Beginners’ Guide to Yachts

Yacht InsuranceWhen is a Boat also a Yacht?

There is a vast array of vocabulary associated with yachting, sailing and boating, and many terms have Naval origins dating back hundreds of years. It can be confusing for the novice sailor and the place to start is probably: What do you call your sailing vessel?

This is some debate (and confusion) around when is a boat also a yacht – as all yachts are boats, but not all boats are yachts! What determines whether a boat is a yacht includes factors such as size, value, design, purpose and status. The dictionary definition of a yacht is: “a medium-sized sailing boat equipped for cruising or racing.”

Competitive sailing/racing

Yachting may be considered an elite occupation or pastime, while the competitive sport of racing boats or yachts has a much broader appeal. The Olympic sport changed its name from yachting to sailing before the 1966 Olympic Games to reflect this. In addition, the classes of boats sailed in the Olympics change quite often. They vary according to the objectives of the International Olympic Committee and include boats defined as dinghies, skiffs and multihull boats (but not yachts). Just to add to the confusion, British sailors join the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and sailing clubs across the country are affiliated to the RYA.

RYA definition of a yacht

The RYA describes a yacht as a larger boat, where you can live on board. (It’s important to include the assumption that these are sea-faring boats, rather than ones that you find on our inland waterways!) They range from about 20 feet (6m) in length to well over 100 feet (30m). They come in various hull shapes: Monohull (single hull); catamaran (two hulls) and trimaran (three hulls). They can also have many difference types of keel and different types of rig.

Luxury yachts

The size of yachts in the luxury market is getting bigger all the time. What used to be known as ‘superyachts’ (at 100 – 130 feet /30 – 40m) are now considered mid-range, while superyachts are now over 130 feet, but the benchmarks are continually moving.

Whatever size of yacht you have, Assist Insurance offers a range of flexible policy options to provide you with yacht insurance to meet your needs.

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