The History of the Yacht

The History of the Yacht

May 7, 2018

For those of us interested in boats and sailing, we’ve heard the term “yacht” more times than we can count. Yachts are very common today, with many people owning their own boats for pleasure or sport and numerous yacht clubs to be found near any large body of water. But have yachts always been this popular? And where did they first emerge?

We wouldn’t be a top provider of yacht services in Fort Lauderdale, FL if we weren’t knowledgeable in the history of yachting. If you’ve ever wondered about where yachts came from, take a trip back in history with us.

Yachting origins

Sailing has been around since some of the world’s earliest civilizations. Egyptians back in 3,000 BC used to build impressive boats to place next to royal bodies to carry them to the afterlife. In the 14th century, the world’s first yachts came about, also because of royals.

Rich Dutch merchants used to use small and fast-moving boats for celebrations when their merchant ships returned, but began using these “jaghts” to take friends out for fun, as well. This caught on and truly became a status symbol when Charles II of England was awarded a yacht, named Mary, after returning to the throne from exile.

Charles II is considered the world’s first yachtsman, as he built more than 20 yachts over the course of his life and spent a lot of time researching navigation and naval architecture. His brother also joined in, and the two became dedicated to sailing for personal pleasure.

The brothers created the first regatta, a 40-mile race on the River Thames, in 1661 when they raced their two boats. The fun from the race was contagious, birthing a new “sport of kings.”

Not just for royals

Given their expensive nature, large, luxurious yachts were typically reserved for those of royal descent. However, this began to shift near the 1700s when wealthy non-royals began purchasing or building their own yachts. The first yacht club was the Cork Water Club in Ireland, established in 1720. Soon after, yacht clubs became prevalent.

Over in America, the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) was born in 1884. The members decided to build a pilot-style schooner, one of the fastest designs available at the time. Pilot schooners were boats designed to race out to guide cargo ships back to port. The first one there got the job, so they had to be fast.

When the NYYC completed the boat, deemed the America, they sailed to England and participated in regattas there. The America won the club the Hundred Guinea Cup, and they continued to compete for the title for more than 100 years after.

Modern yachting

As time went on, more and more people became interested in owning boats for pleasure. While yachts are still largely used by the wealthy, they have become much more affordable. Owning a yacht is not as big of a status symbol as it was in the 1600s.

There are many types of yachts now, including day sailing yachts, weekender yachts, cruising and luxury sailing yachts and racing yachts. Identifying a yacht has nothing to do with its size or stature, its brand or its power. It simply is a boat purchased for the pleasure of its owner, in the same way it was when it all started.

If you own a yacht or are interested in learning more about them, give Starboard Yacht Group LLC a call. We are a premier provider of yacht services in Fort Lauderdale, FL, with over a decade of hands-on experience with beautiful boats. We can do everything necessary to keep your yacht in great shape. Give us a call today to hear more about our services!

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