The yacht, from the Dutch word Jach, which means to hunt, was originally defined as a light, fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to track pirates and smugglers around and into the shallow seas of the Low Countries. The word was later used to describe a wider range of vessels, usually of private use, and powered by sail, power, or both, and used for pleasure cruising or racing. Generally, powered yachts are referred to as motor yachts to distinguish them from yachts with sail propulsion. There are a number of yacht varieties, namely Day sailing yachts, Weekender yachts, Cruisers and Racing yachts. Day sailing yachts are usually small, below 20-foot (6 m) vessels. Generally called dinghies, they often have a retractable keel, centerboard, or daggerboard. Day sailing yachts do not have a cabin. Weekender yachts are small, below 30-foot (9.5 m) vessels. They often have twin keels or lifting keels, and this enables them to operate in shallow waters, and if needed, they could be "dry out" or become beached as the tide falls.
Cruisers are by the far the most popular yacht in private use, making up most of the 25- to 45-foot (7 m to 14 m) range. These boats can be quite complex in design, as designers try to find a balance between docile handling qualities, good light-wind performance, interior space and on-board comfort.
Racing yachts are generally used to reduce the wetted surface area, which creates drag, by keeping the hull light whilst having a deep and heavy bulb keel, allowing them to support a tall mast with a great sail area. Modern designs usually have a very wide beam and a flat bottom, to provide buoyancy preventing an excessive heel angle. A racing yacht can attain speeds of up to 35 knots, depending on good weather conditions.
In the European yachting market, manufacturers such as Azimut-Benetti, Feadship and Lürssen dominate the very top end of the yacht building market.
In the US, Catalina Yachts is a popular builder of fiberglass monohull sloop-rigged sailboats ranging in sizes from eight to 47 feet in length. It was founded in 1969 in Hollywood, California by Frank Butler. Catalina Yachts is one of the largest boat manufacturers in the world, with over 80,000 boats produced to date.
Though Catalina constructs boats from as small as eight feet under their Capri nameplate, the company is best known for its production of mid sized cruisers. The ocean-going Catalina 50 was their largest design, but has been discontinued and replaced by the 470. The boating firm is known for supporting their older models dating back to 1970 by providing any bolt on parts. Most original models are still in production, with substantial modifications, and there are examples of every Catalina model still in use.
Columbia Yachts is another popular US manufacturer of sailboats, with offices and manufacturing facilities in Southern California. Formerly known as Glass Marine Industries (GMI), they marketing their boats under the Columbia nameplate. The early models included the Columbia 24 and Columbia 29.
By 1964, the firm’s sales passed $2.5 Million. In 1965, GMI changed its name to Columbia, and introduced the Columbia 50, at the time the world's largest fiberglass production sailboat. The Columbia 50’s elegant beauty, exceptional comfort, and good race performance made this design a success. During the mid sixties Columbia produced a few motor yachts.
By the late 1960s, the company was the world's largest fiberglass sailboat manufacturer with manufacturing plants throughout the world. In September 2001, the firm was renamed the new Columbia Yacht Corporation, and produced the Columbia 30 Sports Yacht – with a Southern California OWC PHRF rating of 51.
Vanessa Arellano Doctor
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