You've seen superfluous claims in advertisements. Pronouncements such as, "We make no compromises in designing your new yacht," "All of our yachts are built without compromise," or "Don't accept compromises in your new yacht," are often overused. Well, as the boroughlimit sign says as you leave Brooklyn, fuhgeddaboudit.
Compromises are what yacht design and construction are all about. There is no perfect yacht for all situations, for all owners, for all sea and speed conditions. In fact, there is no yacht that is perfect even for one specific owner or situation, even if it's custom-designed and built.
Every yacht, of necessity, will be a compromise. The key to success is knowing what the important factors and choices are, and making informed decisions about where your priorities lie. If you're wise in your decisions, the resulting yacht, whether built just for you or by a production builder, should serve most of your needs.
Certainly you shouldn't compromise on safety, you may be thinking. Well, let's look at stability, arguably the most essential aspect of safety at sea. The more stability, the better, you say-but you'd be wrong. Stability is dependent to some extent on vertical center of gravity, but is also highly dependent on hull beam. The wider the boat, the greater the stability, but more beam also means more resistance and weight, and thus more horsepower and fuel, or less speed and range. Too little stability is dangerous, sure, but so is too much. Overly high stability means very quick rolling at sea, short rolls so fast they're called "snap rolls"-violent accelerations that can knock guests off their feet or slam them into bulkheads, leading to serious injuries. They can stress the yacht's structure to the point of failure.
Safety is also measured by range of positive stability, which indicates how many degrees a boat can roll before it capsizes. A broader range of positive stability, a good thing, requires a narrower, deeper hull. But it will roll more in moderate seas, and may mean more draft than you would like.
For a given length of boat, the amount of enclosed volume and open deck area can vary widely. The style and extent of superstructure affects accommodations, but also relates to windage, weight, power needs, and stability.
Top speed is another area that requires compromise. To add speed, you're also adding horsepower, which means more weight and cost. It also may mean a planing hull-less efficient than a displacement hull at extended cruising speeds, so you'll use more fuel even if you're going slow.