The Cabin Cruiser is the Perfect Boat for Vacations on the Water

The cabin cruiser is usually 25 feet to 44 feet in length, with a head (latrine), small galley and sleeping quarters.

It’s the ideal family boat for fishing, cruising and relaxing on coastal waters, a river or lake. The cabin cruiser, as its name suggests, has a cabin below deck to allow passengers the ability to stay at sea for prolonged periods.

The cruiser may also have a steering station with instruments in the cabin and on deck.

Smaller cabin cruisers can be towed or may remain at a marina. Many people take their cabin cruisers on the water during the spring and later on, in the late fall. The boat can be stored in a garage or storage facility when it isn’t in use.

Cabin cruisers have outboard or inboard engines, depending on their size and design. The engines can be powered by either diesel or gasoline. Larger cabin cruisers may have at least two inboard or outboard engines. Meanwhile, express or fast-cruising vessels must often utilize more than two outboard engines for power.

The vessel’s draft, the area below the waterline, can be anywhere from two to four feet in length. This component of the vessel allows it to cruise most inland waterways. Meanwhile, the cabin cruiser that doesn’t have a high flybridge can travel under bridges on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).

Cabin Layout

There are as many layouts for cabin cruisers as there are boat manufacturers! The layout will also depend on the size of the vessel. The larger cabin cruisers will have a galley with a full-sized propane stove, refrigerator and bathroom (with a shower and even a bathtub). Some have air conditioning and heating in the cabin area. Many people say that the cabin cruiser is comparable to a motorhome on the water.

The V-berth is the most forward part of the cabin and will usually sleep one or two people. It can also be used for storage. The center part of the boat, the main salon, generally has a table and settee. The table can be folded down to create a platform for a bed. You can lay out plush cushions on the table to act as a bed for one or two passengers. Larger cabin cruisers in the 38+ feet range often have a main salon that’s separate from the dining area.

Most cruisers have a toilet with a holding tank and at least one sink connected to a water tank. There may also be a water heater on board. The galley usually has a stove on gimbals so that the stove remains stationary while the boat is moving.

The cabin interior is designed for comfort and convenience in accordance with the needs of the owner. In all, the versatility of the cabin cruiser enables families to live comfortably on board while sailing the seas.

On Deck

The deck of the cabin cruiser usually has a partially covered cockpit area for the steering controls and instrument panel. It may also have an upper deck or flybridge that gives the captain and crew a good view of the surrounding waters. The captain may be able to steer the boat from the flybridge, as well.

Meanwhile, the stern may have a swim platform with a ladder. The swim platform allows passengers to get on or off the boat to enjoy a variety of water sports. A small dinghy can be boarded from the swim platform. Certain deck elements, such as mounted seats and outriggers, can also be a versatile addition for people who fish from the stern area.

The aft deck of a cabin cruiser can have cushioned seats for family members or guests. This area is usually enclosed for the safety of the passengers.

Cabin cruisers and larger yachts were traditionally made from mahogany, teak and other hardwoods. They were often varnished and stained to create aesthetically pleasing vessels. The interiors were also decorated with these fine woods. Cabin cruisers today are usually made from fiberglass that’s lighter and easier to maintain. Meanwhile, towable cruisers come with trailers and are easy to launch to sea.

If this post has piqued your interest in cabin cruisers, check out the many vessels offered for sale online. Before you sail, take a boat safety class. Finally, take your cabin cruiser out onto the sea to enjoy wonderful weekends with your family and friends. 

Motor Yachts: A Way to Share a Love of the Water

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

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

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!

The History of the Mighty Fully-Rigged Pinnace

Imagine a mighty pirate ship on the open sea. If the image of large sails, mighty masts and huge cannons come to mind, you’re thinking of a fully-rigged pinnace.

In truth, the vessel itself could be a European warship prepared for open-sea battles or a ship’s boat used by settlers to scout out a foreign land.

The Origin of the Pinnace

The fully-rigged pinnace was a 16th-century vessel used as a Northern European warship, merchant vessel or privateer ship. The name comes from the Spanish word for “pine,” which was the type of wood used to build these hardy ships. That said, the design of the ship varied, depending on its main function. Interestingly, the definition of a pinnace can change, as well, depending on the time period in which it sailed.

Arguably one of the most famous pirate ships in history, the Queen Anne’s , is the ultimate example of a fully-rigged ship in action! This mighty vessel, stolen by the infamous pirate Blackbeard in 1717, is believed to have originated as a slave-trading merchant vessel from France.

The 200-ton ship carried more than 30 cannons, packing a fierce punch in the hands of a vicious privateer like Blackbeard.

Types of Pinnaces

The typical definition of a multi-ton, fully-rigged pinnace is that of a craft with two to three masts sporting large, squared sails. It typically looks much like the classic pirate ship in many seafaring stories.

This type of warship carried a significant number of weapons for defense purposes, usually from 18 to 40 guns or cannons at a time. The aftcastle (front part of the ship) sometimes bore intricate carvings or decorative elements and often served as the captain’s private study. The fully-rigged pinnace is considered the predecessor of the 17th-century frigate, a fully-armed, fast-sailing warship that dominated the Age of Sail (1570-1862).

Smaller pinnaces, sometimes referred to as “ship’s boats,” were scaled-down, oared companion ships that were launched independently of the larger ship. They were used to transport personnel or supplies to shore. The size and capabilities of this type of pinnace depended on the size of the warship that carried it. It was also usually equipped with a small sail and up to 16 oars.

The Kalmar Nyckel

One notable fully-rigged pinnace was the Dutch-made Kalmar Nyckel. This armed merchant ship carried Swedish settlers to America in the 17th century to settle New Sweden and Fort Christina in what is now known as Wilmington, Delaware.

Touted as the only colonial vessel to make several successful round trips, this famous pinnace served as a courier and transport for the Swedish Navy when not in regular use.

There is a modern version of the famous Kalmar Nyckel on display in Delaware that’s available for tours! This massive, true-to-history recreation of the vessel was built in 1997 and is open to the public as a tribute to the original ship.

In the summer, this modern facsimile of the Kalmar Nyckel takes daily voyages between its homeport in Wilmington and secondary port in Lewes. Operated exclusively by volunteers, the 300-person crew sails in excess of 3,000 miles a year! Whether you’re a history buff or a sea-faring enthusiast (or both), the modern Kalmar Nyckel will satisfy your nautical curiosity and thirst for adventure.