Boat used for sport and recreation, powered by sail or motor. Sailing yachts, which are usually fore and aft rigged, vary from 6m (20ft) to more than 30m (98ft) long and include cutters, schooners, ketches, sloops, and yawls, Those fitted with diesel or petrol engines are usually classified as cruising (or motor) yachts. Although most yachts are used for vacationing and cruising, it has been an international sport since 1851, when the Royal Yacht Squadron (formed at Cowes, England
, in 1812) offered a silver cup as a prize for a race of 97km (60mi) around the Isle of Wight
. The race was won by the schooner America
, owned by the members of the New York
Yacht Club (established 1844), and has since been known as the America's Cup
. The Admiral's Cup is an international race held biennially since 1957 at Cowes. The Observer
Single-Handed Transatlantic Race has been held every four years since 1960. The Olympics have competitions in seven yachting categories.
yacht / yät/ • n. a medium-sized sailboat equipped for cruising or racing. ∎ a powered boat or small ship equipped for cruising, typically for private or official use: a steam yacht.
• v. [intr.] race or cruise in a yacht.
DERIVATIVES: yachts·man n.