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No Crew Required

  • By Chris Caswell
  • Updated: June 18, 2009

Nordhavn 47

ytgjun09cy2525.jpg

A growing number of yachts are being operated “short-handed,” the nautical term for a voyage with fewer than the usual number of crew members. In the yachting world, it was not long ago that owning a 70-footer meant having a dedicated captain and at least one crew member.

Today, however, there are a growing number of yachts in the 60- to 80-foot range being handled by husband-and-wife teams. And this isn’t just weekend marina-hopping, either, but voyages that stretch the lengths of continents and span oceans.

John and Linda Langan who, in 16 months, have ranged from Alaska to Mexico and are currently in the Caribbean aboard their Nordhavn 47, are now accustomed to short-handed cruising. “At first it was daunting, now it’s no big thing,” they happily report.

A multitude of factors have not only made this possible, but desirable. Modern technology has provided warping winches that can turn a 100-pound woman into Arnold Schwarzenegger when it comes to handling dock lines, while bow and stern thrusters make docking easier. There are more young couples acquiring larger yachts these days, yet not really wanting paid crew. And at the other end, there are “empty-nesters,” who want to be able to take out family or friends occasionally, yet still remain independent.

Regardless of the reasons, boatbuilders are seizing on this new market, creating fleets of yachts aimed at short-handed cruisers. We talked to a number of owner-operators, as well as boatbuilders, to gather some of the hard-won tips and techniques that make short-handed cruising possible. Here’s a look at what we learned.

Pick the Right Yacht

The design features needed for short-handed cruising are a matter of common sense. One of the keys to simplified boat-handling, according to one skipper, is the ability to “be everywhere at once.”

This means you need wide side decks that allow you to move easily from bow to stern, with bulwarks or rails high enough to make movement underway safe. It requires having doors on each side of a pilothouse so the skipper can step out to lend a hand quickly. Look for flying bridge stairs that are conveniently located and safe in all conditions. Inside, a pilot berth or convertible settee might be a good idea, so a second person is close at hand during night passages.

Outfit the Yacht

Once you’ve chosen the yacht, you need to outfit it with short-handing in mind, which generally falls into two categories: Extra power and simplicity.

Docking is always the biggest concern for a husband-and-wife team, but several modern conveniences turn this into a “no worries” area. First, bow and stern thrusters allow the skipper to place the yacht precisely against a dock. Second, warping winches on the stern allow one person to easily move a 40-ton yacht. Third, remote helm controls put the skipper where he can see everything, as well as lend a hand as needed. And last (but certainly not least!), the dawn of Zeus or IPS drive power allows joystick control that can pivot the yacht in any direction and even hold station effortlessly.

For Barry and Alice Allred, the bow and stern thrusters aboard their Outer Reef 65, Risky Business, are a godsend. “Choosing hydraulic progressive Trac thrusters was our wisest investment,” says Barry. “I can place the boat against the dock and then hold it there indefinitely while I help with the docklines.” Progressive thrusters can be left in the thrusting position and, being hydraulic, can be used continuously because they don’t have overheating issues.

Warping winches were named as one of the most popular options by boatbuilders, and several owners noted that using them meant they could easily muscle in a spring line-even against wind and current. They also allow the positioning of the yacht to be done from on board, rather than relying on dock helpers. Lydia Biggie, who has cruised the length of the Eastern Seaboard with her husband, John, aboard their Outer Reef 73, SeeYa, always passes the eye of the dockline ashore, so she can control the length from on board.

The ability of the skipper to operate the engines and thrusters from locations other than the helm was also mentioned as very important by short-handed crews. Options include wing controls hidden in a bulwark outside the pilothouse or on the afterdeck, as well as corded control boxes that can be plugged in at various locations around the yacht. Aboard Risky Business, for example, plug locations include the bow (for anchoring), the stern, and both sides of the bridge.

Nordhavn 47

Ample and properly sized fenders were mentioned as valuable to short-handers, because they protect the yacht until all the lines are secured. Several skippers mentioned that they have premarked fender lines, so they can be secured at a set height before being hung over the side. This is particularly important with large or heavy fenders being handled by a small person.

Another valuable piece of deck gear that short-handers mentioned is “a really long boathook” which can be used for placing looped docklines over pilings or cleats when there are no helpers ashore.

Prep the Crew

If there was one tip given by absolutely every short-handed couple, it was to talk everything through beforehand. “Plan ahead, and take your time,” says Lydia Biggie. “John and I will discuss the order of lines to be given to the dock help, because sometimes it varies.” Aboard Risky Business, Barry Allred also tells his wife which lines to set first, and she passes these directions to the dock helpers.

Both John Biggie and Barry Allred go a step further in their preparations: “I talk to the dockmaster by VHF beforehand,” says Allred, “to find out the exact slip location, the wind or current at that spot, and what’s around my slip. That way there are no surprises.” Lydia Biggie adds, “We find out at least half an hour beforehand what side of the dock we’ll be on, and if they are floating or stationary. That way I can estimate the height and position of the fenders.”

Just as important as crew preparation are crew communications. John Langan is succinct: “We use duplex two-way hands-free communications, and this is a marriagesaver!” Barry Allred also has several pairs of voice-activated Eartec headsets, adding a third unit so his daughter “could hear what was going on” when she was aboard. “These work fine, even in a breeze,” says Allred, noting that they allow two people to work without being in sight of each other.

Lowering and raising an anchor brings a host of new challenges but, again, modern technology and ingenuity simplify the task for short-handers. Barry Allred has anchor controls on his remote controller and, once plugged in at the bow, can direct the whole process as he watches.

Aboard SeeYa, the Biggies use hand signals to communicate from the bow to the pilothouse. “I look at him and signal and call ‘taking the pin out.’ This is the safety pin that prevents the anchor and chain from going down. Now John knows my hands are clear, and it’s okay to lower the anchor. We have one of those neat ‘chain counters’ so he can raise and lower the anchor from the wheel and know how many feet are out.”

The way the Langans aboard the Nordhavn 47 see it, “You can’t be too rich or too thin or have too many anchors. I use 400 feet of 7/16-inch chain and a 105-pound CQR. We set the CQR on the roller nearing the anchorage so that when we let the windlass out, it goes down by itself and my wife counts the 50-foot paint stripes to the required scope.” John adds, “All this I do from the pilothouse, since the windlass can be operated from there, the flybridge, or the bow.”

For raising the anchor, Lydia Biggie has painted three marks on the chain, but hers are near the anchor. “When I see these marks come out of the water, I take over raising the anchor. I can now do this slowly, make sure the anchor is free of sand, oriented properly and, finally, seated properly. Besides, by the time I take over the anchor, John needs to pay attention to steering the boat.”

When it comes to signaling, the Biggies keep it simple. “I point to where the anchor chain is, port or starboard, so John can use the bow thruster to line up the boat with the chain. I use a circular motion with my arm to indicate ‘keep the anchor coming up,’ and I put my hand up in a ‘stop’ motion to end pulling the anchor in.”

The biggest concern for most short-handers is a man overboard because, with just two people aboard, you only have half a crew to handle a serious crisis.

Most short-handers carry comfortable lifejackets in addition to the U.S. Coast Guard-required PFDs-either in the form of automatic inflatable life vests that don’t constrict movements, or as float coats to wear when weathering colder climates. But many short-handers also admitted that they don’t wear them often enough. “Unless the conditions are really bad,” said one, “we don’t put them on. I know we should, but we’re lazy.”

High bulwarks, double or even triple lifelines, and plenty of rails can create a false sense of security and we’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend that everyone on deck wear a life vest at all times.

Even in the best case scenario, when the MOB is wearing a flotation device, the situation is very dangerous because only one person is left to maneuver the yacht, spot the person in the water, and retrieve the crew. There are a multitude of devices designed to help locate and retrieve a crew member, large or small, from the water, and each has its pros and cons. Some require installations on the yacht, and all should be tested in practice situations with a full crew aboard in calm water. A dark night with your spouse in the water is no time to start reading the instructions.

The most popular MOB device for powerboats is the Lifesling, which comes in several variations but is basically a horseshoe- shaped collar that is thrown to the victim or towed behind the yacht so it can be reached without swimming for it.

It provides buoyancy as well as a secure attachment to the yacht and, when combined with lifting tackle on board, allows a smaller person to hoist a heavy and watersoaked victim on board.

Several short-handers that were interviewed have a basic rule: No one ever goes on deck without being watched. And one added that, when voyaging, they always bring the yacht to a complete stop before a crew member goes on deck.

Barry Allred uses a video camera that covers all the action on the afterdeck. “With that, one of us can be in the pilothouse and still keep an eye on the other if we’re rigging lines or fenders.”

Short-handed cruising a largish yacht may seem intimidating or even scary at first but, with a well-chosen yacht and the right equipment and practice, it can be a grand adventure.

“I wasn’t sure the two of us could do it,” says Barry Allred. “I was wrong…it’s great!”

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HOW BIG OF A YACHT WITHOUT CREW

The “crew” issue is a topic that interests many owners when designing their yacht. One wonders if a yacht without a crew is possible. However, to understand if this request is feasible, it is important to clarify these aspects with the Shipyard:

  • What will be one of your yachts? How long is everything going to use it?

Is the owner able to maneuver the yacht in complete autonomy?

  • How big is your boat? Will I be able to manage it autonomously safely?

For clarification, it is essential to consider that the crew can be divided between technical staff (captain, mechanical engineer, etc.) and service staff (steward, chef, hostess, etc.) – usually employed in larger yachts.

What will be the use of your yacht? How long are you going to use it per year?

At the time of design, it is already clear to its owner what the use of his boat will be.

There are those owners who love to steer their boat, others who only seek the pleasure of cruising. There are those who prefer to have the boat all to themselves, and those who prefer to have a crew at their service. There are also those who love to use the boat all year round and those who can use it only a few months a year.

The intended use of your boat also conditions the choices related to the crew.

A boat that will be used as a Charter Yacht will have to provide not only the technical personnel required by law but also the service personnel.

If instead, its use is personal, it will be possible to reserve less space for the crew members, as the guests will carry out the duties on board.

PLEASE NOTE: The rules on the number and type of personnel on board are dictated and imposed by the Navigation Class and the flag, as well as by the size of the boat. It will, therefore, be important to evaluate all these aspects well with the construction site during the design phase.

In order to navigate and maneuver the boat, you need a boat license and all the certifications suitable for cruising. It is also necessary to have a minimum of technical notions to be put into practice in case of a failure while in the middle of the sea. There are true sea enthusiasts who have all the knowledge necessary to steer their yacht in complete safety, but also those who see time on board as vacation and who prefer to have someone do things for them.

The bigger the yacht, the more the presence on board of technical figures with specific skills will be necessary. In addition, a large yacht also requires greater care also in terms of maintenance.

Shipyard Solutions

Division of flows as an optimal solution.

Pilothouse_CustomYacht_Navetta 26

The study of guest-crew flows, if done carefully, guarantees extreme discretion. A clever division of the spaces ensures that the work areas do not interfere with the spaces dedicated to guests.

When technology can help

During the design phase, the Shipyard can meet with ad hoc solutions.

Italian yacht_N26

Each station has been equipped with all the controls and displays necessary to have full control of the boat.

These solutions come in handy while sailing, but a Navetta 26 needs a fixed presence on board even when it is moored in the Port. A remote monitoring system has been installed on board to manage current onboard, space heating/cooling, etc.

Do you want to receive more information on how to manage your boat?

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Azimut 78 yacht tour: Inside the mother of all owner-operated boats

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The Azimut 78 sits at a crossroads in the market, you can run it by yourself, but many owners choose to employ a crew. Nick shows us around…

Walking around the Azimut 78 it’s easy to forget you’re still on a sub-24m boat, particularly in the three-cabin crew quarters, which is located in the bow – usually a hallmark of much bigger yachts.

This video, filmed at the most recent Cannes Yachting Festival , showcases the Azimut 78’s curvaceous Art Deco-inspired interior, as designed by Achille Salvagni.

It’s the little details that really raise the bar on this yacht, from the teak-lined guest showers to the indirect lighting behind the bedhead in the master cabin .

Article continues below…

Cranchi 78 yacht tour: Inside the Italian yard’s great glass flagship

Princess y78 yacht tour: the biggest boat you can run without crew.

Out on deck there are plenty of sociable spaces to soak up the sun, from the foredeck to flybridge .

However, Nick saves the best to last, with a look inside the Azimut 78’s engine room, which houses a triple IPS 1350 pod-drive set-up for a top speed of 33 knots.

Enjoy the tour…

Azimut 78 specification

LOA: 23.64m (77’6”) Beam: 5.75m (18’ 10”) Draft: 1.77m (5’ 10’’) Displacement (loaded): 58 tonnes (127,867lb) Engines: Triple 1,000hp Volvo Penta IPS 1350 Top speed: 33 knots Cruising speed: 27 knots Fuel capacity: 5,000l Water capacity: 1,100l Price: €3,150,000

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What is behind the surge in new 60ft plus yacht designs and can you sail one safely without pro crew?

  • Toby Hodges
  • January 13, 2017

New yacht design has taken a giant leap in average length. Toby Hodges reports on the boom in big boats

Oyster 625

Looking along the row of new yachts berthed stern-to at Cannes Boat Show in September, it seems impossible that just a few years ago a yard might hold up its 55-footer as the flagship of its fleet. In 2016, it’s the new yachts between 55ft and 80ft from the production yards that really stand out. So what has changed? Why the sudden surge in new large yachts and is it really possible to sail them without professional crew?

The 60ft plus market represents only around 120 yachts worldwide per year, but according to Oyster CEO David Tydeman, there is a need for variety. “Where Beneteau likes the fact that we series-build €5m boats, we like the fact that Beneteau does €1m series builds,” he says. “It brings people into the industry.”

Customers range from those wanting short-term sailing holidays and second home use, to those exercising long held dreams to sail offshore in the utmost comfort. It’s a wide range of people being targeted by a wide range of brands and from the list of boats yet to be launched, it’s evident that the majority of builders have bet against this size segment being a passing fad.

Who is building new yachts over 60ft?

The volume production yards have been growing their flagship models, mostly launched in the last year or two, to fulfil demand in the 55-65ft sector. This is perhaps indicative of an increasing number of impulsive buyers on today’s new yacht market; those who don’t want to wait for a couple of years for their yacht are going to be more attracted to the volume-built boats.

Models over 65ft are typically still the domain of luxury bluewater cruising brands, such as Oyster and Contest; prestige brands, such as CNB and Euphoria; or performance semi-custom designs from the likes of Swan, Solaris, Mylius and Advanced Yachts. Highlights include X-Yachts’s 65ft X6 (see X6 on test ), the Grand Soleil 58 Performance; Mylius’ striking new 76; the Turkish Euphoria 68 (see Euphoria 68 on test ) and the luxurious new Contest 67CS ( see video review here ), not to mention the new Oysters 675 and 745.

Contest 67CS: The owner of this first 67CS started sailing in Norway in September 2009, aged 40. Since then he has owned two yachts, completed an ARC crossing and sailed with his wife in the Caribbean five times a year. “We were looking for a bigger yacht for longer stays but which we can still sail with the two of us.” They plan to sail the boat themselves, but add that for “maintenance and preparations it is smart to have professionals who know our Contest 67CS.”

Contest 67CS: The owner of this first 67CS started sailing in Norway in September 2009, aged 40. Since then he has owned two yachts, completed an ARC crossing and sailed with his wife in the Caribbean five times a year. “We were looking for a bigger yacht for longer stays but which we can still sail with the two of us.” They plan to sail the boat themselves, but add that for “maintenance and preparations it is smart to have professionals who know our Contest 67CS.”

At the 60ft plus size range, yards have to be flexible to be competitive. Prospective buyers expect their yachts to be semi-customised; rather than simply ticking options boxes, they want the yard to listen to their individual choices, styles and needs.

Volume producers will offer a lengthy list of layouts, fabrics and finishes, while the high-end builders will typically offer major hull variations, including different transom designs, rig options, and appendage types, with interior layouts only really constrained by watertight bulkheads. Those braving the first of a new model line may get extra privileges in this respect.

Mylius 76

Mylius 76: In many ways, Mylius’s yachts are a total contrast to the large, luxury cruising yachts of northern European yards. The all-carbon builds are super-minimalist throughout; modern turbo-charged Italian head-turners for smoking across the Med in style and enjoying the odd regatta. Pictured right is the flush-deck version. The deck saloon model (far right interiors) is novel and niche – a fascinating combination of space, speed and style.

High volume production

Of the volume yards, Hanse arguably led the way with its 630e back in 2006, 70 of which were built. Equally impressive is that the German yard then went on to sell 175 of its 575 in the last four years. This year Hanse launched the 675, its largest volume production yacht to date.

Hanse 675 interior

Hanse consistently wows with its loft-style interiors – more like a luxury apartment in fact on this, its largest model yet, the new 675.

Groupe Beneteau brands all now have yachts in the 60ft plus size range. The Bordeaux 60 caused a stir when it launched in 2008 – hull number 46 is in build – bringing trappings of superyacht glamour to the production market. The follow-up CNB 76 made a striking debut at Cannes in 2013. This contemporary Briand design uses an innovative construction method to reduce build time and cost. Seventeen of the €2m 76s have now sold, leading CNB to commission designs for a new smaller sister, the 66 (see page 33). To give some indication as to the demand at this size, CNB has already sold eight of the smaller yachts despite only releasing initial designs in September, and has also just announced it will take on 100 more workers to meet demand.

CNB 76

CNB 76: The 76 is a powerful yet elegant yacht with a well-camouflaged deck saloon, proper crew accommodation and a practical tender garage. A modular build scheme allows CNB to construct the entire interior of the 76 outside of the hull, dramatically reducing build time (to six months) and cost. The win-win result is superyacht styling and engineering, yet with a serial production price starting at €2m.

Unlike CNB, which is originally a builder of large custom yachts, the other volume production yards and Groupe Beneteau brands are upsizing. Superyacht designers Philippe Briand and Andrew Winch collaborated to produce one of the most successful of these – the Jeanneau 64 launched in 2014. It marries the worlds of big boat design, luxury and comfort with production boat pricing – its base price was kept below €1m – offering 10ft more yacht than an equivalent-priced semi-custom model.

Sister brand Beneteau has now followed suit with its Oceanis Yachts 62 this year. This is the first of a new luxury range from 53-73ft for which Beneteau went to a motorboat designer to find new styling solutions. The result is a bold look and a host of new comfort solutions throughout. Also, the goal with the pricing was even more ambitious than Jeanneau – its €650,000 base price shows how competitive pricing has become, even at this size level.

Oceanis Yachts 62

Oceanis Yachts 62: Beneteau is arguably the most innovative production yacht brand. Here it’s taken ideas and styling from its motorboat side to create this first of an entirely new line. The 62 brings a commendable feeling of luxury both on deck and below, plus has a proper tender launching solution for a Williams Jet Rib. The crunch part? Its base price starts at just €650,000.

Dufour will have a new 63ft flagship as of January, which, like the Oceanis Yachts, is the first of a new premium-end ‘Exclusive’ range.

All of which leaves Bavaria as the last big volume yard without a 60-footer. This is mainly down to its in-line production method, which has, to date, limited the maximum length of yacht it can build. However this summer Bavaria changed the set-up of one of its production lines to address this limitation, so we can presume that it’s only a question of time before the largest sailing Bavaria model yet is announced.

The practicalities

Large yachts are getting ever easier to handle. Push-button electrics and hydraulics that allow loads to be managed reliably have created new possibilities for managing sizable yachts short-handed. Thrusters – both bow and stern – are the norm at this size and can alleviate concerns with mooring, while advances in deck-gear technology have made sail-handling much easier.

As in the car industry, space has become king. Added length in yachts can bring increased comfort, elegance and speed, but there are downsides. With extra volume and weight comes a linear increase in the size and cost of each bit of deck gear and rigging needed to bear the extra loads.

Sailing a push-button power-assisted yacht might be a one-person affair, but managing and maintaining it is a different prospect altogether. Large yachts increase the crew’s dependence on powered systems and machinery, from gensets, watermakers, air con and thrusters to the hydraulics needed to operate winches, sail systems, garage doors etc. Keeping such a yacht shipshape is likely to involve a great deal of time afloat servicing machinery, or regular shore periods and pit stops. The less mechanically minded owners will probably need to employ a skipper or paid hand for this purpose.

Solaris 58

Solaris: Once a custom yacht builder, Solaris has become a serial manufacturer of premium performance cruisers. Its range now spans from 37-72ft, with an Acebal-designed 55 and 68 in the pipeline.

Need for crew?

Up until 2011, when Hallberg-Rassy brought out its HR64, a yacht that was designed specifically for two people to sail and manage, I would have said that 57ft was the transition point from owner-operated yacht to crewed yacht. But yachts have continued to grow since then.

Skip Novak, who runs two expedition yachts – one 54ft and the other 74ft – says: “We can do things with [the 54ft] Pelagic that we wouldn’t dare do with Pelagic Australis . Pelagic is ‘man-handleable’, while the big boat at 74ft and 55 tonnes displacement is not. The systems on the smaller boat are by nature simpler, and the cruises usually are more trouble-free technically.”

Most new yachts over the 55ft mark have the option for a crew cabin of some sort. The big question is, are you happy sharing your yacht with paid hands? For temporary quarters, during a short charter for example, the forepeak-style box that is self-contained away from the rest of the accommodation may be all that is required in terms of accommodation. But for any owners seeking a longer-term crew – and wishing to retain reliable crew for any period of time – a more comfortable arrangement within the interior, like the use of a Pullman cabin, is necessary.

The current Oyster range spans the crossover between owner-operated yachts and crewed yachts, which helps to illustrate where the actual dividing line between the two might lie. For example, none of the 20 Oyster 625 owners uses a skipper full-time, although three of the 20 use skippers for when the boat is in charter mode. The new 675, which has been developed as a larger version of the 625, is also designed to be a yacht that can be owner-run. The new 745 on the other hand, which also launched this September, is designed to be run with two professional crew.

I sailed with Tim and Sybilla Beebe six years ago on a passage test of an Oyster 575 from Palma to Spain. They have since run an Oyster 68, a 72 and Tim is currently skippering Eddie Jordan’s Oyster 885, Lush. We discussed at what size level an owner should be thinking about employing a full-time crew.

“Firstly it’s dependent on experience,” says Beebe. “Can the owner sail the boat safely and do they want the responsibility? I agree that after 60ft, the time spent on upkeep starts to outweigh the enjoyment of it… unless you are living on it full-time.

“There are companies that will look after a 60ft boat and have it ready for owners when they arrive,” Beebe continued. “The amount of time needs to flexible. You can allot time for cleaning – inside and out – but maintenance must be flexible. There are always surprises.”

So where might a potential new owner be caught out? “The basic maintenance to keep the boat running is not too bad on a 60-footer but it’s the little bits that might get overlooked, which can quickly add up. You have to stay on top of everything. Winch maintenance, for example, might surprise the average new owner: to properly service all the winches takes a good deal of time – and is a once-a-season job.”

What advice would Beebe give owners of 60-70-footers looking to employ and keep a good crew? “Maintaining good relations is key. You all have to get on in a small space. From my experience, forward planning is nice to have, plus adequate time with guests off the boat for maintenance. Of course the occasional day off doesn’t go amiss either.”

Case study: Oyster 745 for bluewater cruising with family and friends

Henrik Nyman has sailed all his life on a variety of different sized boats, including owning and chartering various yachts and is now upgrading from an Oyster 625 to a 745 for bluewater cruising with friends and family. Why move to a yacht that needs crew? “Size alone is not a factor. For me, quality, engineering and function were my drivers… I thought 60ft was the maximum I could handle without crew, but in fact I feel that the 745 should be no trouble mainly due to very well thought-out functions and engineering. Handling is one part, but also you want crew for comfort, to go to the supermarket, some meals, formalities etc… I can sail basically alone but I want a good deckhand, mainly for safety purposes and for maintenance as well. “My biggest concern is that the equipment installed does not meet the same quality as the yacht itself. My experience from the 625 is that the majority if not all warranty issues are caused by third party installations.”

Oyster 745

Case study: Discovery 67 – trading up for extra space

Simon Phillips is a highly experienced cruising and racing sailor, who has gradually scaled up in size from a Sonata, a Sadler 29, a Hanse 47e and a Discovery 55. He bought his 67ft Sapphire 2 of London this June and his main reason for trading up was to gain space. “ Sapphire is 40 per cent larger inside which makes a big difference if you’re planning to spend 18 to 24 months on board. My wife and I are actively planning for the World ARC.” Phillips hasn’t used a professional crew before, but has employed delivery companies to do short deliveries due to time pressures. He normally sails with friends and contacts. “Sapphire is much more technical than the Discovery 55. Her size requires more planning and thought on where you can go etc. While it is possible to sail the yacht single-handed you really need one crew on the helm and three on lines to come alongside in any sort of windy and tidal conditions.”

Discovery 67

Showcase boats: Recent and upcoming launches in the 60ft plus category

Vismara 62

Vismara 62: Vismara is a custom carbon yacht builder that has now introduced some semi-custom series. The V62 is based on the success of the Mark Mills designed racer-cruiser SuperNikka . A mould was taken from her hull and adapted to make it more cruiser friendly.

Hallberg-Rassy 64

Hallberg-Rassy 64: “Push button controls are the only way you could handle a boat of this size without a big crew and our owners absolutely don’t want that,” said Magnus Rassy at the time of our HR64 test. “A huge amount of care has gone into making a boat that will be easy to sail long-distance, to maintain and to continue to use when things stop working.”

Dufour 63 Exclusive

Dufour 63 Exclusive: Due to launch at the Düsseldorf Boat Show in 2017, Dufour’s new flagship is a response to those from Beneteau, Jeanneau and Hanse and is the first of its new Exclusive range. The 63 is a yacht that maximises exterior comfort with a 5m long cockpit and exterior galley option alongside a tender garage.

CNB 66

CNB 66: The Bordeaux 60 and CNB 76 have both been true success stories. This 66 is very much the smaller sister to the 76 and looks set to replace the 60. “With the 66 the idea was to be able to sail without crew,” says CNB’s Thomas Gailly. “So we wanted it to be very simple, with no lift keel option or retracting anchor arm – easy to maintain and use.”

Baltic 67

Baltic 67: Over the past few years, Baltic Yachts has launched some of the finest new carbon superyachts, but its recent announcement of a new serially produced model marks a return to the more moderate-sized fast cruisers it was known for in the past.

Advanced Yachts 62

Advanced Yachts 62: Advanced Yachts uses some of the leading design firms to represent Italian luxury performance at its best, with models from 44-100ft. And this new A62 looks simply sensational.

Amel 64

Amel 64: This is one of the first 60+ footers truly designed for a couple only for bluewater cruising.

Find out more here – or in the videos below.

Below is the video of our two day liveaboard test aboard the smaller sister Amel 55, a model which launched at a similar time to the 64 and shares her updated design features.

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The 25 Largest Yachts in the World Right Now

The 2023 newcomers to our annual list hail from german yard lürssen, dutch builder oceanco and turkish refit yard karmarine..

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Lürssen Yachts "Rising Sun" superyacht

As we round 2023, the size of the global superyacht fleet keeps on growing. The top 25 largest yachts in the world now total a combined 11,849 feet, with the smallest yacht on the list, Koru , measuring a whopping 417 feet. Built by shipyards all over the world—from the Netherlands to the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom—new launches and refits are delivered each year. The latest newcomers to make the list hail from Lürssen, Oceanco and Karmarine. With many new gigayacht builds in the pipeline, the list promises to be even more competitive in the coming years. Here are the world’s top 25 yachts by size, from Koru to Azzam.

Azzam (592 feet, 6 inches), Lürssen

Lürssen Azzam

It’s not surprising that the world’s longest yacht hails from a shipyard with 13 out of the 25 top builds in the superyacht arena. Unfortunately, Lürssen could never really boast about Azzam after its launch in 2013 because of the owner’s penchant for privacy, though it did describe the interior by Christophe Leoni, which features a 95-foot-long main salon, as “inspired by the Empire style of the early 19th century.” The owner Mubarak Saad al Ahbabi directed a team of designers and engineers who started with the bare concept, worked through the technical challenges of what might be the most complex superyacht ever and finished with an unusually large vessel that can top the 30-knot mark. Nauta Yacht’s exterior features a long, sleek forward area, with well-proportioned tiers moving up to the skydeck. Lürssen describes the interior by Christophe Leoni as “sophisticated, with luxurious decor inspired by the Empire style of the early 19th century.” Its gas turbines, connected to water jets, push Azzam to more than 30 knots—as fast as a Navy frigate—giving it the ability to operate at high speed in shallow waters. It also boasts an impressive build time for a yacht of its size, with construction taking only three years after one year of engineering. Azzam  accommodates up to 36 guests, and a crew of 80.

Fulk Al Salamah (538 feet, 1 inch), Mariotti Yachts

"Fulk Al Salamah," Mariotti Yachts

Little information has been released about the world’s second-longest superyacht, custom-built Fulk Al Salamah , and it has been shrouded in mystery since first announced in 2014. Even the overall length of 538.1 feet has been estimated from AIS data. However, built and delivered by Italian builder Mariotti Yachts in their Genoa shipyard in 2016, the imposing vessel is believed to be owned by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman. Last refit in 2021, exterior design is by Studio de Jorio, and it is considered by some to resemble more of a support vessel than a superyacht. Nonetheless, aerial photography shows an impressively large helideck, raked masts and a bathing platform.

Eclipse (533 feet, 1 inch), Blohm+Voss

Superyacht Eclipse

The 533.1-foot stately  Eclipse , the second yacht on this list owned by sanctioned billionaire Roman Abramovich, took five years to design and build. When it left the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg in 2010, it was the world’s largest yacht. The interior has 17 staterooms and a palatial master suite, with the capacity to carry 85 crew. Both the interior and exterior are designed by Terence Disdale. A proportional profile is defined by tiered decks that sweep upward and bend ever so slightly at the aft ends. Eclipse  has a 185-foot-long owner’s deck, the capacity to hold three helicopters, a sophisticated stabilization system, six tenders and an enormous spa, gym and beach club, not to mention one of the largest swimming pools on any superyacht. Other features reflecting its stature: Hybrid diesel-electric engines are connected to Azipod drives that give Eclipse a top-end speed of 21 knots, with a range of 6,000 nautical miles.

Dubai (531 feet, 5 inches), Platinum Yachts

DUBAI UAE - DEC 16: Dubai - yacht of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. December 16 2014 in Dubai UAE

Even at 531.5-feet, Dubai ’s all-white Winch-designed exterior belies the dramatic and vibrant interior within. Colorful mosaic floors, a spiraling glass staircase, 70-foot-wide atrium and bursts of red, blue and green create a carnival of scene. Originally commissioned for Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei as a joint project between Blohm+Voss and Lürssen, the project was halted in 1998 with just a bare hull and skeletal superstructure. The hull was sold to the government of Dubai, and, under the direction of the country’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, work on the 531.5-footer began again, though this time by Platinum Yachts. Dubai delivered in 2006 and is now the sheikh’s royal yacht, with accommodations for 24 guests and quarters for 88 crew. The seven-decked yacht has a landing pad for a Black Hawk helicopter, submarine garage, disco and cinema, and can reach a top speed of 26 knots.

Blue (518 feet, 3 inches), Lürssen Yachts

Lürssen Superyacht Blue

Lürssen’s newest entry on the list, Blue , which delivered to its Middle Eastern owner in July 2022, may rank at number five out of the world’s largest yachts, but it’s diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system goes a long way to minimize emissions. The yacht also features an electric Azimuth pod drive that can be used independently or in conjunction with the twin propeller shafts. There is a waste-water treatment system and an advanced exhaust treatment system to help reduce NOx levels, as well as cut down on vibration and noise pollution. Interior and exterior design is by Terence Disdale, Blue is defined in profile by a raked bow with a helipad, an aft deck pool and twin balconies forward either side of the owner’s full-beam suite. There is a second, smaller helipad aft. The British designer has reportedly penned a feminine and elegant interior, though no images have yet been released.

Dilbar (511 feet, 8 inches), Lürssen

Espen Øino Dilbar yacht

The 2016 launch of Dilbar gave Lürssen the distinction of not only building the longest yacht ever ( Azzam ), but also the largest in terms of volume. Espen Øino designed the exterior, creating a full-bodied superstructure of long, flowing decks, along with two helicopter pads. Dilbar also has an 82-foot swimming pool that can hold an incredible 6,357-cubic-feet of water and according to Lürssen, is the world’s longest on a yacht. The interior by  Winch Design  is defined by its “rare and exclusive luxury materials,” says the builder, declining to go into detail. Despite  Dilbar ’s volume, the designers did a masterful job making the yacht look relatively svelte, In June 2020, Dilbar returned to Lürssen for a significant refit, where the yacht remains following US sanctions placed on the owner, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, in 2022.

Al Saïd (508 feet, 5 inches), Lürssen

Al Said measures 508'5" and was built by Lurssen Yachts

Another 500-plus-foot yacht from Lürssen, the original Project Sunflower gained its official name of Al Saïd following its launch in 2016. Espen Øino’s exterior is akin to a classic cruise liner, complete with the twin-exhaust stacks in the center of the superstructure. Owned by the Sultan of Oman, the yacht was listed for the sale for the first time in April 2022 for an undisclosed sum. The six-decked  Al Saïd  can carry 154 crew and an estimated 70 guests across 26 suites. Lürssen reports a top speed of 22 knots. The London-based Redman Whiteley Dixon studio designed the interior, which includes a concert hall that can hold a 50-piece orchestra, a private cinema for 50 people, plus a medical room and dental care on board.

A+ (483 feet, 1 inch), Lürssen

Lürssen Topaz largest yachts in the world

Very little is known about A+ (formerly Topaz) , which was launched by Lürssen in 2012, other than it is the fourth-largest yacht ever built by the German shipyard. Tim Heywood Designs did the exterior, which features helipads on the foredeck and amidships on an upper deck. A lower aft deck includes a swimming pool. The German yard has not released any images of the Terence Disdale interior. Reported to be owned by Manchester City Football Club owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan—Emirati royalty and deputy prime minister of the UAE— A+ has a top speed of 22 knots and can carry 62 guests and up to 79 crew. It was last refit in 2022.

Prince Abdulaziz (482 feet, 3 inches), Helsingør Værft

Prince Abdulaziz

This custom yacht, launched by Helsingør Værft in Denmark in 1984, is reportedly undergoing a refit in 2023. The 5,200-tonne Prince Abdulaziz is one of the Saudi Royal family’s yachts, its first owner being King Fahd. Designed by Maierform, the yacht was the longest and tallest in the world at the time of its launch, a title the 482.3-foot  Prince Abdulaziz  held for 22 years until  Dubai  launched in 2006. The late David Nightingale Hicks, known for his use of bright colors, was the interior designer. The lobby is said to be a replica of the Titanic . The yacht is also rumored to be carrying surface-to-air missiles, though that may be an urban legend.

OK (479 feet), Oshima Shipbuilding

Ohima Shipbuilding's OK

Originally built by Japan’s Oshima Shipbuilding in 1982, the semisubmersible heavy lift ship was used for decades by DYT Yacht Transport as float-on yacht carrier. In 2022, the vessel underwent a private conversion at Karmarine shipyard in Turkey, turning it into a luxury, though highly unusual, yacht named OK . Modifications include a matte-black paint job, gold-tinted glazing and teak decking. The vessel’s 328-foot submersible aft deck—a feature that first attracted her new owner, who uses OK to transport their 150-foot ketch—is now covered in a carpet of artificial grass. A 40-tonne crane allows for the safe and easy launch and retrieval of a vast range of toys, including a seaplane. The interior by Bozca Design is reported to include accommodation for 20 guests, a botanical garden and a crazy Willy Wonka-inspired glass elevator that operates outside of the yacht’s superstructure.

El Mahrousa (478 feet, 1 inch), Samuda Brothers

"El Mahrousa" Yacht, Samuda Brothers

El Mahrousa , which means “The Protected” in Arabic, is currently Egypt’s presidential yacht, though the 478.1-footer has a separate history as that country’s royal yacht. The London-based Samuda Brothers began the build in 1863, and it was launched in 1865. The world’s oldest superyacht—and formerly the world’s biggest—was originally built for the Ottoman governor of Egypt, Khedive Ismail, and later carried three Egyptian kings into exile. The yacht was also at the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. It features external design by the British naval architect Sir Oliver Lang, and has had multiple modifications over the years, including a lengthening by 40 feet in 1872 and another 17 feet in 1905. During the second refit, the owners replaced its paddle-wheel engines with turbine-driven propellers. The yacht, in care of the Egyptian Navy, occasionally goes to sea for a day or two. In 2015, it was used to inaugurate the new Suez Canal.

A (468 feet, 5 inches), Nobiskrug

Nobiskrug sailing yacht A.

Undoubtedly one of the most visionary projects ever delivered by German shipyard Nobiskrug, the Philippe Starck-designed A is a wild fantasy of the future. Delivered in 2017, the futuristic look of  sailing yacht  A includes smooth, silver-metallic surfaces and windows that look nearly invisible, three composite masts that bend slightly, and a deck hidden by high bulwarks. The Philippe Starck-design is a wild fantasy yacht of the future. The 468-foot sailing yacht is a technical victory for Nobiskrug , which developed composite fashion plates to create the unusual shapes without compromising any strength or fluidity. It has the tallest freestanding composite masts on any sailing vessel, a diesel-electric propulsion system and state-of-the-art navigation systems. The boat also reportedly has an underwater viewing platform in the keel. Starck’s traditional interior features dark wood, copper accents and cozy patterned carpets. The split-deck main salon is divided into zoned seating areas with integrated bookshelves. She remains today the world’s largest sailing yacht six years after her launch, though many argue she is better defined as a sail-assisted yacht.

Nord (466 feet), Lürssen

Lürssen OPUS Launch

Nord (Project Opus) has been a long time coming. She was announced in 2015 but didn’t hit the water until November 2020 when she conducted sea trials in the Baltic Sea. The 466-foot yacht features interior design by Italian studio Nuvolari Lenard and is Lürssen’s first yacht launched from its newly upgraded floating shed at its facility in Vegasack. Boasting many top-tier amenities, the yacht includes a sports and diving center on the lower deck, multiple tenders ranging in size up to 50-feet and a large swimming pool. The two helipads support the yacht’s long-range cruising capabilities for autonomous exploration, and a retractable hangar means a helicopter can slide neatly into the superstructure for storage when not in use. A generous 20 staterooms accommodate 36 guests across six decks, while a sleek aft-sloping superstructure gives Nord an individual profile on the water.

Yas (462 feet, 6 inches), Abu Dhabi Mar

Superyacht Yas in Barcelona

As a converted yacht, Yas is one of the most interesting vessels on this list. The dolphin-like exterior was originally a former Dutch Navy frigate that launched in 1978 and eventually sold to the navy of the United Arab Emirates, where it was renamed Al Emirat . The yacht underwent its dramatic conversion in a facility in Abu Dhabi’s main port, emerging as a gleaming superyacht in 2011, with one of the most interesting profiles on the water. It was eventually delivered four years later. Reportedly owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al Nahyan, half-brother of the president of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the design by Paris-based Pierrejean Vision is defined by massive glass surfaces. Yas can accommodate 60 guests and 58 crew members. Mated to a steel hull, the superstructure is the largest composite edifice ever built.

Solaris (459 feet, 3 inches), Lloyd Werft

Russian oligarchs yachts continued to be seized

Owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, the 476-foot  Solaris  was one of the largest yachts to deliver in 2021. Last refit in 2022 at MB92 in Barcelona, the vast, highly private explorer is built by German shipyard Lloyd Werft, and features a displacement steel hull with bulbous bow and steel superstructure with teak decks. The eight-deck exterior by Australian designer Marc Newson houses a large helipad, sundeck, spacious beach club aft and 21,527 sq. ft. of glass, the largest panes to ever be built into a yacht. Lloyd Werft also built the Russian billionaire’s previous explorer yacht Luna , which he reportedly sold for $360 million to his close friend Farkhad Akhmedov in 2014.

Ocean Victory (459 feet, 3 inches), Fincantieri

Fincantieri Yachts’ 459-foot Ocean Victory Photo by Trevor Coppock / TheYachtPhoto.com

The largest motoryacht ever built in Italy, Fincantieri’s Ocean Victory was delivered to its owner, Russian billionaire Viktor Rashnikov, in 2014. The seven-deck exterior by Espen Øino includes two helideck platforms and a hangar belowdecks, as well as exceptional outdoor social areas and a floodable tender dock. Ocean Victory has accommodations for 28 guests as well as quarters for 56 crew. Ocean Victory also has six pools, a 3,300-square-foot spa, and an underwater observation room. The interior by Alberto Pinto remains a secret, aside from the yacht’s six pools, a 3,300-square-foot spa and an underwater observation room.

Scheherazade (459 feet, 3 inches), Lürssen

Russian oligarchs yachts continued to be seized

The 459.3-foot, Lürssen-built Scheherazade (formerly known as Project Lightning) was delivered in June 2020. Two helipads, forward and aft, and a large beach club aft are visible from aerial photographs, but aside from the yacht’s reported seven-foot beam further details have not yet been released of the highly private vessel, including the names of designers or naval architects involved with the build. The reason may lie with the yacht’s unofficial owner, believed to be Russian president Vladimir Putin. In May 2022, Italian authorities froze Scheherazade in the port of Marina di Carrara following an investigation conducted by Italian financial police who found the ship’s beneficial owner had “significant economic and business ties” to high-ranking Russian government officials, though the results of the investigation to date remain inconclusive.

Al Salamah (456 feet), Lürssen

Lürssen Al Salamah gigayacht

When Lürssen launched Al Salamah in 1999, it was the third-largest yacht in the world. Its  number 18 ranking shows how much has changed in the last 20 years. Code-named MIPOS, or Mission Possible, the yacht was designed by Terence Disdale . Originally owned by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Sultan bin Abdulaziz, in 2013 the yacht was put up for sale for $280 million, before reportedly given to Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa as a gift. The large imposing exterior is primarily protected space, with an upper deck exposed to the elements. Al Salamah has staterooms for 40 guests, including two owner suites, 11 VIP staterooms and eight twin cabins. The yacht can carry up to 96 crew and has a top speed of 22 knots. Al Salamah was last refitted in 2009.

Rising Sun (454 feet, 1 inch), Lürssen

Lürssen Rising Sun superyacht

Designed by the original guru of yacht designers, Jon Bannenberg, Rising Sun was built by Lürssen for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and is currently owned by billionaire David Geffen, who reportedly paid $590 million for the yacht. The yacht comes with a gym, grand piano, multiple swimming pools, a beauty salon, and a spa with a sauna. Delivered in 2004, and last refit in 2011, the yacht’s exterior is defined by banks of windows across the superstructure. Rising Sun has 86,000 square feet of living space in 82 rooms. It can accommodate 18 guests in nine cabins, with the capacity to carry up to 46 crew. The interior by Seccombe Design includes a gym, cinema and wine cellar. The rear cockpit deck was designed as a basketball court. Geffen received global media backlash in 2020 for his “tone deaf” social-media posts that pictured himself on board his yacht during Covid-19 lockdown.

Flying Fox (446 feet, 2 inches), Lürssen

Lürssen's Flying Fox superyacht.

The 446.2-foot  Flying Fox is arguably the most high-profile yacht on this list, primarily for being the largest yacht available on the charter market, as well as being singled out as “blocked property” by US authorities in 2022 due to its reported ownership by sanctioned Russian oligarch Dmitry Kamenshchik. Delivered jointly by Imperial and Lürssen in 2019, 446.2-foot Flying Fox is the largest yacht available on the charter market. Key features of the Espen Øino-designed exterior are a curvaceous dove-gray hull and a 3.7-foot swimming pool that runs athwartship on the main aft deck, the largest ever found on board a yacht. A two-decked spa also gives guests access to a cryosauna, hammam and relaxation room with a fold-down balcony at sea level. Packed to the rafters with the latest amenities, the yacht holds a diving center, decompression chamber and two helipads. Flying Fox is PYC compliant and can accommodate 25 guests.

Savarona (446 feet, 2 inches), Blohm+Voss

Savarona superyacht 25 top yachgts

Launched in 1931, Savarona was built for American heiress Emily Roebling Cadwalader, and is easily identified by its two mustard-colored funnels. The yacht was eventually acquired by Turkey to be the presidential yacht of Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey. Jane’s Fighting Ships described the yacht in 1949 as “probably the most sumptuously fitted yacht afloat.”  Savarona was later converted to a training ship for the Turkish Navy and, in 1978, destroyed by fire. The yacht laid in tatters for 10 years. A Turkish businessman spent around $45 million refurbishing Savarona , commissioning Donald Starkey for the interior and replacing the original steam-turbine engines with modern Caterpillar diesels. Savarona became Turkey’s official presidential yacht again in 2014, accommodating up to 34 guests in 17 suits, and carrying up to 48 crew. Amenities include a swimming pool, Turkish bath, 280-foot grand staircase, a movie theater and a library dedicated to Atatürk.

Crescent (443 feet), Lürssen

Lürssen Crescent superyacht Larry Ellison

Last refit in 2021, Espen Øino’s dark hull and tiered superstructure was one of the most exciting launches of 2018. Called Project Thunder internally at Lürssen, the custom-built yacht features cutouts along the hull sides that allow full ocean views from the saloon on the primary deck, as part of Crescent ’s distinctive curved superstructure. Its most noteworthy feature is the jaw-dropping bank of three-deck-high windows in the center of the yacht. This architectural feature serves as the centerpiece of a very compelling design. The yacht has accommodations for 18 guests in nine staterooms. Little is known about the François Zuretti-designed interior, other than Lürssen describes it as being “traditionally styled.” If it lives up to Crescent ’s brash exterior, the complete yacht promises to be an entirely groundbreaking design. In March 2022, Crescent was detained by Spain as property of Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who is sanctioned in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Serene (439 feet, 3 inches), Fincantieri

Fincantieri Serene superyacht

Serene  is the yacht that launched Fincantieri into the superyacht segment, and what a debut it was. The largest yacht ever launched in Italy when it was delivered in 2011 (surpassed three years later by Ocean Victory ), the Espen Øino seven-deck design features a long, sleek blue hull crowned by a white superstructure. Pascale Reymond of Reymond Langton Design created the 43,056-square-foot interior for the Russian owner, which includes a double height atrium with a piano lounge at the top and a vast open-plan main salon below. Sunken LEDs and bright pink and purple neon lights create a modern party vibe in the social areas, which contrast with the elaborate yet more traditional guest suites. A spiral staircase with intricate metal banisters soars through the heart of the yacht. The open stern area has a winter garden (enclosed glasshouse) that allows dining in all seasons. Serene also has two helipads and a hangar, a big swimming pool and a tender garage large enough for a submarine. Pascale Reymond of Reymond Langton Design created the 43,056-square-foot interior for the Russian owner, though its details have remained closely guarded.

Al Mirqab (436 feet, 4 inches), Kusch Yachts

Al Mirqab

Al Mirqab was a yacht before its time. Launched in 2008, the yacht’s diesel-electric propulsion involves an azimuth pod drive and gives the 436.4-footer a top end of 21 knots. With 36 staterooms, and crew quarters for 45, it was built for Qatar’s former prime minister under the supervision of Kusch Yachts in the Peters Werft shipyard in Wewelsfleth, Germany. The Tim Heywood exterior includes a long, navy-blue hull with a white superstructure. The yacht’s diesel-electric propulsion involves an azimuth pod drive and gives the 436.4-footer a top end of 21 knots. Its interior by Andrew Winch won several awards, with images showing Arabic-influenced motifs on the marble floors of large social areas. The yacht’s centerpiece is a stunning, complicated floating staircase encircled by custom-made glass panels. Al Mirqab has staterooms for 36, and crew quarters for 45.

Koru (417 Feet), Oceanco

Oceanco's Koru.

Only just making the cut on this list, Jeff Bezos’ new 417-foot sailing yacht, Koru , was the subject of worldwide controversy even before its 2023 delivery. Built by Dutch shipyard Oceanco and reportedly costing $450 million, the Amazon founder’s first vessel is the tallest sailing yacht in the world with masts that measure over 230 feet tall, the same height as the Great Pyramid of Giza. It’s so tall, in fact, that Bezos petitioned the Dutch city of Rotterdam to temporarily dismantle the Koningshaven Bridge, a 95-year-old landmark, to allow his yacht to pass under. His request was denied, and the yacht was instead partially towed through Rotterdam without its mast. The towering design also makes it unsafe to land a helicopter onboard, prompting Bezos to commission his second yacht, the 246-foot custom support yacht Wingman . Delivered in early 2023, and featuring a helipad, Wingman is Damen’s largest support vessel to date. No details have yet been released about Koru ’s interior or exterior design, including who penned the design.

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The 10 Biggest Superyachts in the World

The yachting world is set for a shake-up with a revolutionary new vessel primed to steal the top spot.

By Emma Al-Mousawi

Front of the yacht Eclipse

Superyachts represent the very pinnacle of luxury travel but they can vary in size dramatically; from those at the smaller end of the spectrum measuring under 100 ft to gargantuan 500-ft+ custom-built creations that command price tags in the hundreds of millions(or even billions). Here at Elite Traveler, we have been exploring the latter as we take a look at the 10 biggest superyachts in the world.

[See more: The Best Luxury Yacht Builders in the World]

El Mahrousa

Builder: Samuda Brothers Year of build: 1865 LOA: 478.1 ft Number of guests: U nknown Number of crew: 160

The oldest by over 100 years to make our list of the biggest superyachts in the world, Egypt’s presidential yacht El Mahrousa is an enormous floating piece of history. Nearly four decades older than the Titanic , she set sail on her first voyage just as President Lincoln was beginning his second term in office. 

Built by the now-defunct London shipyard Samuda Brothers, El Mahrousa was designed by the most celebrated master-shipwright of the day, Sir Oliver Lang. Commissioned by Khedive Ismail, Egypt’s Ottoman governor, she went on to play a central role in many of Egypt’s defining moments including the opening of the Suez Canal as well as ferrying three of the country’s rulers to exile, including the last king of Egypt. 

She has had numerous modifications over the years, growing 57 ft in length since she first left the Thameside dockyard in 1865.  Today, she is the world’s oldest active superyacht and was the first to pass through the new Suez Canal extension in 2015.

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Prince abdulaziz.

Prince Abdulaziz, yacht

Prince Abdulaziz is one of the yachts owned by the Saudi royal family / ©Shutterstock

Builder: Helsingor Vaerf Year of build: 1984 LOA: 482.4 ft Number of guests: 64 Number of crew: 65

At 482.4 ft Prince Abdulaziz is the largest yacht built in the 20th century and is thought to be one of the last yachts built by the historic Danish shipyard, Helsingor Vaerf, which closed its doors for the last time shortly after she was completed. 

Commissioned by the Saudi royal family, Prince Abdulaziz has certainly stood the test of time, with regular sightings on the Mediterranean. Her original interiors were by iconic British interior designer David Hicks, famed for his use of color and pattern. Since then she has received fairly regular refits, with the most recent thought to have been in 2018. 

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A+ Yacht - one of the biggest superyachts in the world

A+ was originally named Topaz and is the first of four Lürssen-built yachts to make our list of the biggest superyachts in the world / ©Lürssen

Builder: Lürssen Year of build: 2012 LOA: 483.1 ft Number of guests: 62 Number of crew: 79

Built by famed yacht builder Lürssen at their Bremen shipyard, A+ , originally known as Topaz, is thought to have cost in excess of $500m. 

Not much is known about A+, and her owner has never been officially confirmed but she is widely believed to belong to Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahnan, the deputy prime minister of the UAE and the owner of  Manchester City Football Club.

Her exterior was designed by multi-award-winning designer Tim Heywood, and features two helipads, while her interior was placed in the hands of sought-after yacht interior designer Terence Disdale and includes 26 luxurious cabins. 

[See more: Lürssen Reveals Climate-Neutral Yacht Concept]

Al Said Yacht

Custom-designed superyacht Al Said was allegedly named ‘Project Sunflower’ when it was under construction/ ©Klaus Jordan

Builder: Lürssen Year of build: 2008 LOA: 508.6 ft Number of guests: unknown Number of crew: unknown

Commissioned by the late Sultan Qaboos Bin Said of Oman, the Al Said first set sail in 2008 and like many royal yachts, her details are held under lock and key.

We do know however that her exterior was designed by the famed naval architect, Espen Øino – the man behind many of the world’s most famous superyachts – while her interiors were created by the respected British design studio, Redman Whiteley Dixon.

The interior of the ship has never been photographed which has led to much speculation of what lies inside. As well as accommodation for up to 74 guests, she is rumored to include a mini-concert hall capable of accommodating a full chamber orchestra.

Dillbar yacht - biggest superyachts in the world

Dilbar has one of the biggest swimming pools ever installed on a superyacht /®Kyle Conlin

Builder: Lürssen Year of build: 2016 LOA: 511.10 ft Number of guests: 36 Number of crew: 96

When Dilbar was built in 2016, she was the world’s largest yacht in terms of gross tonnage, at 15,917 GT and the team at   Lürssen described her as “ one of the most complex and challenging yachts ever built, in terms of both dimensions and technology.” 

Owned by Uzbek-born investor Alisher Usmanov s he wowed the judges at the prestigious World Superyacht Awards in 2017 to scoop the top prize of  ‘World Superyacht of the Year’. Her ivory exterior was custom-designed by Espen Øino, while her interior was the work of celebrated design studio, Winch Design. She boasts an 82 foot swimming pool, making it one of the largest to ever be installed on a superyacht, as well as two helipads.

[See more: Twenty for 20: Innovative Yachts of the 21st Century]

Dubai Yacht - one of the biggest superyachts in the world

Dubai serves Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum / ©Shutterstock

Builder: Platinum Yachts  Year of build: 2006 LOA: 531.5 ft Number of guests: 24 Number of crew: 88

Originally commissioned by a member of Brunei’s royal family as a joint project between shipbuilders Blohm+Voss and Lürssen, the build was halted in 1998. The structure was subsequently bought by the Dubai government and the build continued under the exclusive Dubai-based shipyard Platinum Yachts. Today it serves as the royal yacht of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler. 

Designed by Winch Design , she spans over seven flowing decks and features an atrium nearly 70 ft in size. 11  luxurious guest suites have the benefit of their own private balconies while other features onboard include a swimming pool, a cinema and a disco.

Jetting off on an air excursion is easy as Dubai is equipped with a helipad for a Blackhawk helicopter while the yacht’s submarine and vast selection of water toys are housed in the yacht’s garage. 

[See also: These are the Yacht Interior Designers to Know]

Superyacht Eclipse- one of the biggest superyachts in the world

Both the exterior and interior of Eclipse were designed by Terence Disdale / ©Shutterstock

Builder: Blohm+Voss Year of build: 2010 LOA: 533.1 ft Number of guests: 36 Number of crew: 70

The fourth-largest ship on our list of the biggest superyachts in the world is Eclipse. The German-built vessel   was voted ‘Motor Yacht of the Year’ at the World Superyacht Awards in 2011 and both her exterior and interior designed by the acclaimed Terence Disdale.

Owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, the estimated $1bn+ superyacht was reported to have undergone a refit in 2015 and is packed with tenders and toys including two helipads, three launch boats and a mini leisure submarine. 

Her custom-designed interior includes a 183.7-ft deck and an expansive swimming pool which can convert into a raised dance floor. She also has her own missile defense system, a feature that appears to be increasing in popularity amongst the owners of the world’s biggest superyachts. 

Fulk Al Salamah

Fulk Al Salamah yacht

Very little detail has ever been released about the Fulk Al Salamah / ©Shutterstock

Builder: Mariotti Year of build: 2016 LOA: 538.1 ft Number of guests: unknown Number of crew: unknown

Very little detail has ever been released about the Fulk Al Salamah, which t ranslates into English as ‘ship of peace’.  Built for the Omani royal family by ultra-luxury shipbuilder Mariotti in its Genoa shipyard, her lack of outdoor entertaining space has led to unconfirmed reports that she is in fact a support vessel, used to shadow the late Sultan of Oman’s Al Said superyacht .

While it isn’t the longest superyacht in the world , when it comes to actual volume, the Fulk Al Salamah is thought to outsize both Azzam and REV (below), with an estimated total gross tonnage upwards of 20,000 GT (REV is 17,440 GT and Azzam 13,136 GT).

Azzam - one of the biggest superyachts in the world

Azzam has held the title of world’s longest superyacht since 2013/ ©Klaus Jordan

Builder: Lürssen Year of build: 2013 LOA: 590.6 ft Number of guests: 36 Number of crew: 80

Thought to have cost well in excess of $500m, Azzam has held the title of world’s longest superyacht since 2013 however her reign is about to draw to a close thanks to the next superyacht on our list, REV . 

Owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi, Azzam’s sophisticated exterior was designed by Italian studio Nauta Design.  Much of the yacht’s interiors –  which were created by French designer Christophe Leoni – remain shrouded in mystery but Leoni describes the aesthetic as: “sophisticated, with luxurious decor inspired by the Empire style of the early 19th century”.

Azzam has every nifty feature you could wish for including a helipad, gym, pool and even a golf training room so guests can practice their swing onboard. Like Eclipse, she also boasts her own missile defense system. Despite her stature, she can lay claim to being one of the world’s fastest superyachts with a top speed of 33 knots. 

[See more: Top 10 Explorer Yachts in the World]

Rev superyacht

REV was designed by Espen Øino / ©REV Ocean

Builder: VARD Year of build: Due 2023 LOA: 600  ft Number of guests: 36 Number of crew: 54

Currently still in build, REV is set to steal the crown from Azzam to become the biggest superyacht in the world once she is delivered. But this is no normal superyacht. Funded by Norwegian business-man Kjell Inge Røkke, REV is a totally unique, state-of-the-art research and expedition vessel with one ambition: to make the ocean healthy again.

Designed by Espen Øino , the vessel is creating a huge amount of excitement within the industry due to the technological advances she is set to offer including cutting-edge marine science facilities. The super-sized vessel is equipped with the very latest observation and mapping equipment for conducting research encapsulating the entire marine ecosystem. One of many exciting features is the 25-ft moon pool in the hull, designed to lower scientific tools and submersibles into the ocean’s depths, including a three-passenger submarine. 

REV is expected to be available to charter for one-third of the year, which will include both conventional charters as well as on a single cabin basis to accompany experts on expeditions. 

[See also: How Much Does it Actually Cost to Charter a Yacht?]

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what is the largest yacht that doesn't need crew

Hexxen New Member

I want a boat but I don't want to hire a crew. What's the biggest/longest boat I can get?

Capt Ralph

Capt Ralph Senior Member

Hexxen said: ↑ I want a boat but I don't want to hire a crew. What's the biggest/longest boat I can get? Click to expand...

YachtForums

YachtForums Administrator

Try the Search button? https://www.yachtforums.com/threads/minimum-crew-required-for-a-predator-68.23240/#post-199619 https://www.yachtforums.com/threads/a-yacht-you-can-drive-yourself.7624/ https://www.yachtforums.com/threads/largest-yacht-for-experienced-owner-operator.17335/ https://www.yachtforums.com/threads/one-person-operation-of-50-100-ft-yacht.15093/

Pascal

Pascal Senior Member

Do you really expect intelligent answers without telling us what your boating experience is? With no experience 40’ is probably going to be as much as you can handle, if you can even get insurance for a boat that size with no experience It also depends on the boat layout. Some boats are easier to handle than others. Flybridge only boats for instance can be more challenging when single handling because it s a long way down from the helm to your lines

rtrafford

rtrafford Senior Member

Pascal said: ↑ Do you really expect intelligent answers without telling us what your boating experience is? With no experience 40’ is probably going to be as much as you can handle, if you can even get insurance for a boat that size with no experience It also depends on the boat layout. Some boats are easier to handle than others. Flybridge only boats for instance can be more challenging when single handling because it s a long way down from the helm to your lines Click to expand...
rtrafford said: ↑ Well, not if they're still tied up and dragging in the water from the last port. A dockhand can grab them on your approach. What could go wrong with that? Click to expand...

ranger58sb

ranger58sb Senior member

ranger42c said: ↑ It depends. Largely on your experience and skill. Some 35' boats are more difficult than some 60' boats. A serious answer needs more info about you, about where and how you might use a boat, whether you'' usually have "non-hired" crew (and their experience), etc. -Chris Click to expand...
You nailed it about dockside help. So many times we ve had near misses because the dockhand doesn’t follow instructions and tie a line on the wrong cleat or piling, or just hold the line hoping to pull the boat in... this is usually the case at marinas where the staff is not used to larger boats. With crew I usually decline help unless we know the place and staff. I ve offended a few snowflakes boaters when we tell tell them we don’t need help.

MBevins

MBevins Senior Member

Pascal said: ↑ You nailed it about dockside help. So many times we ve had near misses because the dockhand doesn’t follow instructions and tie a line on the wrong cleat or piling, or just hold the line hoping to pull the boat in... this is usually the case at marinas where the staff is not used to larger boats. With crew I usually decline help unless we know the place and staff. I ve offended a few snowflakes boaters when we tell tell them we don’t need help. Click to expand...
MBevins said: ↑ Often times my worst nightmare is when people want to help me. We're now to the point that we only send an eye ashore and keep the bitter end on the boat, that way we can control the spring lines. (end of thread hijack) Click to expand...
Pascal said: ↑ We now throw the night ashore and instruct whoever is trying to help to pass it behind a specific piling or clear. This way we re in control and when ready to leave lines are doubled up and ready to release from the boat Click to expand...
MBevins said: ↑ We're now to the point that we only send an eye ashore and keep the bitter end on the boat, that way we can control the spring lines. (end of thread hijack) Click to expand...

Prospective

Prospective Senior Member

Since OP is silent and I am curious on folks opinions, let me be more specific in his stead... Let's assume competent husband and wife crew. Not new to boating, they've moved up from expresses, sportfish, etc. They now are looking at a traditional motor yacht with walk around side decks. Typical cruising is Atlantic ICW and Bahamas. Maybe Carib. Combination of Anchor, Moore, and some dock time. I tend to think the limit practical limit is somewhere in the 65ft range. Seems like the bigger limiting factor is the couple's ability to take care of the boat in terms of systems, cleaning, maintenance. Not so much the issue of them being able to physically handle the boat as long as they are prepared and the boat is suitable.
I disagree. Our personal boat is a 53 Hatteras MY and the office is an 84 Lazzara skylounge. There is very little difference in workload between both. Sure the lines and fenders are a little bigger and there is more boat to rinse but otherwise they both have the same number of system except for a second genset on the bigger boat and a few more air handlers The old hatt has excellent access to system otherwise I would argue that bigger boats are easier to maintain and handle routine cruising maintenance because of better access. I ve run smaller boats before the 84 and routine stuff while cruising is a lot easier and faster to handle than for instance in the 70 Johnson I ran before. Things like strainer cleaning, genset oil change, watermaker filters access to waterpump and air con pumps... less time, fewer bruises, ... we often spend a few weeks at a time on the Bahamas and the two of us is fine running the 84. We do have a third crew on charters or with owners on board but that’s just because of the larger number of people on board. In case of a couple owner / operator you can easily use a boat washer when at a marina and even an interior day worker to deep clean There is no difference in physical abilities between a 53, 70 or 84. If you rely on muscle to secure the boat you re doing it wrong...
Pascal said: ↑ I disagree. Our personal boat is a 53 Hatteras MY and the office is an 84 Lazzara skylounge. There is very little difference in workload between both. Sure the lines and fenders are a little bigger and there is more boat to rinse but otherwise they both have the same number of system except for a second genset on the bigger boat and a few more air handlers The old hatt has excellent access to system otherwise I would argue that bigger boats are easier to maintain and handle routine cruising maintenance because of better access. I ve run smaller boats before the 84 and routine stuff while cruising is a lot easier and faster to handle than for instance in the 70 Johnson I ran before. Things like strainer cleaning, genset oil change, watermaker filters access to waterpump and air con pumps... less time, fewer bruises, ... we often spend a few weeks at a time on the Bahamas and the two of us is fine running the 84. We do have a third crew on charters or with owners on board but that’s just because of the larger number of people on board. In case of a couple owner / operator you can easily use a boat washer when at a marina and even an interior day worker to deep clean There is no difference in physical abilities between a 53, 70 or 84. If you rely on muscle to secure the boat you re doing it wrong... Click to expand...
Hiring sub contractors is common at every level starting with divers to clean the bottom, refrigeration specialists or a cleaning lady (are we supposed to say cleaning person now?) Not much different from a home owner bring a lawn service or hedge trimmer. On a boat it is cheaper than having a full time extra crew member
Hard to tell what OP meant by "crew." Could have been only about operating the boat, docking, etc. Or could have also included cleaning, maintenance, and service chores... We don't count our washers/detailers or the yard guys who powerwash/paint/wax as "crew" but we've gotten to the point where I just don't want to do some of that stuff myself anymore. OTOH, that's not really a length-influenced decision, either. For actual operations and docking and so forth, given an experienced (and reasonably mobile) couple, I could see the upper range being anywhere from 40-80'... depending on the boat configuration. That said, inside cleaning alone could easily become a much more significant burden as size increases... -Chris

Beau

Beau Senior Member

IMMO, without a lot more context, the OP's question is unanswerable. Maybe he's thinking about a sailboat for instance
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what is the largest yacht that doesn't need crew

What’s the Largest Boat One Person Can Operate?

So you're looking for something big, but want to go at it alone. Sailing single-handed (also known as short-handed) is perfectly doable, although not always ideal. As every 28-year old, I want something over 30 feet - but is it actually practical?

So what’s the largest boat one person can operate? Most experienced sailors seem to stay under 35 feet - anything over 50 feet is uncommon. But there really is no upper limit. It depends on skill, experience, and courage. Generally, if you're a reasonably skilled sailor, you'll be capable of sailing these boats alone:

  • Without systems: under 28 ft or 8 m
  • With systems: under 46 ft or 14 m
  • Typically, experienced sailors stay under 35 ft
  • Anything over 50 ft or 15m is uncommon

If the manufacturer bothered to include a crew cabin, it's probably a good idea to have a crew.

Length is not really the issue with short-handed cruising. There is no limit, except for your experience and ability. The real questions are: what do you feel comfortable with; and what's the amount of sailcloth you can safely handle?

Another factor is stability - bigger boats tend to be more stable, and can be operated from the cockpit entirely (with the lines running aft and having remote controls). Besides docking, there really isn't an issue, and larger boats might be more easy to handle on your own than smaller boats having the wrong configuration.

Sailor's point of view heeling into the sunset

On this page:

How many hands do you need, why do you want to go big, how much sail can you handle, the downside of sailing a large boat alone, preparing for passages, 3 incredible sailboats you can sail solo, related questions.

Apart from the question of whether it's technically possible to sail a boat solo, let's also check whether it's comfortable. Because you're probably not buying a boat to prove anything to anyone (or are you?), but to have a great experience. The following boat lengths are comfortable to sail ...

  • single-handed: under 35 feet
  • double-handed: 35 - 50 feet
  • crew: 50 feet and up

So why is it more comfortable to sail anything over 35 feet double-handed?

Sailing is the easy part - everything else gets more difficult with added length. The biggest limiting factor is how you're planning to dock. Get this right and you've lost your biggest bottleneck. Some marinas offer assisted docking to facilitate single-handed sailing, which can be of great help.

How much does it cost to own a sailboat? Read our complete sailboat ownership cost guide for a complete overview of all the ownership costs and the purchase cost of a new & used sailboat.

Docking aside, it helps to have someone to handle the lines while you helm the boat.

Another important factor is troubleshooting any (technical) problems when you're on your own. There should be enough people on board to address any problems that come up. If you're not comfortable with possibly having to deal with change in weather, emergency reefing, technical issues, and so on, you should probably consider getting your significant other, or a friend along.

Check what the specific boat is built for. Purpose-built solo racers can be very large (120 ft) and are easy to maneuver single-handed (which isn't to say they're all of a sudden easy to dock - anything big just isn't).

If it isn't about length ...

... then what's it about? I think more important then length is:

  • boat layout
  • systems and remote control availability - check out the full list of systems below
  • home berth conditions - if these are good (upwind, assisted docking, protected water) docking will be way easier

Think in displacement instead of length

Another way to go at it is by thinking in displacement instead of length. The amount of crew you need for the amount of displacement:

  • 12 - 30 tonnes: one experienced boat hand or two inexperienced ones
  • 30 tonnes and up: an experienced crew

Also, consider why you'd want to go big. I would encourage you to really think this through. It's perfectly possible to sail anything over 50 feet solo, but there's a point at which I start to wonder why. This is around the 42' mark. It simply becomes more uncomfortable quickly. So if you don't have any good reason to get a bigger boat besides ego, don't do it - you will probably come to regret it.

On the other end, if you do have a solid reason for needing more length, then please, go for it. Consult yourself to get to the bottom of it. Some legit reasons, I believe, are:

  • You're planning to live on the boat
  • You're doing multi-day trips and need a place to sleep
  • You really like to polish endless amounts of hull surface

One sailor can typically manage about 300 - 400 sq ft. of sail. Anything up to and it becomes unmanageable quickly, especially if the weather turns. Following this rule, you can increase your hull length a bit if you choose a boat with more and smaller sails. So you can sail a somewhat larger yawl or ketch.

Things that become difficult on your own:

You can do lots on your own, especially if you have some automation systems in place. But there are some jobs you just can't do without a helping hand.

  • getting in and out of the slip
  • docking - catching dock lines
  • standing watch / sleeping

Systems you probably want to consider:

If you're going to sail something over 35' alone you should definitely consider the following systems:

  • autopilot for steering
  • lines running aft (running to cockpit)
  • electric windlass
  • roller furling
  • hydraulic bow/stern thrusters with remote

Skills you want to develop and get right:

  • Docking: dock, dock again, dock some more. Practice until you can effortlessly maneuver in tight spaces while allowing yourself the time to walk up and down the entire hull length
  • Get the steering configuration right
  • Get the right cockpit layout

A great example of how to successfully sail solo:

Don't underestimate the power of the wind and tide. The forces you need to deal with are extreme. The longer the boat, the larger the grasp of the wind on your sails becomes. Longer boats are heavier as well, which is why they gain more momentum once they're set in motion. Stopping a 50-footer is difficult - not being able to do so very risky. A larger hull means the tide can get a better hold of you.

Single-handed sailing means that you're solely responsible to manage all of these forces. Also, if something breaks, you're on your own. It can get quite stressful at times. If you don't mind this kind of challenge, and you're in good physical shape, there's no reason to stop dreaming at a certain hull length. Just be aware of what you're signing up for.

Another thing to consider is that larger boats take longer to prepare to make way. You can get a small 26-footer up and running in half an hour, but a 46-footer can just as easily take you up to a week. The time you'll need to spend on maintenance will also increase exponentially.

We all know that anything that takes that too much effort will happen less often. If you want to get out there a lot, get something that's quick to set up.

With any passage, I believe it's best to have at least one other capable sailor on board. This way you have your backup, just in case anything happens; and you greatly reduce any possible (serious) risks.

If you need to go solo because you don't have any (sailing) friends or companions, I highly encourage you to find another (solo) boat and stay within the vicinity and stay in touch throughout. Having some form of backup is in my mind important with these kinds of prolonged trips.

  • Phocea - 246 ft or 75 m
  • Trimaran Spindrift 2 (Banque Populaire V) - 130 ft or 40 m
  • Macif - 100 ft or 30 m

Phocea large four masted yacht on backdrop of mountains

What’s the largest yacht for couples?

With the two of you, the sky is the limit. If you're planning on both learning all sailing skills, that is. With two fully capable sailors on board, there isn't any reason to limit yourself, other than what you're capable of handling based on your experience.

However, if one of you is doing all the work, I would regard it as having one sailor and one pair of helping hands on board. I'd stay in the 35 - 50 ft range at most.

What size boat requires a captain's license?

In the US there isn't a required license based on length, though it's smart to get your license. It allows you to take along paying passengers, which is a great way to earn some extra money and get the extra hands you need on board.

The captain's license consists of a comprehensive exam, helping you to understand coastal navigation, deck knowledge, and rules and regulations. It's a good way to increase your theoretical knowledge, increasing safety on every vessel you set foot on.

A license will cost you between $500 - $800 and lasts for five years. Think you can earn it back by taking some folk along for the weekend?

Also, if you own a large boat (say 50 ft and up) your insurance company may require you to get a license or hire a licensed captain.

How much does it cost to hire a boat captain?

On average, a boat captain cost about $1,000 per year per foot. If you're just hiring for the week, the price is more in the $300 - $400 ballpark. On average, a week trip will cost you:

Fernando Affonso

Hi, congratulations for your post. It was very clarifying. Rgds

Shawn, Your post and information was extremely helpful Thanks very much! Regards, Casey Milton Ontario Canada

Yes, you can sail 75 meter long Phocea single handed. Sailing it is the easy part. But can you enter (moor or dock her) or leave harbour with her single handed? That is the question.

Sonal joshi

Dear sir we are staying far drom sea and in life once saw sea but me and my husband wanr to sail in sea please gyide us how to start and which boat is suitabke fir us for sailing and living in budget , we are from India

thanks 🙏 great info!💪

Excellent. Well thought out and clear, with good examples. Thank you!

I tried to read this article. But stopped after 100 words cause stuff kept popping up.

Shawn great job explaining BUT ads kill the reading popping up and change screen from top to bottom and bc versa. I am out Ben

Tamika Ligar

Hello improvesailing.com admin, Your posts are always well-balanced and objective.

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what is the largest yacht that doesn't need crew

The latest and greatest yachts under 24 metres

Sam Fortescue reveals the best new models and refreshed favourites in petite packages....

wallypower58X

Under Ferretti Group , the Wallypower range has burgeoned. With all the looks for which the brand is renowned, but a slightly curvier aesthetic, this 17.5-metre’s appeal should be broad. Designed for outboard propulsion, the four motors are offset slightly on the aft platform, allowing access to the water or dock via hydraulic steps. A huge sunpad on the aft deck can be shaded by a carbon cocoon, while the hardtop offers more sheltered lounging.

Lazzara LSX 67 Limited Edition

US brand Lazzara is pitching its 20.4-metre Limited Edition LSX 67 as the ultimate “sport express yacht”. The six-cabin contemporary design boasts an unusually large full-beam master suite with great views and direct access to an aft deck entertainment space and a sizeable beach club. Twin Volvo IPS 1350 engines offer a top end of 35 knots.

Due to become Pardo’s new flagship, the 22.86-metre GT75 aims to combine the brand’s most comfortable interior to date with striking performance. The latter comes from a lightweight composite build and up to three 1,000hp Volvo IPS engines (the engine room is also ready for Volvo’s forthcoming hybrid units). The interior theme is “villa on the sea”, with an owner’s cabin aft and optional access from the beach club. 

Nordhavn 71

Built on a brand-new hull, the 22.56-metre N71 marks the fourth generation of these ocean-going trawler yachts. Customisation possibilities are minimal but owners are offered the choice of two layouts: three cabins plus an upper saloon or four cabins. Loose furniture and upholstery is the choice of the owner. The first hull, for a serial Nordhavn owner, is currently in build in Taiwan.

Azimut Seadeck 6

Hybrid has arrived at Azimut – and this is the first model of the new series. The yard says the 17.25-metre will achieve 40 per cent lower emissions thanks to hybrid propulsion and lower onboard consumption. The Fun Island concept describes the aft sunpad and flush cockpit, while the interior design goes for less-is-more to emphasise the connection with the sea.

Horizon PC68

Taiwan’s composite cat specialist continues to grow, with 55 yachts sold to date. Horizon's new 20.73-metre PC68 makes full use of the 7.5-metre beam with a vast main deck that can be specced as an open-plan saloon or shared with the owner’s cabin. A partly enclosed flybridge adds to the already-generous aft deck and foredeck lounge.

Wider Wilder 60

Details are scant, but the promise of a highly customisable “40-knot platform for fun” make this 18.9-metre Wider offering intriguing. This all-aluminum vessel is designed as a crossover between a chase boat and performance cruiser, with a shallow one-metre draught allowing for play close to the shore.

Princess S80

The new flagship of Princess’s sports bridge range shows off sweeping lines drawn by a team of in-house designers and Italian studio Pininfarina . Deep glazing shades much of the dining and lounging space on the main deck, with an awning extending over the sunbathing. With an elaborate foredeck lounge and the open flybridge, entertaining space is copious. The lower deck offers four cabins, including the full-beam main. 

Sunseeker Superhawk 55

Superhawk is Sunseeker’s performance sub-brand, and there have been several takes on the genre. At 17.13 metres, the 55 is the biggest yet, and follows the open sports cruiser model of its predecessors. The go-faster styling is backed up by ample power and fingertip control from a centre-console-style dash. There are sunpads fore and aft, with three pilot seats and a wet bar in the cockpit. Two spacious double cabins (there’s an option for three) lie below.

Riva 76 Bahamas Super

This typically elegant 23.32-metre Riva is a reprisal of the successful 76 Bahamas Super launched in 2016. It has been restyled by Officina Italiana Design in black and white with stainless-steel trim. New features include controls for the lighting in the sunpad’s armrests and an electro-hydraulic steering system.

The smallest boat in CL ’s line-up, the 19.7-metre CLB65 is built in the same mould as the CLB72 and is still designed for adventure. It’s a pocket flybridge yacht with two helm stations and twin wing stations for easy manoeuvring. In a first for the Fort Lauderdale-based brand, there is an aft galley with a hinged door and a flip-up window. Owner’s accommodation lies amidships, with a VIP in the forecastle and an additional twin.

Twenty of these 13.1-metre boats have been sold off plan, but the first one won’t splash until this summer. And you can see why they’re flying off the shelves. With design from Sinot , the model boasts flowing, feminine lines, but the twin 480hp drives give real bite – up to 40 knots and a fast 26-knot cruising speed. Flexible accommodation allows two to overnight in comfort, with plenty of deck space for day guests.

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What is the largest yacht that doesn't need crew?

October 4, 2023 | Travel Pedia

Can you own a yacht without a crew?

What size yacht requires a crew, what is the largest personally owned yacht, can a yacht be operated by one person, how many crew do you need on a yacht.

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What Size Yacht Requires a Crew and a Captain?

what size yacht requires a crew

It might be your yacht, but that doesn’t mean you have the chops to steer that baby over open water. That’s just the reality. Fortunately these days, yachts have evolved significantly, allowing individuals with little experience to successfully and safely take charge with little fear.

But even then, there are some yachts that are just too big for an amateur captain to handle. So if you’re not too experienced, or if you’re not confident in your skill, then you might have to hire someone to do it for you. The question now though is what size yacht requires a crew. Here’s what you need to know.

What Size Yachts Need a Captain and Crew?

There’s a lot that goes on aboard a yacht. And if you’re going out with just a small group of family and friends, you might find your hands full. While you might be able to get the job done, it kind of defeats the purpose in the first place, especially if you were heading out for a little rest and relaxation in your comfortably air-conditioned yacht .

Back in the day, yachts that were 70 feet in length required a captain, no questions asked. But today, yachts come with a range of features that make it possible for humble boat owners to be the captain of their own ship. These include joystick controls, stern thrusters, and warping winches.

That said, you might want to think about the size of your boat and whether you might be better off with a captain and crew. As a general rule, yachts that are 75 feet in length should do just fine without a crew. Of course, that’s given that you have upgraded features like autopilot to help ease the burden on your shoulders.

If you’ve got some experience, then you might be able to captain your own yacht up to 100 feet in length. But anything beyond that is often too large and complicated for an amateur or beginner, requiring more experienced personnel.

The Crew Members Required for a Yacht

Bigger yachts need more people because there’s more to do. If you’ve got a yacht that’s over 100-feet in length, then it’s imperative that you get more than just a captain. Here are some of the yacht crew members that you should definitely think of hiring.

He’s the guy that’s in charge of your boat in general. The captain doesn’t just steer, they also make sure that the rest of your crew is doing exactly what they need to do. You have to be careful in choosing your captain because they pretty much call the shots. And because there are unscrupulous captains out there posing as capable, honest yacht men, it’s vital that you check identification and qualifications.

You never know what might happen out at sea. If your captain falls ill, or if they can’t perform their function for whatever reason, it’s important that you have a first mate . These guys know exactly what the captain does, and they fill in the position if your lead somehow ends up out of commission.

Second Mate

A spare tire for your spare tire. The second mate knows what your first mate does, and knows what your captain does. While they might not be needed for short trips, they’re definitely important to have around for long excursions where both your captain and first mate might be unable to fulfill their role.

These guys are well-versed in all the technicalities that make your boat tick. They take care of the engine, the motor, and all other electrical components in your boat. They make sure everything runs smoothly, and they perform any necessary repairs to prevent accidents and poor performance. Again, engineers are necessary for long voyages.

Deckhands work to keep everything nice and tidy, not just for your comfort but for everyone’s safety. If you’ve got any equipment on board like jetskis or in unfortunate conditions where a life boat needs to be used, they’re in charge of providing necessary assistance to keep you safe during and after use, and to deploy these water toys.

Steward/ess

Think of them as the hospitality specialists. They relay any information from the captain to the guests on board. If you have any concerns, you can also course them through the stewards or stewardesses on board. If you have just a small population on board, then one or two of these crew mates should be enough.

Of course, you’re going to want some satisfying grub during your trip. It doesn’t hurt to hire a chef to prepare meals for you and your guest. And while a single chef might be enough, it might help to hire a sous chef along with him to streamline the preparation of all that food. Remember -- you’re feeding guests and crew, which might be a tall order for one chef.

How Much Does a Yacht Crew Cost?

It helps to know that most of the people who work as a yacht crew charge annually. The size of your boat also plays a role in the amount they’ll require. Bigger boats mean bigger pay, since there’s a lot more to take care of and look after on a bigger yacht.

  • Captains - $1,000 per foot of board. If you've got a 75-foot yacht, that's $75,000 a year
  • Engineers - Up to $130,000 a year
  • Deckhands - Up to $50,000 a year
  • Chef - Up to $70,000 a year

Since these prices aren’t cheap, you might want to consider your schedule to get the most out of your yacht and its crew’s annual fees. Some crews offer package deals, letting you book their team for a discounted price. For other members of the crew like stewards, security guards, instructors, and even life guards, there may be a separate charge.

All Aboard!

The whole purpose of a yacht is to enjoy, unwind, relax, and rest. But if you’ve got a pretty big boat, you kind of defeat the whole point if you try to manage that massive vessel all by yourself. So what size yacht requires a crew? That really depends on how much experience you have. But if you take it from us, having a crew just improves the overall experience, giving you more time to enjoy the open water with family and friends.

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Largest Boat You Can Operate Yourself: Discovering the Size Limitations for Solo Boat Operators

Largest Boat You Can Operate Yourself: Discovering the Size Limitations for Solo Boat Operators

Do you dream of cruising the open waters in a vessel that’s big enough to accommodate your family and friends but small enough to operate on your own? If so, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll explore the largest boat you can operate yourself and give you some tips on how to make the most of your boating adventure.

Generally, a boat up to 40-50 feet long can be operated solo. However, this depends on the operator’s skill, experience, and the boat’s setup, including automation and technology. Some experienced sailors may handle larger vessels, but safety and manageability become increasing concerns.

Whether you’re a seasoned boater or a novice, we’ll help you find the perfect vessel to suit your needs and make your next boating trip one to remember. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

The Basics: Understanding Boat Sizes and Types

The Basics: Understanding Boat Sizes and Types

Before venturing into solo boat operations, it’s crucial to understand the various types of boats and their sizes. Not all boats are created equal, and the size and type of the boat play significant roles in determining its operational complexity. Whether it’s a motorboat, sailboat, or yacht, each vessel class brings its unique challenges and perks.

  • Motorboats: Typically smaller in size and ranging between 10 to 40 feet, motorboats are usually easier to handle. However, larger motor yachts can extend up to 100 feet or more and may require more experience and skill.
  • Sailboats: Sailboats demand a certain skill level, as you’ll need to understand wind directions, rigging, and sailing techniques. They vary widely in size, from small dinghies to large cruising yachts.
  • Yachts: The term “yacht” often refers to a more luxurious boat, typically longer than 40 feet. Operating a yacht often involves managing advanced onboard systems and requires more comprehensive knowledge and experience.
  • Trawlers: Trawlers are typically used for long-distance, leisurely cruising. They range in size, but handling larger trawlers often demands more than one person unless they are set up specifically for solo operations.
  • Multihull Boats (Catamarans and Trimarans): These boats offer stability and space. They can range from small and manageable sizes to large, complex vessels requiring experience and knowledge.

Operating Factors: Boat Handling and Complexity

Navigating the vast expanse of water bodies is not merely about turning the steering wheel. It entails a detailed understanding of the boat’s systems, the ability to read weather patterns, and the skill to react swiftly to unexpected situations. 

The size and type of the boat will influence the complexity of these tasks. Larger boats, for instance, often have intricate onboard systems and are more challenging to maneuver. They also require higher maintenance, which can become a demanding task for solo operators. 

Hence, when contemplating operating a boat alone, assessing your ability to handle the boat’s complexity and not just its size is essential. The boat’s handling characteristics are also a crucial factor. Smaller boats can respond quickly to steering inputs, while larger ones require foresight and planning as they don’t change their course or speed as rapidly. 

Maneuvering a large boat in a crowded marina or tight waterways requires a certain skill and experience, as does dealing with the higher inertia and the impact of wind and currents. Some boats, especially modern ones, might have systems to assist with docking and maneuvering. However, relying solely on these systems without understanding boat handling principles can lead to problems. 

Your level of comfort with the boat’s handling and complexity should be a primary determinant of the largest boat you can operate alone.

Mastering the Elements: Weather and Sea Conditions

Mastering the Elements: Weather and Sea Conditions

Boating on open water is a theater of nature’s might, where weather and surface conditions play pivotal roles in your solo boating experience. Mastering these elements involves understanding and predicting weather patterns, deciphering the sea’s behavior, and maneuvering your boat under various conditions. A larger boat might offer more stability in rough seas but could also pose greater challenges in terms of handling and maneuverability.

  • Understanding Weather Patterns: A sound knowledge of meteorology helps predict weather conditions, understand wind directions, and identify warning signs of a storm. Weather can drastically affect your boat’s handling, and it is vital for solo operators to know how to adapt.
  • Sea Conditions: These can vary greatly from calm, flat water to rough, turbulent waves. Larger boats may handle heavy seas better than smaller ones, but they also require more skill and strength to control.
  • Seasonal Changes: Seasons can dramatically affect sea and weather conditions. Understanding how different times of the year can change the boating environment is crucial, especially for long-term solo voyages.
  • Tides and Currents: Understanding tides and currents is essential for navigating safely and efficiently. These can impact the speed and course of your boat, especially in coastal areas.
  • Night Time Operations: Operating a boat solo at night or in foggy conditions demands extra caution. Visibility is reduced, and navigation can become challenging, especially in unfamiliar waters.

Leveraging Technology: Automation and Modern Boat Features

As we sail into the future, technological advancements redefine the limitations and possibilities for solo boat operators. With developments in automation and an array of modern boat features, handling a larger vessel alone is becoming more feasible. 

These innovations enhance safety and efficiency and provide a platform that extends the operator’s capabilities, enabling them to navigate larger boats and face challenging sea conditions with greater confidence.

Automation systems have revolutionized the boating experience. From autopilots that maintain a set course to advanced systems capable of making minor adjustments based on wind and sea conditions, automation reduces the manual effort required, making longer journeys more manageable for solo operators. 

Coupled with digital navigation aids such as GPS and radar, which provide valuable information regarding location, obstacles, and weather conditions, boating has become safer and more precise. However, while technology greatly aids in managing a large vessel, it’s crucial to remember that it complements, not replaces, the essential skills of seamanship. 

Balancing technological reliance and traditional navigational skills ensures an optimal solo boating experience.

Experience and Training: How Skill Influences Boat Size

Experience and Training: How Skill Influences Boat Size

When determining the largest boat you can operate solo, your skill level and experience are among the most significant considerations. Mastering the art of boating is not an overnight process; it’s a progressive journey that involves learning the fundamentals, developing operational skills, and gaining real-world experience. 

Each additional foot of boat length generally means increased handling, navigation, and maintenance complexity. From docking maneuvers in crowded marinas to making critical decisions under challenging sea conditions, the level of experience required escalates with the size of the boat. 

Training programs and certifications offer structured learning paths, but nothing replaces the wisdom gained from hours spent on the water, facing diverse situations. As such, your capacity to handle a large boat solo is as much a testament to your skills and experience as it indicates the boat’s physical dimensions.

Safety Considerations: Ensuring a Secure Voyage

The allure of operating a large boat solo should never overshadow the paramount importance of safety. A secure voyage is well-prepared and respects the fundamental safety guidelines. Larger boats are generally more stable and safer in rough water but also present unique challenges that demand heightened awareness and precautions.

Preparation is the cornerstone of safety. This includes ensuring your boat is well-maintained and equipped with safety gear like life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, and a first-aid kit. For larger boats, you may also need to consider additional equipment like life rafts and EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons).

Communication is vital, especially when you’re the only person aboard. Modern communication devices, including VHF radios and satellite phones, can help maintain contact with the outside world and call for help if needed.

Understanding and respecting weather and sea conditions is critical. Larger boats can handle heavier seas, but adverse weather poses significant risks. Regularly checking weather forecasts and understanding how to interpret them is crucial.

Even with all the preparations, unexpected situations can arise. The ability to stay calm, think clearly, and act decisively is often the key to navigating these challenges. Proper training and real-world experience greatly enhance your ability to handle emergencies and make safe decisions.

Lastly, a fundamental aspect of solo boating safety is self-care. Operating a large boat alone can be physically and mentally demanding, and neglecting your well-being can lead to fatigue, impairing your ability to operate the boat safely.

what is the largest yacht that doesn't need crew

Bryan is a Las Vegas resident who loves spending his free time out on the water. Boating on Lake Mohave or Lake Havasu is his favorite way to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. More about Bryan.

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Largest boat 2 people can hande?

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Realistically what is the largest sail boat two people can handle in most weather conditions. I figure I have about 10 years before I have to stop. Thinking of saleing the condo and dock space and buying a larger sail boat and doing the pacific. Will hire a young couple to help the first year while learning the likes and dislikes of the boat. It will also give me time to deside what I can't live with and need to change. Have not done much real bad weather sailing using my Chris-Craf ketch.  

GlanRock

That is sort of a loaded question. Two people of what skill level? Of what age? What is their mobility (regardless of age)? My wife and I handle our boat well, its 47 ft, and while I've taken it out solo (well I had crew but they didn't know how to sail but helped me dock) I've been doing it for a long time.  

Barquito

Yeas, whats your age, Warren? And while Im asking rude questions, wifes age, flexibitly, fitness etc? The modern 60 footers are pretty easy for a couple to run for couples in their 60s. 50 footers are even easier. they give great living space, wonderful deck space. A 45 foot catamaran would be huge, and easy for 2 to sail. My next boat, given some cash (or a stock market that actually goes up 😰) would be a 42 or 45 foot catamaran. The best currently for me at Leopards due to their innovative front door an extra living area on top of the hard top next to the helm. Its really a money thing more than a size thing. So, to realllllly be rude: US$1 million then go a great, new, fully optioned 45 foot catamaran or 50 foot sloop Less than US$1m get what you can afford. Over $2 million youre getting into silly money. A floating jacuzzi with crew to rub in the sunscreen.. Mark  

OntarioTheLake

It's all in the person(s). I know delivery skippers who single hand up to 65'. I know couples who shouldn't be allowed on a Catalina 22.  

Siamese

37 feet  

SanderO

My sense is that in benign conditions sailing a large sailboat with motorized winches etc. and a good AP is not much of a problem. maneuvering in close quarters... docking in and out a slip may be a challenge with a large boat. You need to determine how large a boat you need. Note that the interior plans of sloops to the low 40s are all the same. My decades of experience is with the Contest36s which has a large interior, lots of storage and a very large cockpit... plus a rather flush deck. I can recommend this boat for coastal and offshore, single handed, sailed by two or with up to 6 for passages. The only reason for me to have a larger boat would be a longer waterline and faster passages. Aside from that this 36s is more than enough boat. And more boat is more maintenance... usually more expensive parts, sails and so on.  

BarryL

Hello, Just some comments from me. These are all IMO. I think you're going about this the wrong way. Who cares how big a boat 2 people can handle? How big a boat do you (and your +1) WANT? Personally I can't imagine two people NEEDING anything over 50' but some need more than others'. For me PERSONALLY, if I can't manage the sails (bending on, removing, carrying on / off the boat) then the boat is too big. I can carry the main, genoa, and big code 0 on my 40' Jeanneau. I was not able to carry the heavy #1 on the J44 I sailed on. I could probably manage most 42' boats, so I would guess that is my limit.. Some background on me; 58 years old, been sailing for about 20 years. I believe I am fit, strong, coordinated and athletic. I supposed I may change my mind regarding sail management in 10 years. My Jeanneau has powered winches for the main halyard and main sheets. I also have a bow thruster, and a sail drive with little to no prop walk and good performance in reverse. So I can get into and out slips or docks in most weather conditions. Personally, without the bow thruster it would be a LOT harder to dock the boat. I know a number of people who have good sized boats (36-42') who won't leave the slip if there is 15 kts of wind on the beam. It makes getting back into the slip too difficult. Lastly - you asked about 2 people handling the boat. Does that mean only 2 people aboard, or could there be 6 people aboard, but only two who can sail? For just two people you don't need THAT large a boat. If you plan on having 6 people aboard for an extended time then I understand why you might want a 50' boat. Good luck. Barry  

capta

When I began sailing we had a rule of thumb; a single person expecting to take crew or a couple shouldn't buy a boat bigger than one could sail comfortably alone. In those days that was a boat around 40 feet long. These days, with all the roller furling sails available, that can be greatly increased to at least 55'. I sailed our 53' Pearson for a year alone, until I met my wife to be. I have captained boats that were in the 80 to 85 foot range with one crew (experienced), most often my lady, with no stress at all. Not counting the financial aspect of size, I think it greatly depends on the skill of the sailors and their ability to handle things should something disable a key bit of gear on the boat. Count on having to sail to anchor numerous times in the West Indies, and to a dock several times, if you are sailing quite a bit.  

Looking at 65 good health right now. No wife, just a female friend who got me into sailing. Money should not be a problem as condo and deeded dock are free and clear. I like my Chris-Craf ketch but thought that a larger boat would be easier on the body. The first year would have a couple that knows really how to sail so I can learn. Right now I am pressing 210 lb 3 days a week in the gym.  

You don't need strength to sail. You need smarts. You don't have to lug heavy sails around... use a cart (and halyard). You want to learn how to (single) hand(le) your boat. If you need crew... you are a prisoner to the crew. You don't need a slip. Get a mooring and use a dink or a launch svs. Learn to anchor. Use all chain and an electric windlass w/ foot switches. Absolutely mission critical is a good autopilot that you can "steer with". Comfort is very important. Additional people on board are useful for watch keeping.  

I have lived on boats from 58'-75'-103'-and now a Nordhavn N80. The N80 is a major crossing boat with a 4000 range but it is also a great live abord with upper and lower saloons, main floor master and an elevator which is a God send in high seas (10'-15' ft). We handle the boat easily with 2 people, If we go for 5 days non-stop (Like Ocean Reef to Nantucket) we will talk a third crew to help with overnight watches Scott Burke M/Y JessConn  

denverd0n

What BarryL said. Instead of asking "what is the largest boat we can handle?" you should be asking "what is the smallest boat that will serve all of our needs?"  

Jeff_H

As others have suggested, the question probably should be "What is the smallest boat that suits our needs?" The question is "what is the largest boat that two people can handle? " is somewhat of a "how long is a piece of string?" question. After all, Alain Colas single-handed the 236 foot CLUB MEDITERRANEE across the Atlantic in the 1976 Ostar Trans-Atlantic race in the days before boat automation was as advanced is it is today. Recently, Jean Le Cam, a 62 year old French sailor raced a 60 foot boat non-stop around the world and came in fourth in an older design to boot. But also when it comes to how big a boat a couple can handle. the size of the boat should be measured in displacement and not length, for while length does play a bit of a role, displacement more than anything else controls the forces involved in handling a boat, the interior volume of the boat, and the carrying excess capacity of the boat., When I started sailing there was a rule of thumb that suggest that a cruising boat should have a displacement of 2 1/2 to 5 long tons per person (5600 to 11,000 lbs per person) Of course, that was before modern multi-speed winches, high modulus sail cloth and lines, low friction block and many of the other niceties we have gotten used to in the 60 years since I started sailing. That rule of thumb also does not account for the modern sailor's desire to have all of the comforts of home. These days, I would probably suggest that a more reasonable range is closer to 10,000 to 15,000 lbs. per person, but with come caveats. This is where personal preference, physical fitness, and experience level comes in. As boats start to approach the upper limits of that range, it becomes increasing difficult to manage the boat without more complex a systems. Up to about 25,000 lbs displacement, the boat can be managed with conventional geared winches, but even as that limit is approached, it requires someone in really good condition to grind in a genoa or haul up a mainsail on a boat that size with conventional winches. If you don't want to add stored powered winches and sail handling gear, then the next move is to add 'coffee grinder' type winches which allows a tremendously more effective means of handling the line loads. With size everything gets more expensive and complex and more dangerous to operate. For most cruising couples, once a boat gets above 24,000 lbs the tendency is add powered winches, and then hydraulic vangs, and backstays. These come with a big price tag and a major drop in reliability. Some folks also switch to in-mast furling systems as well, which again is a big ticket item that comes with a drop in reliability. Each of these make it easier to manage a bigger boat with less physical strength. Similarly, over perhaps 15,000 lbs, a boat is too big to easily manhandle when docking. As displacement increases over that t requires more skill to come into a dock or leave a dock short-handed and without injuring the crew members or the boat, Bow thrusters, and rotating sail drives, or a multi-hull's twin engines help enormously in close proximity maneuvers. But again at the price of complexity. (That said the dual engines on a multi-hull do provide redundancy that a single engine boat lacks) . If this was me, in my mind, I would never want to handle anything bigger than perhaps 45 feet, and that assumes that both members of the couple are extremely physically fit. I bought my 10,500 lb. 38 foot planning to single- or double hand her to Europe At the time, that seemed like an ideal size for a couple. I was concerned that as a boat got bigger it would get deeper and that would begin restrict my cruising options and require stored energy. I was friends with couple who sailed a 63 footer around the world, and, yes there were times and places where that length became a problem, but they dis it. .But in the end, as at the beginning, it comes down to your capabilities and preferences If you are willing to put in the hard work to get into good physical condition and learn to be a really good sailor, and have a lot of money to throw at this, then the sky is almost the limit, But otherwise, as others have said, look at a bunch of boats and mentally try them on for size., You might find that you don't need or want that XXL and might do much better with a medium. We are here to listen as you go through that process and kick in more ideas. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. We look forward to hearing about your journey. Jeff  

Jeff_H said: As others have suggested, the question probably should be "What is the smallest boat that suits our needs?" The question is "what is the largest boat that two people can handle? " is somewhat of a "how long is a piece of string?" question. After all, Alain Colas single-handed the 236 foot CLUB MEDITERRANEE across the Atlantic in the 1976 Ostar Trans-Atlantic race in the days before boat automation was as advanced is it is today. Recently, Jean Le Cam, a 62 year old French sailor raced a 60 foot boat non-stop around the world and came in fourth in an older design to boot. But also when it comes to how big a boat a couple can handle. the size of the boat should be measured in displacement and not length, for while length does play a bit of a role, displacement more than anything else controls the forces involved in handling a boat, the interior volume of the boat, and the carrying excess capacity of the boat., When I started sailing there was a rule of thumb that suggest that a cruising boat should have a displacement of 2 1/2 to 5 long tons per person (5600 to 11,000 lbs per person) Of course, that was before modern multi-speed winches, high modulus sail cloth and lines, low friction block and many of the other niceties we have gotten used to in the 60 years since I started sailing. That rule of thumb also does not account for the modern sailor's desire to have all of the comforts of home. These days, I would probably suggest that a more reasonable range is closer to 10,000 to 15,000 lbs. per person, but with come caveats. This is where personal preference, physical fitness, and experience level comes in. As boats start to approach the upper limits of that range, it becomes increasing difficult to manage the boat without more complex a systems. Up to about 25,000 lbs displacement, the boat can be managed with conventional geared winches, but even as that limit is approached, it requires someone in really good condition to grind in a genoa or haul up a mainsail on a boat that size with conventional winches. If you don't want to add stored powered winches and sail handling gear, then the next move is to add 'coffee grinder' type winches which allows a tremendously more effective means of handling the line loads. With size everything gets more expensive and complex and more dangerous to operate. For most cruising couples, once a boat gets above 24,000 lbs the tendency is add powered winches, and then hydraulic vangs, and backstays. These come with a big price tag and a major drop in reliability. Some folks also switch to in-mast furling systems as well, which again is a big ticket item that comes with a drop in reliability. Each of these make it easier to manage a bigger boat with less physical strength. Similarly, over perhaps 15,000 lbs, a boat is too big to easily manhandle when docking. As displacement increases over that t requires more skill to come into a dock or leave a dock short-handed and without injuring the crew members or the boat, Bow thrusters, and rotating sail drives, or a multi-hull's twin engines help enormously in close proximity maneuvers. But again at the price of complexity. (That said the dual engines on a multi-hull do provide redundancy that a single engine boat lacks) . If this was me, in my mind, I would never want to handle anything bigger than perhaps 45 feet, and that assumes that both members of the couple are extremely physically fit. I bought my 10,500 lb. 38 foot planning to single- or double hand her to Europe At the time, that seemed like an ideal size for a couple. I was concerned that as a boat got bigger it would get deeper and that would begin restrict my cruising options and require stored energy. I was friends with couple who sailed a 63 footer around the world, and, yes there were times and places where that length became a problem, but they dis it. .But in the end, as at the beginning, it comes down to your capabilities and preferences If you are willing to put in the hard work to get into good physical condition and learn to be a really good sailor, and have a lot of money to throw at this, then the sky is almost the limit, But otherwise, as others have said, look at a bunch of boats and mentally try them on for size., You might find that you don't need or want that XXL and might do much better with a medium. We are here to listen as you go through that process and kick in more ideas. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. We look forward to hearing about your journey. Jeff Click to expand...

It sounds more like I should stay with my Chris-Craf ketch as it is in the length range that is being given for two people. I can keep the condo and lease it for a year to see if living on the ketch will work full time. My 3 kids think I have gone off the deep end. My lady has her life and money and is up for this also. Will see if the boat and condo makes it through the next few hours/days.  

By "Chris Craft Ketch", I assume that you are referring to the Chris Craft Caribbean.35, which was the second generation version of the Chris Craft 'Sail Yacht 35" and the only Ketch that I remember Chris Craft building., I would respectfully suggest that would make a very poor choice for a trans Pacific passage, These were old school motor sailors that would either require some mix of extremely long passage times or a whole lot of motoring. They lack the storage capacity and tankage for those kinds of passages. While the displacement is generally may fall within an accepted range for a couple to make distance passages, the specifics of the design are not suitable. The minimal ballast ratio carried in a shallow keel, represents a compromised stability. The high drag means that the boat needs to carry more sail area than the low ballast ratio, narrow waterline, and high top hamper will safely permit. Having delivered one of these in not all that bad conditions, the motion comfort, especially in the high raised cockpit, is also ill-suited for offshore passage making, where large roll angles drain crew strength, and diminish the crew's reserve energy to deal with crises. I would suggest that you consider boats that are better suited for longer passage making., You will be way safer and more comfortable in the longt run. Jeff  

MarkofSeaLife said: "What is the smallest boat that suits our needs?" No one NEEDS a sailing boat. Click to expand...

My advice. Step into this slowly. Sailing the oceans is a world of difference from coastal sailing or bay/lake sailing. Fortunately, I found out a long time ago that I have no burning desire to be sailing the open ocean. Been there, done that. I very much prefer and enjoy the interface between the land and water. As a result, my voyaging is very happily limited to an overnight passage from Miami to the Bahamas, or inter-island group Bahamas, or Key West to Dry Tortugas. A trailerable pocket cruiser accommodates my desire to see new places much better than the capacity for ocean voyaging. Two of us cruised and enjoyed the northern Bahamas for a month in an ODay 25. Adequate for the purpose, although we were typically the smallest boat seen. Also, from Key West to Dry Tortugas, and the Northwest Passage in Lake Huron for 2 weeks. But I was so much younger and stronger (and poorer) then. Now I single hand (all day sailing so far) in a Stuart Mariner 19 on Albemarle Sound. I have a tiller clutch and a jib down haul to keep everything manageable from the mast and/or cockpit. The Mariner heaves to very nicely while raising or dropping sail. I can scull with the rudder pretty reasonably for short distances if the motor acts up. The displacement is just enough that my weight placement is not critical, yet light enough to fit on my boat lift or easily trailer to other waters. If there were 2 of us camping aboard for a month at a time, I would probably want a bigger trailerable boat. Total investment in a 2500 sq ft water front house on 1.5 acres, 2 boat lifts, new 19ft center console, and the Mariner was less than $700K (2021 prices). I'll take this lifestyle any day over living aboard. Fred W  

As a 45 year old couple we had a Nautical 56 we lived on for 4 years and which 2 of us would sail south from FL to the Caribbean always heading out ahead of a storm so we would get blown south for at least 4 days. After that we had a Irwin 65 foot ketch with all Hood furling sails and two of us sailed that from Miami each year to and from Antigua with ease. In fact because of its setup this was easier for us to sail than the 56 footer with all in mast electric Hood furling, bow thruster etc. So the set up of the boat greatly affects how many hands you need. But that was 30 years ago. After a 30 year break, now when I’m 77 we’ve just bought our 6th boat, a Beneteau 50. I took it on its first sail for me with a friend from St Martin to Trinidad where it’s currently hauled for the hurricane season. This boat has a furling headsail and lazy jacks on the main with all the lines run back to the cockpit, so more manual than our previous boats but everything controlled from the safety of the cockpit. We had a great sail south in 18-30 knots winds and she was beautiful. So again it’s how the boat is set up which determines how large you can go. Hope that helps. You can email me if you have any further specific questions ( [email protected] ). Cheers. Keith English Here’s our new baby creaming it across the Caribbean in 20-33 knot winds doing 8-10 knots and our 20 tons plus just slicing through the seas.  

what is the largest yacht that doesn't need crew

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  • Sep 29, 2022

Creaming it on our run South from St Martin to Trinidad, some 15nm east of St Kitts …  

wrwakefield

Larger boats are not necessarily more difficult to handle. In fact, sometimes easier than smaller vessels. As a case in point, some dear friends- now in their 80s- continue to double-hand their 94ft steel ketch as they have for decades here in Alaska. [Our 43ft ketch seems like a tender in comparison...] They even wrote a book entitled Cruising a BIG sailboat - shorthanded . It is a worthwhile read given your inquiry... This year they decided to put their boat on the market so they could begin searching for a vessel requiring a bit less upkeep when they reach their 90s... In case this is of interest... Cheers! Bill  

I’m 100% with you Bill. I’m 77 and in May we bought our 6th boat, a Beneteau 50 (previously 15 to 27 to 34 to 56 to 65). The 50’ is easy to handle with all controls run back to the cockpit and an electric winch, has tons of space to relax in and is a dream in a blow. Here we are on a run from St Martin to Trinidad about 25 miles offshore of St Kitts in a 20-32 knot blow creaming it at 8-10 knots in relative comfort as our 20+ tons pushes effortlessly through the seas. So faster, more comfortably and with a lot more space. Two of us in our 70s have no problems sailing her.  

We’ve had racers up to 65 feet. It is harder to dock the larger they get. And it depends on how you rig. But we decided 45 feet isn’t too hard for us to dock without help with lines. It’s very shallow draft with a centerboard so we also have a bow thruster which is important since, without the keel down, maneuvering at a dock gets tricky.  

kallettla57

My husband and I have a 38 foot and a 20 foot. We are in our 60's The 38 foot is actually easier to sail. We could go bigger. The only issue is when the engine has crapped out and we had to sail it down a river a couple of times. Then we need an additional two people for strength. Once we were going down wind and he and I were fine. We must have been a sight the first time because people were jumping up in awe and clapping! I wish we had a photo. My daughter said well our ancestors used to sail here, so we can too. True enough. It was a little nerve wracking because people swim in the narrow channel and some boaters can be fairly clueless, but we made it both times with no calamities. In an emergency more than 2 people are welcome, but the majority of time we are good and could sail a much larger boat.  

Depends on the “two people “ you know, knowledge, age/strength, as we age we get physically weaker, then unable to use the knowledge at times, and one won’t always have a younger stronger crew member to compensate…, imo, a boat between 35 and 40 feet, bigger if you have a budget that includes a crew, Fair winds,  

FWIW...I'm 77, the Admiral 75. We've sailed our 43'monohull thru Asia, spent 5 seasons sailing the Medd, and are now about to start our 7th season here in the Caribb. We do, occasionally, have guests onboard, but mostly it's just the 2 of us. Except for haul-out and resplash we seldom spend time in a marina. And we've had NO problems! Sure, we've hit some dicey wx, had some equipment malfunctions, etc. And there have been times when we've been the..."entertainment for the day" as we try to back our monohull (w/o bow thruster) into a med moor! But with the MS on a in-mast roller furler, the HS on a roller refer, the a SS (seldom used, but avail) on a roller refer, and a Milwaukee right-angle drill with winchbit to assist on the winches-we've had no problems. Age is a relative thing-if it feels good, ...do it; someday we'll quit...but not anytime soon! We've had no problems with our 43 footer.  

I agree with Mark that equipment has gotten progressively more reliable. His alternator anecdote is a perfect example of that phenomena. But, I personally do not agree on the power driven winches are perfectly reliable. They certainly are labor saving and make handling bigger boats much easier and safer. But having personally been aboard three separate boats where power winches from several different manufacturers failed, I do not consider them bullet proof. Granted in the one case it was not the winch itself that failed but a failure of the solenoid for the winch. That was only a 10 year old boat that had mostly only been coastally cruised. In the other cases, it was a failure of the motors, in one case a total failure, and in the other a situation where the prolonged run time of a tack caused a condition that would throw the breaker mid tack causing someone needing to dive below and reconnect it. It was later diagnosed as a problem with the motor and was corrected by replacing the motor. Having hauled up a mainsail and having pulled in a reef on 47 footer without an electric winch, its not something that I would want to do in foul conditions. And while you can hand crank a powered winch, at least on the ones I tried to hand crank, there is a mechanism in the socket that makes it hard to keep the handle in the socket. But I respectfully suggest that this thread illustrates the point I was trying to make when I said. "I think for each individual crew and each passage type and location, there is a 'Goldilocks Zone", where the boat is not so small to make the passage more difficult and dangerous, or too big to be manageable if something breaks." In this discussion, we have SanderO, who cruised his boat extensively, posting pictures of his 36 footer to demonstrate what he considered a comfortable cockpit and interior for distance cruising, we have Mark who has sailed around the world in a 39 footer, we have one member posting essentially the same post three times showing that he felt so strongly in advocating that a 50 foot boat as his absolute minimum, and of course the examples extended all the way up to a couple in their 80's who cruised on a 94 foot ketch. Even if their individual decision on the right size boat might not work for someone else, none of these folks are wrong. They each of made their own best decision, and their decision worked out for each of them, . In other words, the answer to the question that is the title of this thread comes down to somewhere between 'how long is a piece of string?" and " what size boat works for you personally.?" In the end, there is no universally right answer to this question that truly suits everyone equally. In my mind, at best these discussions provide illumination on the various ways that individuals approach answering a question like this one. Jeff  

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