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Home > Articles > Motor Yacht vs Sailing Yacht: Which is Right for You?

Articles Motor Yacht vs Sailing Yacht: Which is Right for You?

Choosing between motor and sailing yachts involves many important factors. Our expert brokers provide a balanced and informed view to find you the yacht that perfectly fits your requirements.

The traditional consensus in the yachting world is that, while motor yachts offer a higher level of luxury with more space to relax on board to take in the wonderful destinations you visit, sailing boats are all about the romance of harnessing the wind for blissful voyages.

While this is still true, the lines are beginning to blur. With sailing yachts getting bigger and more luxurious, and eco concerns starting to ask questions of power boats, the motor yacht vs sailing yacht decision can be a difficult one.

So, what are the differences to consider when deciding to buy a yacht?




Motor yachts are synonymous with speed and power and are often what first comes to mind for many when imagining a superyacht. Sleek and stylish, without the restrictions that a sailing yacht presents, they are undoubtedly the choice for more spacious and decadent living afloat.

Depending on the size, motor yachts also have the capacity to house a huge range of amenities and toys. Boasting anything from gyms, saunas, and hammam spas, to elevators, submarines, and helicopters, a motor yacht can create the ultimate in ocean-going experience.

With expansive staterooms, flexible layouts, sprawling decks and spacious lounging areas, buying a motor yacht is a great option for those wanting to entertain large groups of family and friends on board, before making the most of every anchorage with space for a wide range of superyacht toys to enjoy.

Gym on SOARING superyacht


On the other hand, less space and comfort have, conventionally, been the disadvantage of sailing yachts. Their inherent need for a sleek narrow hull design for sailing efficiency means a compromise between comfort and performance has always been the main challenge for sailing yacht designers.

However, there are many sailboats which benefit from surprisingly expansive accommodation thanks to modern design and construction techniques. Combine this with the thrill of wind-powered exploration for one of the most rewarding and captivating experiences you can find, and sailboats can offer you a sense of adventure power boats simply can’t.




Motor yachts offer a beautifully simple cruising experience. Easier to handle and delivering a drier time at sea, their elevated level from the water and smoother ride thanks to stabilisers and displacement hulls mean they are often a popular choice for those new to the nautical world.

Providing comfortable cruising and an ability to reach high speeds at any time, luxury motor yachts are great for those who want to cover large distances and explore more cruising areas in shorter timescales.

With wind being less of a factor than on sailing yachts, they also offer greater flexibility as there is less requirement to plan ahead. So, visiting perfect white sandy beaches and stunning anchorages on a whim is a luxury motor yachts effortlessly deliver.

On board ASULANA sailing yacht


A sailing yacht caters more to the romantic notion of the traditional yachtsman. Offering a wonderfully liberating experience where unforgettable moments with family and friends are created, sailing is unquestionably a more thrilling and involved experience than cruising with a motor. The slower speed offers you a chance to appreciate the journey, the charm of the vessel you are on, and the people you are travelling with.

Working out how to best navigate the wind and tides can sometimes sound like an old-fashioned way of doing things, but the sense of satisfaction one can derive from heading towards your desired destination under full sail is an experience like no other.

Not to mention the eco credentials sailing. Of course, sailboats have a small engine for manoeuvring in port or travelling in light winds, but even these are starting to become electrified for a truly sustainable adventure.

However, reliance on wind power can sometimes throw up logistical challenges. Pair this with the motor yacht industry becoming more and more environmentally conscious and the sailing vs motor yacht eco-debate may change in years to come.



While underway it is an unavoidable truth that motor yachts have the thrum of motors to contend with. While this may seem a drawback, the power from these engines affords you more time at your desired destinations with shorter journey times. Not to mention with modern engine design and impressive sound proofing technology, motor yachts are becoming incredibly quiet and smooth running.

If comfy cruising is high on your list of priorities while at sea then a motor yacht is probably for you. Providing supreme comfort while underway, many benefit from stabilisers to reduce roll, as well as vast sun pads and lounging areas to relax and watch the scenery pass-by while the yacht does all the work for you.


There is no question that the soundtrack to your time at sea is a defining factor in the sailing vs motor yacht discussion. For the most part, sailboats are reliant on the wind. From sloops and schooners to catamarans and ketches, the lack of engine noise and vibration makes for the ultimate sense of peace and a connection to nature.

However, sailing yachts require a much more hands-on approach. Getting the sail trim right, and working out the best route dependent on the wind & tides, are all factors that make sailing a far more involved experience.



An excellent choice for those looking for a more adventurous yachting experience and unlimited world cruising, explorer yachts offer staggering volume and an extremely capable platform to motor across oceans, and visit far-flung shores in total comfort and safety.

Typically built with huge storage for tenders, toys, and provisions, many modern explorer yachts even feature helipads, research facilities, and ice class hulls to offer true go-anywhere capability.

The main drawback when considering explorer yachts is their fuel usage. While most are designed to have extremely economical cruising, an ocean crossing can still consume thousands of litres of fuel.

NORTHERN SUN explorer yacht


Conversely, the range of a well-appointed offshore sailing yacht is limited only by the amount of provisions the yacht can hold. While waiting for the right conditions is something not everyone is willing to do, when underway, the environmental and cost considerations of fuel burnt by an explorer yacht is totally eliminated.

As a result, sail vs motor yacht here is really dependent on how you wish to experience life at sea. While explorer yachts will offer lavish cruising in total comfort, sailing across oceans using wind power only will give a sense of achievement like no other. For long distance cruising, the sailing vs motor yacht choice is crucial in ensuring your boat is capable of living up to your requirements for extended periods on board.


A clear advantage motor yachts have over their sailing counterparts is a shallow draught. While sailboats have a deep keel to counterbalance the power of their sails, power boats have no need for this. With a shallow underwater profile they are ideal for navigating close to shore and accessing some of the most breathtaking anchorages. To get over this hurdle, some sailing yachts have a lifting keel, however, this feature is only usable when the sails aren’t in use, rendering power boats more capable in the shallows.

Height is also a drawback for sailing. If you wish to visit cities via their meandering rivers, the chances are you will encounter bridges. Sailing yachts with their towering masts are likely to require the mast being taken down in order to pass. This can be quite the undertaking, and as a result, for a city break motor yachts are by far the favourite.


With our position in the yachting industry, we are asked questions every day regarding yacht purchase and ownership. Aside from purchase price, the most common and pressing question from potential buyers revolves around the expected running and maintenance costs of a yacht.


Motor yachts, with their larger volumes and complex mechanics, invariably demand higher operational expenditure and more frequent maintenance schedules. Accommodating more guests than sailing yachts means employing more crew, while the engines and onboard systems, intricate in design, require regular professional attention to ensure optimal performance, leading to substantial annual maintenance bills.

Despite these costs, motor yachts hold a strong position in the charter market due to their capacity for speed, expansive interiors, and luxurious amenities. As a result, Owners can partially offset the high running costs by chartering their yacht out to paying guests, turning a potential financial drain into a revenue stream.

Read more about chartering your yacht here. 


Sailing yachts present a more cost-effective alternative, with a generally lower initial purchase price and reduced maintenance demands. The sails and rigging—central to a sailing yacht’s operation—need replacement or extensive maintenance every few years, but the day-to-day running costs remain low, especially in terms of fuel consumption and fewer crew needed compared to motor yachts.

On the charter market, sailing yachts attract a niche audience, drawn to the authentic sailing experience and the potential for adventure. While generally fetching a lower weekly rate than motor yachts, if properly set up for delivering a spectacular vacation for guests, a sailing yacht can truly shine in the world of charter, often resulting in repeat bookings and a healthy income stream.



Struggling to decide between the opulence of a motor yacht and the serene elegance of a sailing yacht? Motorsailers present a compelling middle ground. Operating at full capacity both as sailboats and motorboats, they encapsulate the charm of sailing with the assurance of engine power, and comfort of a motor yacht.

Alternatively, consider venturing into innovative yacht design with a hybrid multihull. A sensible option for the environmentally conscious yet performance-oriented individual, these vessels employ cutting-edge energy recovery systems and efficient electric motors.




If you’ve been considering investing in a luxury yacht, be it motor or sail, then look no further. Acquiring a luxury yacht with Ocean Independence ensures a bespoke and seamless experience, tailored to your refined tastes.

As a leading brokerage firm with a stellar reputation, we possess an extensive knowledge base and a curated portfolio of the world’s most exquisite luxury yachts for sale. Your dedicated Ocean Independence Yacht Broker will offer expert advice through this exciting journey, meticulously sorting through a plethora of options to pinpoint the yacht that not only aligns with your expectations but surpasses them.

Leveraging our extensive industry network, negotiation expertise, and deep market insights, we are committed to securing the best possible deal on your behalf. With an unwavering commitment to transparency and precision, we ensure every aspect of your transaction, from the initial enquiry to the final handshake, is executed with unparalleled attention to detail and care.


Once you have secured your dream yacht, our commitment to you only deepens. At Ocean Independence, we want to ensure you get the most out of your investment. Our comprehensive yacht management services are designed to effortlessly take care of all of your yacht’s operations, finances, refits, crewing, and more, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable ownership experience.


If you aren’t quite ready to commit to a purchase, why not dip your toes into the yachting lifestyle through a yacht charter? Offering a taste of the opulence and adventure a luxury yacht can provide, in the most exclusive destinations around the globe, take your pick from the world’s largest fleet of luxury crewed charter yachts.

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Need help or advice?

The yachting journey can be complex with many decisions to be made. Get in touch with Ocean Independence, and one of our specialist consultants will help you make the right choices.

As a truly global company with 14 offices worldwide, we’re available 24/7 to help with any enquiries.

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