What’s The Difference Between Sailing and Yachting?

Did you know there are over 900,000 pleasure boats registered in Florida alone?

If you’re like most people, you may think of yachting and sailing as similar activities. After all, they both involve boats and spending time at sea. However, there are a lot of distinct differences between the two activities.

In this article, we will list the major differences. Whether you’re just curious or are thinking about buying a boat or yacht yourself in Tamp Bay, you’ll want to read on!

Does It Have A Sail?

If the answer is yes, then it’s a sailing boat. If the answer is no, but there is a motor, then it’s a powerboat or yacht.

Sailing boats use wind power to move through the water while yachting and yachts rely on engines for propulsion.

Some yachts, such as Catalina Yachts, also have sails alongside engines.

The method of propulsion – sail or engine – is a key differentiator between sailing and yachting.


Typically, yachts are much larger than sailing boats. While there is no definitive size that separates the two, yachts are often much longer and have more interior space.

Cost Of Yachts And Sailboats

Sailing boats are typically much less expensive than yachts. This is largely due to the fact that yachts require more materials and labor to build, as well as the fact that they are often larger.

Yachts are also generally more technologically-equipped. These days they can do some pretty impressive things and have a range of amenities built-in.

Of course, buying second-hand can reduce the cost and you can still get a great yacht or boat for your money.

Where You Can Sail in Florida

Due to their size, yachts are generally not advised to go in shallow waters.

Adversely, long voyages are better suited for yachts. They typically fit a larger crew and are more comfortable to travel in.

In Florida and Tampa Bay, there are a number of places you cannot sail your boat. These areas, called no-wake zones, are in place to protect sensitive ecosystems and manatees. These apply to both yachting and sailing.


Sailing boats are typically built with fiberglass, wood, or a combination of the two.

Yachts can be made from a variety of materials, but the most common are fiberglass, titanium, or carbon fiber.


Since yachts are larger than sailing boats, they often have more accommodations for passengers. This can include features like a bedroom, a kitchen, and even a bathroom.

Sailing boats rarely have these features, as they are typically smaller and meant for shorter trips.


Due to their size and the number of people on board, yachts often move slower than sailing boats.

This isn’t to say that all yachts are slow – there are some that can move quite quickly. But on average, yachts tend to go a bit slower than sailing boats.

Looking To Buy A Boat Or Yacht In Tampa Bay

When it comes down to the difference between sailing and yachting it comes down to what activities you want to do onboard your boat.

Sailboats are better for speed and holding a small number of people. For accommodating more passengers, more amenities, and longer trips, a yacht is probably more appropriate for you.

Our team at Massey Yachts can help you find the perfect boat for your needs. Browse our inventory today, or get in touch with our friendly team here.