If you’re lucky enough to be at a point in your life where you’ve decided you want to head out onto the open water, the likelihood is that you’re mulling over choosing between a powerboat and a sailing yacht.
The advent of outboard engines became a cause for heated rivalries between those who like horsepower and those who advocate the power of the wind.
An Issue of Stereotyping
For starters, true sailors seem to look down upon powerboaters somewhat, as powerboats are usually associated with noise, the (real or imagined) nouveau-riche social standing of the guys who pilot them, and a general lack of consideration for anyone else.
On the other side of the fence, powerboaters tend to perceive sailors as self-important, know-it-all sorts at one extreme, and scruffy hippies at the other. These are, of course, the unfortunate stereotypes that some people tend to perpetuate, as the truth is always somewhere in the middle.
Regardless of other people’s perceptions, you still need to choose which type of vessel is going to be best-suited to you, for instance powerboat may be more suitable if you’re planning to sleep aboard a lot due to the extra space afforded when compared to a similarly-sized sailing yacht.
Powerboat Pros and Cons
Further advantages of powerboat ownership include how fast they can go relative to sailing yachts, their ability to change and head in any direction on a whim, having shallower drafts when compared to sailing yachts, no winching and no hauling. There are also the flashy looks and plenty of noise, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Noise can be a downside, however. Powerboats are known to be enjoyable to whoever’s aboard them, but rather annoying to everyone else in the vicinity. In addition, big, powerful engines are expensive to run and maintain. Strong winds can also have an adverse effect on powerboats as they have a higher centre of gravity than sailing yachts.
Sailing Yacht Pros and Cons
Sailing yachts are more environmentally friendly than powerboats as they are primarily powered by the wind. They are also not entirely dependent on fuel and are quieter than powerboats. Further advantages of harnessing the wind are the ability to cross oceans and the amount of money you save when not burning fuel.
Some downsides to sailing yachts are that you are at the mercy of the wind, sails and rigging are expensive to maintain and having a deeper draft means that shallow waters are a no-go. You should also have plenty of time on your hands and be quite physically fit to be able to handle the demands of a sailing yacht.