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Yachts 101: Types of Yachts & Yacht Tenders

There are as many ways to get on the water as there are people who want to set sail. Pleasure vessel designs range from the simplest motor boat cruising coastal waters to the largest expedition yacht that goes anywhere in the world.

But whether you have a tiny recreational vessel or a mega yacht, every cruising yacht needs the perfect tender. Here's a look at the different types of yachts and the invaluable tenders that connect them to shore.

What Classifies As a Yacht?

The word "yacht" conjures different images for different people. Europeans, for example, will refer to nearly all sailboats and motorboats as "yachts," even very small recreational vessels.

In the US and other parts of the world, a yacht is larger and more luxurious than the average boat. They usually have a professional, full-time crew on board--but not always. Yachts might further be classified as a superyacht (over 78 feet long) or even a megayacht (over 260 feet long). Like other vessels, they may be of fiberglass, metal, or wooden construction, and they come in many different designs for various purposes.

But, no matter where you are, yachts are pleasure vessels built for recreational purposes. They'll always include some basic living accommodations like a galley (kitchen), head (bathrooms), and cabins or staterooms (bedrooms). But a yacht is appointed to a higher standard than typical pleasure boats, with nothing but the highest-quality luxury amenities. Things like air conditioning, watermakers, and lots of storage space are given on large yachts.

Beyond these bare necessities, a luxury motor yacht will also have a complement of entertainment options to suit any guest. Many are outfitted for extensive long-distance cruising, entertaining, or water sports like fishing, diving, swimming, and lounging. Of course, a yacht's accessories are entirely up to the owners.

Different Types of Yachts

There's no right or wrong answer regarding the type of yacht you want--there's something out there for everyone. Here are a few types of yachts you'll see on the water.

Sailing Yachts

Some sailing yachts are traditional, with low-slung cabins and wide, open decks, while others are hybrid yachts with modern tri-deck yacht layouts. In some parts of the world, many yacht charter boats offer sailing vacations. For example, the Turkish gulet yacht is a traditional wooden sailboat that cruises the Aegean.

Most luxury yacht owners seek the versatility and high speed that a motor yacht provides. Still, plenty of modern sailing yachts are out there for those who love to sail.

Multihull Yachts

Sailing catamaran and trimaran designs are very popular. These wide vessels are stable at sea and do not heel as much as their monohull sisterships. As a result, they're some of the most popular charter yacht designs.

Plenty of smaller catamaran motor yachts are available, but these are generally limited to boats less than 70 feet long. However, this is an exciting new sector in yachting, so expect to see more on the water soon. Thanks to their wide beams, these boats offer immense interior space. A 70-foot cat might have the interior accommodations of a 130 or 150-foot monohull.

Motor Yachts