What’s In A Name
During a recent coastal delivery the subject of proper terms for the various styles of boats was a topic to help pass the endless hours of watching the autopilot steer the ship and the RADAR looking for other boats and fixed objects. A few years back I did an article on the nautical terms and their everyday usage, but I did not include ship types other than suggesting that the common term used to refer to an aft cabin motoryacht is incorrect and that we should refer to that particular design as a poop cabin motoryacht. See the article published in the December 2015 issue of the Bay & Delta Yachtsman. http://yachtsmanmagazine.com/ar ticles/lesson_dec2015.html
Coming down the coast in a late model Riviera, our vessel is commonly referred to as a Convertible but I have also heard this design referred to as an Enclosed Bridge Sportfisher or Flybridge Sportfisher.
How do we know which is correct? Generally a convertible is a vessel that incorporates many of the design elements of a motoryacht and many of those of a Sportfisher all in the same package. This style of boat is able to convert to a competent fishing vessel or to a cruising yacht as needed and they generally have an enclosed flybridge up top for climate controlled comfort. Of course then we have to consider the Cockpit Motoryacht as a viable convertible. Any motoryacht with a cockpit by definition will convert from cruising to fishing, so could we call this design a convertible as well? How do we consider the express cruiser with a large cockpit for fishing and enclosed helm? All of these vessels have a very different appearance and the marketing guys need to have different names in order to differentiate their products.
So now I am not entirely certain what style of boat we are heading south in but I do know that it is a good performing midsize comfortable craft. Our 55-feet of boat is loafing along at 20 kts in 8- to 10-foot seas with the Caterpillar C18’s not even breathing hard, and the bow spray is barely reaching the lower half of the flybridge windshield. When I am not certain I will just use the term Motoryacht since this is the traditional term used to describe a large motor powered recreational vessel generally with more than one deck.
The ubiquitous Cabin Cruiser is another vessel class that really defies categorization. Generally a boat is considered a cabin cruiser if it has sleeping quarters, a head and a galley and is less than 45-feet in length. But at what point does an Express Cruiser become a cabin cruiser? They share many of the same amenities such as berthing quarters, a head and a galley. Although the express may be designed more for speed than space and comfort, I have been on some pretty fast cabin cruisers that would fly past most express cruisers. The Express Cruiser is often shortened to Express or Cruiser but sometimes called a Sports Cruiser, Open Express, Hardtop Express, Express Yacht, Sport Yacht, Coupe, SUV, and Mediterranean. These styles of boats mostly share the same characteristics of a single deck above the hull with living quarters below, however the appearance differs dramatically between manufacturers. The marketing guys are hard at it in this competitive segment.
If we add an area above the deck of our Cabin Cruiser, then we have another style of yacht that provides all around views with seating and lounging, the Flybridge Motoryacht. Other terms used to describe this style of boat are Sedan, Sedan Bridge, and Sport Bridge.
The appearance of the ubiquitous Flybridge motoryachts vary dramatically and each of the manufacturers have their own version. Some have even shortened up the name to just Fly. Less is more I guess.
I know many of you are thinking about your day boat or Runabout. This is another difficult category as most will refer to any small boat with room for eight that has no cabin as a runabout. Specific boats that are commonly considered in this category are the Bow Rider, Center Console, Cuddy Cabin, and a Walkaround. Where does the Day Cruiser and Weekender fit in? Or for that matter the Picnic Boat?
Another popular style of recreational boat is the Trawler, often times referred to as a Cruising Trawler or Trawler Yacht. These vessels usually resemble the Fishing Trawler but are often times designed as semi-displacement hulls instead of full-displacement. There are exceptions of course, for greater range and better fuel economy many new Recreational Trawlers are full displacement boats.
While the fishing trawler may or may not have a raised pilothouse and Portuguese bridge, almost all of the recreational trawlers do. With the addition of some sort of stabilization, fins or gyro for example, the recreational trawler can be much more comfortable than their sibling the Fishing Trawler. The main advantages of the Trawler style recreational boat is long range, good fuel efficiency and ample living space suitable for long range non-stop cruising.
We cannot forget about the Tug style of yacht. They are replica designs of the hard working tugs and are popular cruising vessels. Although the recreational tug shares almost nothing with the commercial tug they are designed after, they do have some similarity in appearance. The commercial harbor tug has an extremely high power to weight ratio and is not much more than a hull to support a very high horsepower engine. The recreational Tug is just the opposite with comfortable cabin space, a semi displacement hull, and low horsepower propulsion they are a desirable and popular segment.
At what point does your Luxury Motoryacht morph into a Super Yacht, Mega Yacht or Tri-Deck Mega Yacht. Some builders consider any vessel longer than 80-feet as a Mega Yacht.
I know, what about all the other types of recreational watercraft such as Deck Boats, Bass Boats, Dinghies, Skiffs, Inflatables, Jet Boats, Go-Fast, Launch, Personal watercraft, and even an entirely different class, the Houseboat and sailboat. Discussion the variations of the houseboats and of the sailboats would be a separate article and could consume gallons of ink. Leave it to the manufacturers and marketing guys to keep developing new product categories to distinguish themselves from the competition.
I have been asked many times the difference between a boat and yacht. I have never seen a good delineation other than I know a yacht when I see one. For me, if I can never imagine owning it, then it is a yacht. The Dutch Navy originally used the term jacht to refer to a light and fast sailing vessel used to pursue pirates into the shallow water. The Dutch word jacht, translates to “hunt.” In the 17th century European Royalty used these small fast ships for transportation and the Yacht became to be known as vessels that were used by important people. If you are feeling important while boating then whatever your boat, it is a yacht.
As a parting thought we should consider the motor versus engine controversy. Technically speaking the terms engine and motor, although used interchangeably and both terms refer to a device that converts energy to mechanical motion, do not mean the same. An engine is a device that uses combustion or heat to produce motion and a motor is a device that converts electric or hydraulic energy into motion. According to the Oxford English Dictionary engines contain their own fuel where a motor draws from externally supplied energy. In the pre-industrial revolution most military weapons were referred to as engines and during the industrial revolution most mechanical devices were referred to as engines. When the internal combustion engine was developed the marketing guys wanted to distinguish it from a common engine so they used the term motor. Maybe we should have a new class of flybridge engine boat. Guess that sounds as bad as Bavarian Engine Works (BEW?) or General Engines (GE).
As I sit down to one of my favorite dinners of Chilean Sea Bass with a Kiwi compote I realize that this fish is neither from Chile nor is it a Bass. The true name is Patagonian Toothfish and they are related to the Cod, not the Bass. Until 1977, the name Chilean Sea Bass did not exist. Chilean Sea Bass is a pure marketing invention to make an ignored fish, or bycatch, more palatable to the United States market. Far from unique, the story of the Chilean Sea Bass represents a common marketing formula in today’s climate of overfishing. Find a fish that most commercial fishermen throw back, give it a more appealing name and market it. Think you are safe with that appealing Orange Roughy for dinner? Do not be surprised when you find out that the fish’s real name is Slimehead and they are fished commercially around Australia and New Zealand. As for that Kiwi compote, the kiwifruit was known by the correct name, Chinese Gooseberry from its origins as the national fruit of China, until the early 1960’s when a New Zealand company started exporting it to the United States. Those marketing guys are at it again.
I am definitely ready for fine glass of Port and cigar and then I realize that I am not drinking Port I am enjoying a fine glass of California Desert Wine. Did I miss your favorite style of boat, send me a note and photo to patcarson@yachts manmagaine.com