How to choose your first yacht and not regret it.
Before you start looking for “the very boat”, it is worth spending a little time preparing.
The future owner of a yacht should start with an analysis of his own lifestyle: hobbies, preferences in clothes, cars. After all, a yacht, like other luxury items, is a kind of “continuation” of the owner’s personality. An introvert who values secluded relaxation with his family above all else, an enthusiastic fisherman, a sports car lover and a frequenter of noisy parties, four different boats will suit.
Imagine your dream yacht cruise in detail and answer a few questions for yourself.
What is closer to me – a sailing yacht or a motor yacht?
Motor yachts and sailboats are two parallel universes and the impressions of a holiday on them are radically different.
The sailboat requires more involvement during transitions. You depend on the changing wind and must constantly adjust your sails to it. This is not so easy to do, and you will probably almost always need at least one more person on board (and preferably several). Motorboats are much more like familiar cars.
So what else “on the shore” you need to decide for yourself, are you ready to bother a lot, or do you need a boat more for a carefree vacation?
Learning the art of sailing will be longer and more difficult than getting the right to sail a motor yacht. Practical and theoretical training takes from two weeks to a month. And at first, you can only walk along the coastline. To expand your horizons, you will have to take additional courses to gain experience and nautical miles in the logbook.
The speed qualities of sailboats and motorboats also differ significantly. And on this depends the ability to “escape” from the impending storm. While on a motor yacht only you decide how fast to go, a sailboat without the use of an auxiliary motor will never go faster than the current wind allows. Calm? We’ll have to stay in one place, or start a low-power engine. Such dependence on the vagaries of nature will not be to everyone’s liking.
But sailboats are more environmentally friendly and you can significantly save on fuel.
True, in terms of domestic comfort, sailboats, on average, lose to motor yachts. No wonder the latter are often compared with “floating hotels”.
In what water area am I going to use the yacht?
The choice of several characteristics of the future yacht at once will depend on the answer to this question: cruising range, draft, type of hull and superstructure (closed or open deck, sailboats have a Mediterranean or protected cockpit), certification.
Since this parameter is related to fuel capacity and engine power, it is only relevant for motor yachts. The corresponding figure in the technical specifications of the model indicates the maximum distance the yacht can travel without refueling.
If you are going to cross the Atlantic, you need to have a range of more than 1,500 nautical miles.
If you want to sail along the coast with good infrastructure from marina to marina, then even a modest cruising range of a hundred miles will be enough. It is believed that a comfortable distance between marinas for a day trip is 30 miles.
It should be borne in mind that the yacht will show the maximum range if you go at the optimal (cruising) speed.
Type of shell
The range of the yacht can be indirectly judged by the type of boat hull. Planing yachts always have a shorter cruising range and higher fuel consumption than displacement yachts of comparable length. But planing yachts are much faster.
As a rule, the more economical the yacht, the slower it is.
All sailboats generally have a displacement hull. The only exceptions are hydrofoil sports yachts. This is a rather narrow segment, which is interesting for experienced yachtsmen.
According to the degree of openness of the deck, motor yachts can be divided into open, semi-closed and closed. The more enclosed the deck, the more weatherproof the boat.
For use in warm climates, fully open yachts or yachts with a flybridge are suitable.
The roof on them is designed to protect guests from the scorching midday sun, and not from heavy rain.
For the northern waters, you need to look for closed boats that will be comfortable even in cloudy and cool weather, otherwise the yachting season will be very limited.
For sailboats, the type of superstructure depends on the location of the cockpit. Mediterranean cockpit moved aft and open. This concept is great for good weather, but in rain and strong winds there is absolutely nowhere to hide on the deck.
The central and protected cockpit is located closer to the midships. Usually recessed deep into the deck and more protected from the weather.
To comfortably walk in some water areas, for example, in the Bahamas, the draft of the boat should be small – too shallow near the beautiful coral reefs.
For motor yachts, the draft depends on the displacement and type of drive. For sailboats – from the type of keel. They are both stationary and mobile (swinging and retractable). The longest keels are usually found on sport offshore yachts. In dinghies, due to the ability to completely “pull” the keel into the hull, the draft is minimal.
In the US, certification is issued by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).
It should be borne in mind that sailboats designed for long passages (including ocean trips) are usually cheaper than motor yachts of the same class. This is due to the fact that in this case a motor yacht will need a massive displacement or semi-displacement hull, and large fuel tanks and powerful expensive motors must be installed on board.
Therefore, if you need a boat for long trips and the budget is limited, a sailboat will be the best solution.
It will allow you to travel literally around the world without dependence on fuel.
If you are looking for an explorer boat to explore the wild corners of the Earth, remote from the centers of civilization, make sure that it is “ice class”. Such a mark does not mean that the yacht will be a full-fledged icebreaker. But a meeting with both individual small icebergs and their clusters will not be terrible for her.
Who am I going to travel with?
It is important for the future owner to decide from the very beginning in which company he is going to go on the water. With family? With friends? Or maybe alone? Will the services of a professional crew (at least a skipper) be required? Will there be children on board? The answers to these questions will determine the desired level of comfort of the yacht, its size and the number of cabins, without which it will be inconvenient to travel on it.
Number of cabins
Even the largest yachts rarely have more than six guest cabins. That is, up to 12 guests go on a cruise on them.
Most serial budget models with a length of 10–18 meters are designed for an overnight stay of six, at most eight guests.
The same boat with the same number of cabins on board can carry a different number of people.
Ease of controls
Sailboats are divided into those that can be operated alone (singlehanded) or two (doublehanded), with an incomplete crew (shorthanded) and only with a full crew.
First of all, models that are suitable for managing a reduced crew differ in the way winches and cleats are located in the cockpit, on which sheets, halyards, tokenants and other elements of running rigging are installed to adjust the sails. Thanks to this, even the helmsman can safely connect to work with sails – for this he does not have to go far from the helm.
Yachts “simpler” usually have a less rich sailing wardrobe.
In motor yachts, handling depends not only on the dimensions of the hull, but also on the number of engines and the type of their drive.
As a rule, yachts over 25 meters are designed with a professional crew in mind.
There are modern technologies that make it easier to control even a 20+ boat: bow and stern thrusters, stabilizers, joysticks and even a smart mooring system.
What size yacht can I afford with my budget?
Before the ghostly image of your dream boat finally takes on flesh and blood and you can start searching for a specific model, you should evaluate your financial capabilities and, based on them, decide on the size of the yacht.
Firstly, it may simply turn out that you cannot pay for some of the most daring wishes right now. Or that boats of your size don’t have these options at all.
And secondly, even at the planning stage of the purchase, it is necessary to carefully consider not only how much you are willing to pay for the purchase of a yacht, but also how much it will cost annually to maintain it. And the larger the yacht, the larger both amounts will be.
It is worth remembering that “more” does not always mean “better”.
Although experts still recommend buying a boat “for growth.” Then you won’t have to urgently sell it in a couple of years due to the fact that you want something cooler.
And certainly you should not be guided by the principle “a small boat is easier to manage.” In any case, a novice yachtsman will quickly develop management skills. But the lack of space on the boat can only be compensated by buying another, bigger one.