Yachts Information

A yacht is a high end recreational boat. 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 20 feet up to hundreds of feet. A luxury craft smaller than 40 feet is more commonly called a cabin cruiser or simply "cruisers." A mega yacht generally refers to any yacht above 100 ft and a super yacht generally refers to any yacht over 200 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 catergories- 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 40 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 principle rig found on small European yachts for centuries until giving way to the 'Bermudan sloop' rig in the 1960s.

Wikipedia, Yachts, (as of Apr 10, 2010)

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