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Sailing yachts

Sailing yachts can range in overall length (Length Over All´LOA) from about 6 metres (20 ft) to well over 30 metres (98 ft), where the distinction between a yacht and a ship becomes blurred. Most privately owned yachts fall in the range of about 7 metres (23 ft)-14 metres (46 ft). The cost of building and keeping a yacht rises quickly as length increases. In the United States, sailors tend to refer to smaller yachts as sailboats, while referring to the general sport of sailing as yachting. Within the limited context of sailboat racing, a yacht is any sailing vessel taking part in a race, regardless of size.
Day sailing yachts are usually small, at under 6 metres (20 ft) in length. Sometimes called sailing dinghies, they often have a retractable keel, centreboard, or daggerboard. Most day sailing yachts do not have a cabin, as they are designed for hourly or daily use and not for overnight journeys. They may have a 'cuddy' cabin, where the front part of the hull has a raised solid roof to provide a place to store equipment or to offer shelter from wind or spray.
Cruising yachts are by far the most common yacht in private use, making up most of the 7–14-metre (23–46 ft) range. These vessels can be quite complex in design, as they need a balance between docile handling qualities, interior space, good light-wind performance and on-board comfort. The huge range of such craft, from dozens of builders worldwide, makes it hard to give a single illustrative description. However, most favor a teardrop-planform hull, with a fine bow, a wide, flat bottom and deep single-fin keel with ample beam to give good stability. Most are single-masted Bermuda rigged sloops, with a single fore-sail of the jib or Genoa type and a single mainsail. Spinnaker sails are also common for down-wind use. These types are often chosen as family vessels, especially those in the 8 to 12 m (26 to 39 ft) range. Such a vessel will usually have several cabins below deck. Typically there will be three double-berth cabins; a single large saloon with galley, seating and navigation equipment; and a "head" consisting of a toilet and shower-room. The interior is often finished in wood paneling, with plenty of storage space. Cruisers are quite capable of taking on long-range passages of many thousands of miles. Such boats have a cruising speed upwards of 6 knots. This basic design is typical of the standard types produced by the major yacht-builders.
A yacht may also be a "cruiser-racer", which as the name implies is a blend between the cruiser and racing variants. This is often a builder's existing design with changes to the rigging, sails, keel and controls to provide better performance. Some of the interior appointments may be reduced or removed to save weight.
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.
Racing yachts try to reduce the wetted surface area, which creates drag, by keeping the hull light whilst having a deep and heavy bulb keel, allowing them to support a tall mast with a great sail area. Modern designs tend to have a very wide beam and a flat bottom aft, to provide buoyancy preventing an excessive heel angle and to promote surfing and planing. Speeds of up to 35 knots can be attained in extreme conditions. Dedicated offshore racing yachts sacrifice crew comfort for speed, having basic accommodation to reduce weight. Modern racing yachts may have twin rudders because of the wide stern. Since about 2000 water ballast transfer pumps have become more common as have transversely swinging keels. Both these stiffen the yacht and allow more sail to be carried in stronger winds. Depending on the type of race, such a yacht may have a crew of 15 or more. Very large inshore racing yachts may have a crew of 30. At the other extreme are "single handed" races, where one person alone must control the yacht.
Many 'pure' sailing yachts are also equipped with a low-power internal-combustion engine for use in conditions of calm and when entering or leaving difficult anchorages. Vessels less than 7 metres (23 ft) in length generally carry a petrol outboard-motor of between 3.5 and 30 kilowatts (5 and 40 hp). Larger vessels have in-board diesel engines of between 15 and 75 kilowatts (20 and 101 hp) depending on size. In the common 7–14-metre (23–46 ft) class, engines of 15 to 30 kilowatts (20 to 40 hp) are the most common. Modern sailing yachts can be equipped with electric inboard motors to reduce consumption of fossil fuel. The latest technology are outboard electric pod drives that can also regenerate electricity (motogens). These motogens can be made retractable to increase the efficiency of the yacht. Some of these yachts are extremely efficient and do not need additional diesel generators.
Monohull yachts are typically fitted with a fixed keel or a centreboard (adjustable keel) below the waterline to counterbalance the overturning force of wind on the vessel's sails. Multihull yachts use two (catamarans) or three (trimarans) hulls widely separated from each other to provide a stable base that resists overturning.