Sail Universe

10 of the Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 40 Feet

Best Bluewater Sailboats under 40 feet Hallberg-Rassy 372

Navigating the open seas requires a model that combines performance, safety, and comfort. For sailors seeking adventure beyond the horizon, choosing the right bluewater sailboa t is paramount. In this article, we’ll delve into the technical specifications and features of 10 of the best bluewater sailboats, both monohulls and catamarans, all under 40 feet in length.

Hallberg-Rassy 372

Length: 37’6′.

Best Bluewater Sailboats under 40 feet: Hallberg-Rassy 372

The Hallberg-Rassy 372 was built in 120 units and is optimized for comfortable and fast family cruising. She will take you anywhere, anytime. Compared to the Hallberg-Rassy 37, the 372 is only a few centimetres longer, is 5 cm wider and has a fuller transom. The canoe body is slightly shallower, the waterline longer and the keel slightly deeper and lighter. The aft and mid sections of the hull are flatter and the bow section sharper. The sheer line is more pronounced. All this gives both improved sailing performance and more interior space. The modern sailplan is easy to handle. The yacht breathes graceful elegance.

Hallberg-Rassy may be best known for its centre cockpit boats, but over 5 900 of so far 9 700 built Hallberg-Rassys have an aft cockpit. The aft cockpit 372 is in every aspect an all-new Frers design and is not based on the centre cockpit Hallberg-Rassy 37.

The boat features a moderate draft, allowing it to navigate a variety of water depths with ease. The combination of a long waterline and a well-balanced sail plan contributes to its impressive performance under sail. The Hallberg-Rassy 372’s deck layout is thoughtfully designed for single-handed sailing, with well-positioned winches and control lines.

Stepping below deck, the Hallberg-Rassy 372 welcomes sailors into a spacious and well-appointed interior. The layout is designed with extended bluewater cruising in mind, offering comfort and practicality. The main saloon features a U-shaped settee around a large dining table, providing a cozy space for meals and relaxation.

bluewater sailboats

The galley is equipped with all the amenities needed for preparing meals at sea, including a stove, oven, refrigerator, and ample storage space. The cabins are designed for comfort, with generous berths and storage solutions that make long journeys a pleasure rather than a challenge.

Outremer 4X

Length: 40′.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Outremer 4X

This catamaran showcases a fusion of speed and stability. The Outremer 4X’s lightweight design and innovative rigging contribute to its impressive performance, making it a preferred choice for bluewater sailors with a penchant for velocity.

The Outremer 4X stands as a performance catamaran unwavering in its commitment to seaworthiness, staying true to its ocean cruising heritage. Its construction prioritizes weight optimization without compromising on structural integrity. The sail plan and deck layout are meticulously designed to navigate diverse weather conditions seamlessly.

Maintaining the comfort standards set by its predecessor, the Outremer 45, the Outremer 4X goes beyond, pushing the limits of performance for an ocean cruiser. Whether embarking on blue-water cruising adventures with the family or engaging in competitive regattas, the Outremer 4X excels in both realms, showcasing its versatility and capability to meet the demands of various sailing pursuits.

Pacific Seacraft Crealock 37

Length: 37’10”.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Pacific Seacraft Crealock 37

The Pacific Seacraft 37, commonly referred to as the Crealock 37, is an American sailboat meticulously designed by the esteemed British naval architect, W. I. B. Crealock, with a primary focus on cruising. The initial construction of this sailboat commenced in 1978, marking the inception of a vessel renowned for its seafaring capabilities and thoughtful design.

Recognizing its exceptional contribution to sailing, the Crealock 37 earned a prestigious spot in the American Sailboat Hall of Fame in 2002, solidifying its legacy as a vessel of timeless significance within the maritime community.

The Crealock 37, a keelboat primarily constructed with a fiberglass hull featuring a plywood core and adorned with wooden accents, presents a versatile sailing experience. Its masthead sloop rig is complemented by optional configurations, including a cutter rig or yawl rig with a mizzen mast. The vessel boasts a distinctive design, featuring a raked stem, a raised canoe transom, a skeg-mounted rudder controlled by a wheel, and a fixed fin keel. With a displacement of 16,200 lb (7,348 kg) and a substantial 6,200 lb (2,812 kg) of lead ballast, the Crealock 37 ensures stability and seaworthiness.

Offering flexibility, the boat provides a draft of 5.50 ft (1.68 m) with the standard keel and 4.92 ft (1.50 m) with the optional shoal draft keel.

Designed to accommodate up to seven individuals, the Crealock 37 features a versatile layout. The bow offers an angled “V” berth, the main salon provides a double and single settee berth, and the stern houses a double berth alongside a quarter berth. The galley, located on the starboard side at the foot of the companionway steps, includes a double sink, a three-burner stove and oven, and a top-loading refrigerator. The head, positioned forward on the starboard side just aft of the bow cabin, includes a shower. A navigation station is thoughtfully provided aft on the port side, and the vessel ensures ample below-deck headroom of 75 in (191 cm). Ventilation is facilitated by two cabin hatches.

For sailing convenience, the jib is sheeted to short jib tracks, while the mainsheet traveler and three winches are mounted on the coach house roof. Additionally, two primary jib winches are strategically placed on the cockpit coamings.

Length: 37″11′

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Lagoon 380

The Lagoon 380, a French sailboat designed by Van Peteghem/Lauriot-Prevost, serves the dual purpose of a cruiser and a yacht charter vessel. This versatile watercraft made its debut in the sailing scene in 1999.

The Lagoon 380 offers a flexible accommodation layout, featuring either three or four cabins designed for private use or yacht charter ventures. In both configurations, a spacious main salon welcomes occupants with an oval table and U-shaped seating. Positioned in the aft starboard section of the main salon, the galley is well-appointed, equipped with a two-burner stove, an icebox, and a double sink. A navigation station complements the galley on the port side of the salon.

In the four-cabin arrangement, each hull houses a double berth fore and aft, accompanied by a centrally located head. The three-cabin layout opts for a larger head in the starboard forward cabin while retaining the port side head. Maximum headroom reaches 80 inches (203 cm) in the main salon and 74 inches (188 cm) in the cabins.

Designed for optimal downwind sailing, the vessel can be outfitted with a 570 sq ft (53 m2) asymmetrical gennaker. The Lagoon 380 exhibits a hull speed of 8.05 knots (14.91 km/h).

Introduced in 2003, the S2 model brought forth several minor enhancements. Notable improvements included a more spacious shower area, enhanced storage shelving, a redesigned galley, and a double helm seat. While Katamarans.com acknowledges these updates, noting them as a marketing refresh, some potential buyers express a preference for the older models due to their increased storage capacity, superior interior finishes, and more straightforward engine access.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Najad 380

One of our most triumphant yacht designs to date, the Najad 380 is not only an aesthetically pleasing vessel with well-balanced proportions but also delivers remarkable performance for ocean-going ventures. Crafted through vacuum infusion, the yacht boasts a robust and rigid hull, ensuring durability on the open seas. The interior is thoughtfully designed, featuring two sizable double-berth cabins, an expansive saloon, and a fully equipped linear galley, providing an exceptionally comfortable onboard experience.

Gemini Legacy 35

Length: 35′.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Gemini Legacy 35

The Gemini Legacy 35 is a bluewater sailboat under 40 feet designed with a focus on stability, safety, and ease of handling. Its catamaran design, with a beam of 14 feet, provides remarkable stability both at anchor and underway. The hulls are constructed using a combination of fiberglass and high-quality materials, ensuring durability and seaworthiness.

The sail plan of the Gemini Legacy 35 features a fractional rig with a large mainsail and a self-tacking jib. The self-tacking jib simplifies sail handling, making it an excellent choice for sailors who prefer ease of operation. The rig design contributes to the catamaran’s overall performance, making it responsive and agile under various wind conditions.

The interior of the Gemini Legacy 35 is designed for comfort and practicality. The saloon, located in the bridgedeck, is bright and open, with large windows providing panoramic views. The settee and dining area are spacious, creating a welcoming and social atmosphere. The galley, positioned for easy access, is equipped with essential amenities, including a stove, sink, and refrigerator.

The catamaran typically offers a three-cabin layout, including a comfortable owner’s suite in one hull and two guest cabins in the other. The cabins feature double berths and ample storage, providing a cozy retreat for extended cruises. The Gemini Legacy 35 can comfortably accommodate a small family or a group of friends.

Length: 37″3′

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Tayana 37

The Tayana 37, originating from Taiwan, is a sailboat penned by American designer Robert Perry, initially conceptualized as a cruiser and first introduced in 1976.

Originally commissioned by Will Eckert of Flying Dutchman Yachts and C.T. Chen of Ta Yang Yacht Building, the design was later acquired by the latter, commencing production under the name CT 37. Initially labeled the Ta Chiao 37 and then the Ta Yang 37, the nomenclature eventually evolved into the well-known Tayana 37.

The interior configuration of the Tayana 37 is adaptable, catering to various rig options and individual preferences. In a typical arrangement, the vessel provides sleeping quarters for seven individuals, featuring a double “V”-berth in the bow cabin, a U-shaped settee with a collapsible dinette table, and a straight settee in the main cabin. Additionally, a pilot berth is situated above, and an aft cabin with a double berth is found on the starboard side.

The galley is strategically positioned on the port side just forward of the companionway ladder, boasting a U-shaped design equipped with a three-burner propane-fired stove, an oven, and a double sink. Opposite the galley, on the starboard side, a navigation station facilitates onboard navigation tasks. The head, located just aft of the bow cabin on the port side, includes a shower with a teak floor grating, complemented by hot and cold pressurized water. Throughout the interior, the trim and doors showcase the craftsmanship of teak.

The Tayana 37 embodies a timeless design that reflects both functionality and elegance, making it a beloved choice among sailors seeking a reliable and comfortable cruising experience.

Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40

Length: 38’6′.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40

The Lucia 40, designed by Berret-Racoupeau and built by Fountaine Pajot , is a catamaran that exudes contemporary elegance. Its sleek lines, aerodynamic silhouette, and stylish curves not only catch the eye but also contribute to its impressive performance on the water. The use of cutting-edge materials ensures durability and seaworthiness, making it a reliable vessel for extended cruises.

The catamaran’s layout is optimized for comfort, offering spacious living areas both above and below deck. The main saloon is bathed in natural light, creating an inviting space for relaxation and socializing. The interior design reflects a modern and luxurious ambiance, featuring high-quality finishes and attention to detail.

Accommodations aboard the Lucia 40 include multiple cabins, each designed for maximum comfort. The cabins boast generous berths, ample storage, and well-appointed en-suite bathrooms. The vessel’s thoughtful layout ensures that every inch of space is utilized efficiently, providing a sense of openness and airiness.

Island Packet 370

Length: 37’2′.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Island Packet 370

Designed by Bob Johnson, the founder of Island Packet Yachts , the Island Packet 370 boasts a robust construction that prioritizes durability and stability. The vessel’s design reflects a timeless elegance, featuring a moderate freeboard, a well-balanced hull, and a bowsprit that adds a touch of classic charm. The encapsulated full keel enhances stability and ensures a smooth and comfortable ride in various sea conditions.

The interior of the Island Packet 370 is a testament to thoughtful design and attention to detail. The spacious and well-appointed main saloon features a U-shaped settee and a dining table, creating an inviting social space. Rich teak finishes and high-quality craftsmanship permeate throughout, providing an atmosphere of warmth and sophistication.

Accommodations include a generously-sized owner’s cabin forward with an ensuite head, a comfortable aft cabin, and a well-designed galley equipped with essential amenities. The vessel’s layout ensures that every inch of space is utilized efficiently, creating a cozy and practical living environment for extended cruising.

Seawind 1160

Length: 38′.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Seawind 1160

The Seawind 1160 is the perfect cruising catamaran combining the best of the 100’s of Seawind previously built and sailing around the world with new and innovative ideas to keep her light, fast and affordable. Easily sailed by a family, couple or single handed coastal cruising or offshore.

The Seawind 1160 has a spacious owners cabin in the port hull with a queen size island bed and plenty of storage. The three cabin version has an adjoining full size bathroom with separate shower and glass shower screen. The starboard hull has two double berth cabins with optional second bathroom forward and the fully open galley. You have everything you need and enough space to be very comfortable, yet the hulls remain streamline and efficient so that speed is not compromised.

With twin helm stations protected from the weather, all lines leading back to the cockpit and 360 degree visibility, they are set up to be easily handled by a crew of one or ten. The award winning trifold door system allows for indoor/outdoor living like no other boat on the market and is perfectly suited to the Australian climate.

Are you in agreement with our selection of the best 10 bluewater sailboats under 40 feet? It was truly challenging to choose, and we had to set aside models that deserved to be included in this list. If you have any suggestions, please write them in the comments.

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Cruising Compass

A Guide to 10 Great Blue Water Boats

Every veteran cruiser has his or her list of favorite cruising boats and, because cost is often an issue for many sailors, a lot of those boats will fall in the under-40-foot category. There are certainly many sweet designs under 40 feet that range from the venerable Crealock 37 to the futuristic Outremer 4x performance catamaran.

In the end, boats suitable for offshore sailing are sensible designs that will look after their crew in nasty weather, will survive an occasional grounding and will be capable of carrying enough stores for long passages and weeks off-the-beaten track.

And, it doesn’t matter if you choose a monohull or multihull; the right combinations of the above qualities can be found in both.

The gurus at Sail Universe decided to share their list of Best Boats Under 40 Feet recently and you can read the full story here.

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Home » Blog » Bluewater sailboats » The best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet (we analyzed 2,000 boats to find out)

The best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet (we analyzed 2,000 boats to find out)

By Author Fiona McGlynn

Posted on Last updated: August 17, 2023

What are the best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet?

Last year we analyzed 2,000 offshore designs to bring you a list of the most popular bluewater sailboats .

However, most people are searching for a boat in a particular size class. So, we decided to do a double-click and look at the best sailboats under 40 feet for offshore sailing.

If you’re interested in an even smaller boat, there are plenty of great options under 30 feet in our list of the best small sailboats for sailing around the world .

The characteristics that make a sailboat a bluewater sailboat are a hotly debated topic, so we wanted to use real-world data and find out what cruisers are using to cross oceans and sail around the world.

We looked at 2,000 boats that entered the Pacific Puddle Jump  (PPJ) over the last 12 years. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the PPJ, it’s a rally that crosses the Pacific ocean.  We took part in 2017 and had a ball!

Also, if you’re looking to buy one of the bluewater boats on this list, you might want to check out our post on the best places to buy used boats and how to find free or cheap boats for sale .

Just be aware that a bluewater boat isn’t necessarily offshore-ready. Our top five picks are all older boats and will undoubtedly require work.

Every cruiser we know made substantial repairs and additions before going offshore: adding watermakers , life rafts, solar panels, and more.

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

So, without further preamble, here are the best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet.

The best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet

1. the westsail 32.

Westsail 32 sailboat

The Westsail 32 is one of the most iconic bluewater cruisers. Built by the Westsail Corporation in the 1970s, this plucky, small sailboat has developed a cult following over the decades. Since 2009, 19 have set out to cross the Pacific in the PPJ rallies.

The Westsail 32 is known for its sturdy construction, seaworthiness, and classic looks. In fact, it set the standard for what a real bluewater cruiser should look like. In 1973, the Westsail 32 was featured in Time magazine and inspired many Americans to go cruising.

Though popular, this boat has earned the unenviable nickname “ Wetsnail 32″, a reference to its poor ability to windward and sluggish performance. But Westsail 32 owners don’t care that they won’t be winning any races.

What the boat lacks in speed it makes up for in classic looks and excellent offshore cruising characteristics. Many owners have crossed oceans and circumnavigated the globe in their Westsail 32s.

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. Tayana 37

Tayana 37 sailboat

The Tayana 37 is a wildly popular Bob Perry design. It first rolled off the production line in 1976 and there are now several hundred of them sailing the world’s oceans.

Above the waterline, the Tayana 37 boasts beautiful traditional lines. However, Perry wanted to avoid the unenviable (read: sluggish) performance characteristics, associated with double-enders.

So, he designed the Tayana 37 with a cut-away long keel and moderate displacement, maintaining the classic look, while achieving reasonable performance.

The Tayana 37 has a devoted following of offshore enthusiasts. Since 2009, 12 Tayana 37s have set out to cross the Pacific in the PPJ rallies.

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
 

3. Hans Christian 38T

Black and white photo of Hans Christian 38T Sailboat

The Hans Christian 38T is a full-keeled, heavy displacement bluewater boat with a long bowsprit and a clipper bow, giving it a distinctive appearance. It was first introduced in 1976 and was produced until the early 1990s.

If you hadn’t already guessed, the “T” in the name stands for “Traditional”. Like many boats on this list, it takes a cue from Crealock’s famous Westsail 32 which sparked a craze in the 1970s and 80s for Scandinavian-style doubled-enders.

It’s gained a reputation as a capable and seaworthy cruising yacht. Many owners have crossed oceans and completed circumnavigations in Hans Christian 38Ts.

By our count, eight Hans Christian 38Ts have participated in Pacific Puddle Jump rallies over the last 12 years.

LOA37.92 ft / 11.56 m
First built1976
BuilderAnderson Yachts Ltd. (TAIWAN)
DesignerHarwood Ives
Hull typeLong keel
Rig typeCutter
Displacement26,500 lb / 12,020 kg
 

4. Island Packet 380

Drawing of Island Packet 380 sailboat

I’ve always considered Island Packets the Rolls-Royce of the bluewater boat world. Their distinctive cream-colored topsides make them easy to spot and their robust bluewater construction makes them the envy of many far-flung anchorages.

Designed by Bob Johnson and built by Island Packet Yachts in Florida, the Island Packet 380 was first introduced in 1998. 169 were built before 2004, over which time it gained a reputation as a capable and comfortable offshore cruiser.

Having been built in the ’90s and early 2000s, this is a relatively newer boat. In many ways, it offers the best of both worlds, a classic-looking boat with all the modern cruising conveniences.

The Island Packet 380 design prioritizes safety and stability. It also has several offshore features including standard twin bow rollers, a divided anchor locker, and ample storage for cruising gear.

Life below deck is comfortable too. With a 13-foot (4 meter) beam there’s plenty of room for liveaboard amenities.

The Island Packet 380 is a popular choice for long-distance cruising and offshore passages. Since 2009, six Island Packet 380s have set out to cross the Pacific in PPJ rallies.

Read more about the Island Packet 380 in this review by Yachting Monthly .

LOA39.58 ft / 12.06 m
First built1998
BuilderIsland Packet Yachts (USA)
DesignerBob Johnson
Hull typeLong keel
Rig typeCutter
Displacement21,000 lb / 9,525 kg
 

5. Ingrid 38

Drawing of Ingrid 38 sailboat

The Ingrid 38 is a double-ended sailboat that was originally designed for wood construction in 1938.

In 1971, Bluewater Boat Co. began building a fiberglass version. The design proved hugely popular and more than 140 were built.

With a full keep and heavy displacement, the Ingrid 38 epitomizes the traditional bluewater cruiser. Yet, it remains a well-loved design today. Since 2009, six Ingrid 38s have set out to cross the Pacific in PPJ rallies.

LOA38.00 ft / 11.58 m
First built1938
BuilderBluewater Boat Company (USA)
DesignerWilliam Atkin
Hull typeLong Keel
Rig typeCutter
Displacement26,000 lb / 11,793 kg
 

Description

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.

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Best Blue Water Sailboats Under 40 Feet

19th jan 2023 by samantha wilson.

Rightboat logo

What is a blue water sailboat?

What to look for when choosing a cruising sailboat under 40 feet, what are the advantages of small blue water sailboats, what are the disadvantages of small sailboats.

  • Best blue water sailboat models under 40 Feet

The term blue water sailboat doesn’t refer to a specific style of boat in the same way that a ketch or schooner does. In fact, a blue water sailboat could be either of those and many more. But when we talk about blue water sailboats, they have shared characteristics that make them suitable for, you guessed it, blue water sailing. Making long, open sea voyages such as crossing the oceans requires a boat that is solidly-built and can tackle heavy seas and inclement weather conditions. Blue water sailboats are able to be self-sufficient and lived on for extended periods of time, and to offer safety and comfort.

In a previous guide we looked at the different types of sailboats , focusing on identifying them by their hull type, rigging and uses. In general, smaller blue water sailboats under 40 feet tend to be cutters , sloops or ketches . Catamarans and trimarans too are becoming increasingly popular as long cruising vessels, although these tend to be larger than 40 feet. In fact, while there are manufacturers producing some excellent, sturdy and compact blue water sailboats under 40 feet, they tend to be a minority and most ‘small’ sailboats designed for long-range cruising are usually above 50 feet. 

blue water sailing

So what other characteristics should you be looking for in a small ocean sailboat? 

Construction:

The material of the hull is probably the most crucial aspect, as it needs to be solidly built and able to withstand harsh seas as well as any collisions with floating objects. Hulls made from steel, strong fiberglass or carbon fiber tend to be the most popular. With a brand new sailboat you can be assured of a sound hull, however when buying a used sailboat under 40 feet the most important aspect is to ensure that the hull is strong and durable. 

The type of keel also makes a big difference, as deep V hulls with an encapsulated keel will make your boat less likely to capsize or lose its keel. Keel sailboats under 40 feet with skeg-hung rudders are considered the best small sailboats for open ocean cruising. While in the past it tended to only be monohull boats which were used for blue water sailing, there are now several manufacturers offering catamarans and trimarans which are strong enough to cross oceans. 

While the rig itself doesn’t necessarily denote whether a sailboat is more blue water worthy, it needs to be able to be manned by the number of crew on board as well as less crew if anyone is injured. The most important aspect is to think of the manageability of the rig. 

Ocean-going sailboats tend to have small cockpits to keep water out. While traditionally they used to have an aft cockpit there are more center cockpit blue water sailboats around these days. They need to have good drainage as well as offering the helmsman easy reach of the headsail, staysail and mainsail sheets.

Self-steering:

Whether you’re sailing solo or with a small crew, having the ability to set an auto-pilot is an important characteristic of a blue water boat. From tiredness to accidents or illness, there might come a time when you need to set the autopilot when under power or windvane when under sail. 

A compact cabin, galley and head with plenty of handholds and safe storage are vital to spending long stretches of time at sea. There needs to be enough space to ensure you are able to be self-sufficient for long periods of time. This includes everything from provisions to safety equipment , power systems, water makers, fuel storage and two anchors. 

Ability to heave-to:

The act of heaving-to involves pointing the bow into the wind and fixing the helm and sail positions. This essentially stops the boat in the water and is a hugely important maneuver during storms to prevent capsizing and allows the crew to take shelter inside. Some sailboats are more able to perform this than others. 

Having a way to communicate an emergency is vital, and your blue water sailboat should have a satellite phone and radio installed. A radio will allow you to connect with passing vessels, while the satellite phone is your only means of true contact with land. On deck, safety is paramount, and additions such as granny bars by the mast, safety rails and of course a harness mean you’ll be staying on board in lively conditions. 

Ability to Store or Make Water:

Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink is not a phrase any sailor wants to utter. So it’s imperative that your sailboat has enough storage capacity for long voyages, as well as the ability to make fresh water for drinking and washing in. Consider that two people on a three week voyage will require around 50 gallons of fresh water (allowing for a 20% contingency). Space – and weight considerations - is always a premium on small sailboats, so you need to make sure there are enough water tanks. You’ll also want a water maker which are powered by motors and generators. AC water makers can produce around 20 gallons a day, while DC water makers which use a lot less power, produce around 12 gallons of water a day.

Good Navigation Systems:

Ok, we’re going to say how important navigation systems are on your boat, and that’s true, but in fact you don’t want to reply on electronic navigation systems alone if you’re out in the middle of the deep blue. Having paper charts on board (in digital format preferably to save on space in a small boat) and knowing how to navigate using them is imperative. 

small sailing yacht

There are thousands of models of liveaboard sailboats under 40 feet on the market, but certainly not all of them are suitable for crossing oceans. We’ve seen the general characteristics of what to look for when choosing a blue water sailboat, but what are the pros and cons of a smaller boat versus a larger model?

Affordability:

Smaller tends to mean cheaper and so affordability is a major factor when buying a blue water sailboat . Whether you’re in the market for a new or used blue water sailboat under 40 feet, there are some excellent deals to be found. It means that long-held dream of sailing across the world can happen now, rather than saving for years. The other bonus is that smaller, simpler pocket cruisers will be cheaper and easier to maintain. 

Easier to Sail:

The simpler the rig and the less systems on board the easier the boat will be to sail (and to care for). You’ll need a smaller crew meaning cruising boats under 40 feet tend to be popular with couples and solo sailors. 

Less Spacious:

It goes without saying that smaller boats have less space. While manufacturers are finding ever-more ingenious ways to equip small sailboats with everything their larger counterparts have – and there are some clever ways you can maximize storage space in a boat – realistically space will be at a premium, meaning the number of crew and the amount of comforts you can have on board will need to be minimal.

They Tend to be Slower:

As a general rule, the smaller the sailboat, the slower it will be. While this isn’t always a bad thing if you’re in no hurry to get anywhere, it’s worth considering that out-running bad weather can be trickier in a small boat. 

Less comfortable:

A smaller boat can make for a less comfortable ride, especially in bigger seas. 

Best blue water sailboat models under 40 Feet

If you’re in the market for a cruising sailboat under 40 feet the options can seem dizzying. With so many to choose from it’s hard to know where to start. There are thousands of excellent used boats on the market, with reputations for reliability, safety, comfort and build. Here however we’re going to take a look at some of the manufacturers making the best bluewater sailboats in 2023 . With a solid reputation and excellent craftsmanship, they make a good place to start your search. 

Beneteau’s Oceanis 40, Oceanis 38.1 and Oceanis 34.1.

Beneteau’s reputation shines through in this smaller range of ocean-going yachts. At the top end of the under-40 foot range is the Oceanis 40 , with a hull designed by Marc Lombard and a huge amount of deck and interior space for its size. The Oceanis 38.1 offers surprising comfort and speed, with the ability to be sailed with a small crew, while the smallest in the range is the Oceanis 34.1 pocket cruiser, with cleverly designed spaces and a modern hull design. 

blue water sailboat beneteau

Photo credit: Beneteau

Jeanneau’s Sun Odyssey 349 and Sun Odyssey 380:

For over 60 years Jeanneau has been crafting motor and sailboats which push the boundaries and the Sun Odyssey range is the perfect example of that. The Sun Odyssey 349 and Sun Odyssey 380 are the smallest in the range, offering high performance sailing you would expect of a much larger model. With an iconic inverted bow, huge interior spaces and fine-tuned handling, they are popular models for long distance cruising. 

blue water sailboats jeanneau

Photo credit: Jeanneau 

Hallberg-Rassy 340, 372, 40 and 40C:

The range of Swedish-built Hallberg-Rassy small blue water yachts is one of the most impressive of any manufacturer. Boasting four yachts under 40 feet, they put their nine decades of expertise into both center cockpit and aft cockpit ocean-going cruisers and have the awards to show for it. From the Hallberg-Rassy 340 , which manages to pack everything you could need in a long-range cruiser into an ultra-compact package, to the award-winning 372 which manages to be even faster than the already fast Hallberg-Rassy 40 . They offer incredible handling, expansive oak interiors, generous cockpits and modern rigs.  

blue water sailboats hallberg rassy

Photo credit: Hallberg-Rassy

SeaWind Catamarans’ 1160, 1190 and 1260:

It’s uncommon to find blue water catamarans under 40 feet, but SeaWind has crafted no less than three compact, sturdy cats that can cross oceans in safety and comfort. With huge interior spaces across its double beam, you get much more living space than you would in a monohull of the same size, as well as robust seaworthiness, great sailability and all at an attractive price. 

blue water sailboat seawind

Photo credit: SeaWind  

Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

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4 best bluewater cruisers of 2022

  • Toby Hodges
  • March 28, 2022

Thinking of heading off on a world-girdling cruise or just want to cross oceans in style? Here's the best bluewater cruisers of 2022 that will help you se off on a new life at sea

best blue water sailboats 2023

The results are in from the European Yacht of the Year Awards as the judges have announced their top four bluewater cruisers of 2022.

The European Yacht of the Year awards are well regarded as the definitive yacht awards in the world a variety of categories are judged by the panel from best luxury cruisers , to best family cruisers to performance yachts .

But for those looking to liveaboard their yacht, making plans to do some ocean crossings, or looking to undertake some long distance passage making, the best bluewater cruisers will likely be the category that draws the eye.

There were a brilliantly diverse and interesting collection of new designs for this category – a celebration of French ingenuity. For those planning long term cruising, would you choose a robust aluminium build for higher latitudes sailing, shoal draught to tuck into the shallows (a mix of both?), sustainable living or reliable comfort, or the ability to log sustained high speeds to outrun weather systems? This selection gives you all those choices and more.

Best bluewater cruisers of 2022

The new flagship Allures 51.9, for example, is a no-nonsense adventure cruising design built and finished to a high standard. It retains Allures’ niche of using aluminium hulls with glassfibre decks and superstructures, which, the yard maintains, gives the optimum combination of least maintenance and less weight higher up. Priorities for this design were a full beam aft cabin and a spacious, long cockpit. Both are excellent, with the latter, at 6m long, offering formidable social, sailing and aft deck zones.

It likes some breeze to come to life on the wheel, but I appreciate that it’s designed to take up to five tonnes payload. And I like the ease with which you can change gears using the furling headsails and the positioning of the powerful Andersen winches inboard. The arch is standard and comes with a textile sprayhood or hard bimini.

Below decks you’ll find abundant headroom and natural light, a deep U-shape galley and cavernous stowage. For those who like the layout of the Amel 50 but would prefer aluminium or shoal draught, look no further.

Allures 51.9 price: €766,000

The Ovni 370 is another cunning new aluminum centreboard offering, a true deck saloon cruiser for two. The designers say the biggest challenge was to create a Category A ocean going yacht at this size with a lifting keel, hence the hull had to be very stable.

Enjoyable to helm, it has a practical, deep cockpit behind a large sprayhood, which can link to the bimini on the arch. Many of its most appealing features lie in the bright, light, contemporary, clever, voluminous interior, which has good stowage and tankage allocation. There’s also a practical navstation, a large workroom and a vast separate shower. I particularly like the convertible saloom, which can double as a large secure daybed or pilot berth.

Potentially the least expensive Category A lift keel boat available, the Ovni will get you dreaming of remote places again.

Ovni 370 price: €282,080

best blue water sailboats 2023

There’s no shortage of spirit in the Windelo 50. We gave this a sustainability award after it’s founders spent two years researching environmentally-friendly composite materials, developing an eco-composite of basalt fibre and recycled PET foam so it could build boats that halve the environmental impact of standard glassfibre yachts.

The Windelo 50 is an intriguing package – from the styling, modular interior and novel layout to the solar field on the roof and the standard electric propulsion, it is completely fresh.

Windelo 50 price: €795,000

Best bluewater cruiser of 2022 – Outremer 55

I would argue that this is the most successful new production yacht on the market. Well over 50 have already sold (an equipped model typically costs €1.6m) – and I can understand why. After all, were money no object, I had this design earmarked as the new yacht I would most likely choose for a world trip.

Indeed 55 number one Sanya, was fully equipped for a family’s world cruise, and left during our stay for the Grand Large Odyssey tour. Whereas we sailed Magic Kili, which was tricked up with performance options, including foam-cored deckheads and supports, carbon crossbeam and bulkheads, and synthetic rigging.

At rest, these are enticing space ships. Taking one out to sea is another matter though. These are speed machines with the size, scale and loads to be rightly weary of. Last month Nikki Henderson wrote a feature for us about how to manage a new breed of performance cruising cats just like this and how she coaches new owners. I could not think of wiser money spent for those who do not have ample multihull sailing experience.

Under sail, the most fun was obviously reserved for the reaching leg under asymmetric, where we clocked between 11-16 knots in 15-16 knots wind. But it was the stability and of those sustained low teen speeds which really hit home  – passagemaking where you really cover miles.

Key features include the swing helms, which give you views from outboard, over the coachroof or from a protected position in the cockpit through the coachroof windows, and the vast island in the galley, which is key to an open plan main living area. It helps provide cavernous stowage and acts as the heart of the entertaining space as it would in a modern home. As Danish judge Morten Brandt-Rasmussen comments: “Apart from being the TGV of ocean passages the boat offers the most spacious, open and best integration of the cockpit and salon areas in the market.”

Outremer has done a top job in packing in the creature comforts, stowage space and payload capacity, while keeping it light enough to eat miles. Although a lot to absorb and handle, the 55 offers a formidable blend of speed and luxury cruising.

Outremer 55 price: €1.35m

best blue water sailboats 2023

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7 Legendary Solo Bluewater Sailboats Worth Considering

When setting out to explore the open seas solo, you'll have to choose the right bluewater sailboat from so very many available options. The perfect boat for sailing single-handed is one that's not only safe and seaworthy, but also easy to handle on your own. In this article, we've handpicked the top 7 legendary solo bluewater sailboats worth considering for their excellent track records.

The most legendary solo bluewater sailboats are the Contessa 32, Westsail 32, Hallberg-Rassy 42F, Pacific Seacraft 37, Island Packet 38, Tayana 42, and Amel 54. These boats have it all: from robust designs to a world-renowned reputation for performance and reliability. They are known for their seaworthiness, durability, and comfort.

We understand the importance of balancing comfort and performance when spending prolonged periods at sea. Each of these sailboats has been proven to provide a harmonious blend of these attributes. Let's get to know them more below.

  • Solo bluewater sailboats are designed to be sailed by a single person, making them ideal for solo circumnavigation or long-distance cruising.
  • You can get the Contessa 32 and Westsail 32 for as little as $30,000.
  • The maintenance and repair costs of the seven boats range from $5,000 to $50,000 per year.
  • Marina fees and insurance can range from $5,000 to $20,000 per year.
  • Factor in upgrades and equipment costs that can reach up to $100,000.

best blue water sailboats 2023

On this page:

The best solo bluewater sailboats, what makes a good solo bluewater sailboat, cost considerations when choosing a sailboat, maintaining your bluewater sailboat.

Initial Purchase Price Maintenance and Repairs Marina Fees and Insurance Upgrades and Equipment
$30,000 to $60,000 $5,000 to $10,000 per year $5,000 per year $5,000 to $15,000
$30,000 to $80,000 $5,000 to $10,000 per year $5,000 per year $5,000 to $20,000
$200,000 to $400,000 $10,000 to $20,000 per year $10,000 per year $20,000 to $50,000
$100,000 to $200,000 $10,000 to $20,000 per year $10,000 per year $20,000 to $40,000
$100,000 to $200,000 $10,000 to $20,000 per year $10,000 per year $20,000 to $40,000
$100,000 to $250,000 $10,000 to $20,000 per year $10,000 per year $20,000 to $50,000
$500,000 to $1,000,000 $20,000 to $50,000 per year $20,000 per year $50,000 to $100,000

Contessa 32 is a classic, compact, and seaworthy sailboat

Contessa 32's sturdy construction and excellent sailing performance have earned it a legendary reputation among sailors. With a well-designed interior layout, it has space for living aboard during your solo adventures. The Contessa 32 is a classic bluewater sailboat designed by David Sadler in the 1970s. It is known for its excellent balance, seaworthiness, and speed. It has a full keel, moderate displacement, and a classic design that has stood the test of time.

Westsail 32 is known for its rugged construction

The Westsail 32 gained fame as an affordable, rugged, and capable long-distance cruiser. Its full keel and sturdy hull ensure a comfortable ride in rough seas. The practical, function-driven interior makes it easy for solo sailors to maintain and navigate the vessel while providing essential amenities for an extended voyage.

Westsail 32 is another classic bluewater sailboat that was designed by William Crealock in the 1970s. It is known for its rugged construction, spacious interior, and excellent performance in heavy weather. The Westsail 32 has a full keel, heavy displacement, and a classic double-ender design.

Hallberg-Rassy 42F is known for its top-notch craftsmanship

The Hallberg-Rassy 42F is another superb choice for single-handed bluewater sailing. This Swedish-built yacht is well-renowned for its top-notch craftsmanship, stability, and comfort. It offers a spacious, well-lit interior, ensuring you'll enjoy your time below deck while cruising the open seas.

Hallberg-Rassy 42F is a modern bluewater sailboat designed by German Frers in the 1990s. It is known for its luxurious interior, excellent performance, and high-quality construction. The Hallberg-Rassy 42F has a fin keel, a spade rudder, and a modern design that combines comfort and performance.

best blue water sailboats 2023

Pacific Seacraft 37 is designed for serious cruising

Pacific Seacraft 37 is a sturdy and reliable boat for solo sailors. Its moderate displacement and full keel provide excellent stability, while the well-thought-out interior layout includes abundant storage and comfortable living quarters. Its reputation as a proven bluewater cruiser makes it a top choice for solo sailors. The Pacific Seacraft 37 is another classic bluewater sailboat designed by Bill Crealock in the 1970s. It is known for its excellent balance, seaworthiness, and comfort.

Island Packet 38 is known for its spacious interior

Island Packet 38 is a popular choice among solo cruisers, thanks to its stable full keel design and living space. Its build quality, comfort, and performance make it well-suited for long-distance sailing. The spacious interior and practical layout ensure you have everything needed for a successful solo journey. Island Packet 38 is a modern bluewater sailboat designed by Bob Johnson in the 1990s. It 38 has a full keel, moderate displacement, and a modern design that combines comfort and performance.

Aside from bluewater sailing , there are other types of sailing discussed in this article.

Tayana 42 is known for its excellent balance, seaworthiness, and comfort

Tayana 42 is a comfortable, sea-kindly sailboat, ideal for single-handed offshore cruising. Its balanced performance, easy handling, and well-equipped interior ensure a safe and comfortable journey. It is well-regarded among sailors for its proven bluewater capabilities and timeless styling. The Tayana 42 is another classic bluewater sailboat designed by Bob Perry in the 1970s. It has a full keel, heavy displacement, and a classic design that has stood the test of time.

The Amel 54 is known for its luxury and exceptional build quality

This French-built vessel offers a spacious and comfortable interior with top-of-the-line amenities, making it an excellent option for solo sailors seeking a bluewater cruiser to explore the world in style and comfort. Its easy-to-handle design with advanced sailing systems allows you to sail solo with confidence and ease. The system includes electric winches, furling sails, and a self-tacking jib, which make it easy to handle the boat in all conditions.

To learn more about bluewater sailing , here's our comprehensive article on it.

best blue water sailboats 2023

These factors will ensure not only your safety but also your comfort and ease during your sailing adventure.

Size and stability of a solo sailboat

A boat with a wide beam and short waterline provides more stability, making it easier for you to handle the vessel on your own. Some popular sailboat models known for their size and stability include the Westsail 32 and the Hunter Channel 31.

A good solo bluewater sailboat should be large enough to provide adequate storage space for supplies and equipment, while also being stable enough to handle rough seas and high winds. It should also have a well-designed hull shape that provides good stability and balance, and a keel that provides good tracking and prevents the boat from capsizing.

Ease of use and maneuverability of any solo sailboat

Features like roller furling and an electric windlass can make handling the sails and anchor much more straightforward. Also, hydraulic bow/stern thrusters with remotes can help you maneuver your boat easily and safely. Make sure to look for these features when choosing your bluewater sailboat.

A good solo bluewater sailboat should be easy to handle and operate by a single person. It should have a sail plan that is easy to adjust and control, and a steering system that is responsive and easy to use. It should also have a well-designed cockpit that provides good visibility and protection from the elements.

Durability and seaworthiness for long-term safety

A well-built sailboat with a history of proven offshore performance should be at the top of your list. Some of the best and most famous bluewater sailboats include the Alberg 30 and Hanse 371.

A good solo bluewater sailboat should be built to withstand the rigors of extended ocean voyages. It should have a strong, well-built hull that is capable of withstanding heavy seas and high winds. It should also have a well-designed rigging system that is strong and durable, and a keel that is designed to provide good stability and balance.

To learn more about the best keel design for bluewater sailing , here's our article on it.

Comfort and livability of a solo sailboat

Consider the layout and features of the boat, ensuring that it has a comfortable sleeping area, a well-equipped galley, and ample storage space. A good example is the Valiant 40, known for its excellent layout and seaworthiness.

A good solo bluewater sailboat should be comfortable and livable for extended periods of time. It should have a well-designed interior that provides adequate storage space, comfortable sleeping quarters, and a functional galley and head. It should also have good ventilation and lighting, and be well-insulated to provide protection from the elements.

Affordability and availability determine the sailboat's practicality

Set a budget and research suitable sailboats within that price range. Some budget-friendly options include the J/109 and Westsail 32. A good solo bluewater sailboat should be reasonably priced and readily available. It should be affordable for most sailors who are interested in long-distance cruising, and should be available for purchase or charter in most parts of the world.

If you're looking for bluewater sailboats under 40 feet , here's our article where we picked the top 13 most famous ones.

best blue water sailboats 2023

You'll be faced with a range of solo bluewater sailboat options, from budget-friendly to luxury models. Let's explore some factors you should keep in mind to make the best decision for your needs and budget.

Initial purchase price : This is often the first thing people think of when it comes to the cost of a sailboat. There's a wide range in prices, depending on factors like age, size, and brand. For example, a used Alberg 30 might cost between $10,000 and $15,000, while a new Amel 54 could be in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's important to find a balance between quality and affordability that suits your needs and financial capabilities.

Maintenance and repairs : Owning a sailboat comes with ongoing expenses to keep it in good sailing condition. Regular maintenance tasks like painting, replacing worn rigging, and inspecting safety equipment can add up over time. Be prepared to allocate a portion of your budget for these essential tasks, as neglecting them could lead to more expensive repairs down the line.

Marina fees and insurance : Depending on where you plan to keep your boat, you may incur costs for marina or dockage fees. Additionally, securing insurance coverage for your sailboat is a must to protect your investment. Both of these costs can vary widely, so make sure you factor them into your overall budget.

Upgrades and equipment : To ensure your sailboat is well-suited for solo bluewater sailing, you might need to invest in upgrades to improve its safety and performance. For instance, you may want to add a roller furling system, wind vane, or more advanced navigation equipment. These enhancements can amount to a significant investment, so it's wise to plan financially for any desired upgrades.

best blue water sailboats 2023

Here are some essential tips to keep your boat in top shape, and ensure its long life and performance during solo journeys:

Regular inspections : Make it a habit to perform a thorough inspection of your sailboat periodically. Examine the rigging, sails, hull, and all mechanical components. Routine inspections allow you to detect any signs of wear, damage or potential problems before they escalate.

Cleaning : Keep your sailboat clean by washing it regularly with freshwater and appropriate cleaning solutions. This simple practice prevents the buildup of dirt, salt, and other debris, which can cause corrosion and damage to your vessel over time.

Checking the bilge : Ensure that your bilge pump is working efficiently and that there's no water accumulating in the bilge area. If there are any signs of water accumulation, investigate the source and address any leaks or issues promptly.

Servicing the winches : Winches play a crucial role in your sailboat’s performance, so it’s essential to inspect, clean, and grease them regularly. This practice will guarantee their smooth operation and prolong their lifespan.

Sail care : Inspect your sails frequently for any tears, wear, or damage. Repair or replace them as necessary. To protect your sails from the sun’s harmful UV rays, always use a sail cover when not in use.

Keeping records : Maintain a logbook to document all maintenance tasks, inspections, and repairs. Not only will this help you keep track of what has been done, but it will also provide valuable information if you decide to sell your sailboat in the future.

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2023 Boat of the Year Awards

  • By Herb McCormick
  • December 7, 2022

Lyman Morris

The arrival of the cold front could not possibly have been more surreal. At precisely 5 p.m. this past October 17, coinciding exactly with the official pronouncement that the annual US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, had concluded, a fierce thunderstorm rolled over Chesapeake Bay, generating sideways rain and powerful gusts. Chaos ensued. Exhibitors on land breaking down tents and packing up displays were left doused and scrambling. The crews on boats untying lines to depart the docks ducked for cover. It was a mess for everyone. 

Except, that is, for our team of judges for the 2023 Boat of the Year contest , the sea trials for which were scheduled to begin early the next day. For us, hiding out from the fray, the timing couldn’t have been better.

We knew that the front was also bringing a fresh breeze—a couple of days of pumping northerlies before a welcome swing to solid southerlies. Game on.

Full disclosure: It’s not every year that every nominee in our yearly BOTY competition gets tested in superb conditions. Chesapeake Bay can be a fickle test bed in mid-October, particularly on flat-calm mornings, when it takes some time for the capricious sea breeze to fill in. Truthfully, sometimes it never does. But not this year. And while the winds did fluctuate somewhat over the next 72 hours, when our panel conducted sea trials for this year’s fleet of 17 entries, overall the conditions were almost ideal—some of the best, most consistent pressure in the 20-odd-year history of the event. Each entry got a fair opportunity to strut its stuff. 

And it was a great year for that to happen, because while the fleet may not have been the largest ever, in terms of sailing prowess and performance, it was exemplary across the board. The sailing, quite simply, was outstanding. 

BOTY judges

But about those numbers: It’s safe to say that the effect of the pandemic on worldwide sailboat manufacturing is lingering. Last year in Annapolis, builders were inundated with orders, and for some companies, order books were full for the following two or three years, or more. Which meant that if you laid down a deposit for a new boat in 2021, it was by no means unusual for delivery to be scheduled for 2023, or later. That trend is slowing, but it has not ceased. What seems to have been shelved for many brands is the R&D that goes into new models. It makes sense. In the meantime, many marine-industry stalwarts from whom we’re accustomed to reviewing new boats on an almost yearly basis (Jeanneau and Leopard leap immediately to mind) were absent for 2023. Almost everyone is still playing catch-up. 

All that said, even in years with two dozen entries or more, it’s rare to be presented with a fleet with such a resounding international presence. The 17 boats that comprise the BOTY ’23 field were produced in nine different nations: Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, South Africa, Slovenia, Sweden, the United States…and even Ukraine, where the manufacturing of a sweet, trailerable pocket racer/cruiser, the L30, has continued despite the ongoing conflict. Whoa. Sailors by nature are known to be a resilient lot, but so too are those who create the craft we sail. We salute them.

the L30

The makeup of the entry list was also noteworthy. In recent years, we’ve seen a proliferation of large monohulls, in the 55- to 65-foot range, many with price tags in the hefty seven figures. But there was no Luxury Class for the high-end set in 2023 (though the cost of several entries did crest the million-dollar mark). In fact, unprecedentedly, the largest monohull we reviewed this year was the Elan Impression 50.1 (the Lagoon 55 catamaran was the biggest multihull among the competitors).

And there were a couple of exceptionally strong classes, which certainly reflects the current state of the market. Both the Performance Cruiser division of dual-purpose racer/cruiser and the Multihull class drew a quintet of entries (the latter with four cats and a trimaran). Neither was particularly surprising because versatile boats that serve multiple purposes are always in fashion, and the trend toward multihulls is one that has seemingly become stronger for more than a decade and shows no sign of reversal. But it did not make the judges’ tasks any easier; both classes were formidable from top to bottom. 

Another happy occurrence was a pair of excellent homegrown entries from the USA—once a powerhouse in the boatbuilding world but more of a footnote in recent years. The fine entries from Maine builder Lyman-Morse and a new Tartan from the resilient Midwest crew were heartening additions. 

There was one final, unique aspect to the Boat of the Year 2023 competition: the number of owners aboard the yachts that we tested for the sea trials. Manufacturers reps and designers are our usual presenters, but having the sailors who purchased and commissioned the vessels always adds a new and fascinating dimension. Hearing what they chose and why is valuable input.

In that vein, we’d like to recognize Erik Asgeirsson on the J/45 , a lifelong sailor who’s the very definition of a racer and cruiser. He enjoys competing aboard the boat but also sailed it across the windswept English Channel after taking delivery, and he cruises with his wife and four girls all over New England. Jim Eisenhart, aboard his Moody DS41, was about to swap sailboats for a trawler until he took one look at the yacht’s sweet deck saloon and realized it would extend his years as a sailor. Chantal and Denis Rosa’s Impression 50.1 is the couple’s second boat from the Slovenian builder, and this year they’ll be sailing it to Grenada to visit their daughter and her new baby.

Elan Impression 50.1

It was fascinating listening to Bob Frantz and learning about the choices he made with gear and charging systems on his Hallberg-Rassy 400; an avid ambassador for the brand, he circumnavigated on an earlier model from the Swedish builder. Of course, Drew Lyman loved his Lyman-Morse LM46 ; his company built it. He’ll be rolling down to the Bahamas aboard the awesome performance cruiser this winter with his clan. And a special tip of the cap to Ukrainian sailor and entrepreneur Alexander Ivanov, the importer and force behind the one-design L30, who took us on one of our best sails of the week on the windswept bay.

Spoiler alert: These boats largely did very well in the competition, and it probably was not a coincidence.  

As always, the contest was conducted in two parts, with a series of dockside inspections of overall build, systems and layout preceding the sail trials. And, as always, we want to thank all the participants, who were gracious with their time and very accessible, even when we closed down their boats for viewing at busy periods during the Annapolis boat show. 

Eventually, as they invariably do, the winds calmed and Chesapeake Bay was placid. Which meant it was time to convene, deliberate and choose some winners. This year, in particular, that was the hard part. What follows is a roll call of the winners, and a closer look at each and every nominee. For our team who puts it together, our Boat of the Year program is always some of the best sailing we ever get to do. And this year, breeze on, was special indeed.

 2023 Boat of the Year: Best Overall Winner

Two for the blue.

When the spray had settled, at the top of the leader board was a pair of yachts destined for blue water and beyond: the Lyman-Morse LM46, the Domestic Boat of the Year, and the Hallberg-Rassy 400, the Import Boat of the Year.

Hallberg-Rassy 400 and the Lyman-Morse LM46

Domestic Boat of the Year: Lyman-Morse LM46

It’s an understatement to say that Drew Lyman, president of Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding Company—the estimable midcoast Maine semicustom builder with facilities in Thomaston and Camden—knows a thing or two about cruising boats. After all, his father, Cabot, founded the firm in the late 1970s, and several years later, circumnavigated with his family on a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Sequin 49 produced in his yard called Chewink , with Drew aboard for significant legs of the journey. Many lessons were learned; many memories were lasting.

Lyman-Morse LM46

When Drew decided he required a boat for a similar rite of passage with his own family, at first he was drawn to the notion of a cruising catamaran, and for a while, he leaned heavily in that direction. But when push came to shove, he decided to move forward with a monohull; one in size and in spirit was a descendant of the Sequin 49 of his youth.

That yacht is the Lyman-Morse LM46, a striking performance cruiser from renowned New Zealand naval architect Kevin Dibley, who created a light, fast sailboat that’s both strong and sleek, and a testament to the skilled craftsmen who built it. Lyman then added his own personal touches, including many features he borrowed from legendary skipper Stan Honey, whose Cal 40 took overall honors in this past summer’s Newport Bermuda Race after a refit at—where else?—Lyman-Morse.

Our judging panel was thunderstruck by both the formidable sailing prowess and the exacting level of execution, and unanimously awarded it the title of Domestic Boat of the Year. Judge Mark Pillsbury sums up the collective opinion of the judges: “Cold-molded construction, top-notch systems, a powerful sail plan, and an interior that is both practical and lovely at the same time. Wow! The Lyman-Morse LM 46 is a heck of a boat. Purpose-built for an experienced owner, for sure, but in terms of a pure sailing machine, the 46 was the standout boat in this year’s lineup of new models.”

Import Boat of the Year: Hallberg-Rassy 400

As cruising sailors, we’ve long been enamored with Swedish builder Hallberg-Rassy, and that respect has been reflected in past editions of our Boat of the Year contest, where the company has enjoyed numerous successes. The latest offering continues a trend introduced since noted Argentine naval architect German Frers has become the line’s principal designer. It’s oftentimes not easy for a company with proven results to change what’s already a successful formula. But this latest 40-footer is a yacht that has certainly evolved, and in doing so, it’s the 2023 Import Boat of the Year.

The cockpit windshield is a feature that warms the heart of every Hallberg-Rassy owner, and it’s continued here. But the aft-cockpit configuration is certainly a departure from the brand’s earlier iterations (including the yacht the 400 succeeds in the line, the center-cockpit 40C), and so too are the twin wheels and corresponding twin rudders. Those matching helms provided the judges with one of the best sails of the contest, a jaunt that began in light airs, and just got better and better as the wind filled. It was a winning performance.

Hallberg-Rassy 400

The versatile layout, with a variety of options, is also unusual in a 40 footer, and it sealed the deal. As judge Herb McCormick said during deliberations: “This ain’t your old man’s Hallberg-Rassy. It’s a lot better. It just is.”

View all of the winners by category, meet the judges, and more…

  • More: 2023 Boat of the Year , Boat of the Year , hallberg-rassy , lyman morse , print Jan 2023 , Sailboats
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best blue water sailboats 2023

Published on January 6th, 2023 | by Editor

SAIL’s 2023 Best Boats Awards

Published on January 6th, 2023 by Editor -->

SAIL magazine revealed its annual Best Boat Nominees in September 2022 and now has selected the 2023 winners:

Every year, sailboat manufacturers around the world launch their latest models, and every year, SAIL magazine’s experienced boat reviewers spend days and weeks learning what’s new, talking with boatbuilders, examining the boats top to bottom dockside, and finally taking them sailing.

This culminates at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, where our review team gets together and makes its final assessments on which boats earn top honors.

Previously called SAIL Best Boats, this year’s program has been refined to eliminate size and purpose categories from the judging criteria to more accurately assess and compare the two-dozen boats under review.

best blue water sailboats 2023

Categories—such as Best Cruising Monohull 30-40 feet and Best Performance Monohull 40-50 feet—have been replaced with simply determining the Top 10 across the board, ensuring that the best designs are recognized, regardless of size or category label.

“Too often, defining these boats by categories results in unfairly comparing apples to oranges, sorting boats with very different purposes and design briefs into the same bracket just because of their LOA, and inevitably kicking out some really terrific boats,” said SAIL Editor-in-Chief Wendy Mitman Clarke.

“So, starting this year, we’re honoring the Top 10 boats, period. By eliminating the artificial straitjacket of size categories and focusing on what are simply the Top 10, SAIL will present readers a more complete and equitable assessment.”

The SAIL Top 10 Best Boats for 2023:

Beneteau First 36 From the judges: “A versatile, very lively craft that will appeal strongly to both dedicated racing sailors and performance-oriented cruisers…sails like a bandit…construction is no-holds-barred for a mass-produced boat…we were particularly impressed with the cockpit layout.”

X-Yachts X4.3 From the judges: “Takes what was already an outstanding boat and makes it even better …quality of construction is impeccable…fast and sure-footed, with a newly designed rudder that grips the water tenaciously even when over-pressed.”

J/45 From the judges: “Does a very fine job of splitting the difference between contemporary design idioms and the J/Boats of yore…more reliably a traditional all-rounder…always quick, easy to drive, and sure-footed…greatly relieved to see a boat like this on the water again.”

Hanse 460 From the judges: “A step up in performance and accommodations among production boats in its class…a comfortable, fast cruiser that can be sailed by a middle-aged couple…For shorthanded sailing, this boat is hard to match…will please a lot of sailors.”

Hallberg-Rassy 400 From the judges: “Seamlessly marries traditional bluewater cruising experience with contemporary design and interior trends…a powerful, elegant, fun, go-anywhere machine…everything is practical and uncluttered, geared to making sailhandling straightforward for one or two people.”

Dufour 37 From the judges: “Small is the new big, and the Dufour 37 delivers with some impressive features you’d not expect on an entry model…the gennaker on a top-down furler can be used up to 60 degrees AWA and kept us moving along…the only thing that isn’t big about the Dufour 37 is the price.”

Nautitech 44 Open From the judges: “A good-looking boat with a sleek profile…a higher bridgedeck to avoid pounding, deeper keels for better tracking…packed with unique features…should be on the shortlist for anyone planning on doing distance voyaging.”

NEEL 43 Trimaran From the judges: “A good combination of comfort and easy, fun, fast sailing…offers a 48-volt system, lithium batteries, multiple solar panels, and an Integrel alternator…can keep your carbon footprint small and your hair flying back as the three hulls eat up the miles.”

Balance 442 From the judges: “All about smart systems, livable layouts, and sassy sailing…options for one or two Integrel alternators that eliminate the need for a generator…not too many cats will do 11 knots in 16 knots of true wind at 80 degrees AWA.”

Tiwal 3R From the judges: “A racing version engineered specially for competitive sailors who want to fine-tune their sailing…a genuine performance dinghy but also a great learner’s boat…pound-for-pound the best conceived, sportiest, and most fun boat on the market.”

For additional details, click here .

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The 7 Best RC Boats for Racing Around Lakes, Riding Upstream, and Ripping Through Waves

Like sailing or speedboating, but tiny.

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Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Why Trust Us?

RC boats come in lots of shapes, sizes, and styles, but the best models can shred water from afar without becoming sinking ships. We’ve rounded up the best remote-control boats for beach visits, lakefront races, poolside entertainment, and some advice on picking the best RC boat for you.

Stay in play and check out our picks for the best magnetic toys , remote-control trucks , and remote-control planes .

The Best RC Boats

  • Best Overall: ALPHAREV RC Boat with Case R308
  • Best for Beginners: DEERC RC Boat with LED Light
  • Most Well-Rounded: Altair Aerial AA102 RC Boat
  • Best Value: Force1 Velocity H102
  • Best Sailboat: PLAYSTEAM Voyager 400 RC Sailboat

What to Consider

While you can likely get away with using a larger RC boat on a pond or lake, you may want to stick to a smaller model if you’ll be floating yours in a backyard swimming pool or need to pack something tiny. RC boats can be up to two feet long, so make sure to consider the journey to the water, too, especially if the boat you’re eyeing doesn’t come with a carrying case.

Weight and Speed

The RC boat’s weight helps determine how fast it can move. Heavier boats are better equipped to move at high speeds without capsizing, whereas lighter boats can be speedy using less power, a.k.a., slower acceleration. Think of it like torque on a car (or a full-sized boat, for that matter)—the more power the boat gets from the battery, electric, or gas motor, the faster it can accelerate.

Speed is also dependent on the type of hull—some boats are shaped for optimal turning and curves, while others are built for picking up speed while driving in a straight line.

The priciest models can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. We mostly recommend recreational, battery-powered RC boats that reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour, since the more powerful, expensive models are meant for hardcore hobbyists and professional racers.

Capsize Recovery

Many RC boats have anti-capsize, or capsize recovery, functionality to prevent them from flipping over (and staying overturned). Flipping an RC boat is extremely easy, especially if you lack experience, and can lead to a sinking ship. If you’re new to RC boating, consider grabbing one with capsize recovery, making your boat rebalance and flip back over if it tips.

How We Selected

We researched each model’s speed, customer rating, durability, and unique features. We also consulted buying guides from several top hobbyist publications. We’ve picked options for every type of RC boat customer, whether you’re a casual hobbyist, buying a first boat for your kids, or you’re a dedicated RC enthusiast.

ALPHAREV RC Boat with Case R308

RC Boat with Case R308

This boat features capsize recovery, so if it tips over or gets hit by a wave, it’ll flip back over to recover. It also has LED lights installed to make it easy to see when it’s dark. Thanks to the autopilot mode that loops the boat into a figure-eight shape, children can easily use it, too.

The R308 comes with two batteries and a charger, with users reporting approximately 20 minutes of power (counting both batteries) when operating the boat at full speed. It has a 400-foot signal range for distance driving and tops at 20 miles per hour. With its carry case, the R308 is a solid RC boat for most users.

Dimensions 15.86 x 9.13 x 5.31 in.
Weight8 oz.
Speed20+ mph

DEERC RC Boat with LED Light

RC Boat with LED Light

This is an excellent option for anyone eager to get into RC boating but unsure of their prowess on the water. It features two autopilot modes, so there’s plenty of opportunity to learn how to use it. It also has an extended playtime of 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to practice.

With features like capsize recovery, double hatch design, and low-battery and signal alarms, this boat is pretty much goof proof, making it the perfect boat for beginners on their way to becoming enthusiasts.

Dimensions15.98 x 7.44 x 6.77 in.
Weight2.03 lbs.
Speed20+ mph

Altair Aerial AA102 RC Boat

AA102 RC Boat

If you need a well-rounded RC boat, this one has ample protection, zippy speeds, and excellent customer service, all in one attractive package. Its anti-capsize feature prevents it from tipping over, while several users say its nose bumper saved their boats from getting totaled through crashing.

It has an extra battery for more playtime, and several users say it provides up to 20 minutes of action after swapping it. Users who experienced issues with their boats were able to find replacement parts and products thanks to the company’s customer service help. Others say that it’s a terrific value, though the lack of a carry case is disappointing.

Dimensions17.32 x 10.12 x 5.98 in.
Weight1.38 lbs.
Speed18 mph

Force1 Velocity H102

Velocity H102

This boat reaches speeds of 20-plus miles per hour, making it great for anyone who wants their toy to fly on the water. This boat features a capsize recovery mode, a water-cooled engine, and a double-hatched body, making it easier to control on waves. The charge time is a little long, three to four hours, but it can ride for up to 15 minutes at full power.

Customers say this boat reaches top speed fairly quickly, though some report that the controller is difficult to use and not very responsive. Still, it handles well on the water and is a super speedy boat.

Dimensions10.85 x 2.75 x 2 in.
Weight5.9 oz.
Speed20+ mph

PLAYSTEAM Voyager 400 RC Sailboat

Voyager 400 RC Sailboat

If sailing is your preference, the Voyager 400 is the way to go. Rather than rely on an electric motor to push it forward, the Voyager 400 can sail in any body of water via wind power. Its remote controls the rudder and the propulsion, and just in case wind isn’t in the forecast, it comes with a detachable motor to help propel it.

Customers say it’s easy to use, and everything is sealed to keep interior components dry when it tips over. Its rechargeable remote battery can work for up to one hour, which puts most RC speedboats to shame. A drawback, however, is that if it gets stuck at sea without the motor attached, you’ll have to wait for it to wash ashore.

Dimensions27.25 x 17 x 5.25 in.
Weight1.34 lbs.
SpeedN/A

Cheerwing RC Racing Boat

RC Racing Boat

Cheerwing RC boats are fantastic if you’re looking for an affordable toy to race with your friends. This boat can hit up to 15 miles per hour and has some great features, including capsize recovery and automatic yaw correction, which rebalances your boat. It also signals when the battery is low or starts to lose signal, giving you peace of mind.

If you want to try RC boating without spending much, this is a solid buy. Its biggest downside is in its battery life—just six to eight minutes per charge—and it doesn’t come with the option to buy a second battery, so it requires frequent recharging.

Dimensions13.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 in.
Weight11.4 oz.
Speed15 mph

VOLANTEXRC Brushless RC Boat

Brushless RC Boat

If you need speed and don’t mind investing more money into your hobby, this boat is fantastic. The fastest model on this list, this boat has a top speed of 40 miles per hour, a range of up to 656 feet, and a water-cooled system that prevents the motor from overheating.

It also has safety features to prevent damage from the high speeds, like waterproofing and a one-piece hull to prevent cracks.

The biggest flaw is its lack of capsize recovery, and several users say their boats flipped in action, causing them to swim out to retrieve their toys. It also only comes with one battery.

Dimensions27.56 x 7.48 x 5.31 in.
Weight5.39 lbs.
Speed40 mph

Headshot of Kevin Cortez

Kevin Cortez is an editor for Runner's World, Bicycling, and Popular Mechanics covering reviews. A culture and product journalist for over ten years, he’s an expert in men’s style, technology, gaming, coffee, e-bikes, hiking, gear, and all things outdoors. He most recently worked as the Style Editor for Reviewed, a top product recommendation site owned by USA TODAY. He also helped with the launch of WSJ's Buy Side commerce vertical, and has covered the music and podcast industries for Mass Appeal, Genius, Vulture, Leafly, Input, and The A.V. Club. Equally passionate about leisure as he is his penmanship, Kevin dedicates his spare time to graphic novels, birding, making cold brew, and taking long, meandering walks.

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The 60 Most Beautiful Blue Paint Colors, According to Designers

Because this soothing hue never goes out of style.

Blue paint colors are both timeless and trendy . Multiple shades of blue have been crowned color of the year by esteemed color authorities and paint companies, such as Benjamin Moore , C2 Paint , Sherwin-Williams and Valspar . These hues range from mid-tone denim to an ethereal blue-violet on the color spectrum. Unsurprisingly, the allure of blue paint in its various forms has never been greater.

For inspiration on the best blue paint colors to choose, we reached out to top designers from all over the world. One of these sumptuous selections is sure to make it on your walls. Here, the blue paint colors the pros reach for over and over again.

Inchyra Blue by Farrow & Ball

inchyra blue farrow ball

" Inchyra Blue by Farrow & Ball is one of my favorite blue paint colors that I reach for most often. It's deep and moody in darker rooms but can also be almost pastel and bright in sun-filled spaces. It also serves as a classic color that plays well with many different design styles and architecture." —Clara Jung, Banner Day Interiors

" Inchyra Blue by Farrow & Ball is wonderful for moody spaces like a library or butler’s pantry; it can be blue green or deep blue depending upon the light." — Lindsay Anyon Brier

New Providence Navy by Benjamin Moore

shape, circle

"I love New Providence Navy , Benjamin Moore 1651 , in a high gloss for wood trim and walls in a library or bar. It's a dark, moody color, but when done in a high gloss, the reflective quality makes it quite bright and playful. I especially love how the color changes depending on the time of day and lighting." — Meridith Baer

Shop This Shade

Brigand by C2 Paint

brigand by c2 paints

"For the darker tones, I love Brigand by C2 Paint . Their colors always have a subtleness that I’m drawn to. This is a moody blue that has so much depth—it never reads flat like some dark blues." — Hillary Cohen

Selvedge by Farrow & Ball

selvedge farrow and ball

"We love Selvedge from Farrow & Ball . A heavily pigmented gray-blue, it exudes elegance, timelessness, and freshness all at once." — Adam Hunter

In the Navy by Portola Paints

shape, circle

"We love Portola Paints' In the Navy because it has great color depth and reads organic instead of preppy, which is a feat for navy blue!" — Wendy Labrum

Van Deusen Blue by Benjamin Moore

van deusen blue benjamin moore

" Van Deusen Blue from Benjamin Moore is one of our go-to blues because of its deep, rich hue, adding a beautiful sense of depth to both traditional and modern spaces." — Adam Hunter

Palest Pistachio by Benjamin Moore

palest pistachio benjamin moore

"We use this color on almost every ceiling. It has a subtle blue-green hue that adds a soft reflection to the surrounding space." — Studio SFW

Bermuda Blue by Benjamin Moore

shape, circle

"For a bolder, punchier blue that energizes a room with its vibrant presence, I turn to Benjamin Moore Bermuda Blue . This lively shade infuses a space with a burst of energy, creating a dynamic atmosphere that captivates the senses and invites exploration." —Mark Schubert, Phillip Harrison Interiors

Ethereal Blue by Edward Bulmer

shape, circle

"Blue can be warm, cold and even ethereal—and choosing the right blue is important. I always turn to Edward Bulmer’s paints for my blues and have often used Duck Egg for bathrooms and Ethereal Blue for halls teamed with Verdigris (the most green of blues) for woodwork. I love a blue that sits neither in the blue nor the green camp, and I love a blue to be interesting and difficult to define and as far from a royal blue as possible; I like my blues to feel uplifting, creative and diaphanous. I think that Edward Bulmer's Ethereal Blue might have to be my favorite blue." — Olivia Outred

Pacific Palisades by Benjamin Moore

pacific palisades benjamin moore

"If you want a blue with flair, this is what you want to go with. It makes a statement with a melody! We just specified it in the dining room." — Vani Sayeed

Cheating Heart by Benjamin Moore

shape, circle

"We use this often on cabinetry and handrails—it's black with hints of blue, which gives it a deep tone, especially in a semi-gloss finish." — Studio SFW

Marine Layer by Dunn-Edwards

shape, circle

"This medium blue is a sophisticated color that can make any space, cabinetry or furniture feel elevated and modern, but not too immature. I used this color recently in a laundry room for cabinetry and it gave a look of modernism with character." —Linda Hayslett, LH.Designs

Surf Camp by Backdrop

shape, circle

"Blue is one of the most versatile colors and can act as a neutral in interior spaces. I prefer to use blues that are a bit more nuanced in tone and pull in greens and charcoal-gray for a richer hue. A few of my favorites in the green-blue and teal-blue hues include: Benjamin Moore Knoxville Gray , Benjamin Moore New Providence Navy and Backdrop Surf Camp . These colors work really well on cabinetry." —Leigh Jendrusina, SALTHOUSE Collective

White Satin by Benjamin Moore

shape, circle

"My favorite lighter shade of blue is Benjamin’s Moore’s White Satin . It’s got a touch of lavender which makes it very versatile. Even though blue can be masculine, this shade has a softness to it which I love." — Hillary Cohen

Whirlpool by Sherwin Williams

shape, circle

"This color is a 'true blue' with no green undertones. It is a deep and dusty blue that works well in an office or bedroom because of its calming nature." — Debbie Mathews

Gentleman's Gray by Benjamin Moore

benjamin moore gentlemans gray

" Benjamin Moore's Gentleman's Gray is a foolproof navy blue. The slight dustiness provides sophistication, and the drop of acid undertone differentiates it from standard cobalt-based navys. You can use Gentleman's Gray on an entire home exterior or on your lower kitchen cabinets, and be confident it will read classic and crisp in any light."—Emilie Munroe, Studio Munroe

"A blue that I’ve found myself recently gravitating towards is Benjamin Moore's Gentlemen's Gray . This rich jewel tone is everything I'm currently craving in interior design. It effortlessly infuses spaces with rich color and warmth, creating an inviting ambiance that feels luxurious and sophisticated while still keeping things cozy and intentional. This shade transforms bedrooms into sanctuaries and is also great for kitchen cabinetry to add interest and bold color without feeling trendy." —Kallie Geddie, designer and project manager at Dwellify

Railings by Farrow & Ball

railings farrow and ball swatch

"Absolutely adore Farrow & Ball's Railings for its dynamic interplay of hues, ranging from a deep blue to an almost black shade depending on the lighting." — Alissa Johnson

Sheer Bliss by Benjamin Moore

sheer bliss benjamin moore

"For a more soft, serene blue, I like Sheer Bliss by Benjamin Moore . It's a perfect blue tone that serves as a neutral for both a boy or girls room. It's calming, cool, and makes you feel like you have walked into a clear blue sunny skied space." —Tova Kook, TK Design

Blue Verditer by Papers & Paints

blue verditer papers and paints

" Papers & Paints' Blue Verditer is a firm favorite. It was my son’s bedroom color when we lived in London, and I reach for it time and again in projects too." — Kate Guinness

Blue Lace by Benjamin Moore

blue lace by benjamin moore

"This is a nice soft blue for if you want to use it in a room where you want it to feel sophisticated, but not like a little boy's room. I've used this color in a primary bedroom before, and it made the space feel inviting and happy once we added all the decor." —Linda Hayslett, LH.Designs

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Sarah DiMarco (she/her) is the associate editor at VERANDA, covering all things design, architecture, art, gardens, jewelry, travel, wine and spirits. She also manages social media for the brand.

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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.

{{boat-info="/boats/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.

Specifications

  • 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

{{boat-info="/boats/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

{{boat-info="/boats/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

{{boat-info="/boats/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

{{boat-info="/boats/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!

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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.

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Ukraine-Russia war latest: Russia's advance on Kharkiv 'halted'

Volodymyr Zelensky told leaders at his address at Blenheim Palace that Ukraine had halted Moscow's forces completely in northern Kharkiv.

Thursday 18 July 2024 15:32, UK

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  • Russia's Kharkiv advance halted, Zelenskyy says
  • Germany to halve military funding for Ukraine
  • Crimea and Russian Black Sea ports targeted by Ukraine
  • Trial of Evan Gershkovich continues
  • Zelenskyy in UK for EPC summit
  • Orban's Moscow visit was 'an appeasement mission'
  • Big picture:  What you need to know this week
  • Your questions answered: Could internal dissent lead to Putin's removal from power? | Has the West been honest about Ukraine's failures?
  • Live reporting by Ollie Cooper

Thanks for tuning in to our live coverage, that's all for today.

Here are the key events from the day:

  • President Zelenskyy said Ukraine had halted Moscow's forces completely in the Kharkiv region;
  • Germany looks set to halve its military funding for Ukraine next year;
  • Crimea and Russian Black Sea ports were targeted by Ukraine overnight;
  • The EU's president dubbed Viktor Orban's visit to Moscow an "appeasement tour";
  • Mr Zelenskyy appealed for European unity, defence systems and diplomacy during a visit to Blenheim Palace in the UK.

Five people have been killed and three injured in Russian attacks on the Donetsk region, prosecutors have said. 

A woman and her husband were killed in artillery shelling in the village of Pleshchiivka, the general prosecutor's office said.

Another three women were killed in a strike on private buildings in the village of Hrodivka, it added.

Separately, the Russian military dropped two guided bombs on the village of Velyka Novosilka, injuring a man and his wife inside their house, while another man was wounded in an artillery strike in the town of Zalizne.

In April this year, the US finally approved a long-awaited aid package worth some $60.8bn (£49bn) in aid to Ukraine.

Included were vast quantities of much-needed weapons and ammunition meant for the frontlines - which Kyiv had been desperately calling for for months. 

So how have they impacted the war? 

Nichita Gurcov, Eurasia analyst for Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project  (ACLED) told Sky News it may actually have pushed Moscow to act quickly and launch fresh attacks.

"It may have prodded Russia to step up its offensive to claim as much ground as possible, before the arriving weapons make it harder," he says. 

Russia resumed its offensive in October last year after fending off the latest Ukrainian attempt to cut the land corridor to Crimea, Gurcov explains. 

"By mid-February [this year] Russia secured the Avdiivka stronghold and has been since pressing toward Ukrainian logistical hub in Pokrovsk," he said. 

ACLED has counted the number of settlements gained by Russia in each month of the conflict. 

Five were taken in February, but just two in March.

In April (the month the US aid package was announced), seven settlements were captured, followed by nine in May and 11 in June - highlighting a clear increase in Russian offensive action. 

"The sharp increase in the number of claimed settlements in May is due to the Russian re-invasion of the northern Kharkiv region," Gurcov explains. 

"It could have pursued - diverting Ukrainian forces from elsewhere - but so far has been contained," he adds (see 11.40am post).

Another indicator of increased fighting is the number of reported battles, according to ACLED:  

"The sharp increase in fighting in April and the subsequent near-50% increase in May is an all-time high since the invasion," Gurcov notes. 

"The spike is only partially due to the re-invasion of the Kharkiv region as we are recording steadily intensifying offensive in the Donetsk region," he adds. 

Closing arguments in the trial of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will be heard in a Russian court tomorrow. 

Mr Gershkovich attended a trial session for a second day behind closed doors today - more in our 8.10am post on that.  

The 32-year-old was arrested in March last year while on a reporting trip. Authorities claimed, without offering any evidence, that he was gathering secret information for the US - which he, his employer and his government all vehemently deny. 

Russia will not rule out new deployments of nuclear missiles in response to the planned US stationing of long-range conventional weapons in Germany, Moscow's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov has said. 

Russia regularly threatens Europe and the US with the nuclear option in public. 

"I am not ruling out any options," the Interfax news agency said he told reporters in the Russian capital when asked to comment on the US deployment plans.

Washington said last week it would start deployment in Germany from 2026 of weapons that will include SM-6, Tomahawk and new hypersonic missiles in order to demonstrate its commitment to NATO and European defence.

Interfax cited Mr Ryabkov as saying that the defence of Russia's Kaliningrad region, which is wedged between NATO members Poland and Lithuania, was a particular focus.

"Kaliningrad is no exception in terms of our 100% determination to do everything necessary to push back those who may harbour aggressive plans and who try to provoke us to take certain steps that are undesirable for anyone and are fraught with further complications," Mr Ryabkov said.

Readers have been sending in their questions to our senior correspondents and military experts for their take on the changing battlefield environment in Ukraine.

Today, Ross Tregembo asks:

Is there a possibility of internal dissent within Putin's inner circle leading to his removal from power?

Moscow correspondent Ivor Bennett   replies:

"Not right now, no. This seems extremely unlikely for a number of reasons.

"Firstly, Vladimir Putin has just started a new presidential term, keeping him in the Kremlin for another six years.

"The potential political jeopardy of an election has evaporated and his approval ratings are near record highs (85% according to the independent Levada Center), helped by Russia gaining the upper hand on the battlefield in Ukraine.

"So there's no overt public support for a change at the top.

"Secondly, who would succeed him? His refusal to pick a successor all these years has been deliberate, and a key factor in preserving his power.

"Thirdly, his potential rivals are focused elsewhere.

"Look at what’s happening at the ministry of defence and the series of corruption scandals. By replacing his long-time ally Sergei Shoigu as minister of defence, Putin seemed to open the doors to a full-on purge of the military’s top brass.

"Analysts say this was a deliberate ploy to play his rivals off against each other - security services vs the military. By doing that, they're less likely to take a shot at him.

"Yes, it's only been a year since his authority was challenged like never before, with the Prigozhin-led uprising. But fast-forward 12 months and his grip on power appears stronger than ever."

A Russian court has sentenced US citizen Michael Travis Leake to 13 years in prison on drug smuggling charges, the court service has said in a statement. 

Mr Leake, a musician and former US paratrooper - who was arrested in June 2023 - was found guilty of selling drugs on a large scale, the court service said.

It was not clear how he pleaded.

He is one of about a dozen Americans currently held in Russian detention - alongside Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, whose trial continued today (see 8.10am post). 

Another American, Robert Romanov Woodland, was sentenced by a Russian court to 12-1/2 years for drug smuggling earlier this month.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's desire to create "a true European Defence Union" if she is re-elected shows the mood in Europe is one of militarisation and confrontation, the Kremlin has said. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the plans reflected Ms von der Leyen's "changing priorities" and said her proposals gave a "military colouring" to the EU.

Mr Peskov told reporters that her proposal "confirms the general attitude of European states to militarisation, escalation of tension, confrontation and reliance on confrontational methods in their foreign policy".

"Everything is quite obvious here," he added. 

One more line to bring you from Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address at Blenheim Palace - concerning Russia's progress in northern Kharkiv. 

When trying to convince leaders to help with Kyiv's air defence capability, the president said Ukraine had halted Moscow's forces completely.

"We have stopped the Russian advance on Kharkiv - period," he said.

"Putin has sacrificed tens of thousands of his citizens but has achieved nothing significant," he added.

"This was made possible by the bravery of our warriors and the bravery of our partners, who have lifted limitations on the use of Western weapons along our border," he added. 

Russia launched a surprise attack on Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region in May, opening up another front for Ukraine to defend.

Moscow's troops made rapid progress in the days immediately after the incursion, before being slowed by a stubborn Ukrainian resistance. 

Reports earlier in the week that Russian operations were winding down in the area resulted in Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denying the claims yesterday. 

"This operation is ongoing, it will continue until it has been successfully completed," he told reporters.

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best blue water sailboats 2023

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  3. 43 of the best bluewater sailboat designs of all time

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VIDEO

  1. The hidden secrets of blue water sailboats

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  3. FAURBY 400, Fast, sleek and fun a well rounded family cruiser

  4. My first sailboat, best blue water 25ft boat. Cal mk II 1979

  5. Discover the 2023 Island Packet 439 a True Blue Water Cruiser

  6. Taking on WATER on passage sailing from Fiji to Vanuatu

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  1. SAIL Top 10 Best Boats for 2023

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    Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49. For a boat focused on the needs of the lucrative charter market, the Sun Odyssey 49 has proved a remarkably adept bluewater cruiser. A large cockpit, easily managed sailplan and fine all-round performance obviously have something to do with this; cool features like a dedicated sail locker in the bow and a large nav station belowdecks don't hurt either.

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  7. 10 of the Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 40 Feet

    Length: 35′. Courtesy Gemini Catamarans. The Gemini Legacy 35 is a bluewater sailboat under 40 feet designed with a focus on stability, safety, and ease of handling. Its catamaran design, with a beam of 14 feet, provides remarkable stability both at anchor and underway.

  8. A Guide to 10 Great Blue Water Boats

    A Guide to 10 Great Blue Water Boats. By George Day · On March 27, 2024. Every veteran cruiser has his or her list of favorite cruising boats and, because cost is often an issue for many sailors, a lot of those boats will fall in the under-40-foot category. There are certainly many sweet designs under 40 feet that range from the venerable ...

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    Belowdecks, the boat's "Herreshoff" style white bulkheads and varnished trim make it real looker to relax in during dirty wearther as well as an outstanding sailer. LOA 45ft 8in BEAM 13ft 5in DRAFT 6ft (shoal); 7ft 7in (std.); 10ft (deep) DISPLACEMENT 24,750lb (std.), SAIL AREA 1,183ft 2Lyman-Morse, lymanmorse.com.

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  12. 5 Best Liveaboard Bluewater Sailboats

    Here are the best liveaboard sailboats for bluewater cruising. 1. Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20. cdmech. The Flicka 20 is the smallest and most interesting sailboat on our list. At only 20 feet overall in length, the interior accommodations of this vessel are spartan at best and suitable for minimalist living.

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  16. 2023 Boat of the Year Awards

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  26. Ukraine-Russia war latest: Russia's advance on Kharkiv 'halted'

    Mr Leake, a musician and former US paratrooper - who was arrested in June 2023 - was found guilty of selling drugs on a large scale, the court service said. It was not clear how he pleaded.