are, in the case of the ZF0 and the ZF3 tenders, synonymous with versatility and safety.

Zar Formenti zf3 zf0 navigazione
On the left, the Zf3; on the right, the ZF0 while sailing

Conditions of the test. The sea trial of the two tenders was carried out opposite the coastline of Pompano Beach, Miami, with two passengers on board, 15-knot wind and 50-centimentre waves.

SF0 Suzuki 30 Hp engines

rpm Speed (Kn)
2,500 5.0
3,000 6.5
3,500 7.1
4,000 10.5
4,500 17.0
5,000 21.0
5,700 24.0

ZF0: Technical specifications

Length Overall 3.05 m
Width 1.80 m
Unladen displacement 185 kg
Seating Capacity 4
Engine Suzuki 30 Hp
CE Certification C design category

ZF3 Suzuki 60 Hp

rpm Speed (Kn)
3,000 6.5
3,500 15.0
4,000 19.0
4,500 23.0
5,000 28.0
5,800 30.0

ZF3: Technical specifications

Length Overall 3.95 m
Larghezza 2.05 m
Unladen displacement 290 kg
Seating Capacity 7
Engine Suzuki 60 Hp
CE Certification C design category

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