Different types of boats require various speeds for maneuvering in various types of water and for doing diverse activities.
Depending on what you want to do with your vessel, you might need it to travel at a certain speed.
How Fast Are Yachts?
Yachts differ in speeds depending on the type of boat, with pontoons being the fastest (at 30 MPH), cruisers and deck boats falling second (at an average speed of 23 MPH), and sailboats averaging 10 MPH.
Here’s everything you should know about how fast yachts can go.
First, how do we define a “Yacht”?
First, let’s make sure we are talking about the same thing. After all, different types of boats sail at different speeds.
Yachts are boats (sail or power) which are used for racing, cruising, or just for pleasure.
It is a general term, which makes the question, “What is the average speed of a yacht?” a complicated one to answer.
Yachts can range in length between mini yachts which measure at 23 feet (seven meters) to superyachts which are at least 78 feet long.
Before covering how fast each type of yacht can travel, here is a quick and dirty list of yachts that this article will cover:
- Express, Express Cruiser, Cruiser, and Sports Cruiser:
Has a single deck above the hull with below deck living quarters. They are normally sleek and sporty.
- Sedan, Sport Bridge, Sedan Bridge, Flybridge:
Control station, seating, and lounge space.
- Pilothouse, Skylounge, Cockpit Motor Yacht:
A large, recreational, and motor-powered boat which has multiple decks and with a larger interior main deck than a flybridge.
- Mega Yacht, Tri-deck:
A yacht which has an enclosed living space and that is longer than 80 feet.
- Flybridge Sportfish, Convertible, Express Sportfish:
A yacht that is built and used for fishing. Normally has a large cockpit to store fishing essentials. Is often faster than regular motor-yachts in order to get to the fishing grounds and back quickly.
- Pontoon boats:
Pontoon boats lie flat on the water, balancing on two (or three) aluminum tubes, instead of having a V-shaped hull like deck boats. This makes them more stable for entertaining large groups of people.
- Sailing yachts:
Primarily uses sails for propulsion instead of a motor (though most have a motor for back-up or to assist with the sails). Most are used for sport but there are quite a few leisure sailing boat clubs and organizations these days.
The yachts that fall into categories 1 – 5 are motorized but are all smaller than superyachts.
For the rest of the article, the term “motorized yachts” or “powerboats” will refer to one of these.
How fast does my yacht need to be?
The answer to this question depends on what you want to do with your yacht.
If you’re a fisherman that needs to only troll through calm waters, it might be best if your boat travels with a top speed of around 15 MPH.
But if you’re looking to hit the open waters and speed around with the wind in your hair, you might want something a bit faster than that.
While you’re shopping for boats, and considering the top speeds for each type, ask yourself:
- What activities will you be doing on your boat?
- What sort of waters will I be traveling on?
- What activities will I be doing, which will utilize its top speed?
How does the speed of a boat affect its fuel consumption?
This depends on the type of boat you use. For ease of reference, the Formula 240 Bowrider speedboat (a 24-foot motorboat) is a good example of an average boat.
When cruising at 7 MPH, it consumes approximately three gallons an hour. When you double the speed, it consumes double the fuel (seven gallons an hour at 15 MPH). At 30 MPH, it will use about 11 gallons.
A general rule of thumb is that mid-range speed will offer the best fuel efficiency.
There is no need to merely putter around the water to save money.
How fast should I go on a yacht?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any speed limit signs out in the open water. Because of that, sailors and boaters have to calculate the speed limit depending on at least three different factors: the time of day, the type of boat, and the type of waterway.
The speed limit for boats is rarely a specific numerical figure. Instead, look for safety concerns, warning signs (like “No Wake Zones”), and rules which are often posted on the docks.
Watch out for “No Wake Zones” which can cost a hefty fine if you are caught in violation and can be dangerous to people, animals, and property in the area. Most speedboats and other motorboats can cause a wake in as little as 5 MPH.
If you are close to a river, shore, or populated areas, you have to tread on the side of caution. However, once you are out in open water (like the ocean or a large lake with no one around), you can test out your boat’s top speed.
Make certain that you can:
- See an open pathway of water
- See no obstacles (people, vehicles, animals, jetsam, or debris)
- Have observed the rules posted at the dock or pier
What are the top 10 fastest yachts on the market today?
This list will consist of a variety of motorized yachts, powerboats, and superyachts.
Superyachts are so big; they need a more powerful engine.
For example, the Astro by Baia Yachts uses triple 2,430hp MTU engines and can put out 7, 290 hp at its max.
It can go about 57 MPH or 50 knots! And that’s not even fast enough for our top ten list!
10) “The Chato” (built by Baglietto) is an 84.61-foot yacht with accommodations for up to six people.
It is an all-aluminum speed demon with two MTU diesel engines which propel it forward at a whopping 65.59 mph.
9) “Ermis2” (by McMullen & Wing) is a 123.23-foot yacht made of carbon-fiber to make it both light and sleek.
The triple waterjets (MTU 16V 4000 M90 series) push it forward with 11,000 hp, making it fly across the water at a top speed of 63.29 mph.
8) “Black Bullet” (by Otam) is an 83.7-foot yacht is the fastest yacht in the Otam 80 series.
It can accommodate two crew and six guests and moves quickly with four diesel engines.
How quick? 66.7 mph quick.
7) “Oci Ciornie” (by Palmer Johnson) is an 82-foot yacht which uses a 4,600 horsepower AVCO Lycoming gas turbines, an Arneson surface drives, and twin 1,800 horsepower MTU 16V 2000 M90 engines to propel it forward to 69 mph.
6) “The Brave Challenger” (by Vosper) tops out at 69 mph because of her three gas turbine engines. Together, they generate about 13,620 horsepower. In addition to that, she also has two conventional engines to help her move around the water a little easier when she needs to cruise at a lower speed.
Originally named Mercury, she was built for Stavros Niarchos, a Greek shipping tycoon.
5) “Kereon” (the second boat on our list by AB Yachts) is an 88.6-foot yacht that can top out at 71 mph because of its three diesel engines. She has three 2,250 horsepower CRM diesel engines that were designed by Angelo Arnaboldi, a naval architect.
The Kereon can accommodate six guests in three cabins. She also has a massive fuel tank, which can hold 3170 gallons of fuel. That means she can go approximately 900 nautical miles on one tank of fuel.
4) “Gentry Eagle” (by Vosper Thornycroft) is a 111.88-foot yacht was built for and by Tom Gentry (who worked with Vosper Thonycroft). If his name sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because he set almost every powerboat speed record today. He won the Blue Riband (the award for the fastest passage across the Atlantic) with a record time of 62 hours and seven minutes. The Gentry Eagle beat Richard Branson’s record by 23%.
Talk about fast.
It tops out at 73.64 mph.
3) “Galeocerdo” (by Rodriquez) is a 118.1-foot yacht which is powered by three Vericor TF50 gas turbines (which drive three Rolls-Royce Kamewa water jets).
The Galeocerdo tops out at 74 mph.
2) “The World Is Not Enough” (by Millenium Super Yachts) is a 138.45-foot yacht which can accommodate 10 guests and can go 77.1 mph.
It is propelled by two Lycoming gas turbines and two Paxman diesel engines.
1) “Foners” (by Izar) is a 136.15-foot yacht which was made specifically for King Juan Carlos of Spain’s royal yacht. It was also built for speed with two 1,280 horsepower MAN engines.
But that’s not all, it also has three Rolls Royce 6,700 horsepower gas turbines which drive three Kamewa water jets.
How fast does it go? It tops out at 80.5 mph!
What’s the fastest motorized yacht in the world?
The record for the fastest boat was set at 317.6 MPH.
Ken Warby was using a speedboat (powered by a jet engine instead of a regular boat motor) called the “Spirit of Australia”.
This was not included on the fastest yacht list because of its unique circumstances.
Choosing the right yacht for you and your needs is a big decision. Make sure you know what you are going to do with your boat before you buy a boat strictly built for speed.
The bragging rights in owning a boat that can go 80 mph on the water is great.
But if you are only going to use it for trolling or fishing, it would be a waste on your pocketbook and for the boat.
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Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.