Becoming a yacht owner can change your life for the better. 

Thanks to recent cures, they don’t cause environmental harm like cars and motorbikes do. Travelling the world on a yacht, or participating in yachting competitions is fun and gives you enjoyment. Even still, you might be curious about the origins of this leisurely activity. Let’s take a look at the history of yachting and some interesting facts you probably never new.

history of yachting

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What is a Yacht? 

Yachts are mainly privately owned and come in a variety of sizes with a cabin. Yachts usually cost around 10 percent of their purchase price in annual maintenance. These vessels require full-time staff including chefs, a captain, engineers and stewards. Most owners rent out their yacht to people on vacation to cover maintenance costs. They’re typically defined as their size to differ from a boat. The bigger and more expensive a boat is, the more chances are of it being considered a yacht. 

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Yachts are still a fairly new territory, and many of the biggest ones didn’t exist 20 years ago. Used for pleasure or sports, the term ‘yacht’ originates from the word ‘hunt’ to purse pirates around and in shallow waters. They’re now considered more of a leisure purpose and come in two different classes: power boats and sailing. Their length and interior can range extensively. On average, they’re usually 40 feet long, though above 100 feet is considered a super-yacht. Many offer modern conveniences such as cable, air conditioning, computer-controlled sailing and more.


History of Yachting

Let’s take a look at the history of yachting. What was once only considered a sport has become an act of pleasure and transport. More celebrities own a yacht now than ever before. Though they’re still expensive to buy, people’s love for them makes them easier to purchase. You can now hire crew members and customize your yacht to accommodate your lifestyle.

Where Did Yachting Originate? 

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The history of yachting is fascinating. First invented in the 14th century, the Dutch used fast and small boats for chasing criminals and pirates. Their sole purpose was to navigate quickly on waters. However, rich owners and merchants began using these yachts for personal use to travel overseas as a quick mode of transport. Quickly, the trend caught on and wealthy individuals purchased yachts for personal use. Many would use them to just travel the waters with no particular destination, other than an outing.

When Charles II of England spent 10 years in Holland, people celebrated his return to Amsterdam with a luxurious yacht. This included a crew of 20 people and he named the yacht, Mary. Charles II enjoyed sailing her along the Thames and studied the architecture and design of yachts. After educating himself, he built 20 of his own, giving him credit as the world’s first yacht developer. Several family members became a creator and developer too.

At this point, owning a yacht was considered a sport amongst Kings for over 100 years. By the 1800’s, the sport of yachting developed to other crowns of Europe. Only the wealthiest people in the world could join in, and quickly yacht clubs formed. This laid the groundwork for the popular leisure activity we've come to know and love today.

When Did Yachting Originate? 

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In 1661, there was a 40-mile race on the Thames between Charles II of England and the Duke of York. The history of yachting – particularly the sport - began here. In 1720, the first yacht club in the world established itself as the Cork Water Club. However, it wasn’t until 50 years later than two more clubs followed in England.

It makes sense that the sport could only occur in regions with plenty of water which also had suitable conditions. There also needed to be plenty of materials and resources in these countries to develop the boats. Yachting was still new at this point, so only wealthy people participated.

On June 1815, the world’s most famous yacht club formed in England. They named themselves The Royal Yacht Squadron with 42 gentlemen joining. On July 30, 1844, the United States formed the New York Yacht Club. They had the intention of competing with the English team and built a new yacht with a faster and sleeker design to represent the club.

The United States crossed the Atlantic in 1851 and invited England’s fastest yachts to a race. However, no-one would race it as it measured an intimidating 101 feet. America eventually joined a competition around the Isle of Wight and raced 15 other yachts for 53 miles, and finished eight minutes earlier than the runner up.


The Evolution of Yachting 

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After the First World War and post war depression in Europe, yachting quickly dried out. As such vessels were possessed by the wealthiest people, owning one became difficult. Although people didn’t participate in the sport of yachting for several years to come, the War saw excellent technical developments in powering yachts.

They began being built with large diesel engines to power them quicker and faster through waters.  Due to their new speed, corporations purchased them and the government owned 13 of the 29 diesel-engine yachts.

Yachts are now a lot bigger than they used to be. Thanks to technological development, people are more open to the idea of travelling around the world whilst being in contact with people on land. Satellite television, the Internet, phones, signals and more are available for owners. In the ’80’s, the world saw the superyacht industry. The number of wealthy people owning and affording yachts became a social acceptance.

As more yachts were produced and came with advanced navigation and technology, crew members trained professionally to become qualified to work on water. Increased regulations have also made it more possible for people to work and travel throughout different countries.


What’s Involved in Owning a Yacht?

Have you ever dreamed of owning a yacht? The truth is, it’s not always plain sailing. There are typically three categories to research: crew, maintenance and dockage. If you own a yacht over 80 feet, a crew is necessary and costs on average $6,500 per staff per month. The number of crew members depends on the level of service you require.

Maintenance not only takes a huge chunk of money, but time and effort. As your yacht reaches five years old, it’s time to consider repairs such as batteries, seals, pumps and other general maintenance tasks. Often, these maintenance costs are included in your warranty if the yacht is relatively new. However, it’s important to consider storing your yacht, fuel and food when you’re using it. On average, you’ll spend 10 percent of the yacht’s cost every year on general maintenance.  

Running and operating a yacht isn’t cheap. For an 80ft yacht, dockage prices will cost between $1,200 and $6,000 per month, depending on your location of course. The smaller the yacht and more derelict the area, the cheaper the dockage price. Be sure to consider all of the expenses, as if you aren't prepared it can quickly become a monetary pitfall.


What Do You Know about The History of Yachting?

We hope you enjoyed reading about the history of yachting and how it’s evolved over centuries. The future of yachts looks bright and promising. By 2050, it’s predicated that we’ll use 3D printed yachts to give you a customizable experience. Yacht owner Neville Crichton travels the world via his yacht and believes that future owners will explore new remote locations not yet discovered.

What do you know about the history of yachting? We’d love to hear about your knowledge. Share your facts and information in the comments to keep this discussion going.

Related Article: The VanTom Superyacht Sets the New Standard for Luxury Vessels

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