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Sailboat vs Yacht

sailboat vs yacht

Most people envision a sailboat as a small, private vessel ideal for traveling around lakes and coasts. A yacht, on the other hand, is a much larger and more luxurious sort of sailboat. In fact, a sailboat with a length of more than 40 feet can be considered a yacht.

So, which one should you go with for your next sea adventure? Let’s look at the distinctions between these two types of boats.

What is a Sailboat?

Sailboats are watercraft that use sails to harness the power of the wind to propel them across the water. Some sailboats can be propelled by electric motors or even paddles, but most rely on sails for movement.

Sailboats have been used for centuries to cross oceans and explore new lands. They are a popular form of transportation today, both for recreation and commercial purposes.\

Sailboats come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small dinghies to large ocean-going vessels.

Sailboat type Length Purposes
Sailing Dinghies < 15 feet Sailing
Cruising Catamaran 25 – over 50 feet Cruising for extended periods
Beach Catamaran 14-20 feet Daysailing
Cruising Sailboat 16 – over 50 feet Large-group cruising
Daysailer 14 – 20 feet Daisailing
Motorsailer 35 feet Power and sail cruising
Racer-Cruiser >25 feet Overnight cruising
Racing Sailboats 20->70 feet Fast cruising

However, they all share some common features.

They typically have a flat bottom so they can stand up on their own when they are not sailing, and they have a keel that runs the length of the boat to provide stability.

The sails are made of fabric or plastic and are supported by masts, booms, and yards.

Sailboats also have rudders or steering fins to help them navigate in windy conditions.

The rudder is a small hinged panel at the back of the boat that can be turned left or right to steer the vessel. It is controlled by a tiller, which is a bar attached to the rudder that is used to turn it.

Some sailboats also have keel-mounted rudders, which are more effective than traditional rudders in windy conditions.

The sails on a sailboat are supported by masts, booms, and yards. The mast is the tall pole that holds up the sails, and the boom is the horizontal beam that extends from the mast to the edge of the sail. The yard is a shorter pole that sits perpendicular to the boom and helps to support the sail.

What is a Yacht?

what is a sailboat

A yacht is a large and luxurious boat that is used for pleasure trips, especially on the ocean. Some features that make yachts so luxurious are their size, the materials they are made out of, the number of decks they have, and the different amenities they offer.

One of the reasons yachts are so popular is because they offer a lot of space. They can be as large as 100 feet long or more, making them perfect for cruising around in style.

Plus, many yachts have multiple decks, each with its own unique features and purposes. This makes sailing on a yacht feel like an event, rather than just a simple boat ride.

Many yachts come equipped with luxurious amenities, such as Jacuzzis, bars, and even cinemas. This means that you can enjoy your time on the water in complete comfort and style.

Yacht type Purpose Yacht size
Sailing Yacht Sailing (via sails and wind) Superyatch > 78 feet long
Mega Yachts > 260 feet long
Motor Yacht Sailing (via motors)
Gulet Yacht Sailing (sails and motors)
Catamaran Yacht Sailing
Open Yacht and Cruiser Entertaining and cruising
Luxury Yacht Entertaining
Sports Yacht Cruising, fishing, and watersporting

Sailboat vs Yacht: Main Differences

what is a yacht

So, what is the distinction between sailboats and yachts? There are numerous characteristics that distinguish the two varieties.


The terms “sailboat” and “yacht” both describe a watercraft, but they have different meanings. A sailboat is a vessel that uses sails to move through the water, while a yacht is a more luxurious type of vessel that is typically used for recreation or racing.


Sailboats have been around for centuries, while yachts are a more recent development. Sailboats are typically made of materials like wood or fiberglass, while yachts are often made of more expensive materials like metal or carbon fiber.

Furthermore, the yacht is produced with advanced technology in terms of navigational systems. It will be much safer when sailing and cruising with a yacht in deep ocean water due to the guidance and warning system incorporated in a yacht. Meanwhile, newer models of sailboats will have better technology than old ones.

Both sailboats and yachts come with safety features, however, you can definitely find more of these features on an expensive yacht.


Sailboats are more commonly used for recreational purposes, while yachts are often used for luxury vacations.

Sail boats, because of their size, can travel well in shallow water such as lakes and rivers. Meanwhile, a yacht is mostly at sea, running more safely when faced with choppy water.


Sailboats typically have one or two masts, while yachts can have up to four. Sailboats also tend to be smaller than yachts, and they usually don’t have as many amenities. Yachts are often equipped with things like air conditioning, televisions, and wine cellars.


A sailboat has a single mast that supports the sails, while a yacht has multiple masts. Sailboats typically have a shorter length and width than yachts, and their hulls are round or V-shaped.

Yachts are often wider and longer than sailboats, with sharply angled bow and stern sections.


Sailboats are typically less expensive than yachts, with the average sailboat costing around $10,000. Yachts can cost anywhere from $50,000 to millions of dollars, depending on their size and features.


Sailboat vs yacht, hopefully, you are no longer confused about these two very different vehicles, offering distinct types of experience on the water.

If you want a simple, affordable watercraft that you can use for recreational purposes, a sailboat is the way to go. If you’re looking for a luxurious vessel that you can use for luxury vacations, a yacht is the better option.

Keep in mind that yachts are typically more expensive than sailboats. However, sailboats and yachts are both great ways to enjoy the water!

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