Explore the Different Yacht Types photo 1

Explore the Different Yacht Types

A yacht charter is the ultimate private holiday, offering bespoke itineraries, exclusivity and freedom, but do you know what yacht types are right for you?

Travel is all about choices – where to go, what to do and who to spend it with – and on a yacht charter holiday the choice is all yours, but perhaps the biggest choice of all is deciding which yacht types will suit your needs.

When you dream of your perfect yacht charter you probably already have an idea of your must-haves – sun pads on deck, lots of toys in the garage, a Zen-like atmosphere on board or perhaps something more sociable. There are lots of charter yachts to choose from, but there are also lots of types of yachts to choose from.

Sailing yachts are often considered the epitome of the classic yachting experience, travelling the high seas in the traditional way. However, motor yacht charters are more popular and within this category there is a huge range of types – for instance, did you know that explorer yachts can take you pretty much wherever you would like to go, while performance yachts will transport you to your destination in the fastest time?

The main yacht types

Sailing yachts
Suitable for a traditional yachting holiday

For charter guests looking for a more authentic yachting adventure, then sailing yachts are the way to go. It’s the thrill of navigating at the mercy of the elements, with the wind in your hair, that makes sailing yachts appeal to many.

Some guests like to try their hand at sailing themselves and will choose a charter with minimal crew, others like to sit back and admire the timeless craftmanship and the clever way in which these yachts are designed to use the wind and sea to their benefit.

It should come as little surprise that sailing yachts tend to be slower than motor yachts, offering a more leisurely and peaceful cruising experience, but many do also come with a motor and can reach speeds of up to 12 knots. More still are high-performance, designed with regatta racing in mind.

There are far fewer sailing yachts on the charter market than motor yachts, which can make them feel more exclusive and many of the yachts come with tales to tell, from past cup winners to circumnavigators, which adds to the romance.

Of course, within the sailing yachts fold there are lots of other categories: schooners, (yachts built for world cruising, like the Big Blue Yachting-built SATORI), ketch sailing yachts (a two-mast sailing yacht where the second sail is bigger than the mizzen mast), and sloops (simple, single-mast yachts, which are the most common type of sailing yachts). There is often less space on board a sailing yacht, with more space given over to crewing, but some luxury sailing yachts like the 86m Vitters and Oceano-built sailing yacht AQUIJO, offer all the space and amenities you would expect of a large motor yacht.

Explorer yachts
Suitable for guests who want to reach remote places

Sometimes also called expedition yachts, explorer yachts are built for serious, intrepid travellers and are able to cruise to some of the world’s most remote corners – the places that other yachts can’t.

Able to withstand harsh conditions, explorer yachts are often built to Ice-class on robust hulls, with ocean-crossing ranges and come with expert teams, not just in terms of crewing but also diving, marine biology conservation, and adventure sports such as heliskiing. There is lots of space for specialised equipment and yet there is often still room for the level of luxury you’d expect on a large luxury yacht.

On an explorer yacht charter such as the 77m Damen-built LA DATCHA, you can enjoy 40 days of autonomy at sea, watch whales breach in Antarctica from the observation lounge, hop in one of two helicopters to view scenes from above, or even jump in the submersible for underwater exploration like never before.

Meanwhile, the 72.25m Damen Yachting-built yacht GAME CHANGER, with its three-person submersible, six-person custom Airbus helicopter, recompression chamber, numerous tenders and high-tech media equipment, is a yacht with limitless cruising possibilities.

Classic Yachts
Suitable for a nostalgic yachting holiday

These older yachts, usually built between the early 20th century and the 1970s, have stood the test of time and offer a window into a bygone era.

Usually made of wood or steel rather than GRP, each and every classic yacht comes with its own unique story – take for instance, MALAHNE, the 1937 yacht that once assisted in the evacuation of Dunkirk before going on to become one of Hollywood’s most famous yachts, hosting the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra. Today she has been restored to her glamorous Art Deco heyday.

Though the exteriors of classic yachts are often made up of eye-catching classic lines with sympathetically preserved period details, they have usually been retrofitted to ensure strong seagoing capabilities and modern amenities and accommodation, that belie their age.

The 1929 yacht HAIDA, for example, may look like a beautiful museum piece from the outside, but inside, this clipper-bow yacht has many contemporary comforts, including cinemas, a spectacular sun deck with stepped pool and a spa, Hammam and gym on board.

Hybrid Yachts
Suitable for nature cruises and wildlife adventures

With growing concern for the planet and our role in protecting it, these greener yachts, which use a hybrid of electric power and engine power, lessens the impact your yacht charter has on the environment, adopting a more responsible approach to yachting.

With reduced engine noise, these yachts are also suitable for wildlife excursions or anchoring or mooring in quiet nature places, without the engine noise spoiling the sense of calm.

There have been huge waves made in hybrid yachts in the past few years, not least with the 83.50m yacht SAVANNAH, Feadship’s first ever hybrid superyacht. A statement yacht, with showstopping features such as an underwater lounge, 30ft pool and private sun deck, SAVANNAH offers clear and quiet hybrid performance and an efficient hull without compromising on luxury, offering a conscience-clear charter experience.

Displacement Yachts
Suitable for accommodating bigger groups

These motor yachts, which tend to be at the larger end of the scale, get their name from the fact that their hull displaces water as it moves through the sea, rather than cruising on top of the water, like a planing hull does.

Offering stable, comfortable cruising for larger vessels, they are well suited for people who want to undertake some serious cruising, without scrimping on comfort.

When you think of the largest, most luxurious charter yachts on the market, like the 85.50m Oceanco-built yacht SUNRAYS with its enormous eight cabins, three Jacuzzis and helideck disco space, then most of these will be displacement yachts.

The generous onboard volume allows for more cabins, more social areas and facilities, and just a general sense of space, making them perfect for entertaining and hosting parties (when we’re allowed).

Semi Displacement Yachts
Suitable for luxury cruising with a full itinerary

With a rounded hull, a semi-displacement yacht sits somewhere between the comfort and stability of a displacement yacht and the excitement of a sports cruiser.

Still capable of reaching decent speeds, semi-displacement yachts are also comfortable cruising slow, with minimal roll at anchor. They will usually have ocean-crossing ranges yet be quite happy ambling along the coast, though it’s always good to know they can pick up speed when the need arises.

The 43m Benetti yacht DIANE is a semi-displacement charter yacht, with a fabulous Jacuzzi, an RYA water sports centre and a top speed of 20 knots, making her ideal for sunshine charters where you plan to squeeze a lot in.


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