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Should You Choose a Sailing Yacht or Motor Yacht for Your Charter?

If you are a yachting enthusiast, you undoubtedly already have a preference for a motor yacht or a sailing yacht. But If you’re new to the yacht charter game, here’s a bit of advice to help you select the best charter yacht for your group. Ocean Getaways’ experienced yacht charter brokers are always on standby to share their personal insights on a motor yacht vs sailing yacht and lead you through the decision making process.

Getting There

By comparison between a motor yacht vs sailing yacht, motor yachts generally offer more speed so you can get places faster as well as extend your itinerary boundaries. For example, in the Bahamas, we have many more motor yachts than sailing yachts as the distances between islands are longer and a motor yacht can cover more territory in a shorter period of time. A motor yacht can cross from Nassau to the Exumas in a few hours whereas it could take a sailing yacht the better part of a day.

Sailing enthusiasts are not as concerned about getting there and instead love the romance of the wind in the sails, the quiet of the ocean lapping the hull, and the eco-friendly nature of a yacht that does not always have to employ its engines and trail diesel in its wakes.


Underway, sailing yachts will “heel” which means that they lean over as they sail and slice through the waves. Things have to be secured for safety reasons so that they do not slide around when the yacht is moving. A sailing catamaran will not heel like a monohull sailing yacht

That does not mean that a motor yacht is always stable when underway. If the seas are up, then a motor yacht can have a rocking motion, and many of our clients prefer to charter yachts with zero speed stabilizers which keeps them steady as they move.

If we talk about dining service on a sailing yacht vs motor yacht, it is much easier underway on a motor yacht simply because things do not slide around as much. On a sailing yacht, if the seas are up, then the chef will either simplify the menu so it is easy to eat underway or the captain will plan the itinerary so that you’re anchored for meals.

Onboard Space

Comparing the onboard space of a sailing yacht vs motor yacht, sailing yachts are designed with sailing performance in mind and by nature have lower profiles with smaller superstructures and fewer decks than motor yachts. Motor yachts can carry their length from stem to stern for up to four decks. This translates into multiple common areas, more spacious staterooms and bathrooms, and a broad choice of lounging areas both inside and on deck. A 150’ sailing yacht is going to have about 50-70% of the space of a 150’ motor yacht.

Onboard Equipment

When it comes to onboard toys on a motor yacht vs sailing yacht, typically, motor yachts have more room for stowing watersports equipment and are more endowed in the motorized watersports department. It is not typical to find waverunners, jet skis, waterslides, jacuzzis or large towed sport fish tenders on sailing yachts. Both, however, will have a handsome inventory of snorkel gear, paddle boards, and towed watersports toys.

Crew Interaction

Most sailing yachts are operated from ondeck with the captain at the helm and the crew tending to the sails. This naturally leads to more causal interaction between the guests and crew. On a motor yacht, the captain operates the yacht from an enclosed bridge area which the guests are always welcome to visit. Although it is not gospel, the service on a motor yacht tends to be more formal. On both types of yachts, the crew always defers to the guests’ preferences in regard to the formality of the service.


Some locations are more conducive to sailing than others. The eastern Caribbean is known for its consistent trade winds whereas in the south of France, the winds are unreliable and at many times, non-existent so sailing yachts will have to motor from port to port just like its motor yacht counterparts.

Yacht Charter Costs

Generally speaking about the charter cost of a motor yacht vs sailing yacht, motor yachts are more expensive to charter than sailing yachts primarily due to the cost of building and maintaining them. Plus their fuel costs are significantly higher which translates into higher costs for the charter guest.

If you're still not sure which type of charter yacht is best for you, contact us and we can show you some e-brochures that will give you a sense of the differences between a sailing yacht vs motor yacht.