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Main Entry: 1yacht
Etymology: from obsolete Dutch jaght (now jacht), short for jachtschip, literally, "hunting ship" : a fairly small ship used for pleasure cruising or racing Word History In the 16th century, the Dutch were being attacked by pirates and smugglers who managed to escape after their raids because their ships were much faster than the heavy warships used by the Dutch. To solve the problem, the Dutch began building smaller, sleeker, faster craft. This new kind of craft was called a jaght (later spelled jacht) in Dutch. The word was derived from the Dutch phrase jachtschip, literally meaning "hunting ship." In 1660, the Dutch East India Company presented one of these boats to England's King Charles II. He used it for a pleasure boat rather than for chasing pirates. Soon, other wealthy Englishmen wanted boats just like the king's. The style was then copied and improved over the years. The name for this craft also went through a number of changes over the years, from the original jaght, taken from the Dutch, to the yacht spelling we have today.