Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A yacht was originally defined as a light, fast sailing vessel used to convey important persons. In later parlance, the definition came to mean any vessel, other than a dinghy, propelled by sail, power or both and used for pleasure cruising and/or yacht racing.
A sailing yacht can vary in overall length (LOA in yachting parlance) from 29 feet to well over 100 feet or more. Monohull yachts are typically fitted with a fixed or adjustable keel below the waterline to counterbalance the overturning force of wind on the vessel's sails. By contrast, Multihull yachts (a catamaran is an example of this type of vessel) use two or more hulls widely separated from each other to provide a stable base that resists overturning.
Modern yachts have efficient sail-plans that allow them to sail into the wind. This capability is the result of a sail plan and hull design (typically a sloop rig) that utilizes Bernoulli's principle to generate lift.
The motive force being the wind, sailing is more economical and environmentally friendly than any other means of propulsion. Motor yachts depend upon mechanical means for propulsion, typically an internal combustion engine that burns fossil fuels. These are more expensive to operate than sailing vessels due to fuel costs and the large engines typically used. A more economical hybrid type of vessel is a motor sailing yacht that can use either sail or motor propulsion (or both) as conditions dictate.
Modern yachts are decendants of working vessels used for fishing and commerce. Famous examples of these types of vessels are fishing schooners such as Bluenose and square rigged tea clippers of the 19th century such as Flying Cloud. Tall ships are the modern decendants of the tradition of these commercial vessels.
Yachting for pleasure was formerly the province of the wealthy due to expense and the manpower required, but today has become the pastime of many worldwide. King Charles II of England is mentioned as enjoying the sport in the diaries of Samuel Pepys.
Popular yachting spots:
- San Francisco Bay, California
- Newport, Rhode Island
- Cowes, Isle of Wight
- Fremantle, Western Australia
- Hamble, Hampshire, England
- Tollesbury, Essex, England
- West Coast of Scotland
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Hong Kong
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