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We visited an old friend and told him about our sailboat. He knows nothing about boats (though he is an avid kayaker), so he asked what I guess is a common question: What is the difference between a "boat" and a "yacht"?

I was caught a little off-guard, but after thinking for a minute, I told him that a boat is something that you maintain and repair yourself, and a yacht is something that you hire out all of that.

What do you think is the definition?
 
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A yacht /ˈjɒt/ is a recreational boat or ship. The term originated from the Dutch Jacht meaning "hunt".[note 1] It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries. After its selection by Charles II of England as the vessel to carry him to Britain from Holland for his restoration in 1660, it came to be used to mean a vessel used to convey important persons.

In modern use the term designates two rather different classes of watercraft, sailing and power boats. Yachts are different from working ships mainly by their leisure purpose, and it was not until the rise of the steamboat and other types of powerboat that sailing vessels in general came to be perceived as luxury, or recreational vessels. Later the term came to encompass motor boats for primarily private pleasure purposes as well.( wickie)

But personally - if it's enjoyed for its beauty and wonderful feeling you get sailing it then its a yacht. If its there for another purpose ( fishing, transport only or other) its a boat.
Termed differently when I'm sanding its bottom it's a boat. When I look back at her from the dinghy its a yacht. When I'm writing a check to the yard its a piece of stupidity I can't explain to anyone but another sailor.
 

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I prefer people refer to ours as a boat, sailboat to be exact. Don't like the pretentious tone most assign to yacht. You can call it a sailing summer condo, if you like.

I know a marina or two, where if you don't have a yacht, they won't even rent you a transient slip. They seem to know what one is, but don't publish the definition. Had a buddy with a brand new million dollar Swan 45 turned away! :eek:

That said, if you have an ice maker and central vac, it's probably a yacht. :)
 
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Yacht is only pretentious in the USA. In Australia a sailboat is a dinghy. My boat is a yacht.
 

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You mean, a 150ft sailboat is a boat if the owner can afford it?
Yup. And I suspect that if you own a 150' sailboat, you're looking at the 170' sailboat next to you in Monaco and planning on selling it for your next 180' purchase. That's how those guys are wired.

But remember, if you own a 30' $15,000 sailboat, then you're a "rich, elitist yachtsman". But if you own a 50' $150,000 motor home, then you're "a proud American". :)
(no offense to motor home owners, there just seems to be a bias against those who chose to spend time on the water).
 

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Within the U.S., the term 'Yacht' is only presumptuous to the non-sailing public and sailors who are not familiar with the proper definition of yacht, which simply is 'pleasure craft' rather than a commercial vessel. Size is not a factor at all in the U.S. definition of the term. But because many non-sailors associate the term yacht with wealth and grandeur many of us are somewhat self-conscious about bandying the term around lightly. Still and all, proper radio etiquette would normally include identification, and the proper formal identification for a pleasure vessel includes " this is the yacht 'so-and-so" "call number 'so-and-so' " to distinguish the type of vessel.
 

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Agree with Jeff but more and more folks are saying s/v or m/v these days on the radio around here. The bride and I sign our greeting cards and emails s/v as well when appropriate. Sounds better then "oil screw"
 

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Hard to get around the manufacturer name of 'U.S Yacht 25' for my boat!

So for fun here is how I see it:

Boat is the name on tax forms
Yacht to my non boating friends
Sailboat to my boating friends
 

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Within the U.S., the term 'Yacht' is only presumptuous to the non-sailing public and sailors who are not familiar with the proper definition of yacht, which simply is 'pleasure craft' rather than a commercial vessel. Size is not a factor at all in the U.S. definition of the term. But because many non-sailors associate the term yacht with wealth and grandeur many of us are somewhat self-conscious about bandying the term around lightly. Still and all, proper radio etiquette would normally include identification, and the proper formal identification for a pleasure vessel includes " this is the yacht 'so-and-so" "call number 'so-and-so' " to distinguish the type of vessel.
Jeff, we have no control on what words mean or how the meaning change and the meaning of words change with time. If the majority of English speakers (sailors or not) start to call yacht only to big boats than to call yacht to a small boat will becomes pretentious (not saying that is what is happening in US but it is certainly what is happening on most European countries).

Two examples of words that changed meaning:

Corinthian, a word used many times regarding sailing to mean amateur in the good sense of the word (the one who loves but it not a professional) meant on its original sense (related with the inhabitants of Corinth) licentious and libertine.

The word : exquisite, in French (exquis), having had that meaning in Portuguese long ago means today only odd, weird.

esquisito - Dicionário Português-Inglês WordReference.com

You can have the best of intentions saying to a Portuguese lady that is cooking is "esquisito" but I can tell you for sure she is going not to like the comment:D.

regards

Paulo
 

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But remember, if you own a 30' $15,000 sailboat, then you're a "rich, elitist yachtsman".
and by that definition, you (all of us) shouldn't have a problem paying the associated taxes, right?:rolleyes:

I talk about my boat with people I work with and they refer to it as a yacht. Maybe because I can actually stay on it for days/weeks at a time. When I think of a yacht, I'm thinking of those big shiny ones showcased in the magazines (40'+)

Either way, it get's me out on the water and away from the stresses of day-to-day nonsense.
 

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Agree with Jeff but more and more folks are saying s/v or m/v these days on the radio around here. The bride and I sign our greeting cards and emails s/v as well when appropriate. Sounds better then "oil screw"
Yep, I'm hearing that more and more these days, it does make sense when trying to be clear in indentification
 
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How's this: If it's financed, it's a yacht. If you paid cash, it's a boat. :p

On the radio I self-identify as "sailing vessel." I figure it will assist with visual identification.
 
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