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My Top 10 Explorer Yacht Features

Updated: Feb 6

A quiet week right now as we are in the UK visiting family. In the meantime, though, my friend John Johnson, aka "Yacht Bouy" of Youtube fame, has written a blog for you all. Over to you, John:

My Top Ten Explorer Yacht Features And Why! John Johnson

Welcome to the fascinating world of explorer yachts, where luxury and function meet robustness, and adventure knows no bounds. Often seen cutting through the harshest seas with elegance and poise, explorer yachts embody a unique blend of strength, technology, and comfort. This post will explore the top ten features that set these majestic vessels apart.

1. Build Strength: The Backbone of Safety

At the heart of every explorer yacht is its build strength. These vessels are designed to go off the beaten track where help is hard to find. Using marine-grade steel, aluminum, and advanced composites in their construction ensures durability and safety, making them reliable companions for the most adventurous journeys. They are often built more than code requirements, especially regarding hull integrity and machinery specifications. What works for a yacht in the Abaco may not be a good choice for the conditions in Disko Bay!

Both steel and aluminum tend to be popular amongst explorer yacht enthusiasts. Steel for cost and strength follows commercial practices, allowing for a true Ice Class rating. Aluminum for its durability, weight, and ease of construction. I'd note that the distinct advantages of aluminum are weight for comparable strength and its ability to deform rather than tear, thus greatly reducing the likelihood of a hull breach in the event of an impact.

2. System Duplication/Redundancy: Ensuring Uninterrupted Journeys

System redundancy is a critical feature in explorer yachts. This means having backup systems or redundancy to ensure the yacht remains operational even if one system fails. Essential to this are systems that keep the vessel operating: propulsion, steering, and power generation.

Additionally, to build strength, it's also important to consider watertight integrity in case of impact or grounding. To limit flood risk, look for segregated watertight compartments and double-bottom tanks below most cabin spaces.

It's all about minimizing risks while enjoying autonomous cruising and ensuring your journey doesn't end unexpectedly. Indeed, most of the Explorer yachts that I feature on my YouTube channel feature several watertight compartments. [CLICK HERE] for my 'explorer yacht' playlist.

3. Range and Fuel Consumption: The Art of Long-Distance Travel

Explorer yachts are known for their impressive range, allowing them to embark on long, uninterrupted journeys. 5000 NM is good, with Ome claiming 7000 NM or so at slightly reduced cruising speeds. This is sufficient for direct crossings of the Pacific, about as far as one needs to go!

A small subset of explorer Yachts makes this possible by using hydrodynamically efficient hull forms to extend the more typical ranges. This is the domain of the displacement hull; faster semi-planing hulls cannot reach so far. Whether it's a trip across the Atlantic or a voyage to remote islands, explorer yachts are designed for those who seek to push the boundaries of exploration.

FPB/XPM explorer yachts have an impressive range owing, in part, to the fact that their efficient hulls use up less fuel. Their steel counterparts often need larger fuel tanks to achieve the same range.

4. Advanced Navigation Systems: Charting New Courses with Ease

Navigation is key in uncharted waters. Explorer yachts have state-of-the-art navigation systems, including GPS/AIS, radar, and sonar, and advanced night sight and ranging capabilities to ensure safe passage in poorly charted waters with unlit passageways and remote inlets. As a big fan of technology, I am always in awe of the latest systems produced by some of the top manufacturers.

5. Comfort: Your Home Away From Home

Despite their rugged exteriors, the interiors of explorer yachts can be nothing short of luxurious. The needs of an entire family must be kept in mind and not just of the hardened sailor. They often feature custom design elements, spacious living areas, and all modern home amenities. Accessing the engine room and machinery spaces from the boat's interior facilitates both short handling and enhanced crew safety.

6. Ice-Class Hulls: Braving the Arctic Waters

Larger steel hulls can often be ice-class for those daring to venture into polar regions. These reinforced hulls can cut through summer ice, allowing explorer yachts to access some of the planet's most remote and pristine areas. Smaller aluminum hulls rely on increased scantlings and thicknesses but can never compete as icebreakers!

7. Accessing the Inaccessible

For a larger yacht, a helipad is more than just a luxury; it's necessary for reaching remote locations. It provides flexibility in exploration and can be vital in emergencies. Obviously, the LOA of a vessel will dictate whether a helipad is a feasible addition to any explorer yacht.

Smaller hulls often rely on well-specified RIB or purpose-made aluminum tenders for accessibility in remote locations. The ability to beach (shallow draft, rugged build) and navigate shallow waters is paramount. Tracking is also useful, and AIS (B local) or Satellite tracking is often employed in case of breakdown.

8. Robust Anchoring Systems: Stability in All Conditions

Strong anchoring systems are essential for explorer yachts, providing stability in various sea conditions and enabling safe anchorage in secluded spots. The anchor must be able to 'stick' to different seabed types. There is no real alternative to a good large and heavy anchor, a well-proportioned spare anchor, plus a selection of long, shore-fast lines. Mooring lines should also include a storm set of increased dimensions for "doubling up".

9. Autonomous Features: Smart Technology for Smarter Journeys

With technological advancements, many explorer yachts now feature autonomous systems, allowing for easier handling and increased safety. Of course, one important technological advance has been Starlink, which now enables owners and their crews to communicate constantly with family, friends, and colleagues at a reasonable cost and with superb global coverage.

10. Eco-Friendly Innovations: Exploring Responsibly

Lastly, many modern explorer yachts incorporate eco-friendly features like solar panels, diesel-electric hybrid drives, and advanced waste management systems, reflecting a commitment to sustainable exploration.


Explorer yachts are vessels and gateways to uncharted territories and lifelong adventures. Their unique blend of strength, technology, and luxury makes them the ultimate choice for the bold and the curious. As the world of yachting continues to evolve, these features will undoubtedly become even more advanced, further enhancing the allure of explorer yachts.

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