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There are so many design configurations ("flavors"), that it can be confusing to a Buyer, especially if unfamiliar with the descriptive terminology used in listing ads. This article is a brief overview of some of the most popular motor yacht models that may help to clarify and point out the sometimes subtle differences, using examples of Motor Yachts that United Yacht Sales currently has listed. This is not an "expert opinion" since quite often terminology has its basis in marketing, rather than formal industry standards. And every industry pundit has their own argument for one style over another.

That said; let's begin with what differentiates a Motor Yacht (MY) from a Cabin Cruiser. They are both powerboats with accommodations for crew (owner/captain, mate or professional) and passengers (owner, family and guests) inside the structure of the vessel (cabin). Typical length of a Cabin Cruiser is 25-45 feet. Larger vessels are considered yachts. Cabin Cruisers tend to be faster, as they are pushing less weight, but engine(s) power and other factors, such as hull design, affect cruising speed.

What is the difference between Motor Yachts and Mega Yachts or Superyachts

Yachts and Superyachts (terms are used interchangeably), are privately owned motor or sailing yachts typically over 80 feet in length, though some say over 100 ft is qualification. They are nearly always customized to the owner's bespoke desires and needs, as is the level of opulence. Within this superyacht class, are the Expedition/Explorer yachts, designed and built to go anywhere and stay in remote places for nearly 2 months without having to replenish. Some are certified for polar expeditions as they are built for navigating through icy waters.

Motor Yachts share most of the same design and layout features and luxury of the Superyachts, but in the smaller 50-80' or up to 100' range. The Dyna Yachts new 68 ft model certainly lives up to its "mini-superyacht" description, especially since the interior was designed by world-renowed superyacht designer, Cor D. Rover Design of the Netherlands.

Express Motor Yachts (Open or Hard Top) main distinction is a sleek design without a flybridge. Living accommodations are in cabin below, with a single deck above the hull. The Sea Ray Sundancer is possibly the most popular Express style vessel ever built and for good reason; they are seaworthy, handle well, and have a beautiful interior layout that makes perfect use of space. Even older models look great, retaining their contemporary Euro-look of luxury. Exterior is well-designed also for entertaining and lounging. Other well-known brands are McKinna, Cruisers Yachts, Formula, Four Winns, Riva, Sunseeker Predators, Hatteras and more.

The Flybridge model is likely the most popular Motor Yacht design feature. All other types are subsets of the flybridge model. Variations are the Sport Bridge which is basically an open helm station, and the Sedan Bridge (sedan model with flybridge). The full flybridge has seating and a table for enjoying refreshments in addition to the helm station. It can come with hard top or Bimini and some type of partial or full plastic enclosure, like Isenglass, to allow for A/C or heating, and depending on space, many extra features and amenities, such as BBQ grills, wet bars, ice-makers and refrigerators and more for lounging and entertaining with a great view. Some flybridges are extended to provide shading for an aft deck or cockpit below. Some have davits for launching a dinghy along with space for dinghy storage. Certain larger Motor Yachts feature a fully enclosed flybridge helm and obervation/entertaining area called a Skylounge, that can be quite opulent! Unlike the boxy enclosed flybridges, Skylounges are built to match the lines of deck below. Example: Hatteras 80 Skylounge

Aft Cabin Motor Yacht is a "Sedan" model with a full beam aft stateroom, usually the Master with ensuite head and massive amount of storage, and possibly a walk-in closet. A Sedan Bridge is characterized by a large main deck with helm on the same level and accommodations below. The "Downeast" style falls into this type of vessel, such as the Classic Grand Banks, Back Cove, MJM, San Juan, Mainship, Hinckley and many more. Sea Ray makes a Sedan Bridge model, which has a flybridge.

As you can surmise, the lines can be blurred with attempting to classify or categorize the various builds as they can cross-over with design features. Another Aft Cabin variety is the Flush Deck Motor Yacht that does not have cockpit. Boarding is from the large swim platform's ladder to the Aft Deck/Sundeck or via Marquipt TideRide ladder to the side deck. The advantage of this design is the full beam use of space for the Aft Cabin, Aft Sundeck and maximizes living space and headroom! Although Flush Deck Aft Cabin Motor Yachts seemed to be most popular in the late 70's and 80's, well-maintained older vessels are sought after for liveaboards and long-range cruising because of the enormous amount of comfortable living and storage space. Some of the well-known makes are Sea Ray, Novatec, Jefferson, Hatteras, Carver, Silverton, Gulfstar, Cheoy Lee, CHB, Chris Craft, Tollycraft, Meridian, Marine Trader, Sabreline, Atlantic, Mikelson, Pacemaker and many more.

Pilothouse Motor Yacht features a Pilothouse that is the captain's command center located between the flybridge (above) and the salon/aft deck (aft). The pilothouse typically has seating for guests, can have chart table, full instrumentation, side doors, access to flybridge and stairs to living accommodations below and forward. Larger vessels may include a day head. Pilothouse can be raised on its own level and can be Portuguese style with reverse canted front windows. A Portuguese bridge with a waist-high bulwark that separates the pilothouse from foredeck and side decks, is typically a feature of a Trawler Yacht modeled after the long-range fishing vessels.

Motor Yachts can be multi-hulled catamarans or displacement mono-hulls or planning hulls. They can have single or twin inboard engines and have many other variations of design features, beyond the scope of this brief overview. Examples include Nordlund, Marlow, Lazzara, Cheoy Lee, Pama, Pacific Mariner, Queenship, Offshore Yachts, Hampton, Grand Alaskan, Bayiner, Meridian, Navigator, DeFever, Krogen, Marquis, Jefferson, Ocean Alexander, Carver, Grand Banks and many more.

As you search our website for the Motor Yacht of your dreams, please don't hesitate to call a one of our licensed professional brokers for more specific vessel information. We offer a wide range of quality brokerage yachts and new builds, should you desire a custom or semi-custom Yacht.

Chuck Newman

All Fun Yacht Sales