The year 2021 marks the 135th anniversary of the launch of the first ever motor yacht.
The first motorboat was built in 1886 at the German shipyard Lurssen by order of inventor Gottlieb Daimler, who wanted to test his new gasoline engine. A year earlier, Daimler had patented the technology for forcing air into an internal combustion engine using a gear pump.
Daimler's engine was single-cylinder, weighed 60 kg and produced only 1.5 hp at 700 rpm. It was carried by 11 people to a lake in Stuttgart, where it was to be tested.
The locals protested against the launching of the Rems - the name of the first motorboat in history. They heard that the boat is set in motion by explosions and considered the experiment deadly. However, Daimler still managed to convince the locals in Stuttgart that his boat would not kill anyone.
In 1887 Daimler tested a motor boat with an improved engine: he equipped the invention with a second cylinder, placing it at an angle of 15 degrees to the first. The new motor from Daimler had a power of 4 hp. Thus a V-shaped engine was born.
Lurssen continued to cooperate with Daimler, and in 1896 their joint effort launched a 12-meter Daimler
The first motor yachts
While Daimler was trying automobile gasoline internal combustion engines on boats, another German, Rudolf Diesel, was inventingand testing the first diesel engine. Diesel's
Diesel engines turned out to be much more effective than steam engines used at that time in commercial and military fleets. Already in 1903 the first ship with diesel engine was built. It was a river tanker Vandal.
The first diesel engines were huge and very heavy - this prevented their application on pleasure boats. Diesel engines started to spread in the yachting world only since the second half of the 20th century.
Powerboats were developed in several countries simultaneously. In 1888, inEngland , the Priestman Brothers company tested the first motor yacht. Its engine was powered by kerosene and used an innovative high-voltage ignition system. Priestman Brothers was the first to begin mass production of motor boats, and by 1890 Priestman's boats were being used successfully to tow cargo on canals.
In 1903 the first ever powerboat races were held in CorkHarbour in Ireland . British newspaper magnate Alfred Charles William Harmsworth was the founder of the races. He was slightly ahead of Prince Albert I of Monaco, who also dreamed of organizing such a race in 1903,
The winner of the first powerboat race was....woman.
Dorothy Levitt, in a 12-meter,
Prince Albert managed to catch up with the nimble newspaperman in 1904
In 1906, Baglietto Shipyard in Italy launched the largest motor yacht with internal combustion engine - 22.6-meter Giuseppina. The Giuseppina was still equipped with a sail, which had an auxiliary role.
In 1907, Ole Evinrud had invented the first outboard engine. This momentous yacht-building invention had a very interesting story to tell: Ole was out rowing a boat to get ice-cream for his wife but the ice-cream melted while he was rowing.
The motorboat market after the war
Two world wars led to the main recreational boat manufacturers working for government contracts. After the World War II, a ban on yacht building was imposed in a number of countries
In 1952, the company Yanmar managed to create the first small diesel engine. To solve the weight problem, Japanese developed high-strength cast iron with spheroidal graphite and increased engine speed by reducing the stroke of the piston.
The first «small» diesel engine still weighed 125 kg, but over the years the technology has been improved and refined.
The result was a series of engines under the K (from the German Klein) designation. These diesel engines with output from 1 to 7 hp weighed a little more than 50 kg. By the mid 50's, Yanmar was producing compact marine diesel engines, which could be equipped with yachts. This is how diesels came to boats.
In 1958, Jim Wynne in his garage in Miamiassembled the first
In 1961, Correct Craft launched the first fiberglass yacht on the market.
This was the 5
Motor yacht market today
By the 1960s the motoryacht market had acquired a modern face. The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show (FLIBS), the largest boat show in the world, was organized in 1959 by local yacht builders and dealers and had only 13 boats. In 1969 the first Boot Dusseldorf Boat Show, now the largest pavilion-based boat show in the world, was held in Dusseldorf, Germany. The first year 116 companies (mostly local, with only 7 shipyards from other countries) participated in the show. In a year the number of participants grew to 183
Today, powerboats up to 10m are dominant in the market with planinghulls used for fishing, short walks, or water sports such as water skiing and wakeboarding. Such boats are fitted with outboard engines or
Motor yachts, unlike motor boats, are more habitable and seaworthy. Compact motor yachts with length of 10 to 15 metres have from 1 to 3 cabins, a small galley and a bathroom. They can be planing, displacement or transitional semidisplacement type, completed with
Table 1: Largest multi-brand yacht builders