• Types of Sailboats
  • Parts of a Sailboat
  • Cruising Boats
  • Small Sailboats
  • Design Basics
  • Sailboats under 30'
  • Sailboats 30'-35
  • Sailboats 35'-40'
  • Sailboats 40'-45'
  • Sailboats 45'-50'
  • Sailboats 50'-55'
  • Sailboats over 55'
  • Masts & Spars
  • Knots, Bends & Hitches
  • The 12v Energy Equation
  • Electronics & Instrumentation
  • Build Your Own Boat
  • Buying a Used Boat
  • Choosing Accessories
  • Living on a Boat
  • Cruising Offshore
  • Sailing in the Caribbean
  • Anchoring Skills
  • Sailing Authors & Their Writings
  • Mary's Journal
  • Nautical Terms
  • Cruising Sailboats for Sale
  • List your Boat for Sale Here!
  • Used Sailing Equipment for Sale
  • Sell Your Unwanted Gear
  • Sailing eBooks: Download them here!
  • Your Sailboats
  • Your Sailing Stories
  • Your Fishing Stories
  • Advertising
  • What's New?
  • Chartering a Sailboat
  • Cruising Yachts 30' to 35'

Popular Cruising Yachts from 30 to 35 Feet Long Overall Their Physical Properties & Key Performance Indicators

Welcome to this ever-growing gallery of some of the most popular cruising yachts between 30 and 35 feet (9.1m to 10.7m) long overall.

30'-35' Cruising Yachts featured on this page...

Medium sized cruising yachts like these are capable of serious offshore passage making, whilst being reasonably economic to maintain and operate.

And for competitive types, 30-35 foot cruising yachts are a popular size for club racing under handicap rating rules.

Behind each of the cruising yacht images there's a lot more information, including:

  • Dimensions & Specifications; 
  • Design Ratios;
  • A summary analysis of the boat's predicted sailing characteristics in terms of performance, stiffness, heaviness, comfort in a seaway and resistance to capsize.

To see it all, just click on the relevant image...

Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 311

Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 311

Pearson 303

Pearson 303

Pearson 323

Pearson 323

Allied Seawind MkII Cutter

Allied Seawind MkII sailboat - anchored

Jeanneau Sun Light 30

A Jeanneau Sun Light 30

Grand Soleil 343

A Grand Soleil 343 sailboat moored on the UK's River Tamar with the Devon shore in the background

Feeling 850

A Feeling 850 sailboat moored on the River Tamar in the southwest of England

Westerly Tempest 31

A Westerly Tempest 31 sailboat

Bavaria 31 Cruiser

A Bavaria 31 Cruiser sailboat moored on the River Tamar in southwest England

Westerly Kestrel 35

A Westerly Kestrel 35 sailboat on a fore-and-aft mooring

Westerly Berwick 31

A Westerly Berwick 31 sailboat on a mooring

Dehler 35 CWS

best 34 foot sailboat

Westerly Vulcan 34

A Westerly Vulcan 34 sailboat

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 32-1

A Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 32-1 on the River Tamar, UK

Elizabethan 33

An Elizabethan 33 sailboat on the River Tamar, the county border between Devon and Cornwall in the UK

Westerly Seahawk 35

A Westerly Seahawk 35 moored on the River Tamar near Plymouth UK

Nicholson 32

A Nicholson 32 moored on the River Tamar near Plymouth, UK

Westerly Ocean 33

A Westerly Ocean 33 moored on the River Tamar near Plymouth UK

Hunter Channel 323

best 34 foot sailboat

Island Packet 350

An Island Packet 350 sailboat at anchor

Corvette 31

A very pretty sloop-rigged cruising yacht from the 1960s - 'Quoin', a C&C Corvette 31

Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 343

'Annike', a Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 343 cruising yacht

Hallberg-Rassy 94

'Tango II', a long keel Hallberg-Rassy 94 cruising yacht.

Many thanks to Richard Stuckey for the great pic of his cruising yacht  'Tango II' , shown here  at anchor off Porqeurolles Island in the Mediterranean South of France.

Wauquiez Gladiateur 33

'Cassiopeia', a Gladiateur 33 cruising yacht

Jeanneau Attalia 32

'Tallulah', a Jeanneau Attalia 32 cruising yacht reaching home from Salcombe to Plymouth UK.

Thank you Paul Wright , for submitting this pic of your cruising yacht 'Tallulah'.

'Calisto', a Sadler 34 cruising yacht on a mooring ball on the River Yealm in Devon, UK

The owner of 'Second Star' tells us...

"This one is my Hunter 33e (now Marlow-Hunter 33e) "Second Star".  The "e" stands for extended cockpit.  It has a drop-down, walk-through transom that opens up the cockpit significantly and serves as a helm seat when up.  I bought the boat new in 2014 and my longest cruise to date was from Annapolis MD to its slip in Alexandria, VA with my daughter. Of course, my intent is to take it on longer cruises like circling the DELMARVA peninsula, which would give me offshore time off the Delaware coast.  It's a very comfortable cruising yacht of moderate size."

Aphrodite 101

'Averisera', an Aphrodite 101 sailboat, sailing off Boston Harbour, USA

With their long, narrow and light hull and tall fractional rig these elegant sailboats have had many successful single and double-handed victories in distance races both coastal and offshore. 

The owner of 'Averisera ' tells us:

"She has a very narrow hull with two good sea berths amidships.  The galley is just aft of the berths, sink to starboard and cooker to port.  Step down from companionway just aft of galley; seating to change into or out of wet gear without making sleeping area wet. Head all the way forward is OK but not great.  Low free board means sink does not drain on port tack. Hull form is very, very sea kindly.  Beautiful sailor, easy to steer in wide range of conditions and points of sail.  For a small boat she is a competent cruising yacht."

Beneteau First 30E

A Beneteau First 30e production cruising yacht

Westerly 33

A Bilge-Keeled Westerly 33 Sloop sailing in Plymouth Sound, UK

Have you got a cruising yacht in this size range?

If so, and you'd like to see an image of her on this page, please click here to send your pic to sailboat cruising.com and we'll do the rest.

A Rival 34 cruising yacht

Albin Nova 32

Contessa 32.

'Tenacity', a Contessa 32 cruising yacht on a windless day in Cawsand Bay, Plymouth, UK

Nicholson 32 (Mark 10)

The Nicholson 32 Mk 10 cruising yacht in the pic is very dear to me;  'Jalingo 2' she's called - and I used to own her. Dick McClary, previous owner.

Westsail 32

'Ellamia', a Westsail 32 moored in the mangroves at English Harbour, Antigua

Southern Cross 31

'Mischief', a Southern Cross 31 cutter alongside the dock

Thank you, Vern Bastable , for submitting this pic of your cruising yacht 'Mischief'.

Willard 30/8t

'Jenny Ruth', a Willard 30/8t heavy-displacement, cutter-rigged cruising yacht at anchor

Vancouver 32

The Vancouver 32 - a highly regarded long-distance cruising yacht

Nauticat 33

A Nauticat 33 liveaboard cruising yacht lying peacefully at anchor.

Thank you  Phillip Caputo , for submitting this pic of your cruising yacht ' See Life ' .

Allied Seawind 30

Recent articles.


Used Sailing Equipment For Sale

Jun 14, 24 03:54 AM

Beneteau Oceanis 473 Clipper for Sale

Jun 13, 24 11:13 AM

Hallberg Rassy 42e for Sale

May 23, 24 03:01 AM

Here's where to:

  • Find  Used Sailboats for Sale...
  • Find Used Sailing Gear for Sale...
  • List your Sailboat for Sale...
  • List your Used Sailing Gear...

Our eBooks...

Collage of eBooks related to sailing

A few of our Most Popular Pages...

Boat anchoring technique

Just a headsail and a mainsail - simple and efficient. 


Sketch of a cutter rigged sailboat

A smaller headsail and a staysail makes sail handling easier.

Sketch of a ketch rigged sailboat

A second mast with a mizzen sail, for greater versatility.

Copyright © 2024  Dick McClary  Sailboat-Cruising.com

Web Analytics

13 Best Liveaboard Sailboats (under 30 & 50 ft)

Choosing a boat to live on is a big deal — something you definitely want to get right. There are plenty of options to pick from, which can make the choosing process a bit daunting. So to help you navigate those deep waters (no pun intended), here is an article summarizing the 13 best liveaboard sailboats under 30 and 50 feet.

best 34 foot sailboat

So what are the 13 best liveaboard sailboats?

Catalina 30, pacific seacraft flicka 20, nonsuch ultra 30, aventura 34, island packet 35, peterson 44, prout snowgoose 37, gulfstar 44, beneteau oceanis 50.

Beautiful lineup, isn't it? Let me explain what makes these so special.

Picking the Right One Matters

Picking a liveaboard sailboat belongs among those kinds of decisions that require months, if not years of research and testing.

It is not like choosing a car - those are more or less the same, and although they vary widely in terms of comfort, feeling, and performance, rarely you would encounter one that wouldn't get you from point A to B reasonably.

The same goes for a house or an apartment. Regardless of if you get a 200 square foot condo or a 30,000 square feet mansion, it will most of the time provide a warm shelter with a shower and a kitchen and a bed, fulfilling its basic functions.

But this is only the case because there is extensive infrastructure in place helping cars and houses. A car can only get you from A to B thanks to roads. A house can only have a shower and a kitchen if it is connected to a grid.

But on a boat, you are on your own.

best 34 foot sailboat

The sea doesn't adjust its waves for your comfort. If something breaks, there is usually not a repair shop nearby. You aren't always connected to water or electricity. And if you don't like what you see around yourself, it's not like you can just leave.

So a liveaboard boat needs to provide what a house does, what a vehicle does, and more, plus it needs to provide this regardless of if you are docked in a marina or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. That is a lot to ask, especially if we are talking about boats around 30 or 50 feet.

Fortunately, every single boat on this list is an all-star that ticks all the right boxes. Let's see why.

best 34 foot sailboat

I know, I hear you, it isn't exciting enough as it doesn't perform that well. Sure. But we are talking about a boat that is supposed to be a house too. So why is it on the list?

This boat has been in production since 1975, which means that it has been extraordinarily well-refined according to the suggestions of thousands of owners. And this manufacturer is known for listening to the sailors' feedback. It is a very popular model, so finding spare parts for it will always be easy. Its famous well thought through the salon, and cabin layout is generous and spacious, so Catalinas are comfortable boats to live on. Plus, the boat has quite a wide beam, great ballast/displacement ratio as well as low sail area/displacement ratio, making it a stiff boat under sail, which adds to stability and comfort.

Good condition MkIII Catalinas can be found for about $35,000, but given the volume of these on the market, you can find a usable one even for around $15,000.

This one is a hero. I'd be hesitant to call such a small boat a comfortable liveaboard if it wasn't for this model. For its size, the interior is very spacious. It is also made for comfort since it seems to be inspired by the aforementioned Catalina 30. In fact, after reading some reviews, I am confident in saying that you will not find a significantly more comfortable 27 footer out there.

It also has a talent very uncommon for liveaboard boats - you can put it on a trailer, which can make your life easier when it comes to certain trips. But most importantly, it is a beauty. Just look at it.

Pricing this boat is a tricky task. You can buy nearly new ones (2015) for around $140,000, but even for $50,000, you can stumble upon models from both the 80s and the 2000s. This means the condition is a big factor, and you gotta inspect your choice well. The good news is that whatever your price in that range, you will find a boat for that money. The bad news is that the cheaper you go, the more effort will the potential repairs take.

I thought the Nor'Sea 27 is gonna be it, but let's push the size limit even more with the 20 foot Flicka, this tiny, towable, but seaworthy beast that accomplished several circumnavigations. Upon entering, you will be amazed at how spacious and equipped with amenities the interior is. Its designer lived on this boat with his partner (who too was a naval architect) for years and cruised all around the world - and what a proof of confidence in his own design that is.

Truth be told, there is a lack of deck space, but underneath it has the comfort and size of a boat a few meters larger, a space you can comfortably live in. Due to its size, it is easy to operate, tow, and sails better than what you would expect from a boat this length.

This boat is incredibly charming, and so its owners rarely sell it. In fact, it has amassed quite a following since it was designed into existence. So expect to spend quite some time searching for one for sale. Once you do find one, it will cost you around $30,000 - $40,000.

This one's a weird one. But because of it, a very spacious one. It is structured as a catboat, that is, with the mast being all the way on the front of the boat, which makes for impressive space below the deck. It has all the necessary amenities, including a shower, so for the liveaboard lifestyle, this boat definitely deserves to make this list.

The single sail catboat design also means it is easy to handle single-handed, which makes for great solitary passages.

Expect to pay around $40,000 to $60,000 for this one.

Though I am trying to keep this list in lower price ranges, I have to put this one in. If you don't mind the price tag of around $170,000, this boat is marketed as the currently cheapest liveaboard catamaran. As previously mentioned, cats offer the most in terms of space, and this model is a brand new one. Thus when it comes to service troubles and costs, you wouldn't pay much. The look is modern, relatively minimalistic and sleek, so for those of you who would like to give the liveaboard lifestyle a go but get cold feet upon seeing boats from the 80s, this is a way to make sure things remain stylish.

The modernity, space, and attention to practicality when it comes to using this as your home, make this a great entry-level liveaboard choice.

Again, this is no performance vehicle. Rather it focuses on the usual cruiser aspects - space, stability, sturdiness, and convenience, which makes it an ideal candidate for your choice when looking for a new floating home. Aside from the spacious interior, this boat also has an unusually large cockpit, great for those lunches on the deck.

As if the designers knew this might be used by the liveaboard people, this boat is easy to handle, which means even under sail, you won't have issues focusing on what you came for in the first place - sea living.

This boat can be found on the market for around $75,000 - $100,000.

The great thing about the Hunter 33 is that it was designed as more of a house than a sailboat. The attention to accommodation details is great here; there is plenty of space for sleeping the owners as well as the occasional visitors, it has a fantastic headroom throughout the boat and one of the most spacious and comfortable dining spaces seen on boats this size.

Food preparation and consumption was probably high on the priority list of the makers; the kitchen has an L shape, which adds to the convenience.

The price spread on these is quite large, with the bottom around $55,000 for the 2004 models and the top around $95,000 for the 2013 models.

This one is for those who don't mind sacrificing luxury for space. If in the middle of the ocean, it makes sense that one would want as much of usable space as possible, so if you are okay with the simplicity that will inevitably come with a system like this, you have found your match.

An undeniable advantage of such a design approach is that the storage space is maximized. Long passages with the need for plenty of room for equipment and provisions won't be a problem here. The simplicity of this boat is not just in terms of design, but even the electrics and plumbing. Thus if something breaks, you will have an easier time fixing it.

This being an older model, you can get your hands on one for around $30,000.

Since we are mostly looking at cheaper boats here, most of them aren't new - in fact, they likely have quite a few years behind them. The build quality is thus important. You want to go for builds that will last. Peterson is known for this, so it's gotta be on the list. As far as this list goes, it is quite a large boat. Moreover, it is one that has been built with spaciousness in mind, both when it comes to living spaces and storage.

A neat thing about this boat is its attention to performance. It isn't a racer; rather, it fits in the performance cruiser category, but they haven't made too many speed-related compromises here.

Peterson 44 can usually be found for $80,000 - $100,000.

There needs to be a catamaran on this list - they are, by definition, more spacious than monohulls, providing a large living area, which is, of course, an attractive characteristic for a liveaboard boat. Especially if they have a solid bridge deck, creating yet more square feet of usable space, which Snowgoose has. Unfortunately, they tend to be costly. While it is easy to recommend a bunch of half a million dollar cats, to make this list more within reach of the average sailor, I've found this beauty that you can get for around $100,000.

Aside from the extra space, this model is a true bluewater cruiser, meaning you won't be limited by its abilities when planning your journeys.

Those of you who had the pleasure of sailing this boat know why it needs to be here. It was built for a liveaboard lifestyle. Its wide body makes for one spacious interior which is well ventilated, (a very important aspect) with a beautiful galley and it has a large aft cabin with a huge bed. It was made with comfort, practicality, and convenience in mind.

Not to sound like a salesman, but believe me when I say this boat is a genuine pleasure to be on. If you want the homey feeling, you don't get much closer than this in this size range.

Expect to pay around $80,000 - $100,000 for this one, though some digging around and 'fixing her up' can knock this number down significantly.

This is another easy choice, space being the reason. Not only does it have an extra-large main cabin and salon with a kitchen, many small Parisian apartments could envy, but it is also very generous in terms of storage space. Stocking up for longer crossings will be a pleasure on this one.

Also, it was built as a racer-cruiser, so you won't be making many compromises in terms of performance, as is often the case with comfortable boats.

All of this comes for a price, though. You might be able to find one for around $100,000 if you put some time into your search and won't mind a bit of travel to see it, but otherwise, the average price is around $130,000.

Let's end this list by stretching the ceiling too with this fifty-footer. It was designed as a holiday cruiser, and it is a popular choice among charter companies. The designers know that there are places in Europe where it is very easy to get a sailing license, so many inexperienced people who don't want to give up the comforts of their home end up on these boats. Oceanis 50 is thus comfortable, spacious, easy to sail, and the attention to accommodation details, amenities, and practicality, is very high.

As such, it is designed to house whole families, so if you live there as a couple, you will have a floating house for yourself, and if kids come, no need to buy a new boat. Even on the deck, this boat is designed for pleasure cruises, so as far as that goes, you will be taken care of. As far as their seaworthiness goes, some consider Beneteau an entry-level holiday brand, and some models are indeed more designed for coastal hopping than large crossings. But that can be fixed with some proper fitting.

If you fancy a new one, you will find yourself paying above the $500,000 mark, but older models start a bit above $100,000. Which is something a person who just sold all their possessions to escape to the sea is more likely to have. Just be a bit careful with boats sold by charter companies. Their previous owners serviced them regularly, but you can be sure the hundreds of sailors that touched the helm weren't necessarily skilled or kind to them.

So there you have it. $15,000 - $50,0000 range, 20 - 50-foot sizes, from cozy towable boats to large sailing houses. A range anybody can choose from to pursue the liveaboard dream. Nothing is stopping you now, so hit the yachtworld.com website and start browsing.

Know though that if you really want to take advantage of the boat market, you might have to travel quite a bit. If you are an American, the strong dollar will make it enticing to look for a boat in European countries without the EUR currency. Or you might find plenty of cheap models in Turkey, for instance. It requires more effort, but in return, it might save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Fair winds!

Leave a comment


Home » Blog » Bluewater sailboats » The best bluewater sailboats (we analyzed 2,000 boats to find out)

The best bluewater sailboats (we analyzed 2,000 boats to find out)

By Author Fiona McGlynn

Posted on Last updated: May 16, 2023

We analyzed two-thousand bluewater sailboats to bring you a list of proven offshore designs


What are the best bluewater sailboats?

This was a question we asked a lot of experienced cruisers when we decided to sail across the Pacific. We needed a boat after all, and we wanted to buy the best bluewater sailboat we could afford.

We heard a lot of strong opinions.

Some sailors thought it was reckless to go offshore in any boat that didn’t have a full keel.

Others prioritized performance, and wouldn’t dream of going anywhere in a slow boat like the Westsail 32 (a.k.a. a “Wet Snail 32”).

Opinions like these left us feeling confused like we had to choose between safety and performance.  

If we learned anything from these conversations, it’s that what makes a bluewater boat is a hotly debated topic!

However, there’s a way to cut through all the opinions and get to the bottom of it. The solution is….

We analyzed just under 2,000 boats embarking on ocean crossings (over a 12 year time period) and came up with a list of the ten best bluewater sailboats.

Where did we get our data?

The data for our best bluewater sailboats list comes from 12 years of entries in the Pacific Puddle Jump (PPJ), an annual cross-Pacific rally. We took part in 2017 and had a ball!

You can read about the methodology we used to analyze this data at the bottom of the post.

What do we mean by “best”?

We know, that word is overused on the internet!

Simply, based on our data set, these were the most common makes and models entered in the PPJ cross-Pacific rally. There were at least 10 PPJ rally entries for every make of boat on our top 10 list.

So, these boats are 100% good to go?

No! A bluewater boat isn’t necessarily a seaworthy boat. Almost every cruiser we know made substantial repairs and additions to get their offshore boat ready, adding watermakers , life rafts, solar panels, and more.

Also, you should always have a boat inspected by a professional and accredited marine surveyor before buying it or taking it offshore.

But my bluewater baby boat isn’t on this list!?

There are hundreds of excellent bluewater yachts that are not on this list. For instance, we sailed across the Pacific in a Dufour 35, which didn’t even come close to making our top 10 list.

Choosing the right boat is very much an individual journey.

Where can I find these bluewater boats for sale?

We recognize that a top 10 list won’t get you very far if you’re shopping for a bluewater boat (especially if you’re looking in the used market).

So, to help you find your perfect boat, we’re going to create a big list of bluewater boats that you can use to refine your search on Yachtworld, Craigslist, or any other places to buy a used boat .

Sign up for our newsletter to get our big list of bluewater boats list as soon as it comes out.

We’re also working on a series of posts by size class. For example, if you’re looking for a smaller boat, you can narrow it down to the best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet .

Takeaways from our analysis

There were no big surprises on an individual boat level. All of these makes are considered good cruisers, some of them are even best-selling designs! However, there were a few things that caught our eye.

“Go simple, go small, go now” still holds water

We were thrilled to see the smallest boat in our roundup at the very top of the list! Westsail 32 owners can take pride in their small but mighty yachts (and ignore all those snail-sayers).

While undoubtedly there’s been a trend towards bigger bluewater cruisers in recent years, small cruising sailboats seem to be holding their own. 60% of the monohulls on this list were under 40 feet (if you count the Valiant 40 which sneaks just under at 39.92 feet).

Cat got our tongue

So, we knew catamarans were a thing, but we didn’t fully appreciate HOW popular they’d become!

50% of our top 10 bluewater boat list consists of catamarans—a good fact to toss out the next time you’re trying to garner a happy hour invite on the party boat next door (which will undoubtedly be a catamaran).

Still got it!

We’ve got good news for all you good old boat lovers! 60% of the boats on our list were first built before 2000.

While these older models are less performance-oriented than modern designs, cruisers value these boats for their ability to stand up to rough seas and heavy weather. It just goes to show that solid bones and classic looks never go out of style.

Alright, without further ado, let’s dive into our list of the 10 best bluewater boats!

The 10 best bluewater boats

best bluewater sailboats

1. Westsail 32

The Westsail 32 is an iconic bluewater sailboat

The Westsail 32 is one of the most iconic bluewater cruisers and 19 have set out to cross the Pacific in the PPJ rally since 2009.

In 1973, this small cruising sailboat garnered a 4-page spread in Time magazine. The article inspired many Americans to set sail and the Westsail 32, with its double-ender design, set the standard for what a real bluewater cruiser should look like.

There were approximately 830 built between 1971 and 1980.

This small boat has taken sailors on ocean crossings and circumnavigations. Though considered “slow” by some, the heavily-built Westsail 32 has developed a loyal following for her other excellent offshore cruising characteristics.

If you’re interested in small bluewater sailboats, check out our post on the best small sailboats for sailing around the world .

LOA32.00 ft / 9.75 m
First built1971
BuilderWestsail (USA)
DesignerW. Crealock / W. Atkin
Hull typeLong keel, trans. hung rudder
Rig typeCutter
Displacement19,500 lb / 8,845 kg

2. Lagoon 380

Lagoon 380

The Lagoon 380 is a reliable, solidly built catamaran and considered roomy for its size. We counted 18 of them in our data set. With over 800 boats built , it may be one of the best-selling catamarans in the world. Like the other boats on this list, the Lagoon 380 has proven itself on long passages and ocean crossings, winning it many loyal fans.

LOA37.89 ft / 11.55 m
First built2000
BuilderJeanneau (FRA)
DesignerV. Peteghem / L. Prévost
 typeCat. twin keel
Rig typeFractional sloop
Displacement16,005 lb / 7,260 kg
More specifications

3. Lagoon 440

Lagoon 440 is a bluewater catamaran

18 Lagoon 440s have set out to cross the Pacific in the PPJ rally since 2009.

Why leave the comforts of home, when you can take them with you? The Lagoon 440 is a luxurious long-range cruiser, offering beautiful wood joinery, spacious accommodations, and a deluxe galley. Oh, and you have the option of an electric boat motor !

SAIL and Sailing Magazine have both done in-depth reviews of the Lagoon 440 if you want to learn more.

LOA44.65 ft / 13.61 m
First built2004
BuilderLagoon (FRA)
DesignerV. Peteghem / L. Prévost
Hull typeCat. twin keel
Rig typeFractional sloop
Displacement26,786 lb / 12,150 kg

4. Amel Super Maramu (incl. SM 2000)

Amel Super Maramu is a popular bluewater sailboat

If you follow the adventures of SV Delos on YouTube, you probably know that the star of the show (SV Delos— in case the title didn’t give it away ) is an Amel Super Maramu. These classic bluewater sailboats can be found all over the world, proof they can go the distance.

We counted 16 Amel Super Maramus and Super Maramu 2000s in our list of PPJ entries.

Ready to join the cult of Amel? Read more about the iconic brand in Yachting World.

LOA52.49 ft / 16.00 m
First built1989
BuilderAmel (FRA)
DesignerH. Amel / J. Carteau
Hull typeWing keel
Rig typeMasthead ketch
Displacement35,274 lb / 16,000 kg

5. Valiant 40

The Valiant 40 is an iconic bluewater cruiser

When I interviewed legendary yacht designer, Bob Perry, for Good Old Boat in 2019, he told me that the Valiant 40 was one of the boats that most defined him and marked the real start of his career.

At the time, heavy displacement cruisers were considered sluggish and slow, especially in light winds.

Perry’s innovation with the Valiant 40 was to combine a classic double ender above the waterline, with an IOR racing hull shape below the waterline. The result was the first “performance cruiser”, a blockbuster hit, with over 200 boats built in the 1970s.

It’s no surprise we counted 16 Valiant 40s in our data set.

Cruising World magazine dubbed it “a fast, comfortable, and safe cruising yacht,” and there’s no doubt it’s covered some serious nautical miles.

It’s worth noting that there were blistering problems with hull numbers 120-249 (boats built between 1976 and 1981). Later models did not have this problem. Despite the blistering issues, the Valiant 40 remains one of the most highly thought of bluewater designs.

LOA39.92 ft / 12.17 m
First built1973
BuilderUniflite/Valiant (USA)
DesignerR. Perry
Hull typeFin keel, rudder on skeg
Rig typeCutter
Displacement23,520 lb / 10,668 kg

6. TAYANA 37

The Tayana 37 is a top bluewater boat

The Tayana 37 is another hugely popular Perry design. The first boat rolled off the production line in 1976 and since then, nearly 600 boats have been built. Beautiful classic lines and a proven track record have won the Tayana 37 a devoted following of offshore enthusiasts.

12 Tayana 37s have set out to cross the Pacific in the PPJ rally since 2009. Read more about the Tayana 37 in this Practical Sailor review .

LOA36.67 ft / 11.18 m
First built1976
BuilderTa Yang (TWN)
DesignerR. Perry
Hull typeLong keel
Rig typeCutter
Displacement22,500 lb / 10,206 kg

7. Lagoon 450

The Lagoon 450 is one of the best bluewater sailboats

If this list is starting to sound like a paid advertisement, I swear we’re not on Lagoon’s payroll! This is the third Lagoon on our list, but the data doesn’t lie. Lagoon is making some of the best cruising sailboats.

The 450 has been a hot seller for Lagoon, with over 800 built since its launch in 2014. While not a performance cat, the Lagoon 450 travels at a reasonable speed and is brimming with luxury amenities.

At least 12 owners in the PPJ rally chose the Lagoon 450 to take them across the Pacific. It’s no wonder SAIL had so many good things to say about it.

LOA45.80 ft / 13.96 m
First built2014
BuilderLagoon (FRA)
DesignerV. Peteghem / L. Prévost
Hull typeCat. twin keel
Rig typeFractional sloop
Displacement33,075 lb / 15,003 kg

8. Fountaine Pajot Bahia 46

Fountaine Pajot Bahia 46 Bluewater Sailboat

There were 11 Fountaine Pajot Bahia 46s in our data set.

Fountaine Pajot released the Bahia 46 in 1997, a sleek design for traveling long distances. Its generously-sized water and fuel tanks along with ample storage for cruising gear are a real plus for the self-sufficient sailor.

According to Cruising World , “Cruising-cat aficionados should put the Bahia 46 on their “must-see” list.”

LOA46.10 ft / 14.05 m
First built1997
BuilderFountaine Pajot (FRA)
Hull typeCat. twin keel
Rig typeFractional sloop
Displacement21,385 lb / 9,700 kg

9. Catalina 42 (MKI, MKII)

Catalina 42 bluewater boat

10 Catalina 42s (MKI and MKII) have set out to cross the Pacific in the PPJ rally since 2009.

The Catalina 42 was designed under the guidance of the legendary yacht designer and Catalina’s chief engineer, Gerry Douglas.

One of Catalina’s philosophies is to offer “as much boat for the money as possible,” and the Catalina 42 is no exception. According to Practical Sailor , Catalina aims to price its boats 15% to 20% below major production boats like Hunter and Beneteau.

Practical Sailor has a great in-depth review of the Catalina 42 .

LOA41.86 ft / 12.76 m
First built1989
BuilderCatalina (USA)
Hull typeFin keel, spade rudder
Rig typeMasthead sloop
Displacement20,500 lb / 9,299 kg

10. Leopard 46

Leopard 46 bluewater sailboat

Since 2009, 10 Leopard 46s have embarked on Pacific crossings in the PPJ rally.

Leopards have won legions of fans for their high build quality, robust engineering, and excellent performance.

The Leopard 46 also boasts something of a racing pedigree. It was built in South Africa by Robertson and Caine and designed by Gino Morelli and Pete Melvin, who came up with the record-breaking catamaran Playstation / Cheyenne 125 .

Read more about the Leopard 46 in this Cruising World review .

LOA46.32 ft / 14.12 m
First built2006
BuilderRobertson & Caine (RSA)
DesignerMorelli & Melvin
Hull typeCat. twin keel
Rig typeFractional sloop
Displacement24,206 lb / 10,980 kg


What the data is and isn’t.

The PPJ data was a real boon because it reflects a wide range of cruising boats: small, big, old, new, expensive, and affordable. We think this may be because the PPJ is a very financially accessible rally—the standard entry cost is $125 or $100 if you’re under 35 (age or boat length!).

We did look at data from other (pricier) rallies but found that the results skewed towards more expensive boats.

Needless to say, the data we used is just a sample of the bluewater boats that crossed the Pacific over the last 10+ years. Many cruisers cross oceans without participating in a rally!

Entries vs. completions

The data we used is a list of the PPJ entries, not necessarily the boats that completed the rally. In instances where we saw the same boat entered multiple years in a row, we assumed they’d postponed their crossing and deleted all but the latest entry to avoid double counting.

Boat make variations

The world of boat building and naming can get pretty complicated. Sometimes a manufacturer changes a boat’s name a year or two into production, other times the name remains the same but the boat undergoes a dramatic update.

For the most part, we’ve used SailboatData.com’s classification system (if they list the boats separately, then we have also), except where there are two separately listed models that have the same LOA, beam, and displacement.

Fiona McGlynn

Fiona McGlynn is an award-winning boating writer who created Waterborne as a place to learn about living aboard and traveling the world by sailboat. She has written for boating magazines including BoatUS, SAIL, Cruising World, and Good Old Boat. She’s also a contributing editor at Good Old Boat and BoatUS Magazine. In 2017, Fiona and her husband completed a 3-year, 13,000-mile voyage from Vancouver to Mexico to Australia on their 35-foot sailboat.

Terms and Conditions - Privacy Policy

best 34 foot sailboat

  • Data and Options


Set the course and head for fun, diverse and functional.

We believe that even smaller yachts can be tremendous fun. With the BAVARIA CRUISER 34 we have succeeded in bringing together the most important aspects of sailing – sailing pleasure and spaciousness – in one boat. This yacht has excellent – and very safe – sailing characteristics. The XXL cockpit area is pleasantly commodious during sailing and in between. And below deck there is all the room you need for six people. The BAVARIA CRUISER 34 is the small, yet still very great BAVARIA. It comes in a 2- and a 3-cabin version with single or twin helm positions.

best 34 foot sailboat

No compromises below deck. Even in the smaller 2‐cabin version of the CRUISER 34 you have all the amenities you need below deck for a cruise.

best 34 foot sailboat

Sailing is all about rest, relaxation and fun – with the right boat. The BAVARIA CRUISER 34 is a very easy yacht to sail.

best 34 foot sailboat

Best equipment in the right places. The perfect sailing yacht also needs the best equipment from well‐known producers.

best 34 foot sailboat

  • Download Brochure
  • Contact Dealer
  • Configure Now
  • Virtual Tour


Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 24 Feet

Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 24 Feet | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

December 28, 2023

Looking for a sailboat but don't want to bear the high costs? The best bluewater sailboats under 24 feet are trailerable and require low maintenance.

Many sailing enthusiasts cannot afford a large boat due to the docking fee and maintenance costs. Fortunately, bluewater sailboats under 24 feet, also known as pocket sailboats, are affordable small yachts that are trailerable to your choice of destination, so you don't have to bear the unnecessary docking fee.

The best bluewater sailboats under 24 feet are the Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, Norseboat 21.5, Catalina 22 Sport, Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20, and West Wight Potter 19. These sailboats have ample space for a couple and even a moderately-sized family along with all the amenities you may need.

A roomy cabin, galley, and settees are necessary to go cruising in the bluewater. However, sailboats are a cheaper and more convenient way to enjoy the shallow waters as all you require for sailing is a hull, rudder, mast, and sail. The sailboats on this list make your sailing experience even better with accommodations such as bedding.

We are a bunch of sailing enthusiasts and spend most of our weekends trailing our pocket sailboats, traveling to various offshore destinations. With years of knowledge, we have drafted a list of the best bluewater sailboats under 24 feet and discussed them in detail, so you can make an informed decision before buying your sailboat.

Table of contents

‍ Our Top Picks

West wight potter 19.


The West Wight Potter 19 is one of the most popular sailboats and has been at the top for over three decades. This sailboat is manufactured in California by International Marine, known for making reliable and robust sailboats.

Over the years, the West Wight 19 has seen significant changes in its design, making the boat easy to sail and increasing the storage space while keeping the design compact and available.

The 19-footer is the smallest sailboat on this list, but it doesn’t keep the boat from offering accommodations to make your experience comfortable.

Small sailboats are more about sailing instead of cruising with luxury. However, the Potter 19 offers several luxurious amenities.

The four berths allow you to camp in for a couple of days instead of spending only a day out on the water. Each berth is around six and a half feet long, with two settees and a v-berth.

The storage space under each berth and the ample walking space in between provide enough room for a small family to spend quality time. A small sink, stove, and mobile head increase the boat's functionality and ease the voyage.

The West Wight Potter 19 is far from disappointing when it comes to its sailing chops. Due to its lightweight build, you don't need a powerful truck to trail this sailboat to your preferred destination.

The hull and deck are fiberglass, which keeps the boat steady against rough water. A high freeboard keeps the cockpit and the deck dry.

The West White Potter 19's design is ideal for lake, river, and coastal sailing. However, this boat is up for the challenges as an individual has sailed from California to Hawaii, making history for the Potter 19.

You can buy West White Potter 19 from  Sailboat Listings  for $6,900.


  • Hull Type: Lifting keel
  • LOA: 18.9 ft.
  • LWL: 16.9 ft.
  • Beam: 7.5 ft.
  • Displacement: 1225 lbs.
  • Ballast: 370 lbs.
  • Sail Area: 115 sq. ft.
  • First built: 1979
  • Developer: International Marine (USA)
  • Designer: Herb Stewart

Catalina 22 Sport


The Catalina 22 Sport has quickly become a hot cake sailboat since the Sport version of the 22 feet hull was recently released. A retractable lead keel in the upgraded version makes it easier to haul the boat.

Other than that, the vinyl seating, a chrome fence, and a more dynamic frame give the boat a sporty yet exclusive look, putting it above its close competitors. That is why the Catalina 22 Sport has become a common sight at harbors across the state.

The update maintains the superior quality of the original Catalina yacht with a robust built, easy and comfortable sailing, and several accommodation features. The hull is made from hand-laid fiberglass bonded with a hull liner.

Beautiful single-piece fiberglass makes the deck a sight for sore eyes. It is treated with non-slippery material to keep the passengers safe from injuries.

A complete standing rig with an upgraded stern rail with controls keeps the boat sailing steadily. But the absolute joy of sailing this beautiful sailboat lies in an exclusive cockpit design. Raised contoured coamings keep the cockpit high and dry.

This boat is not just all about the looks and easy sailing. As mentioned earlier, it also has a roomy cabin with accommodations that can allow you to spend a couple of days on the boat. Two full-length berths measuring over six and a half feet are comfortable for full-grown people to sleep peacefully.

The V berth makes a bed for two where children can rest. Even though the Catalina 22 sport has enough space for a family of four to walk around without stepping on each other's toes, it is ideal for a couple to get away for a refreshing couple of days.

The best thing about Catalina releasing a newer model is that it boasts a 12 Volt electrical panel. You can keep electrical appliances working for a comfortable sailing experience.

Besides that, Catalina offers several optional features to enhance your experience on the 22-footer. These include a mast carrier at the front and rear, fabric cushion upgrade, headsail furling gear, and more.

Since the Catalina 22 Sport is made on order, you can contact dealers from  YachtWorld  to get the price of this boat.

  • Hull Type: Fin w/spade rudder
  • LOA: 23.62 ft.
  • LWL: 19.32 ft.
  • Beam: 8.67 ft.
  • Displacement: 2,380 lbs.
  • Ballast: 550 lbs.
  • Sail Area: 110 sq. ft.
  • First built: 2004
  • Last built: -
  • Developer: Catalina Yachts
  • Designer: Gary Douglas

Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20


The Pacific Seacraft Flicka is the most convenient and trailerable sailboat on our list, with an overall length of 20 feet. If you like a minimalist lifestyle and want the same in your bluewater pocket sailboat, this one's for you.

A functional galley with a sink and a counter and a small sink, toilet, and shower provides you with the basic amenities you and a couple of your friends and family need for a few days offshore.

There's more to the accommodation you can expect from this 20-footer sailboat. This boat has four berths, including a v-berth, so sleeping comfortably or stretching your legs occasionally is not an issue. A pop-up dining table and a chart table within the cabin make eating and other activities doable.

Nevertheless, most people underestimate the Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20’s ability to handle offshore rigidity, and they are often surprised at what this boat has to offer. A full-ballast keel, hull shape, manageable rig, and a self-draining cockpit ensure satisfactory offshore performance by the littlest contender.

Moreover, we find its outstanding standing headspace one of the boat's best features. Unlike other pocket sailboats, the Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20 has a six ft. headspace. You don't have to duck every time to save your head from banging against the roof.

The Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20's size and its minimalistic yet fulfilling features are why this boat is in high demand. With only 400 of them ever made, you will have to dig deeper and longer to find one worth buying. Due to this, the price of this boat is also slightly higher.

You can buy the Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20 from  YachtWorld  for $29,900.

  • Hull Type: Long keel
  • LOA: 24 ft.
  • LWL: 18.75 ft.
  • Beam: 8 ft.
  • Displacement: 6,000 lbs.
  • Ballast: 1,750 lbs.
  • Sail Area: 261.89 sq. ft.
  • Fuel: 12 gallons
  • Fresh Water: 20 gallons
  • Engine: Yanmar
  • First built: 1974
  • Last built: 1994
  • Developer: Pacific Seacraft
  • Designer: Bruce Bingham

Pacific Seacraft Dana 24


The Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 is the best overall sailboat on our list. This one is the larger of the two Pacific Seacraft sailboats mentioned. It has an overall length of 24 feet but provides you with loads of amenities.

According to the features listed, the boat might seem insufficient for an overnight sail on the water. Once you are on the boat, it won't occur to you that you are on a sailboat that is just 24 feet long.

While only four feet longer than the Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20, it adds enough space to make the cabin roomier and another berth for one more person. Not only that, the extra length provides more space to the galley.

You have increased movement and work it better. However, the length still keeps the sailboat maintaining the qualities of a smaller sailboat, allowing you easy maintenance and mobility.

Despite being larger, Pacific Seacraft Dana 20 is faster than the smaller one. As surprising as it may sound, this is because this boat's engine is more powerful and helps the hull sail faster. A high bow flare and freeboard ensure the deck remains dry unless high tides take charge.

It is ideal for a pair, especially couples who do not look for much except spending quality days offshore with the basic amenities on hand.

The Dana 24 were sold as kits and bare hulls. No one knows how many of these sailboats exist and how many of those are factory assembled. Due to this, you might also find slight differences in the build from unit to unit.

You can get the Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 from  YachtWorld  for $49,000.

  • LOA: 27.25 ft.
  • LWL: 21.42 ft.
  • Beam: 8.85 ft.
  • Displacement: 8,000 lbs.
  • Ballast: 3,200 lbs.
  • Sail Area: 361.22 sq. ft.
  • Fuel: 18 gallons
  • Fresh Water 40 gallons
  • First built: 1948
  • Last built: 2007
  • Designer: W.I.B Crealock

Norseboat 21.5


Do you prefer an open sailboat with a rugged design to keep your sailing experience raw? Get your hands on the Open Cockpit Norseboat 21.5. This boat has no cabin.

Simple sailboat design with settees on the side and enough storage room for a couple of passengers to enjoy a voyage across the lake or cruise near the coast.

But that's not all. The Norseboat 21.5 also comes in a cabin design that offers enhanced comfort. Whichever version you prefer, this boat offers a rugged design with carbon-fiber material instead of fiberglass, making it stronger than most sailboats.

However, you will have to compromise on the beauty part. Still, the boat provides a steady sailing experience with all the necessities you might require.

The Norseboat 21.5 sits lower near the water, and with a simple handling sloop rig and fully battened mainsail, it sails light and quick against the light wind. The boat is highly responsive to the tiller, requiring minimum effort from you to put it in the right direction.

Both versions of Norseboat 21.5 are lightweight, making them easy to haul and trail. You won't need a large truck to trail this boat to your favorite spot.

A mid-sized vehicle will do the job. On the other hand, their build maintains a strong presence uplifting their seaworthiness while a foil-shaped stub keel maintains stability.

You can buy the Norseboat 21.5 directly from  Norseboat .

  • LOA: 21.8 ft.
  • LWL: 19 ft.
  • Beam: 7.1 ft.
  • Displacement: 1,750 lbs.
  • Ballast: 275 lbs.
  • Sail Area: 197.2 sq. ft.
  • Developer: NorseBoat Limited (CAN)
  • Designer: Kevin Jeffrey/Mark Fitzgerald

Easy handling, low cost of maintenance, minimalistic designs, basic amenities, all while going offshore — these are the main selling points of pocket sailboats. All the boats mentioned above will serve you well if you are looking for the best bluewater pocket sailboats. Choose wisely!

Related Articles

Best Bluewater Pocket Sailboats

Best Bluewater Sailboats Under $100k

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

by this author

Best Sailboats

Most Recent

What Does "Sailing By The Lee" Mean? | Life of Sailing

What Does "Sailing By The Lee" Mean?

Daniel Wade

October 3, 2023

The Best Sailing Schools And Programs: Reviews & Ratings | Life of Sailing

The Best Sailing Schools And Programs: Reviews & Ratings

September 26, 2023

Important Legal Info

Lifeofsailing.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

Similar Posts

Affordable Sailboats You Can Build at Home | Life of Sailing

Affordable Sailboats You Can Build at Home

September 13, 2023

Best Small Sailboats With Standing Headroom | Life of Sailing

Best Small Sailboats With Standing Headroom

Best Bluewater Sailboats Under $50K | Life of Sailing

Best Bluewater Sailboats Under $50K

Popular posts.

Best Liveaboard Catamaran Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Best Liveaboard Catamaran Sailboats

Can a Novice Sail Around the World? | Life of Sailing

Can a Novice Sail Around the World?

Elizabeth O'Malley

June 15, 2022

Best Electric Outboard Motors | Life of Sailing

4 Best Electric Outboard Motors

How Long Did It Take The Vikings To Sail To England? | Life of Sailing

How Long Did It Take The Vikings To Sail To England?

10 Best Sailboat Brands | Life of Sailing

10 Best Sailboat Brands (And Why)

December 20, 2023

7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat | Life of Sailing

7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat

Get the best sailing content.

Top Rated Posts

Lifeofsailing.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. (866) 342-SAIL

© 2024 Life of Sailing Email: [email protected] Address: 11816 Inwood Rd #3024 Dallas, TX 75244 Disclaimer Privacy Policy

  • New Sailboats
  • Sailboats 21-30ft
  • Sailboats 31-35ft
  • Sailboats 36-40ft
  • Sailboats Over 40ft
  • Sailboats Under 21feet
  • used_sailboats
  • Apps and Computer Programs
  • Communications
  • Fishfinders
  • Handheld Electronics
  • Plotters MFDS Rradar
  • Wind, Speed & Depth Instruments
  • Anchoring Mooring
  • Running Rigging
  • Sails Canvas
  • Standing Rigging
  • Diesel Engines
  • Off Grid Energy
  • Cleaning Waxing
  • DIY Projects
  • Repair, Tools & Materials
  • Spare Parts
  • Tools & Gadgets
  • Cabin Comfort
  • Ventilation
  • Footwear Apparel
  • Foul Weather Gear
  • Mailport & PS Advisor
  • Inside Practical Sailor Blog
  • Activate My Web Access
  • Reset Password
  • Customer Service

best 34 foot sailboat

  • Free Newsletter

best 34 foot sailboat

Pearson 37 and 37-2 Used Boat Review

Keep an eye out for corroded exhaust and signs of water intrusion, which could lead to expensive repairs in the future.

DIY Survey Checklist for Used-Boat Buying

best 34 foot sailboat

Valiant 40: Reshaping the Cruising Hull

best 34 foot sailboat

Bristol Channel Cutter 28: Circumnavigator’s Choice

Irwin Vise-Grip Wire Stripper. (Photo/ Adam Morris)

Best Crimpers and Strippers for Fixing Marine Electrical Connectors

600-watt solar panel system on Summer Twins 28 sailing catamaran Caribbean Soul 2. (Photo/ Clifford Burgess)

Thinking Through a Solar Power Installation

best 34 foot sailboat

How Does the Gulf Stream Influence our Weather?

A lithium conversion requires a willing owner and a capable craft. Enter the Privilege 435 catamaran Confianza.

Can You Run a Marine Air-Conditioner on Battery Power?

best 34 foot sailboat

Practical Sailor Classic: The Load on Your Rode

best 34 foot sailboat

Anchor Rodes for Smaller Sailboats

best 34 foot sailboat

Ground Tackle Inspection Tips

best 34 foot sailboat

Shoe Goo II Excels for Quick Sail Repairs

When starting lights up the tester, that means your spark plug is good. (Photo/ David Corrao)

Dinghy Outboard Diagnostics

This Perkins M20, 3 cyl, 18hp diesel engine is cleaned, inspected and antifreeze flushed after a winter on the hard. Due to proper prep for both winter and spring, it is now running smoothly. (Photo/ Marc Robic)

Spring Season Engine Start-Up for Winterized Engines

best 34 foot sailboat

Solutions for a Stinky Holding Tank

best 34 foot sailboat

Diesel Performance Additives

With a few inexpensive materials and a bit of patience, you can redo the vinyl lettering on your boat yourself. (Photo/ Marc Robic)

Vinyl Boat Lettering DIY Application and Repair

Little things that are hardly necessary but nice to have start in the galley.

Those Extras you Don’t Need But Love to Have

Hidden Maintenance Problems: Part 3 – Gremlins in the Electrics

best 34 foot sailboat

Three-Model BBQ Test

best 34 foot sailboat

Alcohol Stoves— Swan Song or Rebirth?

best 34 foot sailboat

Living Aboard with an Alcohol Stove

best 34 foot sailboat

Preparing Yourself for Solo Sailing

best 34 foot sailboat

How to Select Crew for a Passage or Delivery

best 34 foot sailboat

Preparing A Boat to Sail Solo

best 34 foot sailboat

Re-sealing the Seams on Waterproof Fabrics

best 34 foot sailboat

Chafe Protection for Dock Lines

Waxing and Polishing Your Boat

Waxing and Polishing Your Boat

best 34 foot sailboat

Reducing Engine Room Noise

best 34 foot sailboat

Tricks and Tips to Forming Do-it-yourself Rigging Terminals

marine toilet test

Marine Toilet Maintenance Tips

  • Sailboat Reviews

Like other Hunters, the 34 bears the stamp of a mass-produced boat--but she's better than older Hunters.

When the Hunter 34 was introduced in late 1982, it was the second of the “modern” generation of Hunters, the first being the rather remarkable Hunter 54. The Hunter company has been strongly identified with the long-distance singlehanded racing of its president, Warren Luhrs. Although Luhrs has not been particularly successful in his racing, his own boats have been innovative, and the concepts of innovation and high-tech have to some degree rubbed off on Hunter’s production boats.

Hunter 34

Hunter has always gone after the entry-level cruising boat owner, and has traditionally pushed its “Cruise Pac” concept—a boat delivered equipped down to the life jackets, and ready to go. This certainly reduces the amount of decision making required by inexperienced boat owners, and has been a successful marketing strategy. For more experienced sailors who would rather choose their own gear, the Cruise Pac idea is not necessarily a plus.

In just over three years, over 800 Hunter 34s were built. For the 1986 model year, the 34 was phased out in favor of the even more Eurostyled Legend 35.

A number of Hunter 34 owners responding to our survey moved up from smaller boats in the Hunter line—exactly what every builder would like to see happen. All reported that the Hunter 34 was lightyears ahead in both design and workmanship compared to earlier models.

Because the Hunter 34 was only in production for a few years, few changes were made between model years. You are therefore less likely to find major upgrades on older boats than you would find on a boat that has been in production for a long time.

Sailing Performance

The Hunter 34 is a fast boat, particularly in light air. This is due almost entirely to her huge rig, which towers over 51′ above the waterline. Owners report that in winds of from seven to 12 knots, the boat is practically unbeatable in club racing. The typical PHRF rating of 135 for the deep keel boat is faster than most other cruiser/racers of her size.

There is a price to be paid for that speed, however. A number of owners responding to our survey report that the original Hunter 34 is a very tippy boat, in either the deep keel or shoal draft version. In winds of 15 knots true or more, it’s time to reef the main when going upwind. In fact, the boat’s lack of stability is the single most commonly criticized aspect of the Hunter 34’s performance in our survey. One owner was considering cutting several feet off his mast. Others have stepped down from 150% headsails to 135% or smaller overlaps.

Normally, you would expect a boat with a 42% ballast/displacement ratio to be stiff. The keel of the deep-draft Hunter 34, however, has most of its weight and volume up high, while the shoal draft keel, even with its extra 220 pounds of ballast, still has a fairly high vertical center of gravity. This just goes to show that you can’t judge a boat’s stability by its ballast/ displacement ratio—you’ve got to know how far down that weight is, too.

Models late in the production run had more ballast. The 1985 Hunter 34 brochure shows about 450 pounds more ballast than in the 1983 model. For cruising, the additional ballast would be a real plus. For club racing with a full crew, the lighter boats could be sailed faster.

Using headsails smaller than 150% on the Hunter 34 would be a good idea, particularly if you couple them with a modern roller furling system. A 135% jib can more effectively be reduced to 110% than a 150% genoa can be reefed to 120%. Since the boat is sensitive to sail area, a good headsail roller furling system is a must, in our opinion.

According to several owners, the Hunter 34 carries substantial weather helm in anything more than very light air. This may in part be due to the boat’s tenderness. As boats with wide sterns and narrow bows heel, the waterplane becomes substantially asymmetrical, which can give the boat a pronounced tendency to head up.

This weather helm may be exacerbated by an original rudder design that some owners report was both too small and too weak for the boat. Several owners reported cracking of the original rudders, which Hunter replaced with a larger, stronger, “high performance” rudder. Unfortunately, in some cases Hunter only paid part of the replacement costs; owners were stuck with the rest. We wouldn’t want a Hunter 34 without the high performance rudder. The better rudder was standard equipment on 1984 and 1985 models.

The complex B&R rig, with its swept-back spreaders and diamond shrouds, is also a headache for some owners. There’s a lot of rigging for a novice to adjust, and according to our survey, the dealers who commissioned the boats were not necessarily more capable of adjusting the rig than the owners.

One problem with the B&R rig is that, on any point of sail freer than a broad reach, the mainsail will fetch up on the spreaders and shrouds. You can apply patches to keep the spreaders from poking holes in the mainsail, but we think the shrouds are likely to chafe on the sail almost from head to foot when running, no matter what you do.

In addition, the lack of either forward lower shrouds, baby stay, or inner forestay means that if the headstay goes, the rig may follow before you can do anything to prevent it. One owner in our survey reported losing his rig when the roller furling headstay failed. Most new sailors have enough trouble tuning a simple, single spreader rig with double lower shrouds. The multi-spreader, multi-shroud B&R rig may seem incomprehensible to them, and they may never be able to tune the rig for good performance.

The boat is very fast upwind, but only average in speed off the wind. With a spinnaker, downwind performance would be greatly improved. The high aspect ratio mainsail simply doesn’t project enough area for efficient downwind sailing, particularly since you can’t square the boom to the mast due to the swept-back spreaders.

Most Hunter 34s are equipped with the Yanmar 3GMF, a three-cylinder, fresh water cooled diesel that puts out about 22.5 hp. This is an excellent engine, although early versions, according to some owners in our survey, were plagued by vibration.

Hunter 34

Some of the first Hunter 34s were equipped with the Westerbeke 21 diesel. In our opinion, the Yanmar is a much more desirable engine. For boats to be used in salt water, check to make sure that the engine is fresh water cooled, rather than raw water cooled.

Some early versions of this engine lacked fresh water cooling, and they will not last as long when used in salt water.

Access to the engine for service is good. The Yanmar is more than adequate power for the boat, and she should cruise under power at 5 1/2 knots or more without any trouble. The fuel capacity of 25 gallons should give a range of about 275 miles.


Hunters are mass-produced boats at the low end of the price scale. The Hunter 34 was the first “small” Hunter to be built with a molded hull liner. A molded liner can add considerable strength to a single-skin boat, and the use of integral molded furniture components can greatly speed assembly. Assembly is the right word, too: these boats are assembled, rather than built.

The original tooling for a hull liner is quite expensive. It is therefore only practical on a boat that is expected to have a fairly large production run.

Not everything about the Hunter 34’s hull liner is a plus, however. According to several owners, any leakage from the stuffing box can be trapped between the liner and the hull, never draining to the bilge. This could not only smell bad after a while, but could possibly cause problems in a cold climate if trapped water freezes without room to expand. The preassembly technique common with liners also means that many systems are installed in ways that can make them difficult to service after the hull, deck, and liner are put together.

Hunter quality control is criticized by some owners in our survey. Complaints include chafed hoses, raw edges, systems hooked up improperly, and leaking ports and hatches. In our opinion, that’s a quality control problem, pure and simple, and it can be a maintenance headache for owners. One owner reported a leaking hull-to-deck joint. When he checked it, he found that many of the bolts had apparently never been torqued down when the hull and deck were joined. We don’t think the boat should have left the factory in that condition.

On the positive side, owners of Hunter 34s who had owned older Hunters report that in general the construction details of the 34 are superior to those of older boats.

Do not expect to find a lot of fancy teak joinerwork on the Hunter 34. Some owners complain that both the interior and exterior teak trim is poorly fitted and poorly finished. Obviously, you could do a lot to improve this if you wanted to—as some owners have—but don’t expect a dramatic increase in the value of the boat for your efforts.

The iron keels of the Hunter 34s can also be a maintenance headache. Some owners say the keels did not come from the factory with adequate protection to avoid rusting—which is almost impossible to prevent with an iron keel. Other owners report that the keel-to-hull seam cracks open, allowing salt water into the joint—which results in more rust. This is a cosmetic problem now, but we think it could over time become a structural problem.

The deck molding has been a source of trouble on some boats. The molded non skid isn’t very nonskid when it gets wet. There are also a number of reports of gelcoat flaws in the deck, including voids and blistering. At least one owner reports that the outer deck laminate in his cockpit has separated from the wood core.

Several owners complain that some molded deck components—cockpit locker covers, anchor well covers—are simply too light, and tend to crack.

The Hunter 34 was one of the first boats under 35′ to offer a tri-cabin layout, and this interior design is frequently cited as a primary reason for buying the boat. Now, of course, it is common for boats this size to have three cabins.

The only real complaint voiced about the interior of the Hunter 34 is the narrowness of the foot of the forward V-berth. Despite being pushed far forward in the hull, the forward cabin feels big due to the long cabin trunk, which extends clear to the anchor well, giving extra headroom over the berth. Standing headroom in the forward cabin drops off to less than 6′ due to the sloping cabin trunk.

Just aft of the forward cabin is a full-width head. This makes a lot of sense in a boat this size, since the combination of head and passageway would make for both a cramped head and a narrow passageway. According to some owner surveys, the plumbing for the toilet leaves a lot to be desired. They report that the holding tank system smells, apparently due to porous hoses and a poor vent design.

Instead of the more common U-shaped dinette, the Hunter 34 has a rather old fashioned dinette with athwartships seating. This certainly makes it easier to convert the dinette to a double berth, but it means that you can seat a maximum of four at the table for dinner. On the port side, the head of the settee berth is used as the seat for the chart table—a design compromise, since that settee is one of only two potential sea berths on the boat.

Original specifications call for a two-burner kerosene stove. Kerosene never caught on as a cooking fuel in this country, partly because it is so difficult to  get high-grade kerosene here. Propane or CNG would be far better choices for cooking fuel, since low-grade kerosene is a dirty fuel, and alcohol is expensive, inefficient, and in our opinion, dangerous.

As you would expect on a boat this size, the aft cabin is pretty small, with limited standing area. Despite the fact that the double berth is mostly under the cockpit, there is adequate headroom over it due to the fact that the cockpit is quite shallow.

The privacy of the tri-cabin layout is very important for a family with children, or owners that like to cruise with another couple. The single fixed berth in the main cabin means that the boat will sleep only five without making up the dinette. “Only” five is a pretty good number in a boat this size, and the most important thing is that it sleeps five in a reasonable level of comfort. All in all, the interior of the Hunter 34 is well thought out and livable.


The general design and finish of the Hunter 34 are far ahead of older boats by the company. The Eurostyling of the deck and interior were pretty unusual when the boat first came out, but fairly typical of boats built five years after the Hunter 34 was introduced.

Nevertheless, this is still a mass-produced boat with what some owners consider mediocre quality control and finishing details. It is a fast sailer, but may be so tippy that it discourages some novices. You should definitely sail the boat before you buy it. The B&R rig may also scare off some new sailors. Because of the problems with the deck molding, a used Hunter 34 should be carefully and professionally surveyed before purchase.

If you want a fast, modern small coastal cruiser with maximum room at minimum cost, a Hunter 34 would be a good choice. But remember that you’re buying a mass-produced boat, and it’s not realisitic to expect custom quality at this price.


Thank you for the comprehensive report. It is very practical and enlightening allowing a potential buyer to make an educated decisiion

I have a deep keel version of the 1999 Hunter 340 – Trinity. She has excellent pointing characteristics allowing her to sail up to 15 degrees off the apparent, and we win races as a result. However, it takes a bit of wind to move her with our 110% headsail. She’s best around 15 knots apparent; above that reefing is advised going to windward. I don’t consider her tippy, but certainly if you push her, you’ll get lots of helm and the rail in the water. I’ve raced her single handed in Georgian Bay in 35-42 knots apparent, winning the Meaburywood Trophy in 2021, an inter-club race of 15 boats. I like her a lot but being on the cusp of retiring, I am looking for a bigger boat to allow longer range cruising.

LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply

Log in to leave a comment

Latest Videos

Hanse 410: What You Should Know | Boat Tour video from Practical Sailor

Hanse 410: What You Should Know | Boat Tour

Sailboat vs Fishing Boat - Rules of the Road video from Practical Sailor

Sailboat vs Fishing Boat – Rules of the Road

Catalina 445: What You Should Know | Boat Review video from Practical Sailor

Catalina 445: What You Should Know | Boat Review

How to Wax and Polish Your Boat video from Practical Sailor

How to Wax and Polish Your Boat

  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell My Personal Information
  • Online Account Activation
  • Privacy Manager
  • Email Newsletters
  • Boat of the Year
  • 2024 Freshwater Boat and Gear Buyers Guide
  • 2024 Boat Buyers Guide
  • 2024 Water Sports Boat Buyers Guide
  • 2024 Pontoon Boat Buyers Guide
  • Cruising Boats
  • Pontoon Boats
  • Fishing Boats
  • Personal Watercraft
  • Water Sports
  • Boat Walkthroughs
  • What To Look For
  • Watersports Favorites Spring 2022
  • Boating Lab
  • Boating Safety

Boating Magazine Logo

2022 Cruisers Yachts 34GLS

  • By Capt. Chris Caswell
  • April 6, 2022

Cruisers Yachts 34GLS out cruising

The new Cruisers Yachts 34GLS is the latest iteration of the popular GLS series from Cruisers Yachts, which persists in claiming that GLS stands for Grand Luxury Sport. But I like to think it stands for Great Little Ship. This yacht defines family fun—if you look up “family fun” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of the 34GLS. Well, not really, but you get the idea.

The 34GLS is aimed at day outings and occasional overnight adventures, and it has enough speed (45 mph) with twin Mercury Verado outboards to satisfy all the towed water-toy needs.

Outboards generally preclude a usable transom platform, but the 34GLS has two “wings” extending alongside the engines as well as a comfortably wide walkway forward of the outboards, with all the plumbing and connections hidden so no one will trip. Like the rest of the cockpit, the area is covered with SeaDek for a cushy nonslip surface.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL cockpit

Interior and Accessories

The cockpit seating is offset to allow a rear-facing seat to port, the outdoor galley console, and a settee with a back that flips to become either a companion seat or aft-facing lounge. To starboard is an L-shaped settee, also with a flipping back for facing aft or forming a sun pad when folded flat. Cruisers gets credit not just for two perfectly finished tables (standard), but also for providing dedicated stowage (in a bag for varnish protection).

Cruisers Yachts 34GL aft lounge

The mini galley includes a sink, but be sure to order the optional grill, fridge or ice maker for serious outings, and maybe even the fridge drawer under the helm seat. A standard fiberglass hardtop covers the cockpit, and our boat had both the optional SureShade to stretch the sun protection and an opening sunroof.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL helm

The skipper gets a well-arranged throne with a bench seat (adult-plus-kid size), and a Simrad electronics package with twin 9-inch displays in an eyebrowed dash to prevent reflections.  

The bow seating is via a passage to port, with a closing windshield and wind door to protect the cockpit. This is an area where parents worry, but Cruisers made the coamings high at 33 inches. The cockpit is even deeper at about 40 inches for safety.

There’s nothing unusual forward, with wraparound seats, a pedestal table that becomes a sun pad, and a 48-quart cooler. The forward-facing seats have flip-down armrests with beverage holders. The windlass ($7,355) tucks under a flush foredeck hatch, with push-button controls at the helm and at the bow.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL bow seating

Going below, I was impressed by the sliding screen door and usual fiberglass door. One night of dodging no-see-ums and you’ll also appreciate them. Cruisers managed to jigsaw all the important things into the living area, with a pair of settees that convert to a 77-by-48-inch double berth using the dining table, and our test boat had the optional fridge and microwave for morning coffee. A second cabin is just aft, with a single 6-by-3-foot berth tucked athwartships—perfect for a kid or mother-in-law.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL cabin

A strong selling point for the 34GLS is the enclosed head with a Dometic electric flush toilet, and a counter with a vessel sink and Euro faucet. It’s a wet head with a wraparound shower curtain, a shower wand, and an opening port to vent the steam.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL head

Cruisers also gets points for paying attention to details, such as the fully finished lockers. Lift a hatch and you find all the plumbing carefully secured and labeled in a white-finished bilge for easy cleaning. A sump handles the shower and sink so soapy water doesn’t go into the bilge, and Cruisers doesn’t cut any corners on construction with the 34GLS. The all-fiberglass hull is reinforced with rot-free foam and glass stringers, plus numerous molded sections for monocoque strength. I was also impressed by the deep gutters in the deck hatches, which should easily handle enthusiastic washdowns or downpours without water leaking belowdecks.

Our test boat had the standard Merc 300 Verados with Joystick Piloting, but you can up the ante to 350, 400 or even 450R outboards if you have a need for speed. For the Great Lakes, the 34GLS can also be fitted with Volvo Penta or MerCruiser sterndrives up to 350 hp each, but you’d lose the immense utility room under the cockpit sole. With outboards, that cavern can handle a 5 kW Kohler diesel generator, although our 34 boasted the inverter ($6,740) that can power the air conditioning ($6,235) for up to six hours.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL outboards running

The 34GLS has hydraulic trim tabs as standard, but the boat came up flat and fast during our test without needing a nudge from the tabs to get onto plane. Because we ran flat at speed, I suspect the tabs are there to balance the boat when Aunt Edna parks to one side.

The bottom was designed by Ocean Five naval architects, a growing force in production boats, and it sliced neatly through wakes and chop with its 21-degree transom deadrise without throwing spray everywhere. The 34GLS is fun to drive too, and the skipper is going to have people lined up saying, “My turn, my turn!”

If you’re looking around, check out the Scout 350LXZ ($551,000), which is a foot shorter but offers triple outboards.

Whether you’re entertaining a bunch of friends or getting away for a lazy weekend, the Cruisers 34GLS fulfills the promise of grand luxury sport; even better, it’s also a great little ship.

How We Tested

  • Engine: Twin 300 hp Mercury Verado V-8s
  • Drive/Prop: Outboard/16″ x 16.5″ Enertia 3-blade stainless steel
  • Gear Ratio: 1.85:1 Fuel Load: 200 gal. Water on Board: 0 gal. Crew Weight: 400 lb

High Points 

  • Immense finished stowage throughout, including for large items such as fenders.
  • Clearly labeled and user-friendly dash, with shifter and throttles, joystick, and trim-tab controls in the armrest.
  • Wide walkway to the bow from the cockpit with high coamings.
  • Deep hatch gutters with rubber seals and double drains.
  • Needs more handrails for moving around the cockpit safely, and the strange knee-high rails on the seats are too low.
  • Getting into the aft cabin past the stairs requires a bit of wiggling.

Pricing and Specs

$505,840 (with test power)
14,530 lb.
21 degrees
217 gal.
Mercury outboards to 450 hp, MerCruiser or Volvo Penta sterndrives to 700 hp total

Speed, Efficiency, Operation

Cruisers Yachts 34GLS performance data

Cruisers Yachts – Oconto, Wisconsin; 800-743-3478; cruisersyachts.com

  • More: 2022 , 30-40ft , boat tests , Boats , Cruisers Yachts , Cruising Boats , May 2022 , outboards

Solara S-250 DC runnign

Boat Test: 2024 Solara S-250 DC

Checkmate Pulsare 2400 BRX running fast

Boat Test: 2024 Checkmate Pulsare 2400 BRX

Twin Cox 350 diesel outboards

Cox 350 Diesel Outboard

Suzuki Stealth outboard lineup

Suzuki Marine Unveils New Stealth Line Outboards

Checkmate Pulsare 2400 BRX running fast

Boat Test: 2024 Zodiac Medline 7.5 GT

Boating Magazine Logo

  • Digital Edition
  • Customer Service
  • Privacy Policy
  • Cruising World
  • Sailing World
  • Salt Water Sportsman
  • Sport Fishing
  • Wakeboarding

Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. Boating may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site.

Copyright © 2024 Boating Firecrown . All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

  • Newsletters
  • Sailboat Reviews
  • Boating Safety
  • Sails and Rigging
  • Maintenance
  • Sailing Totem
  • Sailor & Galley
  • Living Aboard
  • Destinations
  • Gear & Electronics
  • Charter Resources

Cruising World Logo

10 Best Used Cruising Sailboats

  • By John Kretschmer
  • Updated: May 24, 2024

The appeal of offshore voyaging is difficult to explain to land people who can’t imagine life without basic human rights like copious quantities of hot water and unlimited data. It can even be challenging to explain to fellow sailors who think the notion of spending days or weeks at sea is a form of water­boarding, some kind of self-inflicted torture.

But for those of us who understand, who relish intimacy with the untamed wilderness that is the ocean and embrace self-­reliance and individual expression while accepting the ­dispassionate whims of Neptune, this is the good life.

There are two essential truths about this life: One, money does not matter. Cruising budgets and lifestyles reflect bank accounts with variously positioned commas; it’s the passages and landfalls that add up, not your investment portfolio. And two, a good bluewater sailboat — not necessarily an expensive boat, but a well-­designed, solidly built, imminently seaworthy boat that is only limited by your moxie and imagination — is the key to successful bluewater passagemaking.

– LEARN THE NAVIGATION RULES – Know the “Rules of the Road” that govern all boat traffic. Be courteous and never assume other boaters can see you. Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

So, to that second point, I’ve compiled a list of interesting and affordable cruising sailboats for serious voyaging. A list of 10 sailboats for any purpose, much less world cruising, is sure to evoke outrage from strong-minded sailors, who by nature tend to be a bit opinionated. Stand by before hurling insults my way, and let me explain. I have decided to stay away from the sailboats we know by heart, the iconic old boats that usually populate a list like this: the Westsail 32, Tayana 37, Shannon 38 and Valiant 40 (the last of which, with a bit of searching, can still be found at or just below $100,000).

My list of some of the best liveaboard sailboats is eclectic and includes a mix of well-known and obscure manufacturers, but all the boats are linked in three ways: All are top-quality vessels capable of crossing oceans. They’re affordable, although in a few cases you have to look for older models in less-than-stellar condition to stay below $100,000. Indeed, in some ways, this list of used sailboats is a function of age; most of the boats were priced at more than $100,000 when new but have dipped below our self-imposed threshold in middle age. And finally, they’re all boats that I have encountered in the past few years in far-flung cruising destinations .

Island Packet 35

Packet 35

Love them or loathe them, Island Packets are everywhere. To some, the beamy, full-keel, high-freeboard hull designs seem quaint, to put it charitably. To others, the robust construction standards, roomy interiors and overall user-friendliness make them the ideal cruising boat. More than most, sailing vessels are compromises, and Bob Johnson and his crew at Island Packet were brilliant in prioritizing the needs of sailors. The IP 35 was introduced in 1988 and features a huge cockpit, an easy-to-handle cutter rig with a jib boom, and a clever, comfortable interior with the volume of many 40-footers. It might not be the fastest boat upwind, but the long waterline translates to good performance off the breeze, meaning the IP 35 finds its stride in the trade winds. In all, 188 boats were built before production stopped in 1994.

Don’t confuse the IP 35 with the IP 350, which was launched in 1997 and included a stern swim step. You won’t find a 350 for less than $100,000, but you will have a choice among 35s, especially those built before 1990. With two nice staterooms, the 35 is ideal for family cruising. I know of a couple of 35s that have completed the classic Atlantic Circle passage. It’s perfect for a sabbatical cruise because it holds its value and there’s a ready market when it comes time to sell.

Prout Snowgoose 37

Prout Snowgoose 37

There’s no room for discussion: Catamarans are crossing oceans, and many sailors are choosing cats for world cruising. My last visits to the Azores and Canary Islands, the classic Atlantic waypoints, proved the point. I’m not much of a statistician, but by my count, at least a quarter and maybe a third of the boats I saw were catamarans. There would be more on this list, but they are just too expensive. Finding a quality catamaran for less than $100,000 is tough. One boat to consider is the classic workhorse multihull, the Prout Snowgoose 37.

When the Snowgoose 37 was launched in 1983, English builder Prout & Sons had already been in business for nearly 50 years. The 37 was an updated version of the Snowgoose 35, one of the most successful cruising cats ever. In 1986, the 37 was updated again; the Snowgoose Elite model included more beam and interior upgrades. These models are challenging to find for under $100,000, but it’s possible. A quick glance at yachtworld.com shows several of both models available for less than $100,000. Again, the strong dollar makes European boats an excellent value.

The Snowgoose 37 is not sexy like go-fast cats, and not roomy like modern cruising cats. It is, however, seaworthy. Of the 500 built, many have circumnavigated. Older boats have solid fiberglass hulls, and more recent models are solid glass from the waterline down and cored above. The cockpit is rather compact by catamaran standards, and the bridgedeck is solid (no tramp). Many 37s and all Elites were rigged with staysails, a big plus in heavy weather. The masthead-­rigged Snowgoose 37 can be sailed like a monohull offshore, and it’s quite nice not having a huge, roachy mainsail to wrestle with in a storm. With a 15-foot-3-inch beam for the 37 and a 16-foot-3-inch beam for the Elite, it’s easy to find affordable dockage and yards for haulouts. Most boats have three double cabins, making the Snowgoose 37 an ideal family cruiser.

Corbin 39

The Corbin 39 is not as well known as it should be. It’s a capable bluewater sailboat cruiser with many impressive voyages logged. My Quetzal spent several weeks moored alongside a handsome 39 in Corfu that had sailed around the world, and I also spent a winter in Malta in the same boatyard as another 39 that had recently crossed the Atlantic. A canoe-stern, flush-deck pilothouse cutter, the 39 was offered with either an aft or center cockpit. Designed by Michael Dufour and constructed by Corbin les Bateaux in Canada, hull number one was launched in 1977. Built in various locations in Quebec, 129 boats were launched before a fire destroyed the deck tooling in 1982. A new deck with a larger cockpit was designed, and 70 more boats were laid up before production ceased in 1990.

The rub on the Corbin 39 is that the majority of boats were sold as kits with owner-­finished interiors. Kits varied from just hull-and-deck to “sailaway,” with everything fitted except the interior. Only 15 boats were finished at the factory. Not surprisingly, the interior quality is unpredictable, from rough-hewn lumberyard specials to beautifully handcrafted gems finished by marine professionals. The difference is reflected in the price. A nicely finished, well-equipped model from the mid-’80s typically sells for between $60,000 and $80,000.

The hull shape features a long fin keel and skeg-mounted rudder. The hulls are heavily laid up and include Airex coring. Early decks were plywood-cored, but most boats have Airex in the deck as well. Ballast is 9,000 pounds of internal lead, translating to a 40 percent ballast-to-displacement ratio. The wide flush deck is spacious, and the sleek pilothouse usually includes inside steering. Massive double anchor rollers are incorporated into the bowsprit in later models. Most boats include a double-­spreader spar, and almost all were set up as cutters. There’s plenty of freeboard, which becomes obvious below. While interior arrangements vary considerably, there’s a lot of room to work with. I prefer the post-1982 aft-cockpit 39s; they’re generally of a higher quality than earlier boats.

– CARRY A BEACON – Satellite beacons such as EPIRBs or PLBs allow boaters to transmit distress signals and their exact coordinates from anywhere on the planet, no cell service required. It may be the best $400 you ever spend. Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

Cabo Rico 38

Cabo Rico 38

“The Cabo Rico 38 hull shape is the one in which everything came together best,” wrote Bill Crealock in his design notes. He might have changed his mind later in life, considering that the Cabo Rico was introduced in 1977 and he designed many boats after that, but few will dispute that this 38-foot cutter, built in Costa Rica, is flat-out beautiful. From the clipper bow to the sweet sheer to the abundance of honey-colored teak, the Cabo Rico 38 is a boat to inspire the most practical among us to quit their job, buy this vessel, and head for the South Pacific.

Not surprisingly, many people have done just that. Cabo Rico built 200 full-keeled 38s, with most of the production occurring in the 1980s. There’s always a selection of boats for sale for less than $100,000. Cabo Rico was an outlier among manufacturers of the time, building serious cruising boats in Central America instead of Taiwan, but quality control was always excellent. The full keel is slightly cutaway, and the rudder is attached to the trailing edge. The prop is in an aperture and totally protected, but not well suited to backing into a slip. Full-keel boats may make some younger sailors cringe, but the CR 38 has a very soft ride in rough seas and heaves to effectively. It also has a solid fiberglass hull with a layer of balsa for insulation. Sometimes it’s noted that the hull is balsa-cored, but it’s not. After about hull number 40, lead was used instead of iron for internal ballast. The deck is balsa-cored, however, and there’s a substantial bulwark. Items to be wary of are the teak decks (most 38s have them) and the fittings supporting the bobstay.

A true cutter rig, the 38 has just under 1,000 square feet of working sail area and performs better than most people suspect. The staysail was originally set on a boom that cluttered the foredeck and limited sail shape. Many boats have been converted with furling staysails sans the boom — a nice upgrade. When the wind pipes up, the 38 tracks nicely with a reefed main and staysail. I encounter 38s all over the Caribbean. They’re easy to spot; they’re the beautiful boats in the anchorage.

Tayana Vancouver 42

Tayana Vancouver 42

Ta Yang, builder of Tayana sailboats, has been building capable cruising boats forever, it seems. The Robert Harris-designed Tayana Vancouver 42 has been a mainstay of the serious cruising fleet since the day it was launched in 1979, and is still in demand today. The company built 200 boats, mostly in the ’80s and early ’90s, although a few V42s were built into the 2000s. With a bit of digging and some haggling, you can find boats for less than $100,000, but they’re likely to be older models. As of this writing, yachtworld.com has eight V42s listed, with three asking less than $100,000.

I’ve encountered the V42 all over the world, and in my yacht-delivery days, I had the pleasure of delivering a couple of 42s up the East Coast and down to the Caribbean. The double-ended hull shape with a fin-skeg underbody is stiff and seaworthy, if not wickedly fast. Considering the rugged construction, with a solid fiberglass hull and balsa-cored deck, nobody has ever accused Ta Yang of going light on its boats. Ballast is internal iron, a massive single casting that weighs in at 11,800 pounds. Ta Yang has evolved as a builder, and later models included upgrades like vinylester resin and larger Yanmar diesels.

A true cutter, the V42 has a double-spreader rig and is heavily stayed. The seagoing deck is cambered to shed water. Teak decks, with all their virtues and vices, were common; I’d look for a boat that’s been de-teaked. Like the Corbin 39, the V42 came with either a center or aft cockpit, although most boats were aft-cockpit models. The aft cockpit is deep and secure, if a bit tight due to volume sacrificed by the canoe stern. The center cockpit is cramped but offers excellent visibility. The interior is lovely, with exquisite Taiwanese joinery. Although interior arrangements vary because Ta Yang encouraged owner input, across the board, this is a friendly boat for living aboard. The aft-cockpit model includes one head and a traditional layout with excellent light and ventilation. The center-­cockpit model features a large owner’s stateroom aft.

Wauquiez Pretorien 35

Wauquiez Pretorien 35

The Pretorien 35 does not pay homage to tradition. The Euro-style low-slung wedge deck and flattish lines were thoroughly modern when the Pretorien was launched in 1979. Sure, there are IOR influences in this well-proven Holman & Pye design, including a slightly pinched stern, cramped cockpit, and a high-aspect, short-boom mainsail that results in a large fore­triangle. But a small main is easy to handle offshore, especially in squally conditions, and a large poled-out furling genoa provides a low-stress way to cross oceans. The test of a design is revealed long after the launch, and the Pretorien has aged brilliantly. It’s often mistaken for a Swan or Baltic. Famed voyager and author Hal Roth chose a Pretorien for his last boat.

Below the water, which is what really matters at sea, the Pretorien pushes the right buttons for serious sailing. A fine entry provides enough of a forefoot to prevent pounding in lumpy conditions, and as on the Valiant 40, the fin keel incorporates a stub to which the external ballast is fastened. The rudder is mounted well aft for excellent steering control, especially on a deep reach, and is tucked behind a narrow but full-length skeg. The Pretorien displaces 13,000 pounds, of which 6,000 pounds is ballast, translating to a stiff, seakindly boat.

The construction is superb. The solid fiberglass hull includes longitudinal stringers that stiffen the panels and encapsulate the bulkheads. Tabbing and fiberglass work is first-rate throughout. Wauquiez was one of the first builders to use solid laminate beneath high-load deck fittings. The side decks are wide and, with the chainplates well inboard, easy to navigate. The interior arrangement is conventional, but ample beam amidships helps create a surprisingly spacious feel below.

There were 212 Pretoriens built during a seven-year production run, so there’s usually a good selection of boats on the used market. Today’s strong dollar makes European Pretoriens an excellent value.

– SHOW THEM HOW MUCH YOU CARE – Nothing says ‘I love you’ like making sure the kids’ life jackets are snugged up and properly buckled. Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

Gulfstar 44

Gulfstar 44

Gulfstar had a terrible reputation in the early ’70s: It was infamous for producing wide-body motorsailers with tiny rigs and chintzy Formica interiors. Company founder Vince Lazzara was adept at reading market trends and upped his game in the late ’70s and ’80s. Lazzara, who also founded Columbia Yachts, was a veteran of the production-­sailboat wars and realized that buyers were demanding high-quality boats that sailed well. The Gulfstar 44 was launched in 1978, and 105 were sold before the company started producing the Hirsh 45 in 1985.

Some mistake the G44 for a Bristol, and it has a similar profile, right down to the teak toerail and raked cabin trunk. A sleek center-­cockpit design, the hull shape features a 5-foot-6-inch fin keel, a skeg-hung rudder and moderate proportions. I know the boat well, having delivered one from Bermuda to Annapolis and another from Fort Lauderdale to Boston. It has a nice ride in lumpy seas and powers up when the big genoa is drawing on a reach. The construction is typical of the time, with solid fiberglass hulls and cored decks. Gulfstars were known to blister, and it’s likely that any 44 you find will have had an epoxy bottom job along the way — and if it hasn’t, it will need one. The keel-stepped spar has an air draft of 55 feet. Some owners have modified the sloop rig with a staysail. The cockpit is roomy, especially for a center-cockpit design, although there’s not much of a bridgedeck. All sail controls are led aft. Lazzara was an early proponent of this feature, and the boat is user-friendly overall.

The interior sells the boat. It’s nicely finished in teak, and the layout is made for living aboard. The aft cabin includes an enormous double berth with an en suite head and stall shower. The main saloon is spacious and well ventilated, although beware of the plastic opening portlights. If you are looking for a comfortable, well-built center-cockpit cruiser but can’t find one that you can afford, track down a Gulfstar 44; you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Nordic 40

Any list of bluewater cruising sailboats must include a Robert Perry design. I could have easily put together nine Perry boats for this list. The Nordic 40 may surprise some, especially because 40 feet is an iconic length, bringing to mind such boats as the Valiant 40, Hinckley Bermuda 40, Bristol 40, Pacific Seacraft 40, Passport 40 and others. The trick is finding a 40-footer for less than $100,000. Nonetheless, the Nordic 40 and its larger sister ship, the 44, are among my favorite boats.

Based in Bellingham, Washington, Nordic produced world-class yachts during its brief production run in the 1980s. Only 40 Nordic 40s were launched between 1982 and 1987, but they’re worth seeking out on the used-boat market. The 40 features the classic double-ended Perry hull shape, with a fine entry, a deep and powerful fin keel, a skeg-mounted rudder positioned well aft, and a reverse transom. Freeboard is moderate and the sheer line is subtle, but to my eye, with its double-spreader rig and gently sloping deck line, the boat is poetry in the water.

The hull is solid fiberglass and the deck is balsa-cored, with solid laminates below loaded-up deck fittings. Original boats came with Navtec rod rigging and a hydraulic backstay, but many have been upgraded by now. Sail-control lines are led aft to the compact but functional T-shaped cockpit. The traveler is forward of the companionway, allowing for a cockpit dodger. The Nordic 40 is nimble in light to moderate breeze but can also stand up in a blow and heave to decently.

The interior is well suited to a cruising couple. It’s really a two-person boat, with a V-berth forward and large C-shaped galley aft, with plenty of counter space and a huge fridge. It includes the normal deft Perry touches — excellent sea berths, a separate stall shower and generous tankage. If you do find a Nordic 40 on the used market, be sure to take a hard look at the Westerbeke diesel and the V-drive transmission.

Pacific Seacraft 34

Pacific Seacraft 34

A handsome, nimble and capable double-ender by legendary designer Bill Crealock, the Pacific Seacraft 34 is well proven, with scores of ocean crossings in its wake.

After the boat was first launched as the Crealock 34 in 1979, Pacific Seacraft introduced a fifth model years later, a scaled-down version of the popular PS 37. Though expensive at the time, the 34 was another success story for one of America’s premier builders, and hundreds of boats were built in the company’s yard in Santa Ana, California. There is always a good selection of used boats available for less than $100,000. Another nice perk for used-boat buyers is that the 34 is back in production at the reincarnated Pacific Seacraft yard in Washington, North Carolina, providing an outlet for parts and advice. The company is now owned and operated by marine archaeologist Stephen Brodie and his father, Reid.

The 34 blends traditional values above the waterline with what was then a more modern underbody, with a long fin keel and skeg-hung rudder. A bit hefty at 13,500 pounds of displacement, the design otherwise is a study in moderation, and drawn with a keen eye toward providing a soft ride in a seaway and staying on good terms with Neptune in a blow.

The hull is solid fiberglass, and early decks were plywood-­cored before Pacific switched to end-grain balsa. The hull-to-deck joint incorporates a molded bulwark that offers added security when you’re moving about on deck, and a vertical surface for mounting stanchions.

Most 34s are cutter-rigged for versatility but carry moderate-­size genoas instead of high-cut yankees for more horsepower off the wind. Down below, the layout is traditional, but the 6-foot-4-inch headroom is a pleasant surprise. The Pacific Seacraft 34 is perfect for a cruising couple.

John Kretschmer is a delivery captain, adventurer and writer, whose own boat Quetzal , a 1987 Kaufman 47, has seen a refit or two over the years. His latest book is Sailing a Serious Ocean: Sailboats, Storms, Stories and Lessons Learned from 30 Years at Sea , also available on his website .

  • More: classic plastic , DIY Sailboat Projects , Sailboat Reviews , Sailboats , used boat guide
  • More Sailboats

Little Harbor 44 on the water

For Sale: 1983 Little Harbor 44

Nautor Swan 28 on the water

Sailboat Preview: ClubSwan 28 by Nautor Swan

Vision 444

Sailboat Review: Vision 444

Lagoon 43 catamaran

Sailboat Preview: Lagoon 43

Vision 444

When the Wind Goes Light

Lagoon 43 catamaran

Sailor & Galley: Ice Cream, Anytime

  • Digital Edition
  • Customer Service
  • Privacy Policy
  • Email Newsletters
  • Cruising World
  • Sailing World
  • Salt Water Sportsman
  • Sport Fishing
  • Wakeboarding


  1. 10 New Cruising Sailboats Under 35 Feet

    Dufour Grand Large 360. Dufour Grand Large 360 Jon Whittle. Dufour Yachts introduced its new 360 Grand Large model to CW's Boat of the Year team in 2018 as a coastal cruiser intended for a couple or perhaps a small family. With that in mind, judge Alvah Simon found numerous clever elements to praise within the boat's 35-foot-2-inch hull—a ...

  2. Experts' Pick: 25 Sailboats Under 40'

    Catalina 275 Sport. Catalina 275 Sport Billy Black. "This is a complete package; it's a good sailing boat and well-thought-out. It's definitely ready for prime time," says Boat of the Year judge Ed Sherman. Click here to read why the Catalina 275 Sport won Best Pocket Cruiser in 2014.

  3. 10 Best Sailboats To Live In

    Pearson produced their excellent 34-foot sailboat during the 1980s. This medium-sized cruising yacht features an extremely spacious interior with plenty of floor space to move around. ... Best Small Sailboats With Standing Headroom. Daniel Wade. December 28, 2023. Best Bluewater Sailboats Under $50K. Daniel Wade. December 28, 2023. Popular ...

  4. 13 Best Cruising Sailboats in 2023 & Why They're Better

    The best cruising sailboats are designed to provide comfort, durability, and seaworthiness. From high-performance cruisers with heirloom-quality materials to versatile boats, there's something in this lineup for your skill level and preference. ... 34 feet: 4 to 5 people: $300,000: Tartan 4300: 43 feet: 6 to 8 people: $600,000: Island Packet ...

  5. The Best Sailboats for the High Seas?

    Here are some of the boats that were suggested from our readers: Mariner 36, Cal 34, Morgan 43, Swan 43, Bermuda 40, Island Packet 26, Mariner 47, LeComte Northeast 38, Westsail 32, Dana 24, J/35, and the CSY 44. Id be interested in hearing of other nominees for this list, or other good resources for sailors looking for a short list of good ...

  6. SAIL Top 10 Best Boats for 2023

    How is a 34-foot LOA boat called a 37? No worries though, this little yacht is mighty, feeling and sailing like a bigger model. ... Review: HH44-SC, SAIL Top 10 Best Boats 2024 Winner. For more multihull reviews and stories, subscribe for free to Multihull Power & Sail Good things come to those who wait, and sailing the HH44-SC confirmed the ...

  7. Popular Cruising Yachts from 30 to 35ft (9.1m to 10 ...

    Westerly Vulcan 34; Westerly Seahawk 35; Westerly Kestrel 35; Westsail 32; Willard 30/8t; X-332; X-342; Medium sized cruising yachts like these are capable of serious offshore passage making, whilst being reasonably economic to maintain and operate. And for competitive types, 30-35 foot cruising yachts are a popular size for club racing under ...

  8. 40 Best Sailboats, Types of Sailboats & Manufacturers

    22. Tartan 34 Following the success of a Sparkman & Stephens-designed 27-footer, and a Ted Hood-designed 37-footer, the Ohio-based builders Douglass & McLeod returned to S & S for the third, 34-foot addition to the burgeoning Tartan line. Like her sisterships, the Tartan 34 was commissioned as a "high performance, offshore cruising-racing ...

  9. 13 Best Liveaboard Sailboats (under 30 & 50 ft)

    There are plenty of options to pick from, which can make the choosing process a bit daunting. So to help you navigate those deep waters (no pun intended), here is an article summarizing the 13 best liveaboard sailboats under 30 and 50 feet. So what are the 13 best liveaboard sailboats? Catalina 30. Nor'Sea 27.

  10. 5 best small sailboats for sailing around the world

    Vancouver 28. Photo credit: YachtFathom.co.uk. A sensible small boat with a "go-anywhere" attitude, this pocket cruiser was designed with ocean sailors in mind. One of the best cruising sailboats under 40 feet, the Vancouver 28 is great sailing in a small package. Hull Type:Full keel with transom hung rudder.

  11. The Catalina 34, 30 Years Later

    Since 2010, Catalina has been redesigning its big-boat fleet (27-feet and longer). These are Series 5 boats denoted by the 5 at the end of their name. These include the 44-foot 445, the 37-foot 375 (see PS October 2010), the 35-foot 355, the 31-foot 315, and the 27-foot 275. Aside from beamier hull shapes, easier maintenance, and roomier ...

  12. 5 Best Cruising Sailboats In 2024

    The 34 may be slightly smaller than some of the other options but it still has plenty of storage, six and a half feet of headroom, and is simply stunning to look at. This sailboat is incredibly well designed, its 13,500 pounds of displacement make it strong and sure in the water without losing its agility.

  13. What are the Best Small Bluewater Sailboats? Cruisers Top Picks

    The Pardeys are icons of small sailboat cruising. Having sailed over 200,000 nautical miles and circumnavigated both east and westbound on their home-built, engine-free, sub-30-feet cutters, they are among the most recognized sailors in the world. They're also known as "America's first couple of cruising.".

  14. The best bluewater sailboats (we analyzed 2,000 boats to find out)

    The 10 best bluewater boats. 1. Westsail 32. Photo credit: SailboatData.com. The Westsail 32 is one of the most iconic bluewater cruisers and 19 have set out to cross the Pacific in the PPJ rally since 2009. In 1973, this small cruising sailboat garnered a 4-page spread in Time magazine.

  15. 2023 Boat of the Year: Best Midsize Cruiser

    Finalist: Beneteau Oceanis 34.1. The Beneteau Oceanis 34.1 is the latest in the French builder's Oceanis line of cruisers, following the Oceanis 30.1, an earlier BOTY award winner. "There is a lot to like about the Oceanis 34.1, starting with the way the boat handles," Pillsbury says of the twin-wheel 34-foot yacht.

  16. CRUISER 34 Highlights

    Sailing is all about rest, relaxation and fun - with the right boat. The BAVARIA CRUISER 34 is a very easy yacht to sail. Find out more. Data and Options. Best equipment in the right places. The perfect sailing yacht also needs the best equipment from well‐known producers. Find out more. The shortest way to our trade partners.

  17. Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 24 Feet

    The best bluewater sailboats under 24 feet are the Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, Norseboat 21.5, Catalina 22 Sport, Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20, and West Wight Potter 19. These sailboats have ample space for a couple and even a moderately-sized family along with all the amenities you may need. A roomy cabin, galley, and settees are necessary to go ...

  18. Hunter 34

    A 135% jib can more effectively be reduced to 110% than a 150% genoa can be reefed to 120%. Since the boat is sensitive to sail area, a good headsail roller furling system is a must, in our opinion. According to several owners, the Hunter 34 carries substantial weather helm in anything more than very light air.

  19. Best Family Cruisers: 7 Top Picks In 2023

    3. Cutwater C-32 CB. Another great rugged family cruiser similar to the Ranger R-43 but sportier. If speed is a concern and you don't want to slowly cruise from a to b. If you want to put your foot down, this is an ideal choice. cruise since it has a sporty speed of 30 knots and a top speed of 47.7 knots.

  20. Beneteau 34 Review

    Beneteau 34. Fun to sail and comfortable below, the 34 received CW's Boat of the Year award for Best Value. A boat review from our May 2009 issue. The featherlight feel of the large, leather-covered wheel in no way reflected the Beneteau 34's relatively moderate displacement as we danced to weather on a blustery day on Narragansett Bay.

  21. 2022 Cruisers Yachts 34GLS Boat Test, Pricing, Specs

    Cruisers Yachts - Oconto, Wisconsin; 800-743-3478; cruisersyachts.com. More: 2022, 30-40ft, boat tests, Boats, Cruisers Yachts, Cruising Boats, May 2022, outboards. Sporty and innovative, the Cruisers Yachts 34GLS boasts versatility and style. Learn more about its amazing features and check out the performance data.

  22. Catalina 34 boats for sale

    1989 Catalina 34. US$40,166. Network Yacht Brokers | Preveza, Greece. Request Info. <. 1. >. * Price displayed is based on today's currency conversion rate of the listed sales price. Boats Group does not guarantee the accuracy of conversion rates and rates may differ than those provided by financial institutions at the time of transaction.

  23. 10 Best Used Cruising Sailboats & Liveaboards

    After the boat was first launched as the Crealock 34 in 1979, Pacific Seacraft introduced a fifth model years later, a scaled-down version of the popular PS 37. Though expensive at the time, the 34 was another success story for one of America's premier builders, and hundreds of boats were built in the company's yard in Santa Ana, California.