The History of Yachts and Sailboats

The History of Yachts and Sailboats

In simple terms, a yacht can be defined as a boat with decks, cabins and sails. As it draws less water, it is ideal for short voyages that can include anything from short crossings to lavish parties. Commonly associated with boating and pleasure, yachts are the top choice for rich people and a popular choice for many events.

The first instances of yachting

While you may think that boating for pleasure is a modern activity, you will be surprised to learn that the Egyptian pharaohs over 5,000 years ago have been believed to enjoy it. Buried next to slender and elegant barges in their grave, these boats were no less than impressive, measuring to almost 130 feet and assembled expertly without the use of nails and other modern tools. The wood in these ancient boats were imported from Lebanon, making them expensive and mainly a royal indulgence.

In the late 1500s, recreational boating became less aristocratic and more commonplace. At the peak age of exploration when marine adventurers attempted to travel all over the world, boating became a popular activity. Netherlands in particular became a leader in waterways as it mainly depended on boats as their primary transportation mode for people and goods. After the trade with the Indies, the Dutch were used their natural waterways to explore.

The great boom of the 1600s

Recreational boating became a popular pastime in Netherlands even before the rest of Europe caught on. Turning an ordinary boat into a yacht complete with a small cabin and deck became an almost natural progression as the Dutch townspeople grew richer. In a matter of 20 years, the canals of Holland were littered with hundreds of yachts owned by private individuals and the Dutch East India Company. By 1630, Netherlands began holding racing competitions for yachts and pitted other cities in friendly competitions.

In the late 1660s, when Charles II returned to England, the Dutch East India Company gifted him a 66 foot long yacht that was equipped with leeboards and 6.3 pound guns, decorated in fine Dutch design. Naming the boat Mary, after his sister, the King later commissioned more yachts, introducing the pastime in England as well. By the 17th century, yachting became popularized all over Europe and all types of vessel sizes and shapes were being commissioned. Yachts then became instrumental in defending local waterways and exploring unchartered lands worldwide.

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