Getting To Know What Explorer Yachts Are

Getting To Know What Explorer Yachts Are
Courtesy of Fraser Yachts

Explorer yacht Legend. Courtesy of Fraser Yachts

There is a wide range of sea vessels available for intrepid travelers to explore the oceans and enjoy the finer things in life, from cruisers to sports fishers to sailing and motor yachts. The popularity of one type of yacht has increased as people become more curious about isolated parts of the world and have adventurous experiences. What exactly is an explorer yacht, and what makes them different from other yachts?

What You Need to Know

Essentially, expedition yachts – also known as explorer yachts – are yachts that have been designed or converted so that they can travel long distances without the need to dock at any port. Those onboard an explorer yacht should also have the freedom to explore the world's oceans without interference, since they can reach some of the most remote areas in the world.

Based on where the vessel is going and the activities onboard, its specific features can vary. Chartering a yacht for a remote diving expedition, for example, might be different from what a family or group of friends might choose on an extended holiday or when they are going on a big game fishing trip. Although they are more fair-weather vessels, explorer yachts share some common features with other superyachts.


The explorer yacht Ragnar, built by Royal Niestern Sander. Courtesy of Arcon Yachts

Keeping guests comfortable while sailing through rough seas and harsh weather is an essential component of a true explorer yacht. Seaworthiness is heavily influenced by the shape of a yacht's hull, which is one of the most important aspects of its design. In most cases, vessels are designed with what is known as a full displacement hull, which is designed to cut through the water rather than ride on top of it.

In spite of the fact that not all explorer yachts travel to arctic regions, travelers need to travel on a yacht that is certified as Polar Code B compliant if they wish to explore polar waters. Yachts are compliant with ice based on how robust their hulls are. A yacht that is designed and operated to sail these treacherous waters must comply with the International Polar Code (set up in 2017), which defines the requirements for such a vessel.

Voyage Duration

One of the world’s most sustainable explorer yachts, Yersin is 95% recyclable. Courtesy of Fraser Yachts

The Explorer yacht is one of the world's most autonomous yachts, which means it can travel long distances without having to refuel or visit a port. The tank capacity of an explorer yacht is therefore very important – it should be able to travel for about 5,000 nautical miles or more (at about 10 knots) without requiring refueling.

Considering how far the explorer yacht can travel and the remoteness of its surroundings, the crew’s ability to maintain it is also of vital importance. Regardless of whether it's due to difficult weather or harsh seas, wear and tear on an explorer yacht can be severe - which is why routine maintenance or repairs need to be easy to perform. To simplify upkeep, many vessels are built with the best materials and have the best systems.

In order to store all the equipment and supplies necessary for the journey, an explorer yacht should be able to store more equipment and supplies than other types of yachts. Full displacement hulls can also serve here: as they are wide and deep, they usually have plenty of interior space. In addition to producing freshwater, appropriately managing waste, and storing spare parts and provisions, the best vessels offer luxurious and comfortable accommodations for guests.

Zach Sean (@probszachsean) is a contributor for TIRED. He writes nothing, but thinks a lot about eating, Spider-Man, and The Legend of Zelda. Zach likes long walkies, is mostly potty-trained, and plays well with others (most of the time).

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