Yacht: History of a Pirate Hunter

According to the American Sailing Association, yacht originates from the Dutch word jacht which means “hunt”. Dating back to the 14th century, merchant boats were equipped with small, fast vessels that were deployed when the larger boats needed to chase down threats such as smugglers, pirates, and other criminals. The merchants then began a tradition of taking these smaller vessels out to meet ships that were returning to their fleets. It soon became fashionable to bring friends and relatives on these celebratory occasions which gave rise to the use of a yacht exclusively for the pleasure of its owner.

What Makes a Boat a Yacht?

It is immediately apparent that a yacht is more than just a boat. The yacht has the capability of being a fishing boat but does not appear as utilitarian. It is also capable of saving people lost at sea, but looks less like a Coast Guard Cutter and more like a luxury liner. A yacht is designed so that its inhabitants hardly notice that they are out in the ocean instead of on dry ground. Opulently decorated and exclusive by design, yachts have taken sea travel to another level. Writing for Business Insider in 2015, Madeline Stone reported that the cheapest yacht, a 60-foot vessel, was listed for sale at a cost of over $200,000 dollars. At the high end of the market, the asking price for used yachts in 2015 was $82 million dollars. That was the asking price of the yacht “Imagine”, which was a 213-foot behemoth. In today’s market, yachts comparable in size have a price range closer to $600,000 for smaller vessels of 13 to 16 meters (e.g. “Blue” and “Odin II”), to just over $95,000,000 for those over 71 meters, such as “Planet Nine”. Depending on your preference and navigational capabilities, yachts are available in two distinct flavors:

  1. Motoring Yachts
  2. Sailing Yachts

Motoring yachts are not as restricted by sailing requirements which allows them to be built larger and utilize more flexible design configurations than sailing yachts. The extra size motored yachts can achieve enables more elaborate amenities to be incorporated into their exterior designs. They are built for form over function. Motoring yachts appeal to clientele whose primary goal is relaxing when they are out on the open water. Sailing yachts, on the other hand, are just the opposite. Built for function before form, these yachts are for dedicated, knowledgeable sailors. Sailing requirements, like a lean of over 35 degrees, restricts the exterior design and ornamentation of these large vessels. Interior spaciousness and luxury between the two is much the same albeit slightly more streamlined on the sailing yacht. Owners of sailing yachts typically spend months at sea whereas the typical owner of a motoring yacht will have it in open water for shorter time spans and will stay primarily in coastal waters. 

Modern Amenities Found on the Typical Yacht

  • Hot tubs
  • Swimming pools
  • Fitness gym
  • Sauna
  • Dynamic positioning
  • Staterooms
  • Air scoops
  • Air Conditioning
  • Heaters
  • Sun pad
  • Luxury interior materials such as teak walls are common.
  • Fully equipped cooking and sanitation facilities.

Yachts, Sailing, and Regattas

As the yacht became more widely available, so did the need for owners to prove their boat was the best. In 1851 the 101-foot yacht “America” challenged England’s fastest schooners to a race. Toward the end of summer that year the “America” took part in an annual race against yachts that belonged to the Royal Yacht Squadron. According to the American Sailing Association, it was a 98-kilometer race around the Isle of Wight called the “Hundred Guinea Cup”. “America” carried the day. In honor of her victory, the race was later renamed the “America’s Cup”. Whether you’re a fisherman, sailor, or just out to relax, you can find your niche on one of these luxurious vessels.