Introduction to Yachting

Yachting is a pleasurable sport and recreation usually among the wealthy. It also has a wealth of interesting information and historical tidbits!

  • The history of yachting goes as far as the ancient Egyptian era, where pharaohs were buried close to the beautiful, slender barges which were meant to carry them. These barges feature excellent workmanship and were built in the same manner as their ships that floated in the Nile river.
  • Proof that yachting is quite an old sport is depicted by the poem Catullus 4, by the ancient Latin poet Catullus. (“The yacht you see there, friends/says that she’s been/The fastest piece of timber ever seen;”)
  • The word “Yacht” is derived from the Dutch word jacht which means “hunt.” The Dutch navy used light but fast-sailing vessels to chase down and catch pirates or other trespassers who sailed around and into their maritime boundaries.
  • Yachting had been long used for recreation, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that it also began to be recognized as an international sport. In 1851 the Royal Yacht Squadron (formed in Cowes, England, in 1815) offered the silver trophy for a race around the Isle of Wight. The race, and eventually the trophy, was won by the schooner America from the New York Yacht Club (founded in 1844). The trophy was renamed as America’s Cup and has been known since.
  • This incredible superyacht, called “The Streets of Monaco,” is still a very much under construction as of this writing. The staggering 508-feet yacht replicates several landmarks of Monaco, including the casinos and even famous Grand Prix track! When this project is all done, this gargantuan ultra-luxurious yacht/floating palace could be yours for $1 billion! It’s Monaco wherever you are in the world.

Construction

In the earlier days, yachts were made of wood or steel but today they are made of fibreglass, steel, ferrocement and carbon fibre as well. Yachts made of wood nowadays use plywood, skinned balsa, epoxy resins and veneers which give more strength and weight to the base of the boat.

Yacht lengths vary depending on the type, but in general, they have a range between 33 feet (10 meters) and hundreds of feet (or dozens of meters). Privately owned yachts may fall in between 7-14 metres. Since the cost of yacht increases with its length, many sailors use smaller yachts as sailboats.

Day Sailing Yachts

Also known as dinghies, day sailing yachts are less than 6 meters long and designed for short, hourly trips. These include a centreboard/dagger board and a retractable keel along with a cuddy cabin as a shelter and storage space.

Weekender Yachts

These yachts are larger and longer than day sailing yachts with a length below 9.5 meters. In weekender yachts too there are two kinds, the trailer sailers are ones with twin keels or lifting keels which allow them to sail in shallow waters and can take a 2-3 days journey easily. Weekender yachts are also known for their clever construction and wise use of space giving room for a kitchen, storage of navigation equipment and kitchen

Cabin cruiser

Also known as a “luxury craft” or just a “cruiser,” a cabin cruiser is a powerboat measuring about 25 to 45 feet long. It typically features a toilet (called a “head”), a kitchen (“galley”) and at least one sleeping accommodation (“berth”). Some cruisers have other amenities like an air conditioning system or a heater, or power generators. Newer models of cruisers are certainly faster than the older ones due to enhanced aerodynamic and hydrodynamic designs. The owner may or may not require any professional training to fully operate this boat.

Luxury yacht

Also known as “large yacht,” “mega-yacht” or “super-yacht,” a luxury yacht is definitely bigger than a cabin cruiser, and almost always requires a professional crew to operate it. Luxury yachts usually measure from 120 feet to 200 feet in length, although they can be even bigger. Yachts as big as 300 feet and above are often referred to as “giga-yachts.” They are also quite expensive and only the very wealthy people can afford to own them. 

Racing yachts

Racing yachts have a light hull and deep, heavy keel which makes them sturdy and solid. The modern racing yachts are ideal for surfing as they consist of a wide beam, twin rudders and flat bottom aft. Even in extreme weather conditions, racing yachts can be sailed at a speed of 35 knots and accommodate from 15-30 crew members depending upon the size. Racing yachts are lighter compared to other yachts, thus built for speed. Most of them may almost have bare cabins containing all the gear and safety equipment the sailors or crewmembers need for racing.

Yacht Races

Yacht races may be over a simple course of only a few miles, as in the harbour racing of the International One Design; long-distance, open-ocean races, like the Bermuda Race; or epic trans-global contests such as the Global Challenge, Volvo Ocean Race, Clipper Round the World Race and Mini Transat 6.50.

Famous yachting destinations

Although there are many famous yachting destinations in the world and all have their significance, the Mediterranean is undoubtedly the most beautiful. With a rich cultural heritage, the Mediterranean is divided into the Eastern and Western Mediterranean and both have amazing beaches, coves and comfortable yachting spots.

The second most beautiful and popular yachting destination is The Caribbean with coral atolls, mountainous islands such as St Barts, Anguilla, St Martin, The British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands. The Caribbean is best for sailing during the summer months; between November and July.

To further extend your knowledge on yachting, here are a few reference books:

Yachting Start to Finish: From Beginner to Advanced: The Perfect Guide to Improving Your Yachting Skills 

As its name says, this book is a complete guide to upgrade your yachting skills. It consists of easy-to-follow steps that will help sailors polish their yachting techniques. The best part of this book is its comprehension; detailed yet very easy to understand for beginners and advanced sailors.  From basic principles to preparation, safety rules, understanding the weather, tides and navigation, the book gives knowledge on everything. It’s also very useful in knowing what kind of yacht you must buy and how you must handle the boat. You ask more from a book, and this one will give you advice from expert sailors to be a pro at yachting. A thoroughly informative reading with beautiful photographs and illustrations to keep the reader engrossed.

A New History of Yachting

If more than yachting you are interested in the history of yachting, this book is for you. From times of Elizabethan till today, this book talks about the uses of yachts in olden and modern times, the evolution of yacht clubs and the popularity of yacht races. Covering all important aspects of yachting, the writer Mike Bender the ocean Yachtmaster has managed to keep this book informative and detailed by his extended research backed by evidence and references, making this a credible read.

Conclusion

Yachting will be a lot more interesting when you know how it has evolved all these years. Grab these books and get ready for a whole new world, discovering the ocean through tides and caves.