The more types of boats you're familiar with, the more times you've been a sailor. In this article, we'll be introducing you to the various types of boats that can be found for charter at sea and on inland waters.
As the name suggests, a monohull sailing vessel is a sailing boat with a single hull that is powered wholly or partially by sails. Sometimes it is also equipped with an auxiliary engine, but always with a mast above the water (on which the sails are hoisted) and a keel below the waterline which provides balance, stability and lowers the boat's centre of gravity.
Why rent a sailboat?
- Sailing is a huge amount of fun and the feeling of being propelled solely by the power of the wind is unparalleled.
- With a sailboat, you consume less fuel. This means you won't have to budget for these extra costs, unlike with a motor boat.
Disadvantages of sailing boats
- A single-hulled sailboat heels when sailing close-hauled (close to the wind). This can make it tough for inexperienced sailors or children.
- A sailboat usually has a greater draft compared to a catamaran, so you always have to keep a close eye on the depth of the water.
YACHTING.COM TIP: Sailing can be full of surprises. Get a head start with our comprehensive guide for first-time sailors — First time on a sailboat: 10 things you need to know before you depart.
Ideal destinations for sailing boats
We rent out sailboats virtually all over the world, but specifically in countries that have interesting coastlines and a good sailing infrastructure. In our experience, the most popular sailing destinations are Croatia, Greece, Italy, Spain, the Canary Islands, Turkey and France.
YACHTING.COM TIP: Sails are the most important element of a sailboat. But hand on heart, do you really know all the types of headsail or the difference between a jib, a genoa and a 130? What does a spinnaker look like and what range of extra sails can you order with a charter sailboat? Check out our article to find out everything you need to know about basic and additional sails — What sail types will you find on a charter sailboat?
Monohull sailing yachts: even the manufacturer Bavaria Yachts has something to offer more demanding clients looking for luxury
Most popular sailing boats
These are the preferred sailing boat brands of our clients:
- Bavaria Yachts
This manufacturer offers boats that are more for cruising, i.e. circumnavigating islands and sailing along coastlines. They offer relaxing sailing in comfort with a good price/performance ratio. Favourite models include the Bavaria 37, Bavaria 38, Bavaria 40, Bavaria 41, Bavaria 45 or the large Bavaria 50. But the most popular sailboat with our clients is undoubtedly the Bavaria 46 Cruiser — Find out why you should rent this boat.
- Dufour Yachts
Dufour boats are characterized by large genoas, solid handling characteristics and excellent stability, whilst still being among the most comfortable cruisers. You'll definitely enjoy a sailing holiday on the Dufour 382 Grand Large, the Dufour 460 Grande Large or the sportier Dufour 470.
- Hanse Yachts
Boats for more leisurely sailing are available under the Hanse brand and are frequently equipped with a self-tacking jib, making them easier to handle and sail. Hanse boats are also luxurious and very comfortable and it isn't unusual to find a private bathroom for each cabin, as well as several refrigerators. If you are looking for comfort as well as great sailing, we recommend the Hanse 588 or Hanse 460.
- Elan Yachts
Even experienced sailors will enjoy the more agile sailing provided by Elan boats, noted for their aerodynamic hulls and great manoeuvrability. They perfectly combine the pleasure of sailing, sail trim and comfort and the new Elan Impression models are absolutely magnificent. Whether you choose the Elan Impression 45.1 or the Elan Impression 40.1, you can't really go wrong. We have yet to see a serious complaint from a client about either of these boats.
YACHTING.COM TIP: Want to know more about sailing the Elan 45.1 Impression? Read our review.
A catamaran differs from a traditional sailing boat by having two hulls and is sometimes referred to as a multihull or twin hull, or colloquially as a "cat". The individual hulls are connected by a deck and often a net at the front (called a trampoline), which you can sunbathe on.
Catamaran on the coast of Mauritius
Why rent a catamaran?
- Catamarans are very comfortable. Compared to sailboats, they offer a surprising amount of space below deck. You will usually find a large galley, spacious cabins and one bathroom in each hull.
- Because a catamaran has a relatively shallow draft (less than 1 metre), you can sail it almost all the way to the beach. This makes it suitable for areas with coral reefs and shallow waters (the Caribbean, Tahiti, Thailand, and Seychelles)
- Not sure about manoeuvring in a marina or have an inexperienced crew? A catamaran is easier to moor as it is equipped with two engines. Sailors say it can practically turn on a dime.
- If you are going to sail in a region where the sailing infrastructure is more spread out, you'll also appreciate the benefit of their large water tanks, fresh water generators or powerful electricity generators.
- In general, a catamaran can sail faster in certain wind directions than a monohull of a similar length. So if you want to enjoy high-speed sailing, it's a great choice.
YACHTING.COM TIP: Read about all the advantages of catamarans in our article — Why (not) try a catamaran?
The nets between a catamaran's hulls invite relaxation
Disadvantages of catamarans
- Compared to single-hulled sailboats, renting a catamaran is the more expensive option.
- In high season, catamarans are booked up quickly. So you'll want to plan your holiday well in advance, preferably as an Early Bird deal.
- While a catamaran does not heel like a monohull, its design does not entirely rule out capsizing. It doesn't have a ballasted keel, so if it gets rolled over and capsized by a wave, it won't self-right.
- In a marina, a catamaran takes up a lot of space, which makes the cost of a berth at a marina or jetty higher too.
Ideal destinations for catamarans
We offer catamarans around in the world, including the popular sailing destinations of Croatia and Greece. However, catamarans are most popular in exotic locations where there are plenty of shallows or coral reefs, such as Thailand, Seychelles, Tahiti, and the British Virgin Islands. We highly recommend choosing a catamaran when heading for exotic destinations.
Most popular catamarans
The world of catamarans is dominated by these 5 well-known manufacturers:
- Lagoon, whether the small Lagoon 380, Lagoon 39, Lagoon 400 or the large Lagoon 50.
- Bali, especially the Bali 4.0 or Bali 4.5.
- Fountaine Pajot, such as this 40-footer.
- Nautitech, such as the Nautitech 40
- Leopard, most notably the Leopard 40, Leopard 45 or their bigger brother the Leopard 48
In exotic locations, you can also encounter lesser-known brands and models such as the TS 50 or the Island Spirit 38.
More and more often we encounter power catamarans at sea and they are increasingly popular in the charter industry. Many sailors simply stare in disbelief as a power catamaran speeds past them, wondering where the poor catamaran's mast has gone and how it can possibly be sailing so fast. Two hulls, no sails, plenty of room, comfort and stability — that's a power catamaran.
Power catamarans are becoming an increasingly popular choice
Why rent a power catamaran?
- A power catamaran includes all the comfort of a catamaran but is much faster and you don't have to deal with sails. For a relaxing holiday, it's the perfect choice.
Disadvantages of power catamarans
- The lack of sails makes it a pure motorboat and with that comes higher fuel consumption and therefore costs.
- Although their popularity is growing, the demand for renting power catamarans is still less than sailboats or conventional catamarans. As a result, the supply of this type of boat is also lower. But don't worry about not having enough choice, because at yachting.com we have over 100 available all across the globe.
Ideal destinations for a power catamaran
Power catamarans are popular in traditional destinations such as Croatia or Greece, but as with conventional catamarans, their benefits are especially apparent in the more exotic destinations. We offer this type of boat in the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and we even have the MY37 catamaran in the United States or the Bali 4.3 in Tenerife.
Most popular power catamarans
Unsurprisingly, the most popular models are those from Lagoon, Bali and Leopard, leaders in the field of catamarans. These include the Lagoon 40, Fountaine Pajot MY 37, Leopard 43 PC, Leopard 51, and the Bali 4.3
YACHTING.COM TIP: Are you looking to charter your first boat and set sail for adventure? Make sure your first boating experience is unforgettable for all the right reasons. Find out everything you need to know about the process of booking, which destination and boat to choose, what documents you'll need and the costs involved, in our step-by-step guide to renting your first boat.
A motor yacht, sometimes referred to as a motor cruiser, powerboat or motorboat, is powered solely by an engine. Depending on the level of luxury and therefore the price, they range from smaller powerboats to larger motor yachts all the way up to superyachts with their own crew, captain, stewards and chef.
The Galeon 430 Skydeck with twin 440 hp Volvo engines simply flies
Why rent a motor yacht?
- If you're a speed freak, then a motor yacht is the right choice. You'll be able to race like the wind and during a week-long holiday, you can cover more of the world's oceans and seas. Not only will you be able to go greater distances but it will be relatively easy to pop over from Croatia to Italy for a coffee. Check out our article on crossing national borders with a charter boat.
- Experience a bit of luxury — if you want to feel like a millionaire on holiday (even when you're not), a motor yacht is perfect.
- Move freely on board without having to worry about getting hit on the head by a boom or tripping over a line.
Disadvantages of a motor yacht
- When you rent a motor yacht, you have to take into account that you will sometimes be paying more for the fuel than for the actual boat rental.
- A motor cruiser is more expensive.
- Many sailors do not have a skipper's licence that is valid for driving really large motor boats. If you still want to rent one out, you'll need to take a professional captain with you.
YACHTING.COM TIP: Don't feel like skippering or looking after a boat? We can provide you with an English-speaking captain, hostess or steward. Just get in contact.
Ideal destination for motor yachts
Most motor yachts are offered on the Adriatic which also provides sufficient infrastructure for sailors in terms of mooring and fuel stations.
Most popular motor yachts
The most popular models of motor yachts are undoubtedly the Merry Fisher brand — the Merry Fisher 1095 Fly or Merry Fisher 895. Also in great demand are the Azimut 46, Azimut 50 or, for those looking for luxury, the Azimut 72. We also offer boats from the Bavaria shipyard, the Bavaria 37 Sport as well as the special Grand Turismo 41, the Prestige 50 and, for those who love speed, the Galeon 430 Skydeck, which is really supercharged.
The exact definition of a houseboat is a bit vague, or completely non-existent. For us as a charter partner, it is a boat with a less powerful engine, so it can be operated on inland waterways (lakes, dams, rivers, canals). Although people often think of a houseboat as a floating block tied down in one place, which we also offer, most houseboats simply look like a motorboat but with a smaller engine.
Popular Nicols Estivale Octo houseboat
YACHTING.COM TIP: Do you have an ecological soul? Try an electric-powered houseboat, such as the Nicols Estivale Quattro Fly C Green, Minuetto Electric 8+ or La Péniche S.
Why rent a houseboat?
- You can drive it without a captain's license (with a few exceptions)
- It comfortably accommodates a large number of people — two families or a large group of friends.
- Easily combine houseboating with cycling, visiting vineyards or hiking. There is plenty of room for sports equipment on board, and houseboats often come equipped with bike racks.
Disadvantages of a houseboat
- If you expect speed, you won't get much out of a houseboat. Because anyone can drive one, regardless of whether they have a captain's license or not, houseboats have very limited engine power.
- Sometimes the water in the canals of Holland or France is murkier and not ideal for swimming. This can be worked out for small kids by renting an inflatable pool, which some charter companies also offer.
The most popular destinations for houseboating are France along the Canal du Midi, the Netherlands in a landscape of windmills, Belgium's Gothic towns, Italy, Poland's Masurian Lakes, Germany's Mecklenburg and Hungary's vineyard-filled Tokaj region.
YACHTING.COM TIP: For some more inspiration about houseboating destinations, check out our in-depth articles about places to go houseboating in France, exploring the Venetian Lagoon in Italy, cruising through the Tokaj region of Hungary or discovering Gothic Ghent and Art Nouveau France.
Most popular houseboats
When it comes to houseboats, just a few established charter companies reign supreme, producing their own boats that dominate the market. These are the boats from Nicols — the Nicols Estivale Octo and for couples seeking privacy, the Nicols Estivale Duo. The other player in the market is LeBoat with its Magnifique or Horizon 4 model.
We also offer some so-called static houseboats, which are basically a floating cottage. If you are interested in this type of boating holiday, get in touch.
Sailing boat on a lake
Of course, you can also rent a sailboat on a lake. If you don't want to make the potentially long journey to the sea to get your fix of sailing, there are some beautiful lakes out there.
Why rent a sailboat on a lake?
- You don't have to worry about big waves, strong currents or wild storms. Compared to sailing at sea, it is safer, which is especially good for families with small children.
- Sailing on a lake or dam is ideal for testing whether family members enjoy being on the water.
Even on a lake, you can experience great sailing
Disadvantages of sailing on a lake
- Sailing boats for lakes are often smaller in size than those at sea. So don't count on too much space for a large group of people or multiple families.
- The wind on dams and lakes tends to be unstable, blowing from all directions and cannot be reliably estimated. When sailing, it can take a lot of nerve to trim the sails.
- For most sailboats of this kind, a small boat licence is required.
Most popular sailing boats for lakes
Well-known and popular boats are those from the Dehler shipyard, such as the Dehler 31. If you're a fan of Bavaria boats, there's the small Bavaria 27 too. In addition, a mix of various brands from the Feeling 28, to the Jeanneau 29 Arcadia and the Barberis Show 29 are offered for charter.
An inflatable boat or rubber dinghy is a small boat, usually with a motor. Don't expect to travel far in it, as it is more suited for getting from a larger boat to the shore or from an apartment to the nearest island with a beach.
- If you rent a boat from us, a small dinghy is included in most basic charters but there is an extra charge to rent a motor for it. A dinghy like this is usually really small, can fit a maximum of 6 people and moves slowly.
- If you are going to the seaside to an apartment or hotel and want to be out at sea, you can rent an inflatable boat to cruise around the coast and discover deserted beaches that are only accessible from the water. We offer charter boats like this which often come equipped with a relatively powerful engine and ideal for a day trip.
Inflatable boats for charter
The Baracuda 20 is ideal for day trips
A gulet is a traditional, usually two or three-masted wooden boat built "the old-fashioned way" according to traditional methods and historical plans. This makes each and every Gulet completely unique. The size of a gulet usually ranges from 14 to 35 metres in length.
Why rent a gulet?
- If you want to experience first-hand how sailors of old used to sail, a gulet is a great choice.
- For your children, sailing on a gulet will be the experience of a lifetime. Let their pirate spirit come to life as they sail off in search of adventure.
- Gulets have a large capacity — some are huge, holding up to around 50 crew members but more often they accommodate 10 to 15 people.
Disadvantages of a gulet
- Due to the use of traditional construction techniques, gulets are no match for modern sailing boats when it comes to handling characteristics. Don't expect to be sailing close to the wind at high speeds. It is simply a slightly different style of sailing.
- Gulets tend to be quite large and therefore impractical for going into marinas. If you are unsure of how to manoeuvre in a harbour, you should take along an experienced skipper.
Ideal destinations for gulets
A typical destination where gulets are abundant is Turkey. After all, this is where the gulet is said to have originated. However, it's possible to rent a gulet practically anywhere in Europe.
Most popular gulets
The Almira or Daphne S are both very nice gulets based in Turkey. But if you want to stay on the other side of the Mediterranean, try the Orao gulet in Split or the Pallas Livretto in Italy. Our personal favourites are the Greek gulets named after ancient deities, such as Eros, Artemis, or Aphrodite.
Boat Linda, which you can rent in Split
Trimarans are sailing yachts still mainly used for racing, but these three-hulled boats are can also found for charter. For example, we have a Neel 43 on offer in Sardinia.