What are the small explorer yachts of today and how far can you travel with them?
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What are the small explorer yachts of today and how far can you travel with them?

Explore the world of small explorer yachts. Learn about top shipyards, and the potential of the brokerage market in finding unique explorers for your next adventure.
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What Defines an explorer yacht?

Explorer yachts are designed for long-range, unsupported oceanic crossings (such as the Atlantic Ocean), equipped with deep storage for provisions and waste, and emissions controls for visiting protected areas. These vessels vary widely in size and specifications. Interestingly, according to the Global Order Book of Boat International, 70% of all explorer yachts fall within the 24 to 40-meter range, with the greatest success seen among shipyards specializing in smaller builds. These so-called pocket explorers are seaworthy boats capable of covering the 2,600 nautical miles between Gran Canaria and Barbados on a single tank of diesel. They often feature robust steel hulls combined with aluminum superstructures and ample storage for watertoys and other essentials.

Which Shipyards to Consider for a New 24-40 Meter Small Explorer Yacht?

CdM (Cantiere delle Marche)

CdM boosted the market in the early 2010s and set new standards for yachts catering to adventurous clients. They now lead the market for explorer yachts, blending technical specifications with elegant design.


Nordhavn builds legendary boats ranging from 40 to 120 feet. These vessels excel in challenging conditions, navigating routes from Norfolk to Florida and wintering in Northern British Columbia.


This Turkish brand entered the market later but quickly made a name by focusing on one category of vessels. Their smallest yacht has a LOA of 22.6 meters, showcasing their dedication to quality and innovation.


Inace, a Brazilian shipyard with over 50 years of experience, is known for building reliable small explorer yachts. They are now focusing on vessels over 100 feet.


Since 2007, Bering has specialized in reliable steel vessels. Recent years have been particularly successful for the brand, with several interesting options under 24 meters.

Other notable brands include Ocean Alexander, Aegean Explorer, Holterman, AvA Yachts, Sarp, and Arksen.

Is It Worth Searching for a Decent Small Explorer Yacht on the Brokerage Market?

The brokerage market can offer true treasures—unique, compact yachts capable of extensive travel. Successful stories begin with finding and refitting a yacht that is capable of venturing far and bringing joy. Having a renowned design studio involved, such as Diana Yacht Design, Vripack, or HydroTec, adds significant value to any explorer vessel.

Consider one-of-a-kind yachts from Northern Europe, such as the recently listed 23-meter Swedish-built motor yacht Astra by Smögens Plåt & Svetsindustri. Alternatively, explore the German-built 33.53-meter Alter Ego, which has been available for sale a bit longer.

You might also find tugboats ready for conversion, like once there was a tugboat to become Lutteur, a luxury yacht with a 4,500-nautical-mile range. For a touch of nostalgia, explore CdM’s old-style 31-meter models—a modest design reminiscent of the mid-2010s before today’s success and design innovations.

Damen Yachts offers support vessels that turn into independent vessels, catering to guests and owners. Take a look at No Destination from 2009, which has been on the market.

And sometimes shipyard that you wouldn’t expect among explorer builders are delivering a one-of-a-kind yachts. The 34.86-meter Fox by Pendennis and listed for sale definitely stands out.

What If these compact explorers are not small enough?

If smaller vessels are required, consider the Nordhavn 41 and the incredible stories shared by Nordhavn owners after their circumnavigations. Fleming is another brand building true adventurers, small but mighty, perfect for exploring the Sea of Cortez or the heart of Alaska.

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