The British passion for sailing had begun many centuries earlier. Yachts were first seen in Holland, where they were used as hunting vessels. The name comes from Jagt = to hunt. While a boy in the 1640s, the future King Charles II learned to sail a yacht and developed a love of salt water sailing that was to last his whole life. His brother, James, was equally keen on boats. Between them, they started a new fashion among the British aristocracy, which is still popular today.
During the 17th century, yachting began to flourish across
Early yachts were similar to (or had been) Royal Navy cutters, smuggling and pilot vessels.
Their owners sometimes cruised far afield - A founder member of the Royal Yacht Squadron [formed in 1815] missed the inaugural meeting as he was cruising to St Petersburg. Another is believed to have made a cruise which included a visit to Napoleon on Elba. The Prince Regent joined the RYS in 1817.
Members of this association have published accounts of voyages made for exploration, for natural history research or just for pleasure.