The Luxurious Nautical World of the 12 Types of Yachts

The Luxurious Nautical World of the 12 Types of Yachts

Yachting around the world seems to be something only for the top 10% of the rich and famous. But the types of yachts aren’t as far off a dream as you might think.

In fact, there are 12 types of yachts you could hop on board and take a look around (or even charter for a weekend getaway with the important people in your life). 

Yachting around the world on a luxury personal watercraft is a hobby for nautical enthusiasts. So, that’s why the team here at The Hobby Kraze are bringing you the introduction to the 12 types of yachts!

First thing’s first, it’s important to understand what exactly makes a yacht and why it’s different from just a boat or ship. A boat is any water vessel under 197 feet (60 meters) and a ship is any water vessel over this. A yacht is any luxury personal watercraft over the length of 30 feet (9 meters). So, depending on the size, a yacht can be either a boat or a ship!

As well as this, before we head onto the 12 different yachts, we’ll quickly go over the 5 yacht classifications set by the Recreational Craft Directive in the UK and Europe. 

Essentially, ‘A Class’ yachts can exceed wind forces of 8-40 knots and 13-foot waves in ocean passages. ‘B Class’ yachts can withstand less than the above while ‘C Class’ yachts are fit for wind forces of 6-27 knots and 6.6-foot waves in coastal waters. ‘D Class’ yachts are fit for wind forces of 4-16 knots and 1.6-foot waves in coastal waters. Finally, ‘LY2 Class’ yachts are large vessels exceeding 24 meters used for sport or pleasure with a professional crew.

It’s worth pointing out that the types of yachts can often fall into many different classes depending on the size and specification. So, check with the manufacturer about your yacht classification. Now then, let’s see where the winds hit the sails of this article:

The Express Cruiser Yacht

Going fast into the list, we’ve first got the water vessel commonly known in the yachting community as the sports car of the sea. It’s the express cruiser yacht.

This is because they are built to be high-performing and fast vessels with powerful motors that help them tackle waves off-shore. 

However, that’s not to be confused with the high-performance yacht which is a modified version of the express cruiser allowing it to become the race car of the yachting world. 

I.e., these luxury personal watercraft vessels are made to do a little more than bob along the water’s surface for a quiet day under the sun.

In terms of general features, when you charter a yacht of this type, you’ll typically see it has a planar (or deep vee) hull to help with speed and balance. As well as this, it’s unlikely you’ll see a swim-step.

When choosing an express cruiser, you’ll be met with a few options in terms of the top. This is because, atop the express cruiser (which doesn’t have a roof and closely resembles a large speed boat), there are hard-top express cruisers and fully enclosed express cruisers. 

The difference being that the hard top express cruiser features a hard top roof and spoiler that is separated from the windshield. All while the fully enclosed express cruiser – you may have guessed – is built with a hard top roof and spoiler that does connect to the windshield.

Some of the most popular brands of express cruiser types of yachts are:

  • Riva Yachts
  • Sea Ray
  • Regal Boats
  • Cruisers Yachts
  • Tiara Yachts
  • Sunseeker
  • Pershing Yachts
  • Princess Yachts

The Aft Cabin Motor Yacht

The Aft Cabin Motor Yacht

The aft cabin motor yacht is the perfect smaller addition to any floating fleet. 

Especially when you’re new to yachting around the world, want ease of parking and are happy to have a smooth floating boat that allows you to jump right into the great big blue around you.

In terms of visual features, the aft cabin motor yacht almost looks like it has had its aft cut-away and there is no cockpit. However, the cockpit is situated inside these types of yachts for comfortable sailing.

Instead, the majority of the aft cabin motor yacht classification make-ups have a swim-step right at the aft to make it easy to get in and out of the water. Meaning, this is also the perfect vessel to charter a yacht for weekends in the sun with family and friends. 

However, one thing to note is that – depending on where you go yachting around the world – boats with swim-steps may need to reinforce the entry way.

For example, leaving weighted buckets on the swim-step. This makes sure that water pests like sealions don’t decide to board and take a nap or attract other sea life onto the vessel.

If you’re ready with your swim-step barricades in-check, then you can have a look at some of the most popular manufacturers of the aft cabin types of yachts:

  • Meridian Yachts 
  • Carver Yachts
  • Sea Ray
  • Cruisers Yachts
  • Silverton Family
  • Hatteras
  • Haines Marine
  • Johnson Yachts

Flybridge Motor Yacht

Flybridge Motor Yacht

Yes, the flybridge is one of the types of yachts you can buy or charter. It doesn’t only refer to a level on your boat. However, that is the determining factor in this yacht classification.

The flybridge yacht is a medium-sized yacht featuring an upper helm station (also known as a second floor above the main deck). A quick tip for when you’re yachting around the world: these types of yachts are actually known as a flying bridge in the US.

Of course, here in the UK and Europe, this helm station is called a flybridge and can feature on other types of yachts, too. However, for the purpose of the flybridge yacht, it serves the role of being a spacious lounge area in the place of a hard top.

But just like the express cruiser, the flybridge has a couple of sub-categories to set them apart. The first is the sport bridge yacht and the second is the enclosed flybridge

The sport bridge is much more compact. It’s also more likely to have a planar hull to help with speed and agility through each wave. One way to quickly identify a sport bridge is the smaller helm station; instead of having a lounging area, its yacht classification means it can only hold around two chairs (one for the captain and one for the first mate).

The enclosed bridge, on the other hand, is your go-to when you’re wanting to charter a yacht in the colder and windier weather as it features an enclosed super structure interior. In other words, the roof of the upper helm meets the windshield to provide more of an air-conditioned sky lounge.

Whether you want a classic flybridge, a sport bridge or an enclosed bridge yacht, these are the brands you’ll want to go to when you charter a yacht or even buy new:

  • Burger Boat Company
  • Nord Star Yachting
  • Cantiere Delle Marche
  • Baglietto
  • Fairline Yachts
  • Sunseeker
  • Prestige Yachts
  • Viking Yachts
  • Ocean Alexander
  • Hatteras

The Classic Wooden Motor Yacht

The Classic Wooden Motor Yacht

The classic wooden motor yacht is exactly that: a classic and wooden motor yacht. They’re typically a vintage and antique vessel design for yachting around the world in large parties.

In terms of specifications, they generally feature the traditional marine timber Opepe wood (which is also known around the yachting world as Bilinga and Aloma wood). It has excellent water resistance, durability and flexibility to account for the waves. As well as this, it can range from a bright golden sheen to a deep mahogany touch.

They are a long and thin luxury personal watercraft reminiscent of a traditional and authentic classical ship deck. They feature a spacious interior and outer walkway from port to starboard and from stern to aft.

However, as these are quite the marvel on the eyes for any yachting enthusiast, when you want to charter a yacht of this calibre, it’ll cost you a pretty penny. Either way, it still helps to know some of the heritage brands that brought these ships to the sea.

To get your hands on a stunning vessel of Opepe wood, you’ll want to consider these brands: 

  • Fairlie Yachts
  • Forster and Partners
  • Silvers of Rosneath
  • Baglietto
  • Brooke Marine
  • Hillyard Yachts
  • Stirling and Son
  • Morgan Yachts

The Trawler Yacht

The Trawler Yacht

The trawler types of yachts (A.K.A. the cruising trawler yachts) are a type of luxury personal watercraft made specifically for sailing with a purpose. 

They feature powerful engines designed to cruise for long journeys at high knot speeds. With this, they’ve actually become more of a popular choice for those in Europe and the US looking to either charter a yacht or buy through a broker. 

They feature very fuel-efficient engines while providing a lot of living space under the main deck. 

Generally speaking, these types of yacht have full-displacement hulls to help with both the carrying of big loads, and with speed control. That said, more of the modern models of the trawler types of yachts are being manufactured with a semi-displacement hull, instead. 

Another interesting thing to note about this yacht classification is that, while their structure and cruising abilities are somewhat similar to other power yachts, their engine use and average knots from the power system are quite minimal. For example, these types of yachts will glide across the water’s surface at around 7-9 knots through a single diesel engine rather than a dual engine.

Although, while they do make use of the one main engine, they do also have a slightly lower powered auxiliary engine that helps to increase fuel efficiency and cruising range. And if these are the factors you sail towards in your yachting around the world adventures, here are some manufacturers that create beautiful trawler types of yachts:

  • Beneteau Yachts
  • Alm Jachtbouw
  • Pedro Boat
  • Selene
  • Cranchi Yachts
  • Absolute Yachts
  • Northern Marine
  • Nordhavn 

While we’ve added the Nordhavn brand to the list, it’s worth knowing that the yacht classification for their trawler yacht becomes the explorer yacht.

The Lobster Yacht (A.K.A. Downeast Boat)

The Lobster Yacht

Also known widely as the downeast boat, the lobster types of yachts were initially manufactured as more of a commercial vessel. Which also awarded it the nickname of “the pick-up truck of the coast”.

They are manufactured with the specifications of a naturally higher bow to aid in climbing the rougher seas. As well as this, they feature a semi-displacement hull and pronounced keel for both heavy load carrying and smooth sailing through rougher winds at slower speeds. 

They’re generally a smaller yacht classification that doesn’t incorporate grandeur interiors despite being a luxury personal watercraft. It’ll have the sun lounge and a cockpit at the front but doesn’t have a flyboard or even a tuna tower. 

That said, they’re not the most popular types of yachts out there in the marina despite seeing a lot of changes to make them into the more luxurious water vessels we’d see when we think of a yacht.

Here’s are some of the most popular brands of lobster types of yachts in case you’re wondering where you could charter a yacht with these specifications. Although, we’d recommend going for a sport fisher, instead:

  • Zeelander Yachts
  • Grand Banks
  • Mainship
  • Sabre Yachts
  • Mochi Craft
  • Young Brothers Boats

The Pilothouse Yacht

The Pilothouse Yacht

The pilothouse yacht is a very big yacht classification often seen to be a three-tier yacht due to the raised mid-level (and flyboard on top).

This raised mid-level is to allow for a fully enclosed pilot’s house (hence the name) while also providing an extra living quarter within the helm of the vessel. Most of these types of yachts will also come with a flybridge to allow for some lounging in the sun!

However, it’s not all just about the pilothouse as it stands, or should we say floats? There is a sub-yacht classification for the pilothouse called the wheelhouse motor yacht. 

The difference being that this yacht features a wheel within the pilothouse to become an area where the ship is controlled by the ship’s captain without being in a separate cockpit on the aft. 

With that, this enclosed feature makes it easy for the entire crew (depending on the size of your party) to easily see the waves and route on the sea without having to be on or above the main deck.

This makes it a great choice for anyone wanting to venture out into the great big blue without wanting to burn up-top or have to store any foul weather gear.

So, if you’re looking for a life on the sea in a luxury personal watercraft with an enclosed steering structure, you might want to consider some of these popular brands making the pilothouse types of yachts:

  • Offshore Yachts
  • Flaming Yachts
  • Navigator Yachts
  • Hatteras
  • Carver Yachts
  • Shannon Yachts

The Sport Fisher Yacht

The Sport Fisher Yacht

A sport fisher yacht is another of those types of yachts that pretty much sums up the purpose in the name. 

This particular yacht classification is any vessel that is designed, built and geared towards luxury fishing. Of course, it still needs to be in the general size specifications of over 30 feet in order to classify as a yacht and not a general fishing tugboat.

This means it’ll probably have a large cockpit, a bay tank, a designated rod storage area, space for tackle, catch-of-the-day zones and more. These features, however, are a customisable option and – when you charter a yacht or buy second hand – there’s not always the option you’ll get all of them.

Another thing to note would be that these types of yachts have a planar hull to cut through the waves at fast speeds. The idea being to get you to and from your fishing spot as quickly as possible so more time can be spent catching dinner.

When it comes down to the build, there are three alternative models of the sport fisher yacht: the express sport fisher, the flybridge sport fisher and the convertible sport fisher. 

The express sport fisher will generally have an additional deck, to make two, while also featuring a tuna tower (i.e., not a flybridge but a small space to sit with one or two control features).

The flybridge fisher yacht has – you guessed it – a flybridge as well (making a total of four deck levels when you add the tuna tower).

Finally, the convertible is often a term heard in the sport fishing boat community. However, it’s not a convertible yacht in the sense that we’d think, it’s just a hybrid boat incorporating features of both a motor yacht and a sports fisher. Meaning, it’s able to convert between fishing and cruising where necessary. Often, these types of yachts feature an enclosed flybridge.

As this is a popular yacht classification, it’s probable you’ll want to know some of the main manufacturing brands of the sports fisher:

  • Carver Yachts
  • Hatteras
  • Viking Yachts
  • Lindell Yachts
  • Carolina Yachts
  • Camper and Nicholson’s

The Power Catamaran Yacht

The Power Catamaran Yacht

The power catamaran is our favourite of the types of yachts here at The Hobby Kraze. While we’ve only had minimal experience with our sea legs on the great big blue, we’ve had enough exposure to the marina to be able to love the catamaran.

Classic in looks, their hull is the two-pronged catamaran hull for high speeds, wind grasp and powerful steering capacity. 

That said, there are actually two types of catamaran as a luxury personal watercraft. And it all revolves around the hull. The first is the one that we’ve mentioned: it features a catamaran hull. 

The second is a catamaran designed with a different hull which allows it to be slightly more powerful and efficient at the same time. In other words, you have the catamaran as we all know and love and a catamaran hybrid cruiser.

Of course, there are other similar styles of yacht classification that use the catamaran hull. For example, any other multi-hull boat like the trimaran. 

If you like the wind and the speed with a hint of competition, we have some popular brands for you to have a look at:

  • Sunreef Yachts
  • Cata-Lagoon
  • Horizon Yachts
  • Fountaine Pajot
  • Aquila Boats
  • Leopard Catamaran

The Super Yacht (and the Mega Yacht)

Super Yacht

A super yacht is any yacht that has been supersized. In terms of the yacht classification, they’re a water vessel over 79 feet (24 meters) which can be considered luxurious. 

In the same light, a mega yacht is the supersize of the supersize. Whereby yachting around the world involves embarking on a cruise ship that is over 164 feet (50 meters) and considered luxurious.

One quick way to find out if you’re looking at a mega yacht is to look for the mast light. This is because any luxury personal watercraft (or any water vessel for that matter) over the size of 50 meters is under regulation to have a second forward mast light. 

So, there’ll be a light on the top of the main mast and there’ll be a pole in front (generally located on the stern of the main deck) which has another light on the top. However, there are some manufacturers who create these second forward mast lights with a sneaky retractable pole. 

In fact, here are some of the most popular brands and manufacturers of these super and mega types of yachts:

  • Princess Yachts
  • Feadship
  • Amels Hollans
  • Heesen Yachts
  • Oceanco
  • Sunseeker

The Gulet Yacht

The Gulet Yacht

The gulet yacht is a little different from the rest in this list. It features authentic traditional design with a wooden interior, luxury sky lounge, full-displacement hull and two or more sails to take you wherever the wind blows.

It is a yacht classification of Turkish origin with a history of being a tourist and goods carrier around the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

While we’d normally direct you in the way of a manufacturer of the gullet yacht, these types of yachts are actually only produced by Gulet. However, there are many well-known distributors of the Gulet yacht around the world. For example, WonderGulets.com, GuletYacht.co.uk, GuletGroup.com and more.

The Expedition Yacht (A.K.A. Research Vessel)

Expedition Yacht

The final of our 12 types of yachts is the expedition yacht. It is also known in the nautical world as a research vessel depending on where it’s going, which crew is on board and how it’s kitted-out for the adventure.

However, there are some general specifications that relate to the entire fleet.

For example, when it comes to the expedition yacht, they’re another form of super yacht but are designed to be the sturdiest and safest cruisers of them all. 

This is because they’re aimed at those wanting to be yachting around the world to cruise and experience everything. Plus, a research vessel features work and learning that takes place all across the globe with an innumerable number of machinery tools to do the job. So, it needs to withstand all-weather cruising across the seas while protecting the cargo. 

A great example of a research and expedition yacht making good pace for science and the environment is the REV Ocean. 

To top it off, these yacht designs feature a flat hull and considerably sized fuel tanks that allow them to stay out at sea for months on end. 

So, for a true expedition of the planet’s blue oceans, you’ll want to charter a yacht or even buy from one of these shipbuilders:

  • All Ocean Yachts
  • Damen Yachting
  • Ocean King
  • Cantiere Delle Marche
  • Northern Marine
  • Kingship Marine


And that hoists up everything there is to know about the 12 types of yachts you could board for an adventure of yachting around the world. 

Actually, we have missed one thing off this list. It’s the houseboat (and no, we don’t mean the canal boats and narrow boats we get here in the UK). What we’re talking about are those angular floating containers you see moored up at large marinas.

Sometimes they’re single storey and other times you can see them stacked up to create three-storey houses simply floating next to generic-looking yachts. 

Well, they’re in a bit of a grey area in terms of yacht classification. While you can’t exactly charter a yacht such as these, they do meet the standards of a yacht. I.e., they’re floating, they’re longer than 30 feet and they’re certainly classed as luxurious when they’re kitted out to live in. 

So, that could technically make 13 types of yachts depending on the way you look at it. 

If you enjoyed reading this article as much as we loved to make it here at The Hobby Kraze, then you should probably get to know your sailing terms and boat terms. Here are some other water-related hobbies you might find interesting from the team:

  • The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Sailing and Rafting
  • The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Sculling and Rowing
  • The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
  • The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Kayaking
  • The Ultimate Guide to Stand-Up Paddle Boarding for Beginners
  • The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Photography
  • 17 Different Types of Resort and Finding the Holiday to Suit You

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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