Great Lakes Yacht Sales have the Dutch to thank for the creation of these mighty sailing vessels. In the 14th century, the Dutch used a small, swift boat called a jaght, or jacht, for pursuing smugglers, pirates, and criminals. When they added the word schip, it translated to “ship for chasing.”
Wealthy ship owners and merchants soon used these modest “jachts” to sail away to celebrate their returning commercial ships. Likewise, using “jachts” for fun quickly gained popularity.
Ships for Racing
Before returning to the English throne in 1660, Charles II of England spent ten years in exile in Holland. In honor of returning to the throne, the city of Amsterdam sent him a lavish 60′ yacht with a 20-person crew. Mary was her name. Charles is arguably regarded as the first yachtsman in history.
Soon, a 40-mile race on the River Thames became the first organized regatta. It occurred in 1661 between the freshly built yachts Katherine, owned by Charles, and Anne, owned by his brother, James, the Duke of York, with Charles at the helm of each vessel. By winning, Katherine created a brand-new sport.
For more than a century, yachting was the sport of kings, but by the 1800s, more people were participating. The wealthiest people on earth joined in, and yacht clubs began emerging. The Cork Water Club, the first yacht club ever, was founded in Ireland in 1720.
On July 30, 1844, John Cox Stevens invited eight guests to his schooner anchored in New York Harbor, and so the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) began. In order to compete in races and earn money, they organized a syndicate to build a yacht and take her to England. Thus, the NYYC achieved a sports record for the longest winning run.