Motor yacht vs sailing yacht

Sailing yacht vs motor yacht – it’s been a hotly debated topic for many years, but with the environmental impact of yachting now better understood, we thought it was time to revisit it.

Motor yacht vs sailing yacht

Until recently, yachtsmen have generally fallen into one of two camps: power boaters or sailors. Those who prefer the motor yacht claim that they are far more glamorous and sexier than their counterparts, while sailors insist sailboats can’t be beaten for adventure or romance.

As designers and builders of the world’s finest blue water sailing yachts, it will come as little surprise that the Oyster Yachts team is firmly in the second camp. Let us explain why…




Oyster is very aware of the negative effects yachting can have on the environment. Fuel pollution is at the top of the list of harmful by-products of modern society, and a significant amount of this comes from the yachting industry and ends up in our oceans.

However, it has to be said that sailing is less responsible for this damage. For example, a 71-metre motor yacht uses on average 500 litres of fuel per hour, in comparison to just 2.5 litres per hour for a small sailing yacht. That’s an awful lot less CO2 emissions polluting the environment while you cruise!



As noted above, sailing yachts use a tiny amount of fuel in comparison to motor yachts. And when the winds are good, you will need none at all. Hence when thoughts turn to ongoing affordability, sailing is definitely the more appealing choice.



Imagine you are an hour from the nearest port and the engine of your motor yacht fails. You suddenly find yourself in a spot of bother. However, in a similar situation, a sailing yacht will take you safely into harbour without any need of an engine. As long as you have experienced sailors on board and the prevailing conditions are in your favour, you can happily navigate any situation. 



There is nothing quite as thrilling as sitting on the deck of a sailing yacht as it glides through the water, the tight sails full of wind. If you are seeking an experience that will leave a lasting imprint on your memory and make your hairs stand on end from excitement, a sailing yacht is the boat for you.



Equally when the sun sets onboard and you have a chance to relax, having dropped anchor in a remote bay for the night, there is nothing quite as romantic as opening a bottle of wine with loved ones on the aft of a sailing yacht, the waves gently lapping at the sides of the boat just metres from where you are sitting, the cooling sea breeze running through your hair.

Yes, you can sit out on the deck of a motor yacht at sunset, but it’s not quite the same. Sailing is all about taking things a bit slower and appreciating the sights and experiences along the way, not just speeding between destinations.



Close your eyes and imagine the sound of the wind filling up the large swathes of canvas on a sailing yacht, or of the bow of the boat slicing gracefully through the water. Now imagine the noise of a motor yacht powering through the ocean, the engine going full pelt. Which do you think is quieter?


Further afield and off the beaten track

Due to the fact that they require considerably less fuel, sailing yachts can go much further distances than motor yachts. And as a result, sailors will be able to discover unimaginable beauty in remote destinations off the beaten track. From the far-flung corners of Peru to the undiscovered delights of New Zealand, the world is yours to explore - as proved by our fantastic Oyster World Rally fleet. 


Learn new skills

Whilst large sailing yachts have enough room for an experienced crew, many owners choose a yacht under canvas rather than a motor yacht because they love the challenge of sailing the boat themselves. It's a passion which once you have experienced, is never lost. What’s more, attaining these new skills - at any stage of life - is hugely rewarding and satisfying. 

So there we have it: eight clear reasons why we’ll always be sailors through and through! We’d love to hear your thoughts on the sailing yacht vs motor yacht debate.