What Are the Different Types of Yachts? Definition, Meaning and Concept
Yachts are water craft used for pleasure or racing. While more specific criteria have been applied to the term in the past, in recent years the word has been used to describe virtually anything that goes on the water, whether sailed or powered, that is not a boat.
These vessels can range from 15ft (4.5m) to over 100ft (30m), with larger yachts in the 200-500ft (61-152m) range. However, due to the exponential increase in cost as size increases, the vast majority used by private enthusiasts are between 20 and 50 feet (6-15 m) in length. Those used for racing longer than 70 feet (21 m) are often referred to as maxi yachts, although this definition is somewhat loose.
Yachts can be powered exclusively by sail, exclusively by electric or diesel motors, or by a combination of both. They can have one or more hulls, and they can come in a wide variety of materials. The most common sail configuration for modern sailboats is that of a sloop, a ship with a large mast with a mainsail and boom. Sloops are popular due to their superior ability to sail against the wind, making them useful for both amateur sailing and racing. A notable disadvantage of the sloop is its poor ability to sail downwind, and most have a spinnaker added to help in such conditions.
Single hull or monohull yachts are somewhat less stable than their multi-hull cousins and often have an underwater keel to help counteract the boat when it catches the wind in its sails. Multi-hull yachts, such as catamarans and trimarans, are much more stable than monohull vessels, but are still viewed as skeptical by many traditionalists. In general, multihulls are more difficult to tackle because they tend to be much lighter than monohulls. However, they can also move at a much higher speed due to reduced weight.
While yachts were made almost exclusively from wood in the past, the materials revolution in the 1950s has spawned a host of alternative technologies, and wood is now primarily the province of artisan shipowners. Most mass-produced vessels use fiberglass as the primary material for construction, although lightweight metals such as aluminum and titanium also play important roles in manufacturing.
One of the largest manufacturers in the world is Catalina Yachts, which has sold more than 70,000 hulls since its inception in the late 1960s. Almost all of its vessel designs are sloops, and they are built primarily as affordable luxury yachts, that offer more than ample cabin space and ample storage.