Yachts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with price tags to match.

Deciding on the type of sailing you want is the one of the key decisions you will need to make when considering which boat to buy.

Yachts are also referred to as sailboats, monohulls, sailing yachts, bluewater yachts , motorsailers, ketches, yawls and more, so it’s important to know exactly what type of boat you are looking at.

These boat types are often defined by the position of the mast and sails for specific use.

Read our handy guide below to decide which type of yacht suits you best.

What is a sloop?  This is probably one of the most popular rigs you’ll see out on the water today.   Less sail, so easy to use and generally faster, sailing close to the wind. Popular Manufacturers could include: Bavaria, Jeanneau, Beneteau, Hanse, Dufour, Dehler, Gib’sea, Hunter, Maxi, Westerly, Contessa, Sadler, Rustler, Rival…

What is a cutter? – A cutter has one mast and two jibs – just like the sloop – however the mast is further aft.   Typically a yacht designed for speed rather than comfortable cruising. Popular Manufacturers could include:  Swan, Allures, Garcia, Discovery, Southerly, Ovni, Rustler, Malo, Najad, Sunbeam, Contest, Grand Soleil…

What is a ketch? – Traditionally two masts, with a more compact mizzen sail to the rear.  This allows the sail area to be more manageable.  Similar to a yawl which has a large mizzen sail further forward. Popular Manufacturers could include: Amel, Oyster, Moody, Bowman, Wauquiez, Hallberg-Rassy, Cheoy Lee, Formosa…

What is a yawl?  A two mast yacht with a smaller sail plan.  The yawl arrangement offers a beautiful, classic look that is rare to find on a new production yacht.   Check out Sparkman and Stephenson (S&S) or Cornish Crabbers both which offer a fabulous choice as does the designer Alden Yachts.

What is a bluewater cruising yacht?  A bluewater cruising yacht is designed to handle offshore conditions.   Usually constructed with heavier materials and fitted with larger tanks.  Modern technology allows materials such as aluminium to be used in the construction of these yachts, and brands like Allures Yachting  and Garcia Yachts  lead the way in style, comfort and performance.

What is a schooner?   For the romantics amongst us, the schooner fits the bill. A traditional looking boat, with two masts providing an unusual ability to fly a triangular sail, filling the space aft.   Putting all the canvas sail up enables you to build real speed and gives a graceful sail.

What is a liveaboard sailing boat?  First of all, an exciting lifestyle choice, often a much cheaper option than a traditional house or flat.   Many sailing boats, old and new will offer all the amenities onboard you need, it’s up to you to decide what and how you want to live and if you want offshore or coastal cruising, the possibilities are endless!

What is a multihull?   A boat which has two or more hulls is called a multihull.  (As opposed to a monohull which has one hull).   A catamaran has two hulls and a trimaran has three hulls.   Multihulls can be propelled by sail or power with stability the number one factor in choice.  Accommodation and space, coupled with great performance make multihull boats the perfect option for those wanting to cruise in comfort, charter or liveaboard. Popular Manufacturers could include: Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot, Prout, Privilige, Catana, Nautitech, Bali, Dean…

What is a motorsailor?   Is this the ideal combination? Motorsailers are becoming more and more popular.  Excelling in propulsion from sails and engines working in synergy.   With more of a power boat hull this type of boat offers pure fun, less rolling with propulsion back up for those less windy days. Popular Manufacturers could include: Nauticat, Gulfstar, Fisher, Northshore Yachts, Bruce Roberts

What is a daysailer? Easily trailerable day-sailing boats ideal for those starting out in boating.   The daysailer is perfect for inland or inshore sailing and offers all the thrill of the sport without the financial commitment required with larger options.   Bavaria 33 a perfect day sailer and more

What is a gulet?  Originally from Turkey, (hence Turkish Gulet) the gulet is a motor sailer, constructed from high grade timber such as teak, mahogany or oak which comes in a variety of lengths from 20-30 meters.  A wonderful yacht for Mediteranean cruising and perfect accommodation for a liveaboard or charter business.  70ft Gulet Greece

Your boat buying process  should be an exciting journey, so make sure you use a reputable broker to help you, and consider using a yacht surveyor  to carry out a thorough inspection.   If you need more information on how to buy a boat  then please do get in touch.

Williams and Smithells have over 80 boats for sale  across Europe.