Dining salon aboard MV Olympus
he term originates from the Dutch word jacht was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries. After its selection by Charles II of England as the vessel to carry him to England from the Netherlands for his restoration in 1660, it came to be used to mean a vessel used to convey important persons.
Modern use of the term designates two different classes of watercraft, sailing and powerboats. Yachts differ from working ships mainly by their leisure purpose, and it was not until the rise of the steamboat and other types of powerboat that sailing vessels in general came to be perceived as luxury, or recreational vessels. Later the term came to encompass motorboats for primarily private pleasure purposes as well.
Luxury yachts are generally 25 metres (82 ft) or longer, although the largest sailing yacht available for charter is 90 metres (295 ft). In recent years, these yachts have evolved from fairly simple vessels with basic accommodation into sophisticated and luxurious boats. This is largely due to reduced hull-building costs brought about by the introduction of fibreglass hulls, and increased automation and “production line” techniques for yacht building, especially in Europe.