A yacht is a recreational boat or ship. The term originated from the Dutch Jacht meaning "hunt". It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries. After its selection by Charles II of England as the vessel of choice to return to Britain from Holland for his restoration, it came to be used to mean a vessel used to convey important persons.
In modern use the term designates two rather different classes of watercraft, sailing and power boats. Yachts are different from working ships mainly by their leisure purpose, and it was not until the rise of the steamboat and other types of powerboat that sailing vessels in general came to be perceived as luxury, or recreational vessels. Later the term came to encompass motor boats for primarily private pleasure purposes as well.
Yacht lengths generally range from 8 metres (26 ft) up to dozens of metres (hundreds of feet). A luxury craft smaller than 12 metres (39 ft) is more commonly called a cabin cruiser or simply "cruisers." A mega yacht generally refers to any yacht (sail or power) above 30 m (98 ft) and a super yacht generally refers to any yacht over 60 metres (197 ft). This size is small in relation to typical cruise liners and oil tankers.
Yacht was originally defined as a light, fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the low countries. They were also used for non-military governmental roles such as customs duties and delivering pilots to waiting ships. The latter use attracted the attention of wealthy Dutch merchants who began to build private yachts so they could be taken out to greet their returning ships. Soon wealthy individuals began to use their 'jachts' for pleasure trips. By the start of the 17th century 'jachts' came in two broad categories - speel-jachts for sport and oorlog-jachts for naval duties. By the middle of the century large 'jacht' fleets were found around the Dutch coast and the Dutch states organised large 'reviews' of private and war yachts for special occasions, thus putting in place the groundwork for the modern sport of yachting. Jachts of this period varied greatly in size, from around 12 m (39 ft) in length to being equal to the lower classes of the ship of the line. All had a form of fore/aft gaff rig with a flat bottom and lee boards to allow operations in shallow waters. The gaff rig remained the principal rig found on small European yachts for centuries until giving way to the 'Bermudan sloop' rig in the 1960s.
Charles II of England spent part of his time in exile during the period of the Commonwealth of England in the Netherlands and became keen on sailing. He returned to England in 1660 aboard a Dutch yacht. During his reign Charles commissioned 24 Royal Yachts on top of the two presented to him by Dutch states on his restoration. As the fashion for yachting spread throughout the English aristocracy, yacht races began to become common. Other rich individuals in Europe built yachts as the sport spread. Yachting therefore became a purely recreational form of sailing with no commercial or military function (see, for example, the Cox & King yachts at the beginning of the 20th Century), which still serves a broad definition of both the sport and of the vessel.
Some countries have a special flag worn by recreational boats or ships that indicates the nationality of the vessel. Although inspired in the National flag, the yacht ensign is not always corresponding with the civil or merchant ensign of the state in question. The US yacht ensign for example, has a circle of 13 stars and a fouled anchor in the canton instead of the 50 stars, being quite different from the the [Ensign of the US, which is the flag of the United States.
Yacht ensigns differ from merchant ensigns in order to signal that the yacht is not carrying cargo that requires a customs declaration. Carrying commercial cargo on a boat with a yacht ensign is deemed to be smuggling in many jurisdictions.
Construction materials and techniques Edit
Until the 1950s, almost all yachts were made of wood or steel, but a much wider range of materials is used today. Although wood hulls are still in production, the most common construction material is fibreglass, followed by aluminium, steel, carbon fibre, and ferrocement (rarer because of insurance difficulties). The use of wood has changed and is no longer limited to traditional board-based methods, but also include modern products such as plywood, veneers, skinned balsa and epoxy resins. Wood is mostly used by hobbyists or wooden boat purists when building an individual boat. Apart from 'space-age' materials like carbon fibre and aramid fibre, spruce veneers laminated with epoxy resins have the best weight-to-strength ratio of all boatbuilding materials.Template:Cn Many classes of small racing dinghies can only be built in wood to conform to class rules.
Sailing yachts can range in overall length (Length Over All—LOA) from about 6 metres (20 ft) to well over 30 metres (98 ft), where the distinction between a yacht and a ship becomes blurred. Most privately owned yachts fall in the range of about 7 metres (23 ft)-14 metres (46 ft); the cost of building and keeping a yacht rises quickly as length increases. In the United States, sailors tend to refer to smaller yachts as sailboats, while referring to the general sport of sailing as yachting. Within the limited context of sailboat racing, a yacht is any sailing vessel taking part in a race, regardless of size.
Day sailing yachts
Day sailing yachts are usually small, at under 6 metres (20 ft) in length. Sometimes called dinghies, they often have a retractable keel, centreboard, or daggerboard. Most day sailing yachts do not have a cabin, as they are designed for hourly or daily use and not for overnight journeys. At best they may have a 'cuddy', where the front part of the hull has a raised solid roof to provide a place to store equipment or to offer basic shelter from wind or spray.
Weekender yachts are slightly larger, at under 9.5 metres (31 ft) in length. They often have twin keels or lifting keels such as in trailer sailers. This allows them to operate in shallow waters, and if needed "dry out"—become beached as the tide falls. The hull shape (or twin-keel layout) allows the boat to sit upright when there is no water. Such boats are designed to undertake short journeys, rarely lasting more than 2 or 3 days (hence their name). In coastal areas, long trips may be undertaken in a series of short hops. Weekenders usually have only a simple cabin, often consisting of a single "saloon" with bedspace for two to three people. Clever use of ergonomics allows space in the saloon for a galley (kitchen), seating, and navigation equipment. There is limited space for stores of water and food. Most are single-masted "Bermuda sloops" (not to be confused with the type of traditional Bermudian ship known as a Bermuda sloop), with a single foresail of the jib or genoa type and a single mainsail (one variation of the aforementioned Bermuda rig). Some are gaff rigged. The smallest of this type, generally called pocket yachts or pocket cruisers, and trailer sailers can be transported on special trailers.
Cruising yachts are by the far the most common yacht in private use, making up most of the 7 metres (23 ft)-14 metres (46 ft) range. These vessels can be quite complex in design, as they need a balance between docile handling qualities, interior space, good light-wind performance and on-board comfort. The huge range of such craft, from dozens of builders worldwide, makes it hard to give a single illustrative description. However, most favour a teardrop-planform hull, with a wide, flat bottom and deep single-fin keel to give good stability. Most are single-masted Bermuda rigged sloops, with a single fore-sail of the jib or Genoa type and a single mainsail. Spinnaker sails, in various sizes, are often supplied for down-wind use. These types are often chosen as family vessels, especially those in the 26 to 40-feet (8 to 12 m) range. Such a vessel will usually have many cabins below deck. Typically there will be three double-berth cabins; a single large saloon with galley, seating and navigation equipment; and a "head" consisting of a toilet and shower-room.
Most large yachts, 16 m (52 ft) and up, are also cruisers, but their design varies greatly as they are often "one off" designs tailored to the specific needs of the buyer. The interior is often finished in wood panelling, with plenty of storage space. Cruisers are quite capable of taking on long-range passages of many thousands of miles. Such boats have a cruising speed upwards of 6 knots. This basic design is typical of the standard types produced by the major yacht-builders.
Luxury sailing yachts These yachts are generally 25 metres (82 ft) or longer. In recent years, these yachts have evolved from fairly simple vessels with basic accommodation into sophisticated and luxurious boats. This is largely due to reduced hull-building costs brought about by the introduction of fibreglass hulls, and increased automation and "production line" techniques for yacht building, especially in Europe.
On the biggest, 130-feet-plus (40 m) luxury yachts, every modern convenience, from air conditioning to television, is found. Sailing yachts of this size are often highly automated with, for example, computer-controlled electric winches controlling the sails. Such complexity requires dedicated power-generation systems. In recent years the amount of electric equipment used on yachts has increased greatly. Even 20 years ago, it was not common for a 25-feet (7 m) yacht to have electric lighting. Now all but the smallest, most basic yachts have electric lighting, radio, and navigation aids such as Global Positioning Systems. Yachts around 10 metres (33 ft) bring in comforts such as hot water, pressurised water systems, and refrigerators. Aids such as radar, echo-sounding and autopilot are common. This means that the auxiliary engine now also performs the vital function of powering an alternator to provide electrical power and to recharge the yacht's batteries. For yachts engaged on long-range cruising, wind-, water- and solar-powered generators can perform the same function.
Racing yachts try to reduce the wetted surface area, which creates drag, by keeping the hull light whilst having a deep and heavy bulb keel, allowing them to support a tall mast with a great sail area. Modern designs tend to have a very wide beam and a flat bottom, to provide buoyancy preventing an excessive heel angle. Speeds of up to 35 knots can be attained in extreme conditions. Dedicated offshore racing yachts sacrifice crew comfort for speed, having basic accommodation to reduce weight. Depending on the type of race, such a yacht may have a crew of 15 or more. Very large inshore racing yachts may have a crew of 30. At the other extreme are "single handed" races, where one person alone must control the yacht.
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.
The motive force being the wind, sailing is more economical and environmentally friendly than any other means of propulsion. A hybrid type of vessel is a motor sailing yacht that can use either sail or propulsion (or both) as conditions dictate.
Many "pure" sailing yachts are also equipped with a low-power internal-combustion engine for use in conditions of calm and when entering or leaving difficult anchorages. Vessels less than 7 metres (23 ft) in length generally carry a petrol outboard-motor of between Template:Convert/kW and Template:Convert/kW. Larger vessels have in-board diesel engines of between Template:Convert/kW and Template:Convert/kW depending on size. In the common 7 metres (23 ft)-14 metres (46 ft) class, engines of 20 to 40 horsepower are the most common. Modern sailing yachts can be equipped with electric inboard motors in order to reduce consumption of fossil fuel. The latest technology are outboard electric pod drives that can also regenerate electricity (motogens). These motogens can be made retractable to increase the efficiency of the yacht. Some of these yachts are extremely efficient and do not need additional diesel generators. This technology is called Green Motion. Tests can be seen and read in the following magazines: Yachting Monthly, November 2010; the German magazine Yacht, January 2011; and the Water kampioen from the Netherlands, May 2011. The Mansura Trophy was awarded for this new propulsion system in May 2011.
Monohull yachts are typically fitted with a fixed keel or a centreboard (adjustable keel) below the waterline to counterbalance the overturning force of wind on the vessel's sails. Multihull yachts use two hulls (catamarans) or three (trimarans) widely separated from each other to provide a stable base that resists overturning and allows for sailing in shallower waters than most keeled monohulls.
Motor yachts Edit
Motor yachts generally fit into the following categories:
- Day cruiser yacht (no cabin, sparse amenities)
- Weekender yacht (one or two basic cabins, basic galley appliances and plumbing)
- Cruising yacht (sufficient amenities to allow for living aboard for extended periods)
- Sport fishing yacht (yacht with living amenities and sporting fishing equipment)
- Luxury yacht (similar to the last three types of yachts, with more luxurious finishings/amenities)
Motor yachts typically have one or two internal combustion engines that burn diesel fuel or gasoline. Depending on engine size, fuel costs may make motor yachts more expensive to operate than sailing yachts.
The shape of a motor yacht's hull may be based on displacement, planing, or in between. Although monohulls have long been the standard in motor yachts, multihulls are gaining in popularity.
- Origin of the yacht
- Fraser, Antonia,"Royal Charles". A number of editions exist.
- Gardiner, R & Lavery, B, "The Line of Battle : The Sailing Warship 1650-1840", 1992 (2004 edition), Conway, ISBN 0-85177-954-9
- Partridge, Eric, "Origins, A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English", Greenwich House, 1983, ISBN 0-517-41425-2
- International Sailing Federation Racing Rules of Sailing