20 Years of Discovering The Joy with Williams Jet Tenders

At Soproyachts, we take immense pride in our partnership with Williams Jet Tenders, a brand that epitomises innovation, craftsmanship, and a remarkable legacy in the world of marine tenders. As Williams Jet Tenders celebrates its 20th anniversary, we reflect on their incredible journey.

In the heart of Oxfordshire, the story of Williams Jet Tenders began with a spark of inspiration. Two brothers, John and Mathew Hornsby, started their working life selling fresh produce, but it was the go-kart they built to sell it from that truly ignited their passion for craftsmanship. This inventive spirit led them to a new venture: building boats. Over four decades later, the Hornsby brothers are still working together, now crafting some of the finest jet tenders in the world.

Their journey into the maritime world started humbly. The first significant creation to emerge from their converted shed was the Tahoe 20, named 'Jade'. With a mahogany hull and decks of mahogany and maple, Jade was powered by a single V8 inboard engine, drawing inspiration from the classic Italian and American runabouts of the 1950s and 60s. This handcrafted beauty made her debut at Henley-on-Thames in 1998, marking the brothers' first appearance at a boat show.

Not long after, Jade was joined by her sister, 'Izana,' a 33-footer with twin V8s and a modern hull designed by award-winning naval designer Tony Castro. Izana’s design echoed the classic Italian lake boats of the 1960s but with contemporary engineering, showcasing the Hornsby brothers' ability to blend tradition with innovation.

The dawn of the 21st century brought new opportunities and innovations. In 2002, Williams Jet Tenders introduced the Ski Rib, a fast and nimble tender designed to fit the popular Fairline Targa 43. The Ski Rib’s success was monumental, leading to the production of over 100 units in just two years. On September 10, 2004, Williams Jet Tenders was officially registered as a company, with Roy Parker joining the Hornsby brothers to fuel their ambitions further.

Fuelled by the success of the Ski Rib, Williams Marine evolved into Williams Performance Tenders, launching the groundbreaking TurboJet 325. With its innovative design and powerful 4-stroke Weber engine, the TurboJet 325 revolutionized the market. The TurboJet series expanded to include the 285, 385, and 445 models, catering to yachts ranging from 45ft to 100ft, and production soared to 900 tenders annually.

Fast forward to 2024, and Williams Jet Tenders is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The occasion was marked by an extraordinary and emotional reunion when Jade, their very first hand-built wooden boat, returned to their Oxfordshire factory after 25 years. The pristine condition of Jade was a testament to the enduring quality and craftsmanship that the Hornsby brothers have upheld throughout their journey. "We were both very shocked and absolutely delighted, particularly with how amazing she looked," said Mathew Hornsby. "The standards are exactly the same as when we last saw her, and I remember every single piece of wood, even from 25 years ago."

The anniversary celebration was further enriched by the surprise visit of Mike, Jade’s original owner and the Hornsby brothers' first customer. "The quality is still right up there, and that has been the foundation of our business," commented John Hornsby. "When we built Jade, we were used to that quality, and that’s burnt into the creation of our jet tenders today."

As they took Jade out for a nostalgic spin on the lake, the Hornsby brothers reminisced about their first adventure on the River Thames and the cherished memories of perfecting their woodworking skills alongside their father. "Jade is very different from what Williams Jet Tenders makes today," noted Mathew. "She was a classic mid-engine straight shaft with a single prop – very different from the water propulsion products we produce today. We took inspiration from Riva back then, and now we proudly supply our tenders to Riva."

Today, Williams Jet Tenders is celebrated for its innovative and high-quality water propulsion products, producing more than 1,200 tenders per year. The return of Jade serves as a powerful reminder of the company’s roots and the enduring legacy of craftsmanship and quality that defines Williams Jet Tenders.

Soproyachts is incredibly proud to partner with a brand like Williams Jet Tenders. Their commitment to excellence and innovation resonates with our own values, and we look forward to many more years of shared success. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Williams Jet Tenders on their 20th anniversary and wish them continued success and innovation in the years to come.


Photos courtesy of Williams Jet Tenders