When we hear the word “yacht,” the image that pops up is often that of a luxury vessel.
We see shiny white vessels moving through pristine blue waters, with tanned passengers sipping cocktails on the deck.
But, wait! Not all yachts are luxury yachts. In fact, a motor yacht is any watercraft that’s between 23 and 80 feet in length, powered by one or more motors. In today’s market, motor yachts are divided into several types, based on the number of available amenities on board. You’ll find yachts with sparse amenities (such as day cruisers) or luxury yachts that can serve as your home away from home.
History of Motor Yachts
The word “yacht” comes from the Dutch word jacht meaning “to hunt.” The term traditionally referred to light and fast-sailing ships used to flag down slower-moving craft (think pirate ships). According to legend, Charles II of England was given a yacht when he was restored to the English throne in 1660. Charles used the vessel as a pleasure craft, which is how the yacht earned its reputation for leisure.
Before the late 19th century, the term “yacht” referred to a sailing vessel. It wasn’t until Gottlieb Daimler designed an internal combustion engine that the idea of a motorized yacht materialized. That said, motorized boating didn’t take off until the development of motorized automobiles.
Originally, boat motors were adapted from automobile motors. By 1910, outboard motors were being designed for boats. The portability of outboard motors made boating a more economical pastime. Meanwhile, boat design evolutions and other technological advances led to significant growth in the motorized yacht market in the 20th century.
Today, motor yachts fit into the following categories:
So, which yacht is right for you? The answer will depend upon your chosen destination and the length of your cruise.
Day cruisers are pretty self-explanatory: these are boats to take out for a day on the water. They are more than 23 feet long and have few amenities associated with those on luxury yachts. Day cruisers usually don’t have galleys or heads (latrines), so overnighting would be inconvenient, to say the least. However, they are a cost-effective choice for a day on the water.
Cabin Cruiser or Weekenders
Cabin cruisers or Weekenders are designed for short excursions, usually not more than two or three days. A Weekender is under 30 feet long and has a head and galley for overnighting on board. The cabin space is limited, but this type of cruiser can usually sleep at least four people.
These smaller yachts are ideal for a weekend getaway. They also typically have swim platforms with ladders for easy re-boarding after a quick swim. Weekenders may also have sun pads for sunbathing and relaxing.
Cruising Motor Yachts
Cruising motor yachts are equipped for more extended periods at sea. They may have one or more staterooms. If the vessel has a single stateroom, cabins provide added sleeping space. A galley and head are available to make overnighting more comfortable. Yachts under 40 feet can be operated without a crew, so you can easily take family members or friends on a week-long cruise.
Sportfishing Motor Yachts
Sportfishing motor yachts are vessels that share the comforts of a cruising yacht but are equipped with fishing equipment. They have sleeping quarters, a head and galley. The fishing equipment takes up most of the deck space on this type of cruiser. You’ll certainly enjoy plenty of sun, as you wait for that marlin or tuna. Below deck, you can relax and share fishing tales at the end of the day.
Luxury yachts are over 40 feet long but under 80 or 90 feet in length. Most luxury yachts require a crew, depending on the size of the yacht. These vessels usually have several staterooms or cabins, with at least one head and one galley on board. Most luxury yachts have a living area, which is the primary social space below deck. A second social area can be found in the dining or lounging area. Some luxury yachts also have an outside steering station or “helm.”
Luxury yachts are a home away from home, and many are customized for such a purpose. Whether you’re looking for a day cruiser or a vessel you can live in for months at a time, a yacht can make your dreams come true!