Definition of a Superyacht
There is no official definition of a superyacht though for the purpose of qualification to enter certain annual Superyacht Awards the minimum length for a yacht must be 24 metres. At Jack Tar Superyacht Charter we do not adhere strictly to this inflexible definition. If a yacht is luxurious, comfortable, well equipped and has a competent, able crew, then that is more important than a few centimeters!! The “World Superyacht Award” organisation now require yachts to be at least 30 metres in length.
As yachts get bigger this figure of 24 metres is rising! At the other end of the scale we have Megayachts and even Gigayacht, qualification for these categories is sufficient to say VERY BIG and SERIOUSLY BIG!
Super yachts can be categorised as follows
Motor yachts are just what it says on the “tin”. Usually the norm is two engines and twin screws that will provide a stable platform when cruising and, due to the lack of rigging as on a sailing yacht, more space on deck and below. The down side is fuel costs money, in the past yachts have been designed with powerful engine to reach high speeds, but now yachts are deigned to be more fuel efficient but slower. Some yachts manage to have high speed capability, burning more fuel, but also have a lower speed that is more fuel efficient and won’t damage the engine or produce unwanted vibrations.
A sailing yachts main method of propulsion is the wind and she will be designed so that sailing achieves her maximum speed. She will have engines but mainly for maneuvering in port or to use in very light wind conditions, this is because the shape of the yacht restricts the size of engine and the fuel capacity. Under sail a sail yacht will heel over and will not provide as steady a platform as a motor boat but the up side is that it is quiet, peaceful and the wind is free.
Motor Sail Yachts
These are yachts which are basically the same as the two above but with a more powerful engine capable of cruising at a reasonable speed, to allow ETA’s to be made, but heavier and usually not as sleek so that the sail area doesn’t produce the same speed as a sailing vessel of the same size.. The compromise to be able to sail and motor is speed, they are not normally as fast as a sail or motor yacht of the same size under power or sail.
A Gulet is a traditionally designed two-masted wooden sailing vessel originally from the southwestern coast of Turkey, particularly built in the coastal towns of Bodrum and Marmaris, although similar vessels can be found all around the eastern Mediterranean.
The stability of these vessels make them popular for chartering and there “beaminess” means many can be fitted and furnished as luxury yachts. Because many are luxuriously appointed and equipped with all the modern facilities and toys, the sailing efficiency of the yachts is not as good, maybe, as the original craft and so high powered engines are now installed for light wind conditions and to provide power for the comfort of guests.
As the name suggests these yachts are designed to stray off the beaten track. Some are ice strengthened and can cope with freezing temperatures not just for the guests but for the vessel as well. A few are built with very shallow drafts to allow the vessel to approach the shore closer, venture up rivers or just visit ports that are nor accessible to most superyachts. Some are even built to cope with anything, but almost all are capable of being independent for long periods and provide the same comforts as luxury superyachts. Some are converted Naval vessels or ex oil industry supply boats.
Multi Hulled Super Yachts
Usually catamarans, these types of vessels are getting bigger and more popular. “Cruising Cats” are not as efficient as a monohull yacht of the same length when under sail but provide a very stable platform, important if your sea legs aren’t the best in the world! Two hulls means space for two engines so are often faster under power than mono’s.
There are a few motor yacht multihulls but this is still a developing area of the superyacht market.
Warning – Multi Hulled sailing yachts are not to be confused with the high performance yachts that you will see in ocean racing or the America’s Cup, these are very fast, dangerous beasts and have no space for a bar or a hot tub!