When it comes to charter, there are a plethora of options available: destination, itinerary, is it for relaxation or watersports, business or pleasure, do you want to go from A to B or stay pretty much in one place? But before any of these decisions are to be made, there is one that must come first: motoryacht or sailing yacht?

Both types of vessel offer far-reaching and unique experiences, but in very different ways. Tom Collins, charter broker at Burgess’ Miami office and with over 30 years’ experience in the charter business, explains that motoryachts are the most popular choice for today’s charter clients due to their reliability for most people – they’re that bit closer to the guests’ houses.

Waters and seasons with inconsistent winds may mean clients are better off choosing motoryachts, but Collins believes sailing yachts deserve far more consideration from potential charter clients than they’re currently getting. “Once we get beyond the unfamiliarity of sailing there can be some specific advantages. They are usually less expensive foot-for-foot than a motoryacht [and] while it’s true that smaller sailing yachts may make some feel a bit cramped, there are some magnificent sailing yachts out there with similar amenities that more yachts offer,” says Collins.


"Once we get beyond the unfamiliarity of sailing there can be some specific advantages."
- Tom Collins, charter broker Burgess


The misconceptions surrounding stabilisation could be playing a role in the popularity of motoryachts over sailing yachts, moreover. “Most motoryachts have stabilisers which do help neutralise the natural roll of the boat in a beam sea, however moving fins on the bottom of a motoryacht cannot be nearly as effective as the vast amount of sail area on a large sailing yacht,” explains Collins. “There really is something special to be said for the quiet ride that the natural wind provides and it makes getting from point A to point B a little more fun and interesting.”

It is only natural that different types of vessels attract different types of clientele and experienced sailing yacht captain Olivier Gamberini, skipper of 47m sailing yacht Roxane, has noticed this since joining the boat just over a year ago, and believes clients enjoy sailing yachts because of the tranquility and almost ever-reaching sense of outside space. “People chartering yachts like Roxane are looking for something different. On a boat like Roxane we never have a group of friends chartering the boat. It’s mostly family [who] come here to enjoy the sailing; they don’t want to stay in the port during the night, they want to have nice anchorage and a quiet, nice dinner with the kids around, and to sail, of course,” explains the captain. “[Sailing yacht guests] are more interested by the boat. On motoryachts there are also people like that but mainly you have people who want a nice floating hotel, fast, taking them from here to there. It’s two different concepts.”


The 47m Roxane is available for charter with Burgess

It doesn’t have to be one or the other, however. Captain Ben Craig-Cameron of recently refit 55m motoryacht Turquoise has experienced an array of charter clients. “During my time on board the sailing yacht M5, we had a variety of charter guests ranging form those who held a passion for sailing itself to those who had no idea.” Moreover, the captain has recently welcomed on board some charter clients who have somewhat broken the mould. “We currently have guests on board Turquoise who have only ever chartered large sailing yachts, but wanted to try something different,” explains Captain Craig-Cameron, who adds that the charter clients even claimed the service on the motoryacht was better than those they had received on a sailing yacht. “It seems it’s all bout expectation management,” continues Captain Craig-Cameron. “On sailing yachts clients often couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t sail the largest sloop in the world in no wind – perfect conditions for a motoryacht; and on motoryachts they don’t understand why we can’t keep the yacht perfectly flat in 35 knots of wind – perfect conditions for a sailing yacht.”

There’s no right or wrong answer to the question of whether your charter should take place on a motoryacht or a sailing yacht – every charter client will have different requirements and there will be a yacht out there to meet them. However, Collins does believe sailing yacht should be considered more often and, in his words, “Don’t discard sailing as an alternative.”