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Explorer and Expedition Yacht Buying Guide
What is an Expedition or Explorer Yacht?
An expedition yacht – also known as an explorer yacht or adventure yacht; the names are interchangeable – is built for long-range cruising. These vessels must have the technical capabilities to travel long distances at sea in more remote places, facing potentially rough seas. Access to provisions and repairs may be minimal or nonexistent, so expedition vessels need to be autonomous in that they must carry everything required for operations from food supplies, extra spares, and safety equipment for every eventuality. They must also be able to fix any issues that arise on board. These vessels carry more fuel, providing a longer cruising range before refueling is necessary, and also have more storage to carry extra supplies – even garbage storage can be important as it may be impossible to dispose of trash ashore. Some larger expedition yachts, explorer yachts, or adventure yachts carry a full arsenal of toys on board, including their own transportation to be used ashore, a helicopter, and usually have a larger yacht crew. Some may even carry local guides, pilots, or other specialty crew.
What are Explorer or Expedition Yachts Made Of (Construction Material/Hull Design)?
The explorer or expedition yacht needs a strong hull to withstand the more extreme cruising areas she may traverse. Explorer and expedition vessels can be constructed from steel, aluminum, fiberglass, Kevlar, and even recycled aluminum. These vessels usually have a full displacement hull with deeper drafts, which traditionally is best for long-range cruising and improved seaworthiness. Some yacht hulls have been strengthened even further, which gives them an ice-classed designation. The IMO’s Polar Code, which came into force in 2017, applies to vessels operating in Arctic or Antarctic waters. These vessels must receive a Polar Ship Certificate and comply with certain operating parameters in the polar regions, both for vessel safety and protection of the areas.
Why Should You Buy an Explorer, Expedition Yacht or Adventure Yacht?
You should buy an explorer, expedition or adventure yacht if you have a yearning for adventure and exploration. You can get up close and personal with nature’s beauty and see and experience wildlife in some of the world’s most far-flung locations – from the stunning beaches of isolated South Pacific islands to the icy remoteness of the more northern climes, including Antarctica. As a bonus, you can do all of that while surrounded by the comforts and luxury of a yacht. An explorer or expedition yacht lets you push the superyacht travel limits and explore areas only boats can reach.
What is the Difference Between an Explorer Yacht and a Motor Yacht?
The main difference between an explorer yacht and a motor yacht lies in their design and intended use:
- Design and Construction:
- Explorer Yacht: Explorer yachts are designed for long-range cruising and are often built with reinforced hulls to withstand challenging sea conditions. They may have ice-class capabilities for exploration in polar regions, or offer large range capabilities for those looking to truly travel off the beaten path.
- Motor Yacht: Luxury or economical motor yachts come in various designs, focusing on luxury, comfort, and speed. They are generally built for cruising in more favorable conditions and may prioritize amenities and entertainment features. Motor yachts can be built with one deck, or as many as three or more decks! Depending on the style you’re after, motor yachts can be customized in a number if ways.
- Intended Use:
- Explorer Yacht: Explorer yachts are specifically crafted for adventurous cruising, capable of exploring remote or less-traveled destinations. They emphasize autonomy, endurance, and the ability to navigate diverse environments. Storage and fuel capabilities will be incredibly important here, as will the skill set of the captain and crew to make sure any and all issues can be addressed while underway, if far away from civilization for extended periods.
- Motor Yacht: Motor yachts are designed with a focus on providing a luxurious and comfortable cruising experience. They are ideal for leisurely trips, entertaining guests, and enjoying the amenities onboard. Motor yachts come in a variety of styles – whether you’re a keen fisher, or looking to splash out in the most luxury yacht imaginable, there is a design and style for everyone.
- Amenities and Interior Layout:
- Explorer Yacht: Explorer yachts may have a more utilitarian interior layout, emphasizing functionality for extended journeys. They can still offer comfortable living spaces but may prioritize storage for long expeditions. As interest in these yachts grow, so too do their design styles and features.
- Motor Yacht: Motor yachts often feature opulent interiors, spacious cabins, entertainment areas, and various luxury amenities. The emphasis is on providing a high level of comfort and style for shorter cruises.
- Speed and Maneuverability:
- Explorer Yacht: Explorer yachts are designed for efficient long-range cruising, and their speed may be more moderate compared to sleeker motor yachts. This is to ensure their fuel is being used in an economical way since they need to go further for longer in between refuelling.
- Motor Yacht: Motor yachts prioritize speed and maneuverability, providing a faster cruising experience for those who want to reach destinations quickly. Depending on the hull design and engines selected, some are known to break some pretty impressive top speeds.
Ultimately, the choice between an explorer yacht and a motor yacht depends on the owner’s preferences, intended use, and the type of cruising experience they desire. Explorer yachts are chosen by those seeking adventure and exploration, while motor yachts cater to individuals seeking a luxurious and comfortable cruising lifestyle. Most expedition yachts will be motor yachts, but not all motor yachts are expedition yachts.
What Makes a Yacht an Explorer Yacht, an Expedition Yacht or Adventure Yacht?
An expedition yacht, explorer yacht or adventure yacht is a vessel that can cruise long distances without the need to return to shore and is often built to withstand rough seas or even Arctic ice. When considering an explorer or expedition yacht, you’ll want to look for the following:
- Seaworthiness – You’ll want to make sure the explorer yacht you purchase is seaworthy to withstand rough seas, and all-weather conditions. This starts with a robust yacht hull, usually made of steel or (or even ice class if heading to the polar regions), that is strong enough to withstand impact and complete ocean crossings.
- Ample Storage Space – Since you will be traveling long distances on your explorer or expedition yacht, storage space is even more important than ever. You will need extra fuel onboard to fuel up on the go, and may need to store provisions for weeks at a time if you’ll be headed off grid and away from land.
- Long Range – Some say a true explorer yacht is one that can go at least 3,000 nautical miles before needing to refuel. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, you will want to make sure you choose an expedition yacht with a long-range to avoid the need to refuel frequently.
- Maintenance on the Go – Without access to facilities on some routes, you’ll need to ensure you have all of the replacement and spare parts needed, as well as the right Chief Engineer and crew who can make repairs on the go.
- Intelligent Design – While not as significant as the other items on our list, you’ll need to consider that you’ll be spending a lot of time onboard, so ample living space and comfortable living quarters for everyone onboard (including your yacht crew) needs to be considered.
How Fast Does an Explorer Yacht Go?
How fast an explorer yacht goes will depend on the range it is capable of as we mentioned above. However, most will be able to travel 5,000 nautical miles at 10 knots before needing to refuel.
What’s the Difference Between an Explorer Yacht and an Expedition Yacht and an Adventure Yacht?
There is no difference between an explorer yacht, an expedition yacht and an adventure yacht. The names are used interchangeably but defined by the same thing – a yacht that can travel long distances and usually to remote places.
What are popular Explorer, Expedition, and Adventure Yacht Brands?
It’s no surprise that demand for explorer, expedition and adventure yachts has been on the rise as more and more people flock to yachting and are in search of boldly going where few crowds await. While most expedition yachts used to be commercial yachts that had been refit, several popular shipyards have begun to specialize in expedition yachts. These are included, but not limited to: