How Far Can Yachts Travel? Daily Averages + Max. Distances

In Boatingby Morten Storgaard

There are a number of things to consider when you are asking the question “How far can a yacht journey?”

There are many different variables in play, including the type of yacht, the size of the tank, the weather, and the amount of crew/gear aboard.

How Far Can A Yacht Travel?
Generally, a motorized yacht about 35 feet in length can travel around 200 miles at approximately 25 knots.  At 5 knots, they can travel well over 300 miles. With the addition of sails, a yacht can travel much further.

Here’s everything you need to know!

yacht

How far does the average yacht travel?

This question is difficult to answer on its own.

However, on average, a 75-foot motorized yacht with a tank that can carry 11,000 liters of fuel, can travel up to 1500 nautical miles.

If you are comparing your yacht to this average, make sure to also compare your tank size. For example:

  • A 95-foot yacht with a 9000-liter gas tank can travel up to 1,200 nautical miles
  • An 86-foot yacht with an 11,000-liter gas tank can travel up to 1,500 nautical miles

Think of it this way: the bigger the boat, the bigger the fuel compartment.

The bigger the fuel tank, the more it can travel.

There are other variables that can affect those numbers, but these are the main factors you need to consider.

How big is the gas tank on a yacht?

Different yachts have different sized gas tanks on board.

The size of the gas tank has a lot to do with how far it can travel.

After all, no gas = no travel, right?

Not necessarily.

For a motorized yacht there are really only two things to consider when trying to determine the distance it can travel:

  • the amount of fuel you have (or how big the tank is), and
  • how much of it is burned by the engines (which is affected by different factors)

Side note: generally speaking, it is a good idea to have about one and a half times the amount of fuel you will need for the trip you want to make.

Different weather conditions can affect how slow your trip is as well. Yachts are slower in rough weather. If there are bad weather conditions, yachts won’t be able to travel as far. On the opposite side, a yacht can travel much further in optimum weather conditions, when the engines don’t have to fight against the wind and choppy waters.

Sailing boats, on the other hand, are powered by the winds moving across the water, which negates the need to calculate the amount of fuel they need, right? Kind of. The weather can be finicky, and, because of that, some sailing yachts have an alternative form of power. Some of those include:

  • Wind generators
  • Diesel generators
  • Auxiliary engines powered by solar panels

How far can a superyacht journey with a full fuel tank?

Even superyachts come in different sizes and with different sized fuel tanks.

However, let’s say that you’re on a 130-foot yacht with a fuel tank of 22,420 liters. If the yacht is cruising at around 10 knots, it can travel about 1500 nautical miles on that tank of fuel.

In order to find how far you are going on one tank of fuel, you will have to:

  1. Clean your boat and ensure that everything is working properly (an unmaintained yacht uses more fuel per nautical mile)
  2. Refuel your boat and log your engine hours and start/stop times to find your fuel burn rate.
  3. Remember it is important to measure your liters or gallons per hour of use instead of only using your fuel gauge (which might not account for various boating conditions).

How many days can you sail for?

Depending on the vessel, you can sail anywhere from one day (on a small sailing yacht) to a month. You must account for:

  • The number of people on your crew,
  • what supplies you have on board,
  • if you count for the times you dock for supplies or not, and
  • the seaworthiness of your yacht

A 30-foot sailing yacht can carry enough supplies for someone to stay aboard for 90 days (or even longer).

There is a nonstop ocean sailing yacht race where some of the participants stay on their yachts from 110 to 160 days! Some even sail for 200 days!

Can a yacht cross the Pacific Ocean?

Cruising around the world is a big dream for a number of yacht enthusiasts. Being able to leave their day-to-day lives and do an amazing adventure like “boating around the world” is a legacy you can leave with your family.

However, not all yachts are capable of making the trip.

Generally speaking, it takes about 10 – 12 days to cross the Pacific Ocean in a large yacht.

  • Category D yachts are rated for sheltered coasts and inland boating.

This means you can use them in lakes, protected harbors, and rivers. As a rule, they would be fine as long as the waves don’t reach 4 feet in height. However, these boats wouldn’t be able to make the cross-ocean trip.

  • Category C yachts are used inshore.

Inshore means that you can go away from the protected harbors for some distance, but these boats still can’t take waves that reach up to 8 feet in height. So, while they can move safely around large lakes and bays, they still wouldn’t be able to make the cross-ocean trip.

  • Category B yachts are used offshore and can handle waves that reach up to 13 feet in height as well as strong winds.

However, you still wouldn’t want to take a category B yacht on the cross-ocean trip because it isn’t self-sustaining. At least, not for the time it takes to cross the Pacific Ocean. In addition, it wouldn’t do well in rough weather.

  • Category A yachts can handle waves up to 23 feet in height and winds of up to 47 knots.

That’s a strong wind. They are also designed to be self-sustainable for long voyages. In other words, they are explorer’s vessels.

Can a yacht cross the Atlantic Ocean?

In order to cross the Atlantic, an average motorized yacht would need a tank with a capacity of about 5000 liters of fuel. This is at cruising speed, of course. They can’t be traveling at maximum speed for long periods of time (which would burn through the fuel faster).

Sailing yachts travel the Atlantic every year since the only fuel they need is for generators which power onboard appliances.

Though, some of that may also go to power wind generators when the weather isn’t cooperating.

It takes about 4 – 5 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a motorized boat. However, it would take longer in a sailing yacht (which also depends on the winds).

Tip
We have much more info on what you need to know about which yacht types can cross oceans. It’s a must-read if you are considering a trip over the bigger oceans on a yacht.

What is a long-range expedition yacht?

 Long-range expedition yachts are yachts which are self-sustaining. They are also built with long voyages in mind. They normally feature:

  • Large crew capacities
  • Have a long cruising range
  • Have a robust hull for the long trips
  • Have large capacity fuel tanks

They have to be able to withstand extreme weather conditions since they have to travel across large bodies of water. They should be able to withstand the pressure of sailing thousands of miles of traveling a year.

They must be easy to maintain and operate. This is due to the distance they must travel. After all, these yachts are often operated by a few laymen boaters (in addition to having a few experienced sailors with them).

Fishing trawlers (small fishing boats with small cabins) are hearty and can travel the same distance (within range of their fuel tanks) as an expedition yacht but are often harder to operate.

They also have the appearance of a hearty, military-style craft with tall bows, broken sheers, and vertical or forward raking windshields.

If painted naval gray, they definitely fit the aesthetic of a military-grade vessel. But the reason for all of those aspects is because both expedition yachts and military vessels move long distances for extended periods of time.

Final Thoughts:

The distance that a yacht can travel depends on the size of the tank.

A yacht with a large tank or a sailing yacht (which only requires the use of the wind and carries fuel for onboard generators), can travel much further than a small day cruiser yacht.

If you want to take a long voyage, make sure to take the right precautions first. When crossing either the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean, you must make sure your boat is a category A yacht (or an expedition yacht). You must also ensure that your crew is experienced in crossing the ocean.

If you are in a yacht, it is never recommended to cross the ocean by yourself. While you may be able to handle a smaller boat in waters closer to the shore, there is quite a bit of difference in a large yacht—especially when you are far from land.

You’ll also have to make sure you upgrade some amenities. Your water maker, power generation system, autopilot, and your freezer, just to name a few, are just a few systems which need to be in peak condition when making that long voyage.

In the end, the differences between having a boat that travels a short distance and a long one are:

  1. made for distance, and
  2. well-maintained