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43 of the best bluewater sailboat designs of all time

Yachting World

  • January 5, 2022

How do you choose the right yacht for you? We highlight the very best bluewater sailboat designs for every type of cruising

best bluewater catamaran 2022

Which yacht is the best for bluewater boating? This question generates even more debate among sailors than questions about what’s the coolest yacht , or the best for racing. Whereas racing designs are measured against each other, cruising sailors get very limited opportunities to experience different yachts in real oceangoing conditions, so what is the best bluewater sailboat?

Here, we bring you our top choices from decades of designs and launches. Over the years, the Yachting World team has sailed these boats, tested them or judged them for European Yacht of the Year awards, and we have sifted through the many to curate a selection that we believe should be on your wishlist.

Making the right choice may come down to how you foresee your yacht being used after it has crossed an ocean or completed a passage: will you be living at anchor or cruising along the coast? If so, your guiding requirements will be space, cabin size, ease of launching a tender and anchoring closer to shore, and whether it can comfortably accommodate non-expert-sailor guests.

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best bluewater catamaran 2022

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All of these considerations have generated the inexorable rise of the bluewater catamaran – monohulls can’t easily compete on these points. We have a full separate feature on the best bluewater multihulls of all time and here we mostly focus on monohulls. The only exceptions to that rule are two multihulls which made it into our best bluewater sailboats of 2022 list.

As so much of making the right choice is selecting the right boat for the venture in mind, we have separated out our edit into categories: best for comfort; for families; for performance; and for expedition or high latitudes sailing .

Best bluewater sailboats 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 bluewater catamaran 2022

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 sailboat 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 bluewater sailboats for comfort

This is the successor to the legendary Super Maramu, a ketch design that for several decades defined easy downwind handling and fostered a cult following for the French yard. Nearly a decade old, the Amel 55 is the bridge between those world-girdling stalwarts and Amel’s more recent and totally re-imagined sloop designs, the Amel 50 and 60.

The 55 boasts all the serious features Amel aficionados loved and valued: a skeg-hung rudder, solidly built hull, watertight bulkheads, solid guardrails and rampart bulwarks. And, most noticeable, the solid doghouse in which the helmsman sits in perfect shelter at the wheel.

This is a design to live on comfortably for long periods and the list of standard features just goes on and on: passarelle; proper sea berths with lee cloths; electric furling main and genoa; and a multitude of practical items that go right down to a dishwasher and crockery.

There’s no getting around the fact these designs do look rather dated now, and through the development of easier sail handling systems the ketch rig has fallen out of fashion, but the Amel is nothing short of a phenomenon, and if you’ve never even peeked on board one, you really have missed a treat.

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Photo: Sander van der Borch

Contest 50CS

A centre cockpit cruiser with true longevity, the Contest 50CS was launched by Conyplex back in 2003 and is still being built by the family-owned Dutch company, now in updated and restyled form.

With a fully balanced rudder, large wheel and modern underwater sections, the Contest 50CS is a surprisingly good performer for a boat that has a dry weight of 17.5 tonnes. Many were fitted with in-mast furling, which clearly curtails that performance, but even without, this boat is set up for a small crew.

Electric winches and mainsheet traveller are all easy to reach from the helm. On our test of the Contest 50CS, we saw for ourselves how two people can gybe downwind under spinnaker without undue drama. Upwind, a 105% genoa is so easy to tack it flatters even the weediest crewmember.

Down below, the finish level of the joinery work is up there among the best and the interior is full of clever touches, again updated and modernised since the early models. Never the cheapest bluewater sailing yacht around, the Contest 50CS has remained in demand as a brokerage buy. She is a reassuringly sure-footed, easily handled, very well built yacht that for all those reasons has stood the test of time.

This is a yacht that would be well capable of helping you extend your cruising grounds, almost without realising it.

Read more about the Contest 50CS and the new Contest 49CS

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Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Hallberg-Rassy 48 Mk II

For many, the Swedish Hallberg-Rassy yard makes the quintessential bluewater cruiser for couples. With their distinctive blue cove line, these designs are famous for their seakindly behaviour, solid-as-a-rock build and beautifully finished, traditional interiors.

To some eyes, Hallberg-Rassys aren’t quite cool enough, but it’s been company owner Magnus Rassy’s confidence in the formula and belief in incremental ‘step-by-step’ evolution that has been such an exceptional guarantor of reliable quality, reputation and resale value.

The centre cockpit Hallberg-Rassy 48 epitomises the concept of comfort at sea and, like all the Frers-designed Hallberg-Rassys since the 1990s, is surprisingly fleet upwind as well as steady downwind. The 48 is perfectly able to be handled by a couple (as we found a few years back in the Pacific), and could with no great effort crack out 200-mile days.

The Hallberg-Rassy 48 was launched nearly a decade ago, but the Mk II from 2014 is our pick, updated with a more modern profile, larger windows and hull portlights that flood the saloon and aft cabin with light. With a large chart table, secure linear galley, heaps of stowage and space for bluewater extras such as machinery and gear, this yacht pretty much ticks all the boxes.

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Discovery 55

First launched in 2000, the Discovery 55 has stood the test of time. Designed by Ron Holland, it hit a sweet spot in size that appealed to couples and families with world girdling plans.

Elegantly styled and well balanced, the 55 is also a practical design, with a deep and secure cockpit, comfortable seating, a self-tacking jib, dedicated stowage for the liferaft , a decent sugar scoop transom that’s useful for swimming or dinghy access, and very comfortable accommodation below. In short, it is a design that has been well thought out by those who’ve been there, got the bruises, stubbed their toes and vowed to change things in the future if they ever got the chance.

Throughout the accommodation there are plenty of examples of good detailing, from the proliferation of handholds and grabrails, to deep sinks in the galley offering immediate stowage when under way and the stand up/sit down showers. Stowage is good, too, with plenty of sensibly sized lockers in easily accessible positions.

The Discovery 55 has practical ideas and nifty details aplenty. She’s not, and never was, a breakthrough in modern luxury cruising but she is pretty, comfortable to sail and live on, and well mannered.

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Photo: Latitudes Picture Library

You can’t get much more Cornish than a Rustler. The hulls of this Stephen Jones design are hand-moulded and fitted out in Falmouth – and few are more ruggedly built than this traditional, up-for-anything offshore cruiser.

She boasts an encapsulated lead keel, eliminating keel bolts and creating a sump for generous fuel and water tankage, while a chunky skeg protects the rudder. She is designed for good directional stability and load carrying ability. These are all features that lend this yacht confidence as it shoulders aside the rough stuff.

Most of those built have had a cutter rig, a flexible arrangement that makes sense for long passages in all sea and weather conditions. Down below, the galley and saloon berths are comfortable and sensible for living in port and at sea, with joinery that Rustler’s builders are rightly proud of.

As modern yachts have got wider, higher and fatter, the Rustler 42 is an exception. This is an exceptionally well-mannered seagoing yacht in the traditional vein, with elegant lines and pleasing overhangs, yet also surprisingly powerful. And although now over 20 years old, timeless looks and qualities mean this design makes her look ever more like a perennial, a modern classic.

The definitive crossover size, the point at which a yacht can be handled by a couple but is just large enough to have a professional skipper and be chartered, sits at around the 60ft mark. At 58ft 8in, the Oyster 575 fitted perfectly into this growing market when launched in 2010. It went on to be one of the most popular models from the yard, and is only now being superseded by the newer Rob Humphreys-designed Oyster 565 (just launched this spring).

Built in various configurations with either a deep keel, shoal draught keel or centreboard with twin rudders, owners could trade off better performance against easy access to shallower coves and anchorages. The deep-bodied hull, also by Rob Humphreys, is known for its easy motion at sea.

Some of the Oyster 575’s best features include its hallmark coachroof windows style and centre cockpit – almost everyone will know at first glance this is an Oyster – and superb interior finish. If she has a flaw, it is arguably the high cockpit, but the flip side is the galley headroom and passageway berth to the large aft stateroom.

This design also has a host of practical features for long-distance cruising, such as high guardrails, dedicated liferaft stowage, a vast lazarette for swallowing sails, tender, fenders etc, and a penthouse engine room.

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Privilege Serie 5

A true luxury catamaran which, fully fitted out, will top €1m, this deserves to be seen alongside the likes of the Oyster 575, Gunfleet 58 and Hallberg-Rassy 55. It boasts a large cockpit and living area, and a light and spacious saloon with an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living, masses of refrigeration and a big galley.

Standout features are finish quality and solid build in a yacht designed to take a high payload, a secure walkaround deck and all-round views from the helm station. The new Privilege 510 that will replace this launches in February 2020.

Gunfleet 43

It was with this Tony Castro design that Richard Matthews, founder of Oyster Yachts, launched a brand new rival brand in 2012, the smallest of a range stretching to the flagship Gunfleet 74. The combination of short overhangs and centre cockpit at this size do make the Gunfleet 43 look modern if a little boxy, but time and subsequent design trends have been kind to her lines, and the build quality is excellent. The saloon, galley and aft cabin space is exceptional on a yacht of this size.

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Photo: David Harding

Conceived as a belt-and-braces cruiser, the Kraken 50 launched last year. Its unique points lie underwater in the guise of a full skeg-hung rudder and so-called ‘Zero Keel’, an encapsulated long keel with lead ballast.

Kraken Yachts is the brainchild of British businessman and highly experienced cruiser Dick Beaumont, who is adamant that safety should be foremost in cruising yacht design and build. “There is no such thing as ‘one yacht for all purposes’… You cannot have the best of all worlds, whatever the salesman tells you,” he says.

Read our full review of the Kraken 50 .

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Wauquiez Centurion 57

Few yachts can claim to be both an exciting Med-style design and a serious and practical northern European offshore cruiser, but the Wauquiez Centurion 57 tries to blend both. She slightly misses if you judge solely by either criterion, but is pretty and practical enough to suit her purpose.

A very pleasant, well-considered yacht, she is impressively built and finished with a warm and comfortable interior. More versatile than radical, she could be used for sailing across the Atlantic in comfort and raced with equal enjoyment at Antigua Sailing Week .

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A modern classic if ever there was one. A medium to heavy displacement yacht, stiff and easily capable of standing up to her canvas. Pretty, traditional lines and layout below.

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Photo: Voyage of Swell

Well-proven US legacy design dating back to the mid-1960s that once conquered the Transpac Race . Still admired as pretty, with slight spoon bow and overhanging transom.

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Capable medium displacement cruiser, ideal size and good accommodation for couples or family cruising, and much less costly than similar luxury brands.

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Photo: Peter Szamer

Swedish-built aft cockpit cruiser, smaller than many here, but a well-built and finished, super-durable pocket ocean cruiser.

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Tartan 3700

Designed as a performance cruiser there are nimbler alternatives now, but this is still an extremely pretty yacht.

Broker ’ s choice

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Discovery 55 Brizo

This yacht has already circumnavigated the globe and is ‘prepared for her next adventure,’ says broker Berthon. Price: £535,000 + VAT

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Oyster 575 Ayesha

‘Stunning, and perfectly equipped for bluewater cruising,’ says broker Ancasta International. Price: £845,000 (tax not paid)

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Oyster 575 Pearls of Nautilus

Nearly new and with a high spec, this Oyster Brokerage yacht features American white oak joinery and white leather upholstery and has a shoal draught keel. Price: $1.49m

Best bluewater yachts for performance

The Frers-designed Swan 54 may not be the newest hull shape but heralded Swan’s latest generation of displacement bluewater cruisers when launched four years ago. With raked stem, deep V hull form, lower freeboard and slight curve to the topsides she has a more timeless aesthetic than many modern slab-sided high volume yachts, and with that a seakindly motion in waves. If you plan to cover many miles to weather, this is probably the yacht you want to be on.

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Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

Besides Swan’s superlative build quality, the 54 brings many true bluewater features, including a dedicated sail locker. There’s also a cockpit locker that functions as a utility cabin, with potential to hold your generator and washing machine, or be a workshop space.

The sloping transom opens out to reveal a 2.5m bathing platform, and although the cabins are not huge there is copious stowage space. Down below the top-notch oak joinery is well thought through with deep fiddles, and there is a substantial nav station. But the Swan 54 wins for handling above all, with well laid-out sail controls that can be easily managed between a couple, while offering real sailing enjoyment to the helmsman.

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Photo: Graham Snook

The Performance Cruiser winner at the 2019 European Yacht of the Year awards, the Arcona 435 is all about the sailing experience. She has genuine potential as a cruiser-racer, but her strengths are as an enjoyable cruiser rather than a full-blown liveaboard bluewater boat.

Build quality is excellent, there is the option of a carbon hull and deck, and elegant lines and a plumb bow give the Arcona 435 good looks as well as excellent performance in light airs. Besides slick sail handling systems, there are well thought-out features for cruising, such as ample built-in rope bins and an optional semi-closed stern with stowage and swim platform.

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Outremer 51

If you want the space and stability of a cat but still prioritise sailing performance, Outremer has built a reputation on building catamarans with true bluewater characteristics that have cruised the planet for the past 30 years.

Lighter and slimmer-hulled than most cruising cats, the Outremer 51 is all about sailing at faster speeds, more easily. The lower volume hulls and higher bridgedeck make for a better motion in waves, while owners report that being able to maintain a decent pace even under reduced canvas makes for stress-free passages. Deep daggerboards also give good upwind performance.

With bucket seats and tiller steering options, the Outremer 51 rewards sailors who want to spend time steering, while they’re famously well set up for handling with one person on deck. The compromise comes with the interior space – even with a relatively minimalist style, there is less cabin space and stowage volume than on the bulkier cats, but the Outremer 51 still packs in plenty of practical features.

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The Xc45 was the first cruising yacht X-Yachts ever built, and designed to give the same X-Yachts sailing experience for sailors who’d spent years racing 30/40-footer X- and IMX designs, but in a cruising package.

Launched over 10 years ago, the Xc45 has been revisited a few times to increase the stowage and modernise some of the styling, but the key features remain the same, including substantial tanks set low for a low centre of gravity, and X-Yachts’ trademark steel keel grid structure. She has fairly traditional styling and layout, matched with solid build quality.

A soft bilge and V-shaped hull gives a kindly motion in waves, and the cockpit is secure, if narrow by modern standards.

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A three or four cabin catamaran that’s fleet of foot with high bridgedeck clearance for comfortable motion at sea. With tall daggerboards and carbon construction in some high load areas, Catana cats are light and quick to accelerate.

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Sweden Yachts 45

An established bluewater design that also features in plenty of offshore races. Some examples are specced with carbon rig and retractable bowsprits. All have a self-tacking jib for ease. Expect sweeping areas of teak above decks and a traditionally wooded interior with hanging wet locker.

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A vintage performer, first launched in 1981, the 51 was the first Frers-designed Swan and marked a new era of iconic cruiser-racers. Some 36 of the Swan 51 were built, many still actively racing and cruising nearly 40 years on. Classic lines and a split cockpit make this a boat for helming, not sunbathing.

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Photo: Julien Girardot / EYOTY

The JPK 45 comes from a French racing stable, combining race-winning design heritage with cruising amenities. What you see is what you get – there are no superfluous headliners or floorboards, but there are plenty of ocean sailing details, like inboard winches for safe trimming. The JPK 45 also has a brilliantly designed cockpit with an optional doghouse creating all-weather shelter, twin wheels and superb clutch and rope bin arrangement.

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Photo: Andreas Lindlahr

For sailors who don’t mind exchanging a few creature comforts for downwind planing performance, the Pogo 50 offers double-digit surfing speeds for exhilarating tradewind sailing. There’s an open transom, tiller steering and no backstay or runners. The Pogo 50 also has a swing keel, to nose into shallow anchorages.

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Seawind 1600

Seawinds are relatively unknown in Europe, but these bluewater cats are very popular in Australia. As would be expected from a Reichel-Pugh design, this 52-footer combines striking good looks and high performance, with fine entry bows and comparatively low freeboard. Rudders are foam cored lifting designs in cassettes, which offer straightforward access in case of repairs, while daggerboards are housed under the deck.

Best bluewater sailboats for families

It’s unsurprising that, for many families, it’s a catamaran that meets their requirements best of increased space – both living space and separate cabins for privacy-seeking teenagers, additional crew or visiting family – as well as stable and predictable handling.

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Photo: Nicholas Claris

Undoubtedly one of the biggest success stories has been the Lagoon 450, which, together with boats like the Fountaine Pajot 44, helped drive up the popularity of catamaran cruising by making it affordable and accessible. They have sold in huge numbers – over 1,000 Lagoon 450s have been built since its launch in 2010.

The VPLP-designed 450 was originally launched with a flybridge with a near central helming position and upper level lounging areas (450F). The later ‘sport top’ option (450S) offered a starboard helm station and lower boom (and hence lower centre of gravity for reduced pitching). The 450S also gained a hull chine to create additional volume above the waterline. The Lagoon features forward lounging and aft cockpit areas for additional outdoor living space.

Besides being a big hit among charter operators, Lagoons have proven themselves over thousands of bluewater miles – there were seven Lagoon 450s in last year’s ARC alone. In what remains a competitive sector of the market, Lagoon has recently launched a new 46, with a larger self-tacking jib and mast moved aft, and more lounging areas.

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Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget

Fountaine Pajot Helia 44

The FP Helia 44 is lighter, lower volume, and has a lower freeboard than the Lagoon, weighing in at 10.8 tonnes unloaded (compared to 15 for the 450). The helm station is on a mezzanine level two steps up from the bridgedeck, with a bench seat behind. A later ‘Evolution’ version was designed for liveaboard cruisers, featuring beefed up dinghy davits and an improved saloon space.

Available in three or four cabin layouts, the Helia 44 was also popular with charter owners as well as families. The new 45 promises additional volume, and an optional hydraulically lowered ‘beach club’ swim platform.

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Photo: Arnaud De Buyzer / graphikup.com

The French RM 1370 might be less well known than the big brand names, but offers something a little bit different for anyone who wants a relatively voluminous cruising yacht. Designed by Marc Lombard, and beautifully built from plywood/epoxy, the RM is stiff and responsive, and sails superbly.

The RM yachts have a more individual look – in part down to the painted finish, which encourages many owners to personalise their yachts, but also thanks to their distinctive lines with reverse sheer and dreadnought bow. The cockpit is well laid out with the primary winches inboard for a secure trimming position. The interior is light, airy and modern, although the open transom won’t appeal to everyone.

For those wanting a monohull, the Hanse 575 hits a similar sweet spot to the popular multis, maximising accommodation for a realistic price, yet with responsive performance.

The Hanse offers a vast amount of living space thanks to the ‘loft design’ concept of having all the living areas on a single level, which gives a real feeling of spaciousness with no raised saloon or steps to accommodation. The trade-off for such lofty head height is a substantial freeboard – it towers above the pontoon, while, below, a stepladder is provided to reach some hatches.

Galley options include drawer fridge-freezers, microwave and coffee machine, and the full size nav station can double up as an office or study space.

But while the Hanse 575 is a seriously large boat, its popularity is also down to the fact that it is genuinely able to be handled by a couple. It was innovative in its deck layout: with a self-tacking jib and mainsheet winches immediately to hand next to the helm, one person could both steer and trim.

Direct steering gives a feeling of control and some tangible sailing fun, while the waterline length makes for rapid passage times. In 2016 the German yard launched the newer Hanse 588 model, having already sold 175 of the 575s in just four years.

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Photo: Bertel Kolthof

Jeanneau 54

Jeanneau leads the way among production builders for versatile all-rounder yachts that balance sail performance and handling, ergonomics, liveaboard functionality and good looks. The Jeanneau 54 , part of the range designed by Philippe Briand with interior by Andrew Winch, melds the best of the larger and smaller models and is available in a vast array of layout options from two cabins/two heads right up to five cabins and three heads.

We’ve tested the Jeanneau 54 in a gale and very light winds, and it acquitted itself handsomely in both extremes. The primary and mainsheet winches are to hand next to the wheel, and the cockpit is spacious, protected and child-friendly. An electric folding swim and sun deck makes for quick fun in the water.

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Nautitech Open 46

This was the first Nautitech catamaran to be built under the ownership of Bavaria, designed with an open-plan bridgedeck and cockpit for free-flowing living space. But with good pace for eating up bluewater miles, and aft twin helms rather than a flybridge, the Nautitech Open 46 also appeals to monohull sailors who prefer a more direct sailing experience.

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Made by Robertson and Caine, who produce catamarans under a dual identity as both Leopard and the Sunsail/Moorings charter cats, the Leopard 45 is set to be another big seller. Reflecting its charter DNA, the Leopard 45 is voluminous, with stepped hulls for reduced waterline, and a separate forward cockpit.

Built in South Africa, they are robustly tested off the Cape and constructed ruggedly enough to handle heavy weather sailing as well as the demands of chartering.

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Photo: Olivier Blanchet

If space is king then three hulls might be even better than two. The Neel 51 is rare as a cruising trimaran with enough space for proper liveaboard sailing. The galley and saloon are in the large central hull, together with an owner’s cabin on one level for a unique sensation of living above the water. Guest or family cabins lie in the outer hulls for privacy and there is a cavernous full height engine room under the cabin sole.

Performance is notably higher than an equivalent cruising cat, particularly in light winds, with a single rudder giving a truly direct feel in the helm, although manoeuvring a 50ft trimaran may daunt many sailors.

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Beneteau Oceanis 46.1

A brilliant new model from Beneteau, this Finot Conq design has a modern stepped hull, which offers exhilarating and confidence-inspiring handling in big breezes, and slippery performance in lighter winds.

The Beneteau Oceanis 46.1 was the standout performer at this year’s European Yacht of the Year awards, and, in replacing the popular Oceanis 45, looks set to be another bestseller. Interior space is well used with a double island berth in the forepeak. An additional inboard unit creates a secure galley area, but tank capacity is moderate for long periods aboard.

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-Beneteau-Oceanis-473-credit-David-Harding

Beneteau Oceanis 473

A popular model that offers beam and height in a functional layout, although, as with many boats of this age (she was launched in 2002), the mainsheet is not within reach of the helmsman.

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-Jeanneau-Sun-Odyssey-49

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49

The Philippe Briand-designed Sun Odyssey range has a solid reputation as family production cruisers. Like the 473, the Sun Odyssey 49 was popular for charter so there are plenty of four-cabin models on the market.

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-nautitech-441

Nautitech 441

The hull design dates back to 1995, but was relaunched in 2012. Though the saloon interior has dated, the 441 has solid practical features, such as a rainwater run-off collection gutter around the coachroof.

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-Atlantic-42

Atlantic 42

Chris White-designed cats feature a pilothouse and forward waist-high working cockpit with helm position, as well as an inside wheel at the nav station. The Atlantic 42 offers limited accommodation by modern cat standards but a very different sailing experience.

Best bluewater sailing yachts for expeditions

Bestevaer 56.

All of the yachts in our ‘expedition’ category are aluminium-hulled designs suitable for high latitude sailing, and all are exceptional yachts. But the Bestevaer 56 is a spectacular amount of boat to take on a true adventure. Each Bestevaer is a near-custom build with plenty of bespoke options for owners to customise the layout and where they fall on the scale of rugged off-grid adventurer to 4×4-style luxury fit out.

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-Bestevaer-56-ST-Tranquilo

The Bestevaer range began when renowned naval architect Gerard Dijkstra chose to design his own personal yacht for liveaboard adventure cruising, a 53-footer. The concept drew plenty of interest from bluewater sailors wanting to make longer expeditions and Bestevaers are now available in a range of sizes, with the 56-footer proving a popular mid-range length.

The well-known Bestevaer 56 Tranquilo  (pictured above) has a deep, secure cockpit, voluminous tanks (700lt water and over 1,100lt fuel) and a lifting keel plus water ballast, with classically styled teak clad decks and pilot house. Other owners have opted for functional bare aluminium hull and deck, some choose a doghouse and others a pilothouse.

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-Boreal-52-credit-Jean-Marie-Liot

Photo: Jean-Marie Liot

The Boreal 52 also offers Land Rover-esque practicality, with utilitarian bare aluminium hulls and a distinctive double-level doghouse/coachroof arrangement for added protection in all weathers. The cockpit is clean and uncluttered, thanks to the mainsheet position on top of the doghouse, although for visibility in close manoeuvring the helmsman will want to step up onto the aft deck.

Twin daggerboards, a lifting centreboard and long skeg on which she can settle make this a true go-anywhere expedition yacht. The metres of chain required for adventurous anchoring is stowed in a special locker by the mast to keep the weight central. Down below has been thought through with equally practical touches, including plenty of bracing points and lighting that switches on to red light first to protect your night vision.

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-Garcia-Exploration-45-credit-morris-adant

Photo: Morris Adant / Garcia Yachts

Garcia Exploration 45

The Garcia Exploration 45 comes with real experience behind her – she was created in association with Jimmy Cornell, based on his many hundreds of thousands of miles of bluewater cruising, to go anywhere from high latitudes to the tropics.

Arguably less of a looker than the Bestevaer, the Garcia Exploration 45 features a rounded aluminium hull, centreboard with deep skeg and twin daggerboards. The considerable anchor chain weight has again been brought aft, this time via a special conduit to a watertight locker in front of the centreboard.

This is a yacht designed to be lived on for extended periods with ample storage, and panoramic portlights to give a near 360° view of whichever extraordinary landscape you are exploring. Safety features include a watertight companionway door to keep extreme weather out and through-hull fittings placed above the waterline. When former Vendée Globe skipper Pete Goss went cruising , this was the boat he chose to do it in.

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-Ovni-43-credit-svnaimadotcom

Photo: svnaima.com

A truly well-proven expedition design, some 1,500 Ovnis have been built and many sailed to some of the most far-flung corners of the world. (Jimmy Cornell sailed his Aventura some 30,000 miles, including two Drake Passage crossings, one in 50 knots of wind).

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-Futuna-Explorer-54

Futuna Exploration 54

Another aluminium design with a swinging centreboard and a solid enclosed pilothouse with protected cockpit area. There’s a chunky bowsprit and substantial transom arch to house all manner of electronics and power generation.

Previous boats have been spec’d for North West Passage crossings with additional heating and engine power, although there’s a carbon rig option for those that want a touch of the black stuff. The tanks are capacious, with 1,000lt capability for both fresh water and fuel.

If you enjoyed this….

Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams. Build your knowledge with a subscription delivered to your door. See our latest offers and save at least 30% off the cover price.

Sail Universe

Bluewater Catamaran CK 70 Ready For The World Debut

CK 70 bluewater catamaran

On the occasion of the  2022 International Multihull Show ( France , 20th to 24th April),  Squalt marine shipyard presents its brand new CK 70 as a world premiere. This  bluewater catamaran , designed for ocean cruising, offers a maximum of space for the comfort of its guests.

The CK 70 surprises with the comfort on board, the ease of maneuvering and the robustness. The aluminum construction is its major asset which makes it an exception in solidity andsafety, in order to enjoy the pleasures of navigation and life on board.

The catamaran on display at the 2022 International Multihull Show is a four-cabin version, which guarantees spacious and comfortable private spaces. A well-equipped and very functional open U-shaped galley is adjacent to a large and friendly saloon to enjoy ample space for life on board.

The chart table is equipped with electric engine control and powerful navigation instruments that facilitate navigation. Two comfortable crew cabins in the forward peaks have independent access. The spacious and friendly exterior spaces invite you to relax.

The large and inviting aft cockpit is an ideal space for dining or entertaining. The spacious flybridge is equipped with a helm station with a 360° view is an asset for theskipper as well as for the guests, who will be able to accompany him on top of the ship to admire the sea and enjoy the sun.The roof allows the installation of a good number of solar panels as an energy source.

bluewater sailboats

Like all the CK catamarans, the CK 70 is built in aluminum.

CK 70 catamaran interiors

The advantages of aluminum construction

–       strength and lightness.

Aluminum construction makes it possible to obtain hulls and superstructures that are both very strong and light. Moreover, thanks to its exceptional resistance qualities, an aluminum hull can withstand shocks more easily than a polyester hull. As a result, an aluminum boat is safer, and particularly suitable for open sea sailing.

–       Durability

Aluminum also offers the advantage of unparalleled durability. Little maintenance isrequired and the structure does not deteriorate over the years. An aluminum boat has no limit to its life span.

–       High corrosion resistance

Aluminum has been used in the marine industry for many years and has always demonstrated its resistance to corrosion and structural fatigue. The current state of knowledge does not allow us to determine the lifespan of analuminum structure, and to simplify matters, experts consider its longevity as permanent.

–       Comfort:

An aluminum hull has excellent thermal and acoustic insulation and is reassuringly solid. It does not creak when sailing and does not emit odors.

–       Environment:

Unlike composite, aluminum is fully recyclable at the end of its life. Moreover, it generates little secondary pollution thanks to the low maintenance it requires.

–       Safety:

Safety at sea is paramount. Aluminum does not burn in air and does not ignite combustion.

–       Customized fittings:

Aluminum allows for more customization possibilities. Thus, it is possible to adapt each boat to the specific needs of the owners. Modifying the deck plan, the layout or the superstructure is entirely possible.

CK 70 Specs

Length overall22,20 m
Length at design waterline  21,10 m / 70’
Beam10,32 m
Draft1,50 m
Displacement38 T
Total sail areaup to 320 m² downwind
VIP cabins4 large double cabins
Crew cabins2

New 23.5-metre Explorer Sailing Yacht Amundsen Launched

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

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

By Author Fiona McGlynn

Posted on Last updated: May 16, 2023

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

BEST BLUEWATER SAILBOATS

What are the best bluewater sailboats?

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

We heard a lot of strong opinions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where did we get our data?

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

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

What do we mean by “best”?

We know, that word is overused on the internet!

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

So, these boats are 100% good to go?

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

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

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

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

Choosing the right boat is very much an individual journey.

Where can I find these bluewater boats for sale?

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

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

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

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

Takeaways from our analysis

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

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

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

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

Cat got our tongue

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

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

Still got it!

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

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

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

The 10 best bluewater boats

best bluewater sailboats

1. Westsail 32

The Westsail 32 is an iconic bluewater sailboat

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

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

There were approximately 830 built between 1971 and 1980.

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

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

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

2. Lagoon 380

Lagoon 380

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

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

3. Lagoon 440

Lagoon 440 is a bluewater catamaran

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

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

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

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

4. Amel Super Maramu (incl. SM 2000)

Amel Super Maramu is a popular bluewater sailboat

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

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

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

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

5. Valiant 40

The Valiant 40 is an iconic bluewater cruiser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. TAYANA 37

The Tayana 37 is a top bluewater boat

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

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

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

7. Lagoon 450

The Lagoon 450 is one of the best bluewater sailboats

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

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

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

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

8. Fountaine Pajot Bahia 46

Fountaine Pajot Bahia 46 Bluewater Sailboat

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

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

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

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

9. Catalina 42 (MKI, MKII)

Catalina 42 bluewater boat

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

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

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

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

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

10. Leopard 46

Leopard 46 bluewater sailboat

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

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

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

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

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

Methodology

What the data is and isn’t.

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

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

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

Entries vs. completions

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

Boat make variations

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

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

Fiona McGlynn

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

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20 Blue Water Cruising Catamarans Under $100k

October 13, 2021 by Martin Parker 1 Comment

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The debate between single-hull sailboats and blue water catamarans has raged since the beginning of time, and it’s unlikely ever to end! Both types of yachts have dedicated followers who are unlikely to ever be swayed by the benefits of the other. A lot of this is based on misconceptions and the influences of the people around them, though. We recommend that if you’re considering a blue water catamaran, get in a few good hours of sailing through varied conditions before making a decision. 

What Makes Blue Water Catamarans Great for Cruising?

Stable platform s.

Bluewater catamarans offer fantastic stability, despite what you may hear from single-hull yacht owners. There’s no high lean angle when sailing into the wind and no need to strap everything down to prevent it from moving. Add to this little or no rolling when moored, and a catamaran is a lovely place to be.

Additional Space 

An excellent beam to length ratio is essential on bluewater catamarans, and a 40-foot yacht will usually have a 20-foot beam. That gives you a 20-foot bridge deck, plenty of space on the hulls, and even more space forward on the netting.

Cruising Speed

The amount of wet surface area on a catamaran is significantly reduced compared to a monohull yacht. Without the need for a prominent, heavy keel for ballast, the catamaran can easily outperform a single hull yacht.

Shallow Draft s

Shallow draft boats allow easy navigation through shallow waters and exceptional stability for maximum comfort. You are far less likely to make mistakes with tide height predictions when sailing on a cat. 

Enclosed Cockpit s

Bluewater catamarans virtually always have an enclosed cockpit. Not only does this shield you from the sun in winter, but the elements in winter making cruising far more comfortable.

Safety 

The enclosed cockpit makes sailing safer, plus of course, when you need to get out on the deck, the stable catamaran is not pitching and rolling.

Our Top Choices For Blue Water Catamarans Under $100,000

Screen Shot 2021 10 12 at 11.34.29 PM 1024x521 - 20 Blue Water Cruising Catamarans Under $100k

Designed and built by Rajen Naidu, the Rayvin 30 is a 29.5-foot cruising catamaran built for comfort. With a draft of just one meter, there are few places you can’t go on the Rayvin. The hull is constructed of epoxy glass fiber, but carbon-kevlar has been used for added strength below the waterline.

Inside, you’ll find three cabins, plenty of space, and even a bath! These are great value blue water catamarans with excellent performance.

Prout Snowgoose 37

Photo Provided by: Gideon Fielding (Katamarans.com)

Probably one of the most well-known blue water catamarans available, the Snowgoose 37 was designed and built by Prout and Sons in the United Kingdom. With a displacement of 6 tons, this is not a light boat, but the 600 square feet sail area gives a healthy hull speed of up to 10 knots. Many people have completed a circumnavigation in a Snowgoose.

It has a cutter design, but the overhang is substantial, leaving it susceptible to bridge slam, particularly on a close reach.

Over 500 examples were built, with plenty available under the $100,000 mark.

Prout Quasar 50

Sticking with Prout, the Quasar 50 was the largest catamaran designed and built by the company. The company was still making the Quasar until its closure in 2020, so you can find plenty of examples.

Constructed with fiberglass, the cutter design has a displacement of 10 tons and a sail area of almost 1185 square feet, giving a maximum hull speed of around 14 knots.

It has to be said the Quasar is not a pretty boat, but it makes a perfect large cruiser.

Catalac 12M

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Catalac was a British boat building company owned by Tom Lack, hence the Catalac name. Over 600 examples of Catalac’s (9M, 10M, 11M, and 12M) were built. All around, they’re known as solid boats that handle well.

Designed as a sloop, the 12M displaces almost 9.3 tons. With a sail area of just 700 square feet, this cat offers a relatively slow hull speed of 9.5 knots.

An interesting point is the double thickness hulls, designed to withstand the North Sea weather.

Maldives 32

Screen Shot 2021 10 12 at 11.39.17 PM 1024x507 - 20 Blue Water Cruising Catamarans Under $100k

The Maldives 32 is a more modern design by Joubert-Nivelt. It features a short overhang with a netting deck to avoid bridge slam, initially built by Fountaine Pajot in 1988. The Maldives has a light displacement of 3.3 tons thanks to the fiberglass and foam sandwich construction. Add in a sail area of 592 square feet, and the Maldives can cruise at up to 11 knots.

The Maldives 32 is an excellent basic boat readily available well under our $100,000 price point.

Edel Cat 33

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Thanks to the fiberglass construction, the Edel Cat 33 is another light boat, at just 3.6 tons and with a shallow draft of just 2.6 feet.

The Edel was designed by Yvonne Faulconnier and built by the Edel company in France, with the first bots being produced in 1985.

The 635 square feet of sail is enough for a good turn of speed for such a light boat without over-powering the hull.

A notable feature is the very short bridge hull, avoiding almost any bridge slam problems.

Endeavourcat 30

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Designed by Cortland Steck and built in America by the Endeavour Catamaran Corp, the Endeavourcat 30 is a lightweight 30-foot catamaran constructed using fiberglass with a foam core.

It has to be said; the Endeavourcat is not pretty, but you get a lot of space for your money. Another issue is the enclosed bridge deck, making this suitable for gentle cruising only.

The sloop-rigged catamaran is a good, reasonably priced starter boat for taking the first dip into blue water catamarans.

Island Packet Packet Cat 35

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If you are looking for comfort with a bit of style, then the Island Packet Cat 35 could be it. Designed by Robert K. Johnson and built in the USA by Island Packet, the Cat 35 makes the perfect boat for cruising the Keys.

The displacement of 6.25 tons gives the boat a solid, dependable feel, while the 2.6-foot draft allows you to explore water-restricted areas.

Inside there’re acres of room, but the fully enclosed bridge deck will cause issues in heavy weather.

Gemini 105MC

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The Gemini 105MC is a sloop-rigged boat designed by Tony Smith and built by Performance Cruising in the United States. It was in production for over 27 years, and they delivered over 1000 boats, so there are plenty available to suit most budgets.

An interesting design feature is a lifting centerboard, giving excellent stability when down but a draft of just 1.65 feet when lifted.

A displacement of 4 tons combined with 690 square feet of sail area gives the 105MC outstanding performance characteristics.

lagoon 380

With 760 examples of the Lagoon 380 produced, there are plenty on the market at reasonable prices. Built by Jeanneau, it is one of the most popular bluewater catamarans ever made.

The distinctive vertical windows offer maximum internal space, and it has a spacious interior, but the tradeoff is a displacement of 8 tons, so performance suffers a little. You can cruise comfortably at 7 knots, and with the short bridge deck, you won’t suffer too much bridge slam.

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If you can track down a Dean 365, it’s well worth a look. You can find these solidly built boats for $50,000 upwards. Designed by Peter Dean and built by his company, Dean Catamarans, they have an excellent reputation.

For a 36 foot boat, the 6-ton displacement is not light, but it does benefit from twin engines, and with the sloop rigging, it can sail downwind at up to 11 or 12 knots. With the genoa providing the main sailing power, sailing into the wind is not great.

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Sold as a self-build design, the Tiki 38 is a solid cruising catamaran designed by James Wharram. There are plenty available, but all will be different depending on the builder. With a displacement of around 6 tons, it’s not the lightest, and the cruising speed is about 5 or 6 knots.

With a ketch rig, using two 30-foot masts, the sail area is around 730 square feet, but you can also use a 530 spinnaker. The draft is shallow at 2.5 feet.

The Tiki makes an interesting – perhaps quirky choice.

Crowther Spindrift 40

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If you are more interested in performance than interior space, the Crowther Spindrift 40 could be an excellent choice. Designed by Lock Crowther, the Spindrift features narrow hulls, reducing the wet surface area and increasing your sailing speeds. The downside is a lack of space.

The sloop rigging gives you a total sail area of 791 square feet combined with a light 4-ton displacement, making the Spindrift excellent in light winds.

MacGregor 36

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Three hundred of the Roger Macgregor designed 36-foot boats were built, so there are plenty available. It’s built as a racing catamaran, so space is at a premium. There is only a trampoline between the two hulls, but the weight saving makes the displacement just 1.4 tons, and with the 534 square feet of sail, you can achieve speeds touching 28 knots.

Accommodation is restricted to the two hulls, but there are bunks for four people and a galley in the starboard hull.

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The Flica 36 was designed by Richard Wood is a proven design capable of crossing oceans. A displacement of 5 tons gives a good balance between speed and stability, and the cutter rigging allows for a main and two foresails.

The hulls have been made from ply and fiberglass, which accounts for the slightly heavier weight and strength. The bridge deck offers plenty of space with a small overhang but will suffer from bridge slam in heavier weather.

Mirage Yachts 37

Only a few of the open deck Mirage 37’s were produced, but consider them in your search. Designed by David Feltham and built by Thames Marine, the ketch-rigged boats are sturdy and safe.

At 7.3 tons, it’s heavy for a 36-foot cat, and the small sail area of just 548 square feet makes it slow, with a hull speed of only 7.4 knots. As a coastal cruiser, it certainly makes sense to give you a comfortable base for exploring.

Simpson 35 Wildside

The Simpson 35 Wildside is an excellent cruiser, with three double cabins, two of which are across the bridge deck. Roger Simpson is the designer, and he’s well known for his sturdy, reliable boats.

The Bermuda rigged sloop design features a fully covered bridge deck, so expect bridge slam if you sail in anything more than slight to moderate conditions. With a displacement of 5

tons, and a small sail area, the performance will never be exciting, but it’s okay for coastal cruising.

Gemini 3400

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The Gemini 3400 is the predecessor to the Gemini 105 mentioned earlier. If you can’t find a 105 at your price, then a 3400 is a good alternative. Although weighing the same as the 105, at four tons, the sail area is smaller at just 490 square feet, giving a reduced performance.

As with all Geminis, the 3400 features retractable centerboards for better tracking when on a close reach, without increasing the draft.

The 3400 was designed by Tony Smith and built by Performance Cruising in the US, who still produce catamarans now.

Seawind 850

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Originally built in Australia by Seawind Catamarans and designed by Scott Jutson, the 850 is a 28-foot cat featuring fractional sloop rigging. At a relatively light displacement of 2.4 tons, the 350 square feet of sail gives good performance and comfortable cruising.

The short bridge deck overhang is filled with a trampoline, allowing the 850 to sail in rougher weather without too much bridge slam. The Seawind makes an excellent cruiser despite its 28-foot LOA.

Aventura 23.5

Our last catamaran is the smallest in the review. The Aventura 235 is just 23 feet long, has a light displacement of only 0.77 tons, and a sail area of 312 square feet. Two cabins offer four berths despite its diminutive size, making it a comfortable cruiser for a small family.

There are, of course, compromises, with just a single outboard engine on the centerline, and internal space is limited. But with its lightweight design, easy handling, and shallow draft of 1.8 feet, it is a perfect first step into catamaran ownership.

Blue Water Catamarans Are a Fantastic Budget Option

Remember: When buying a bluewater cruising yacht for less than $100,000, compromise is inevitable. 

The best advice for buying a boat is to be truly honest with yourself by defining your needs and separating them from your desires. 

Need more advice on buying great blue water catamarans? Get a conversation started on our community forum by leaving a question or comment!

If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment below, share it on social media, and subscribe to our email list., for direct questions and comments, shoot me an email at [email protected].

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July 2, 2022 at 2:52 pm

Surprised you don’t list the PDQ 32.

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best bluewater catamaran 2022

10 Best Solo Bluewater Catamarans and What Makes Them Great!

best bluewater catamaran 2022

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Finding the best solo bluewater catamaran is hard, I have been looking for the right balance of lightweight, sturdy, spacious, and compact. But what are the best solo bluewater catamarans on the market?

The ten best solo bluewater catamarans have unique designs, are about 40 feet (12.2m) long, boast an autopilot, all lines to the cockpit, and can provide a safe ocean passage with only one sailor on board. Popular short-handed bluewater cat models include the Manta 42, Dolphin 42, and the FP Belize 43.

Whether you’re looking to buy a brand new catamaran or refit an older one, I know one thing, there’s a solo sailing boat out there for you. Read on to learn about the best models available on the market today, this article is a synergy of my own knowledge together with the experience of expert sailors.

Table of Contents

What To Look For in a Solo Bluewater Catamaran

If you’re sailing single-handed (aka shorthanded or solo), you’ll want an easy-to-maintain boat that allows you to stay at the helm for the bulk of your trip. Typically, you’ll want a catamaran that’s about 40 feet in length (and with a beam to length ratio above 53%) too big of a boat, and it will be hard to handle, and too small it becomes unable to sail large waves and strong winds safely. Sail size plays a big part in how easy your reefing and winching will be.

best bluewater catamaran 2022

If your boat has an autopilot , which a well-outfitted bluewater boat definitely should, you will have an easier time managing sails and navigation. With autopilot mode enabled, you can cruise along without having to worry about adjusting the course since the autopilot will do this for you. These systems can be standalone or tied into a GPS and make a great asset for single-handed sailors. 

Remember that autopilot works better under power than under sail because of the amount of electric power it needs to work. You can increase performance under sail, however, by trimming correctly for a neutral helm. 

Autopilot functions can sometimes be managed with a remote controller that you can wear on your wrist or a lanyard for added convenience.

best bluewater catamaran 2022

Having a furling headsail can save you effort on the foredeck, and in-mast or in-boom furling makes the job of mainsail reefing more simple. However, this comes with a tradeoff in performance. 

A slab-reefed main takes longer to reef, but it’s easier to handle than others because of the lines led aft. The only thing you need to worry about in this case is adding lazy jacks, which will prevent the main from blocking your vision. 

best bluewater catamaran 2022

Handling & Safety

One of the riskiest things a solo sailor can do is leave the cockpit , so choosing a ship with quick and easy sail handling is of great importance. This is especially crucial near harbors, where there’s likely to be lots of other boat traffic. The best bluewater catamarans for solo sailors will have lines that run into the cockpit so that you don’t have to abandon your position at all. 

Even if you don’t run all your lines to the cockpit, you should at least take the main halyard back with you to the cockpit . This ensures that you’ll be able to stay in control of the boat without having to scramble quickly between stations.

When mooring by yourself, you might find midships cleats valuable in that they provide an anchoring point that keeps your ship from drifting away before it’s been completely secured. 

best bluewater catamaran 2022

The Manta 42 is a classic multihull catamaran built in the late 1990s to 2000s in Florida. It was designed by French naval architect Eric Lerouge and can be identified by its high bows and curved crossbeam. A Manta 42 is relatively light and has room for added features, like solar panels or dinghies. 

What Makes It a Good Solo Sailing Cat

The Manta 42 is great for single-handed sailing because it’s lightweight and easy to handle. It also has pinned aluminum crossbeams rather than conventional aluminum crossbeams, which means that the bows’ twisting forces will be absorbed. But note that this can lead to stress cracks in the bow area. 

For more information about the Manta 42, see this video walkthrough:

The Brazil-made Dolphin 42 comes equipped with a daggerboard for stability, which allows it to point higher. This also reduces the amount of wetted surface and allows you to anchor in shallower water. The Dolphin 42 also has a foam core for reduced weight and a lower chance of developing a wet core.

This catamaran is 41 ft. (12.5 m) long, with a displacement of 24,255 lbs (11,001.88 kg). It has two 60 horsepower engines, six feet (1.83 m) four inches (10.16 cm) of headroom, and comes with a built-in GPS-integrated autopilot system and a fully battened mainsail. Additionally, this ship has several household comforts, like hot water, air conditioning, a TV set, and a computer built-in, as well as a refrigerator. 

The Dolphin 42 is lightweight, stable, and compact, great for short-handed sailing. Dolphins have been known to perform successful circumnavigations comfortably and safely and are very reliable. However, you should be sure to choose a model that has not had any major modifications to the structure post-production.

Privilege 435

The Privilege 435 is a heavier cruiser meant for long-distance trips , designed according to the French tradition of multihull ships. These have been on the market for about 30 years and are made by large producers like Lagoon and Nautitech. The Privilege 435 can be purchased as an owner version or with four cabins and four head/showers. 

This catamaran is low-slung and has low wind resistance. Its windows come with internal shades and optional outdoor shades, but without “eyebrow” overhangs, the saloon can become quite hot in the tropics. Still, this boat is of very high quality and has a solid, stylish finish. 

The Privilege 435 is a luxurious choice, built for long-distance cruising . This catamaran is well-made, will not give in easily to stress, and has low wind resistance for increased efficiency. If you’re looking for a high-end boat with a stylish design, this could be the choice for you. 

Fountaine Pajot Belize 43

The Fountaine Pajot Belize 43 is perhaps the most popular catamaran on the market today. It has a full-length owner suite with a clever design that pairs a curvaceous saloon with a wraparound dinette and nav area. The galley comes with wraparound windows, and the outer deck is easy to walk on. 

The Fountaine Pajot Belize 43 has a foam core, which means it’s lightweight and unlikely to develop a wet and soon rotten core. It makes for a great solo sailing boat due to its ease of use, stability, and comfortable design. This catamaran is especially good for long travels due to its comfortable and spacious layout. It would make for a great single-handed sailing trip for a family.

Nautitech 44

The Nautitech 44 was one of the first catamarans with an integrated hardtop bimini , one of the many ways this design set the trend for short-handed sailing catamarans. It has two modes, one that allows single-wheel steering at the bulkhead and another that allows twin wheel steering closer to the stern. The Nautitech 44 also has slim hulls, which means more speed.

This ship is produced out of Rochefort sur Mer, a hub for naval architecture and shipbuilding. Nautitech was the first luxury boating company to introduce the concept of open living onboard, combining the saloon and cockpit to make one functional and spacious living area. 

Because the Nautitech 44 has two modes for steering, it allows each sailor to choose the steering method that best fits their wants and needs. Both modes have their advantages, but many prefer the sailing sensation of the two-wheel approach. This ship’s design also allows the saloon door to be left open even in the heavy rain, without fear that water will leak inside.

The combined saloon and cockpit also make for a comfortable trip for the single-handed sailor, allowing you to enjoy your leisure room without leaving your ship’s control room. 

The Lagoon 440 has a lot of volume for a single-handed sailing catamaran and a signature squared-off structure. This ship isn’t lightweight, but the saloon is spacious and accommodating to furniture. One version of the Lagoon 440, the flybridge version , is a difficult ship for shorter sailors to operate, simply because of a high boom position.

The Lagoon 440 is a good solo sailing boat if you’re looking to go on a long-distance trip, spending lots of time out at sea. It isn’t particularly fast, but it’s very stable, easy to use, and has lots of room for furniture and supplies. Several versions of this model are available on the market, all of which have slightly different layouts.

This catamaran is 49 ft. (14.94 m) long , bigger than most solo sailing ships. However, it does come with an autopilot system that makes solo sailing easier, as well as a GPS, radio, and built-in radar detector.

best bluewater catamaran 2022

The Leopard 45 is a South African-made multihull ship on the market since the late 1990s. Most Leopard 45s on the market are four-cabin versions, although a three-cabin version of the ship also exists. It also has a large, open-plan saloon with a large galley and a trademark rear arch. 

See the Leopard 45 in action in the following video:

What Makes It a Good Solo Sailing Boat

The Leopard 45 is a good solo sailing boat because it has a sturdy fractional rig for stability and is easy to use. It also has an open cockpit, which makes circulation easy. And you’ll find the engine access points on the outside of the ship, which makes maintenance easier. 

The Voyage 44 is a South African-made catamaran with a rugged design, considered a cost-effective option with superior sailing performance relative to other ships sold at the same price point. This boat has a particularly wide beam, which makes for more stability and more space. However, it also has a very exposed low bridge deck to be aware of.

The Voyage 44 makes a great single-handed sailing boat because it’s so stable with its ultra-wide beam. It makes the ship very easy to steady, even for beginners. While it’s not particularly lightweight, it’s built with an aerodynamic design, enough so that it can move along at a steady clip.

What is the largest boat one person can sail?

Outremer 45

The Outremer 45 is a product of La Grande Motte in the South of France, built with a well-executed, smart design. The hulls and deck are made with vinylester and a divinycell core, and its high-load areas are suited with carbon for extra durability and rigidity. You’ll find secure glassing at the joints of the ship rather than glue that could come undone.

The Outremer 45 has a classic multihull structure, small volume, and incredible responsiveness to the helm. It has a high bridge deck clearance , as well as well-proportioned bows. It also has a balanced weight distribution to prevent pitching and encourage steady motion forward. This is a pricier option, but an option with many great features. 

The Outremer 45 is a good solo sailing ship because it’s very compact and easy to manage. Its proportionate design means more stability and less pitching. It’s a very light ship, so it’s likely to move faster through the water than its competitors.

The Prout 45 is built for long distances rather than speed. It’s a heavy, sturdy boat that you’ll have an easy time guiding without worrying about pitching. 

The Prout 45 has space for a small stateroom in the center of the boat and comes in both owner and four-cabin versions. It has next to no bridge deck clearance due to a “nacelle” that runs along the main deck from end to end. This adds headroom and buoyancy and adds drag that can take away from the experience by slowing you down and creating noise.

If you want to better understand the difference between a solid foredeck and a net, a.k.a. trampoline, then I suggest you read my article comparing the two.

The Prout 45 has smaller, more manageable sails than other options and allows easy access to the rigging, which runs right into the cockpit. It’s a heavier ship and one that’s easy to keep stable. It’s a great ship for a solo sailor because you can do most of your work right from the cockpit, and it’s a sturdy catamaran that’s unlikely to pitch.

Tips for Single-Handed Sailing

Sailing solo is a great way to get to know your boat and is necessary for many people. The idea is to be able to cruise, whether it be close to coasts or at high seas, without needing a crew on board. It’s a challenge, so it’s best not to embark on a trip single-handed unless you have a good amount of experience and feel confident doing so. 

Before heading out single-handed, you should test yourself with an inactive crew. Go together when the weather is nice and have them be your backup while you try solo sailing and see how it feels. 

Make sure that you’ve also physically trained for the level of fitness you’ll need to operate the ship, especially if you’ll be going out on a longer excursion than you’ve done in practice. Taking care of a ship is demanding work, and you can quickly burn out if you’re not ready for it. 

Preparation 

Prepare yourself thoroughly for the sail, study the route, read sailing guides for every area you’ll be in, and make yourself aware of any dangers that may arise. Become aware of possible shelters, and know where you’ll be entering and exiting the harbors. It’s a great idea to save these locations as waypoints on your GPS, just in case. 

I asked catamaran sailors what their favorite books are, Here is the list: 15 Best Books about Cruising Cats!

A great way to prepare yourself for possible situations is by reading books, I have bought plenty of books and I list some of my favorite on this page . So far I haven’t found any good solo bluewater books that I would recommend, but here are two catamaran cruising books that I have read and that I feel comfortable recommending. I suggest you get both of them since they complement each other.

Multihull seamanship is very informative but offers boring graphics, and Cruising guide for sailors is inspirational with beautiful pictures.

best bluewater catamaran 2022

Make sure you choose a good weather window. Avoid sailing a few hours ahead of a forecast gale at all costs. Instead, seek a time with a reasonable breeze and a calm sea. You can gradually introduce yourself to different weather conditions, but remember not to challenge yourself too much too quickly.

best bluewater catamaran 2022

All lines To The Cockpit

The cockpit layout plays a big role in determining whether a catamaran can work for solo sailing . You’ll need to see a chartplotter on deck so that you can keep course without needing to go to reference chart tables. Having a visible battery monitor is also important, especially if you’re going to use autopilot, which pulls significant power from the battery. 

Don’t forget to also bring sunscreen, water, and a compass, which you should have on hand at all times. Having a good communication system available in the cockpit is also a good idea. In case of emergency, you should have a radio that you can use to call for help, as well as flares and binoculars.

The ten best solo bluewater catamarans each offer a positive and unique experience for the sailor, and the best one for you depends on your needs, wants, and preferences. Those looking to make a longer trip will need something different than those looking for speed, but every solo sailor has some common needs, like the need for a stable and easy-to-manage vessel.

Owner of CatamaranFreedom.com. A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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2022 Boat of the Year: Best Cruising Catamaran (Over 50’)

  • By Cruising World Editors
  • December 15, 2021

During and in the four days immediately following the US Sailboat show in Annapolis, Maryland, the  Cruising World  judges inspected and sailed on 27 boats vying for recognition. Learn more about the boats in our  2022 Boat of the Year  »

Are they really all-around cruising sailboats, or are they luxurious and large party platforms that are best-suited for crewed charter vacations in tropical settings? That was once a fair, probing question to ask of the builders knocking off long, tall, beamy vessels balanced on a pair of cabin-filled hulls. But no longer. Despite their respective girths and displacements, not to mention a wide variety of windspeeds and sea states, this quartet of full-size cats performed admirably across the board in this year’s BOTY sea trials. Yes, they now truck along like good, honest sailboats. All that room is icing on the cake. At the end of the day, however, it’s how that space is utilized that separates the king and the contenders. 

Destined almost exclusively for the charter trade, the judges believed the Voyage 590 would truly excel in that role, so much so that they ultimately recognized it with a special award as the year’s Best Charter Boat. But that didn’t mean they did not consider it an innovative, exciting vessel on its total merits. “It’s a ‘techie’ boat, and they’re doing a lot of cool things with lithium batteries and 24-volt systems,” judge Ed Sherman said. “In terms of systems integration, they’re using high-end inverters to help out with things like variable-speed air-conditioning systems so they won’t have to run generators for extended periods of times. It’s pretty cool stuff. And under power, it’s one of the quietest boats we tested. High marks all around!”

Voyage Yachts 590

Lagoon Catamarans, as most multihull sailors know, was one of the era’s true pioneers in the evolving world of cruising cats. Their new Lagoon Sixty 5 is another vessel that, not unlike the Voyage 590, will find plenty of duty in the serious business of having fun: in other words, the charter business. And it would be hard to find a better vessel for doing precisely that. The focal point of the boat, on multiple levels, is the epic flybridge, a feature that Lagoon first explored on a big cat with the firm’s 620 but which they have fully realized on this massive 67-footer. It utilizes a pair of steering stations, which are handy indeed given the beam of the yacht. The overhead Bimini sports a glass window for trimming the mainsail, a welcome and innovative addition. Sofas, wet bar, grill, fridge: all combined, they ask an important question, one that strikes to the heart of the boat’s clear purpose. Why would you ever go below?

Lagoon Sixty 5

In many respects, Fountaine Pajot was unquestionably another pioneer in the realm of production cruising cats, and it’s been fascinating to watch the company evolve. Tim Murphy has had a ringside seat for much of that decades-long evolution. “It’s been interesting to watch their trajectory over the years,” he said. “They started out as a very performance-oriented manufacturer. So, a lot of their thinking is about keeping weight out of their boats and creating cats that are going to perform well. Now they’re more in a market that’s moved in the direction of accommodation, and we’ve watched them transition in that direction. But speed and elegance remain important, as shown here.” A key selling point in the Samana 59 is the versatility offered in the several optional interior layouts. A pair of Maestro versions incorporate a roomy, stellar owner’s suite. But for full-on chartering, who could resist the six (!) double cabins with, of course, a half-dozen accompanying heads.

Samana 59

When all was said and done, though, the judges couldn’t help but honor the efforts behind the Xquisite X5 Plus ; it must be noted that, unlike its competitors in the class, chartering wasn’t part of the design brief. This is a dedicated cruising cat, through and through. And there’s much to like about this 53-foot South African-built product. For judge Tim Murphy, the important details weren’t necessarily the ones you could easily see, but rather the ones you couldn’t. “What I was most struck by on our tour of the boat was actually the service side of the whole equation,” he said. “There are 40,000 man-hours invested in this boat. And you can see it—those are solid hours of labor. One thing that was pointed out were two different marks on the heads of bolts showing they were torqued. And part of the Xquisite program is they spend two weeks with each owner, training them up with systems. All told, this is really one strong product.” 

Xquisite X5 Plus

Judge Ed Sherman agreed: “The business model here is exemplary. What they’re really doing is emulating the high-end automotive market. I think they looked at the automotive sector for high-end cars like BMW and Mercedes and said, ‘OK, this sounds good, it looks good, and we’re going to do it, too.’ And they are. So, I think that that aspect of his business plan where they’re training the owners and then doing things like loading the boat up with spare parts as part of the original purchase, I mean, hats off to them. It’s a great way to go. How can you argue against it?”

“I couldn’t find anything that was done halfway,” said Gerry Douglas. “It was done better than you’d expect it to be, just because they wanted the boat to be perfect.  And the quality of construction is excellent. It’s an infused hull but with a hand-laminated deck because there’s so many very tight corners and cavities. They didn’t think they could infuse that without adding a whole lot of weight. And I get that. So, they would hand laminate it, which makes sense when you have some of the very sharp corners that exist on that boat. It was all just perfectly done.”

Sometimes coming to a decision is hard. Sometimes it’s obvious. And when the votes were tallied, it was the Xquisite X5 Plus that was the obvious choice as Best Cruising Catamaran (Over 50’) for 2022.

  • More: Boat of the Year , Boat of the Year 2022 , Fountaine Pajot , Lagoon Catamarans , print 2022 jan , Sailboats , Voyage Yachts , Xquisite Yachts
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2022 Boat of the Year: Best Dinghy

  • By Dave Reed
  • December 17, 2021

Sailing World Magazine’s annual Boat of the Year tests are conducted in Annapolis, Maryland, following the US Sailboat Show. With independent judges exhaustively inspecting the boats on land and putting them through their paces on the water, this year’s fleet of new performance-sailing boats spanned from small dinghies to high-tech bluewater catamarans. Here’s the best of the best from our 2022 Boat of the Year nominees »

Skeptics be warned: The Happy Cat Hurricane is legit. This is the unanimous assessment from our Boat of the Year judging squad after sailing the surprisingly quick and nimble 16-foot inflatable catamaran in 10 knots of breeze. While it delivers exhilarating sailing, it’s much more than a recreational rubber dinghy—it’s an adventure craft, a portable sailboat, a pontoon motorboat, a lazy-river drifter, or anything you want it to be once it’s pumped and splashed.

Grabner is an Austrian manufacturer of all types of inflatable watercraft, which the company has been building since the mid-1980s. The Happy Cat Hurricane came online in 2017, and a carbon-mast version was added in 2019. The Hurricane Carbon, which the judges tested, is the company’s flagship go-fun craft, and apparently, it can’t make them fast enough.

We racers know fiberglass better than we do rubber, but Alex Caslow, of Redbeard Sailing in Baltimore (the US importer), says Grabner’s vulcanized rubber is “tire-quality” and sourced from Continental. All of the Happy Cat’s tubes, he adds, are handmade, glued and welded in Austria, producing high-quality hulls that should last at least 20 years. There’s a seven-year warranty on the hulls, he says, but should you ever need to, $2,000 is your replacement price (per hull). The all-up price for a new boat, with everything you need to go racing or gunkholing, is currently $15,000.

The magic to keeping the Happy Cat’s tubular platform stiff is the anodized aluminum frame that holds it all together. Tension cables crisscrossed beneath the trampolines provide additional stiffness in waves. The frame also serves as attachment points for the trampolines, which are clipped on rather than laced like most catamaran tramps.

Happy Cat Hurricane

The boat, Caslow says, can be assembled in roughly 40 minutes—from taken out of the storage bags to inflated and sails hoisted. Upgrading from the standard manual pump to a 12-volt air pump accelerates the process, of course.

Bags? That’s right. The entire boat and rig fit into four bags collectively small enough to transport in the average-size car trunk. This portability is its primary selling point, especially in Europe, where hundreds of owners and devotees regularly gather to rally and raid on alpine lakes and coastal enclaves. Its second selling point is that it sails as well as most fiberglass recreational catamarans.

“It definitely caught my eye when we first walked up to it,” Chuck Allen says. “The bright-red hulls, the carbon rig, all the ropes, but especially the interesting setup with the rudder and centerboard being on centerline. I’d never sailed a catamaran with a centerboard.

“The hulls are really firm—they feel just like a RIB tube, and all the aluminum framing and wires are nice quality. I was really curious how it would sail, and believe it or not, it sailed like a champ.”

Happy Cat Hurricane

Greg Stewart says his first impression was one of skepticism as well. “It seemed like it would be one of those boats that looked cool on land but would let us down, but it didn’t at all. It sailed amazingly. It tacked well enough that I didn’t have to backwind the jib, and got up to speed again quickly.”

The ability to tack it like a dinghy, Stewart says, is because of the centerboard and because the rudder is mounted in the best place possible. “What makes it steer so well is the rudder is so far aft, which gives you a nice turning moment between it and the centerboard.”

The centerboard has up/down lines that are led to the front beam and cam cleats, but there is a breaker line in case you get into shallow waters. The centerboard casing also acts as an anchor point for the dolphin striker.

The reverse “wave-piercing” bows have a lot of buoyancy down low, Stewart adds. When he was sailing upwind through chop, they “just want to lift and rise up over the wave.” If flying a hull gets a bit too unnerving, he says, a small ease on the mainsheet or a slight bear away makes the boat settle right down with a soft and pillowy landing. Stewart forgot to conduct the obligatory capsize test, but he said afterward that the boat tended to simply slip sideways if the weather hull got too high. The optional masthead float, however, would be a good choice for peace of mind, he says.

“There’s a great sensation of speed,” Powlison reports, especially with the 91-square-foot gennaker. “The Velocitek SpeedPuck that was on the boat was reading 10 to 11 knots regularly, and it wasn’t hard at all to tack or jibe either. The spinnaker clew is pretty high, and the boomless square-top mainsail (124 square feet) makes it really easy to get across the boat.”

“This boat rips,” was Allen’s final assessment. He gave it high marks all around, but what ultimately stole his favor was a browse through Grabner’s catalog, which showcased the Happy Cat’s versatility: Leave the mast in its bag, erect the optional sun awning, and slap on the outboard motor bracket to transform it into an outboard-powered exploration craft and swimming platform. Or strap on extra fore and aft trampolines, load the boat up with camping gear in dry bags, and explore new places.

“Its biggest appeal really is its portability,” Stewart says. “If you don’t have easy access to a yacht club or storage near the water, you can easily keep this in the garage or apartment without taking up much space at all. Throw it in the car and take it wherever you want.”

Assembly, Caslow says, is simple and quick once the hulls are inflated. The tubes slide into grooves in the frame, tension cables are clipped on with carabiners, the trampoline is strapped on, and the mast can be raised by one person once it’s pinned onto the ball joint.

When it’s assembled, the Hurricane Carbon is only 175 pounds, but it is still a bit unwieldy for solo ramp launching. For this particular challenge, Grabner offers flip-up “slip wheels” that mount to the aft beam and stay on the boat while sailing. With your standard big-wheeled catamaran dolly, however, it’s easy to move around and beach-launch. And once you’re underway and zipping along, crew extended on the wire and the soft bounce of the hull on your bottom, you’ll just want to keep on sailing—happy as a cat on nip.

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6 Beaches for Budding Swimmers, Surfers and Castle Builders

For families with children, we found half a dozen beaches in the United States and Mexico, each tailored to a particular summer activity.

The small hands of two children can be seen building sand castles with pails and molds in fine, beige beach sand.

By Freda Moon

A family beach vacation is an American classic. But depending on their children’s ages and inclinations, some families may be drawn to different kinds of shorelines: those featuring clear, calm water for snorkeling and learning to swim; or, for shell collectors and young naturalists, sandy stretches carpeted with seashells or bordered by tide pools. For castle builders, fine sand is a must, while would-be surfers need tidy waves, ready to ride. Here are six great beaches in the United States and Baja California for family-favorite summer activities.

For castle builders: Mission Beach , San Diego

San Diego’s temperate climate allows for barefoot beach days year-round. For those who’d rather build with sand than lie in it, Mission Beach has another advantage: San Diego Sand Castles and the sand sculptor JT Estrela. Mr. Estrela, a former math teacher, offers lessons in the art of sand castle construction on this family-friendly Southern California beach, where the sand is perfect for castle building: The grains are fine but not too silty, clean below the tide line, free of shells and rocks, and pack hard.

In his two-to-three-hour sessions (starting at $160 for two people, $20 for each additional person), Mr. Estrela works with families to build elaborate five-foot-tall castles. The goal is for participants to “feel like this insider of arcane knowledge,” he said.

While the best sand in the San Diego area is at the offshore city of Coronado in San Diego Bay, Mr. Estrela prefers working with families at Mission Beach. Known for its boardwalk amusement park, Belmont Park ; historic beachfront swimming pool, the Plunge ; and excellent playgrounds, it’s particularly fun for kids. The smell of cotton candy and hot dogs hangs in the air, mingling with shrieks from the Giant Dipper, Belmont’s 1925 wooden roller coaster, squawking sea gulls and salt spray. Its biggest downside is its popularity, which means parking can be a challenge.

For new swimmers: Onekahakaha Beach Park , Hilo, Hawaii

In an archipelago known for spectacular beaches, Onekahakaha Beach Park , on the rugged, volcanic coast of the Big Island, may seem a counterintuitive choice. At Onekahakaha, with its two large, sandy-bottomed ocean pools enclosed by lava rock walls and backed by palm trees and an expansive grassy lawn, the sand is mostly below the surface.

Separated from the Pacific Ocean’s notoriously powerful waves and rip currents, the seawater within the pools is warm and placid, protected and shallow, which makes it excellent for little kids learning to swim, as well as for older kids to snorkel. It’s also home to nonthreatening marine life (no sharks here), including green sea turtles.

Though the water is only about waist-deep on an adult, there are lifeguards, adding to Onekahakaha’s reputation for safety. And without a wide swath of sand between the pools and the shoreline path, the water is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. There’s also a swing set, picnic tables and proximity to the lush Hilo area.

As long as you’re on the Big Island, the site of several active volcanoes, visit the thermal pools alongside some of its beaches, including Pohoiki Black Sand Beach at Isaac Hale Beach Park , 40 miles south of Onekahakaha. The ocean there may be a bit rough for young swimmers, but it’s a great place to show children a fresh lava flow.

For would-be surfers: Wrightsville Beach , N.C.

Wrightsville Beach is considered by many surf historians to be the home of East Coast surfing and one of the first places outside Polynesia and the Pacific Rim for the sport to catch on .

It also has some of the best beginner’s breaks in the United States , said Sean Griffin, 37, a surfing instructor and the father of a 5-year-old, who started riding the local break when he was 8.

He points out that Wrightsville is the only surfing beach in the state that has clear, blue water. Being able to see one’s hands and feet and the sandy bottom “makes anyone feel more comfortable in the ocean,” he said.

At Surf With Sean , Mr. Griffin offers private 90-minute lessons ($95 to $120) to surfers as young as 3 and into their 80s, as well as surf camps for kids ($425 per week). “There’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to learn or give it a shot,” said Mr. Griffin, who provides all gear in all sizes, including adaptive equipment.

There’s more to the area’s kid appeal than its waves. Mr. Griffin points to Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier , at the center of the beach, where his son “loves seeing all the salty fisherman pulling in fish,” and the big, modern playground at Wrightsville Beach Park .

For tide pool explorers: Carkeek Park , Seattle

Naomi Tomky — a lifelong Seattleite, author of “ The Pacific Northwest Seafood Cookbook ” and mother of two daughters, 6 and 8 — recommends Carkeek Park in Seattle for an immersive experience in Puget Sound marine life. At low tide, Ms. Tomky said, the narrow beach “just goes out for ages,” exposing tide pools filled with starfish, sea snails, anemones and “many, many crabs, from the size of your fingernail to the size of your hand.”

Unlike tide-pooling elsewhere on the West Coast, where the powerful Pacific Ocean requires caution because of dangerous sneaker waves , Puget Sound is rich with life but calm enough for Ms. Tomky to let her daughters explore on their own.

Just 30 minutes from downtown Seattle, Carkeek is part of the Seattle Aquarium’s Beach Naturalist Program , which sends naturalists to various shorelines around the area.

Along with the below-the-tide-line intrigue, Carkeek is also known for an annual spectacle: spawning salmon. In the fall, it’s possible to stand over the park’s Piper’s Creek and watch the fish — a sacred Indigenous symbol of the Pacific Northwest — on the run.

“It’s one of the coolest things you can see,” said Ms. Tomky, “to understand how these fish share the city with us as they swim back into their former home.”

For shell hunters: Tigertail Beach , Marco Island, Fla.

Sanibel Island, a barrier island just off Fort Myers, Fla., is one of the most famous shelling destinations on the planet. That popularity comes with a downside: It’s often picked over by enthusiasts who hit the shoreline at dawn. The island is also still recovering from Hurricane Ian, which badly damaged its infrastructure in 2022.

As an alternative, the shelling guide Evan Kuperman (a.k.a. Captain Evan) recommends Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, about an hour south.

Mr. Kuperman, a Florida master naturalist , operates Sand Dollar Shelling Tours . His tours ($125 per adult, $90 per child, and families of up to six people for $650) take guests by boat to places like the Ten Thousand Islands , a mangrove mud flat habitat and National Wildlife Refuge.

For visitors unable to join one of his trips, Mr. Kuperman said that Tigertail, a publicly accessible beach ($8 parking fee), offers exceptional shelling.

Marco Island is more built up than Sanibel, but Tigertail, at the island’s north end, is a county-owned park with a lagoon and a position facing the Gulf of Mexico that lends itself to accumulating seashells, including rare and striking ones, like the spiny ornamented lace murex and reddish brown banded tulip .

But everyone is hoping for a junonia, or Juno’s volute, a sea snail that has to travel far in churning waters to reach the beach intact. “You don’t find it,” said Mr. Kuperman, “it finds you.”

For young snorkelers: Playa el Chileno , Los Cabos, Mexico

About halfway between bustling Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, Playa el Chileno is no longer an undeveloped local secret. Now backed by the sprawling Auberge resort Chileno Bay Resort & Residences , the beach remains public and comparatively tranquil. Awarded the Blue Flag certification for meeting stringent environmental standards, Chileno is exceptionally well maintained.

While catamaran snorkeling tours come and go from Chileno Bay, it’s also possible to reach the reef from the shore, which makes it good for inexperienced snorkelers who might find it intimidating to leap into deep water without easing their way in. High Tide Sea Expeditions offers snorkeling excursions via kayak that start at nearby Playa Santa Maria, hug the coast and arrive at Chileno by water. For younger kids and anyone who prefers more time in the water, there’s a guided two-hour tour that visits both beaches by car ($95 to $130 per person, including equipment).

Among the roughly 50 species of fish that snorkelers might encounter along Chileno’s rocky outcroppings and coral reef, there are large tuna, sea turtles, puffer fish, Panamic green moray eels, Cortez angelfish and blacknosed butterflyfish — among many other colorful creatures. The coral here is less vibrant than some places, but the number and variety of fish are thrilling.

Freda Moon, a frequent contributor to the Travel section, lives on a boat in San Francisco Bay with her husband and two kids. Her upcoming National Geographic book with the coauthor Ashley Harrell, “100 Beaches of a Lifetime,” will be published next year.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Get Out on the Water This Summer

3 6 Hours in Traverse City, Mich.:  Explore the laid-back city loved for its annual cherry festival, unspoiled lake vistas and access to epic dunes .

6 Great Beaches for Families:  For families with children, we found half a dozen beaches in the United States and Mexico , each tailored to a particular summer activity.

Surfing in Texas: A wave pool in Waco offers consistent conditions, affordable prices and a friendly vibe for beginner surfers .

Hidden Island Treasures: Being far from everywhere is the point in the Magdalens, a colorful and tranquil Quebec island chain  north of Prince Edward Island.

A Famous Massachusetts Inn: A writer returns to a classic Nantucket hotel, where he worked 50 years ago, to ponder how he, the island, and the newly refurbished inn have changed .

5 Waterfront Hotels : Whether it’s by a river, lake or ocean, or in a castle, cottage or on the site of a former torpedo factory, here are places to stay where the water is never far away .

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Best Single-Handed Bluewater Sailboats

Best Single-Handed Bluewater Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

December 28, 2023

Sailing alone in racing or time on the water is a great experience. Finding the best single-handed blue water sailboat for those needs can be a tough task.

Regardless if you have a cruiser or racing sailboat, a single-handed one can offer many opportunities versus larger boats. So what are some of the best ones on the market?

The Hunter Channel 31, J/109, and West Wight Potter 19 are great budget-friendly, single-handed sailboats. Moving up in price, you can look at Hanse 371, Jeanneau Sunfast 3200, and even a Dehler 29. Depending on the size and the amount of features it has will determine what they are worth.

While the budget will play a role in finding the right single-handed boat for you, there are plenty of other factors to consider. These range between comfort, stability, and useful features.

According to experts in sailing, most prefer comfort over price as long as it is justifiable with the amount you are paying. As long as it is not too far over your budget, you could consider a slightly higher-priced boat if it has a few more bells and whistles to make your life easier.

Table of contents

‍ 12 Single-Handed Sailboats to Consider

Whether you are planning to cruise around or going out for the day sailing, there are a handful of sailboats to consider. You want to choose one that is best operated alone and would not need additional hands to make it work.

{{boat-info="/boats/rs-sailing-rs-aero"}}

For a fun day out at sea, it is hard to pass up on a quality dinghy . This one, in comparison to other dinghies, is fairly light and takes hardly any time to set up.

The RS Aero is one of the more technologically advanced dinghies for one individual to use. This one in particular has amassed a handful of awards for the best performance overall.

Due to its popularity and quality, these range between $10,000 to $15,000. If you find it any cheaper than that, it could be worth the investment.

2. Beneteau Oceanis 62

{{boat-info="/boats/beneteau-oceanis-yacht-62"}}

If you are feeling a bit adventurous or feel confident in your ability to handle a large boat by yourself, then try out the Beneteau Oceanis 62 . This boat is slightly over 60 feet, so it is recommended that you have all your ducks in a row before setting sail.

Thankfully, the boat was designed with ease of use in mind. So this could easily be operated by one person if they have some experience with it.

If you purchased this one for the family, then you can still have the added benefits of taking people with you. But if you decide you want to be by yourself, that is an option too.

This boat is valued around $600,000, so it is arguably one of the more expensive options for just a single handed sailboat. But if you are looking for a family boat, you are killing two birds with one stone.

3. Hunter Channel 31

{{boat-info="/boats/hunter-channel-31"}}

This British made sailboat debuted in 2001 with a twin keel, making it a great choice for solo sailing. While it has a rich history in racing, the design has gone through slight adjustments over the years to make it a solid cruiser.

With its incredible handling and quick turns, this sailboat has excellent handling. The hull structure allows it to have a low center of gravity and provide it with increased stability compared to other racing boats.

The deck layout, in combination of the self-tacking jib and tiller steering, allow this boat to be one of the best on the market if you can find it.

You can usually sail these fractionally rigged and reef with ease from the cockpit. For around $35,000, you are getting a great deal on a boat that has everything you need.

{{boat-info="/boats/j-boats-j109"}}

If you are not quite ready to venture out alone or want the availability to take people out with you, then the J/109 is a great sailboat to look into. These were first built in 2004, so you should be able to still find them today.

If you decide that you want to take it out by yourself, you could look into going offshore and into areas where other boats have difficulty reaching. You might be able to get it to plane on open water, but it is a little heavy.

With its asymmetric spinnaker, you should be able to jib from the cockpit with light wind. Even in heavier winds, this boat offers great stability.

Due to its high standards of construction and long term stability, these boats are still valued around $60,000. If you can find one a little less for that, it could be a steal.

5. West Wight Potter 19

{{boat-info="/boats/west-wight-potter-19"}}

This boat design has been around since 1979, which prioritized safety and handling. Those factors alone make it a quality solo handling boat.

This sailboat has grown on many over the last three decades. People have probably overlooked it due to its name, but you should definitely check it out if you find one.

The slight design changes over the years have turned this into a tough little boat. It has a Bermuda rigged sloop and can handle various conditions.

With its lifting keel, it allows it to navigate shallow waters. This boat might be one of the more versatile options out there if you plan on sailing in shoal drafts.

For the price, it is hard to beat something less than $10,000. If you are wanting a newer version with upgraded features, you could be spending around $25,000.

6. Hanse 371

{{boat-info="/boats/hanse-371"}}

For a mid-sized cruiser, it will be hard to pass up a Hanse 371 if you come across it. This boat design is geared towards single handed sailing, with a perfect mix of older and newer technology.

It has a furlong and self-tacking jib, along with an autopilot feature making it easy to use for one person. For a boat that was built around 2000, it was well ahead of its time.

Even though the boat is a bit larger than some others for solo sailing, you will have plenty of space to move around. With the large galley and quite a bit of cabin room, you will feel like you are in a mansion.

The look and handle of this boat is favored by many, which is why it still holds its value. You can potentially find ones for sale around $60,000.

7. Jeanneau Sunfast 3200

{{boat-info="/boats/jeanneau-sun-fast-3200"}}

From the first glance at this boat, you can see that it has a traditional look compared to other sailboats. Since it is smaller and lighter, it makes it easy to handle through many conditions.

The boat was originally designed to be a racer, so you have stability and strength in addition to speed. These were built around 2008, but still offer some of the best technology you will find today.

For space, you will have plenty of room just for yourself. There are two double cabins, galley, and a head compartment.

This fractional sloop, along with the keel, can provide easy sailing in either direction of the wind. You can comfortably have the mast around 60 percent to reach a comfortable speed.

This boat is still modern, so you will see these a little bit more often than some others. You will likely find them for about $160,000 but you get all of the latest technology and a boat that is built to last.

8. Tartan 3700

{{boat-info="/boats/tartan-3700"}}

The Tartan 3700 is another quality boat that you can live on and comfortably cross the sea with. Thanks to the self-tacking jib, it allows the boat to be used easily by one person.

This boat was originally designed in the 1970’s, but still has value today. It has been proven to be a great boat to cover long distances and with multiple people on board.

Even though this one might be a little bit older in comparison to other single handed boats, the price still ranges close to $150,000. Rest assured, there is still quality and reliability with this sailboat.

9. Dehler 29

While this boat is not as popular in America, the Dehler 29 is a popular German sailboat. This boat is starting to become popular as more sailors look for single handed boats.

In 1998, this boat earned the honors for boat of the year and sailing boat of the year in the Cruising World Magazine. Since then, it still performs with quality since day one.

Since it is equipped with a tiller, you can steer this boat with ease. This offers one of the best opportunities to steer a boat without having to have an extra set of hands.

For the price, you can still find these on the market for slightly under $60,000. This is what you will pay for top quality German sailboats.

10. Rhodes 19

{{boat-info="/boats/oday-rhodes-19"}}

The Rhodes 19 is another classic style sailboat that many will gravitate to when they see it. Not only is it perfect for solo sailing, but you can have a few people on board if you enjoy family time.

The hull design is meant to be forgiving on the water, allowing it to easily handle heavier conditions. Since day one, this boat’s design has stood the test of time whether you are experienced or a newbie when it comes to sailing.

You can sprit rig this boat or simply use a Bermuda rig to help push you along with the wind. Since it has a low center of gravity, you do not have to worry about stability with this one.

Depending on your location, you can still find these for about $20,000. Assuming it is in good condition, you might find them slightly higher priced.

11. Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20

{{boat-info="/boats/pacific-seacraft-flicka-20"}}

This boat has a strong history of solo sailing , simply because having more than one or two people would be uncomfortable. These were very common around the 1980’s and there were roughly 400 of these built. If you can find one that was built in the late 90’s, that would be your best bet.

The reason this boat deserves some attention is that you can potentially find it for a great price and live on it. This boat is also towable, making it easy to take with you no matter where you go. For just under $20,000, you can find plenty in good condition.

{{boat-info="/boats/vanguard-laser"}}

The Laser is a specific boat that you have probably seen in the Olympics. This small boat is simple and ready to go exploring for solo sailing.

This is arguably one of the most popular single handed boats out there. If you want the simplest option for sailing by yourself, look no further than a Laser.

This boat can use various rig types, so whichever method you prefer. Most use cat rigging since there is no headsail and just one mainsail. It also helps that this boat is easy to set up, making it desirable for solo handlers.

For the price point, you cannot beat $7,000 compared to other single handed boats. Due to its popularity and quality, you might have to pay a little more.

Why You Should Solo Sail

Solo sailing is an experience like no other and even replicates similar adrenaline rushes in other sports. If you are not seeking the thrill, there are boats drained to take it a little bit slower on the water.

Regardless of your skill level, you should consider the experience at least once in your life. The beautiful thing about this is, it does not have to be the perfect boat to get it done.

There are even plenty of sailors that have sailed on much larger boats or ones that were designed for more people. It all depends on the adventure you are trying to seek, but there is clearly not another like it when sailing on your own.

Features to Look for in Single-Handed Boats

When solo sailing, there are plenty of features that can separate one boat from another. These can make a big difference in how your adventure goes for the day.

The conditions at sea are often unavoidable and something that everyone has to deal with. Whether you are solo saling or with a crew, everyone has to be aware of tough conditions.

If you sail alone, you are required to do everything in order to make it back safely. Having something with an automation system will be huge for solo sailors.

If you have a quality boat, the next best thing would be automation systems on board to help your life sailing much easier. Some of these systems include autopilot, electric windlass, roller furling, and even a radar.

Other sailors might want lines that run to the aft, a wind vane, or a hydraulic system for the bow or stern. Basically anything that you can do with a click of a button to reduce manual labor.

While this is an obvious option, you do not want to forget about stability. No matter how fast the boat is or how many cool features it has, those will be useless if you have issues with handling.

You want a boat that has wide beams and shorter waterlines. While this limits some speed, that is a much better trade off than having nothing at all.

Easy to Use

When picking out your single handed sailboat, you want one that is easy to use. If there are too many features that are required to get it going, you either need more experience or that boat is not right for you.

Try finding one that only requires a few steps in comparison to other ones. You might have to pick one that is a bit smaller in order to get used to it all, which is all you really need since your are by yourself.

Many sailors will have their preferred sails when going out on the water. A unique sail design that you could look for is the Bermuda sail with a gaff sail.

This allows you to have more sail area on a shorter mast. It also allows you to have better control and less heeling force that is common for longer sails.

It does make sense to choose the one that is right for your boat and what is most comfortable to you. After you find the right boat for you, you should strongly consider the sails it has.

Rigging Type

When it comes to solo sailing, the gaff rig is one of the best rig types. Even though the Bermuda is the most common, you lose some windward capabilities since it is lower.

The gaff rig makes the most sense because it is easier to use and has the best downwind performance. Each sailor will have their preferred rig type, but in solo sailing, the gaff stands out the best.

Price Point Makes a Difference

You do not have to break the bank when deciding what boat is best for solo sailing. There are boats that can fit within any budget, and you just have to know what you are looking for.

Just because a boat is priced over $100,000, does not guarantee that it is the best on the market. Depending on the brand, how many features it has, and how big the boat is will determine the price.

Some of the best single handed sailboats are priced less than $20,000. It all depends on the type of adventure you are seeking and how much money you are willing to spend.

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Best Bluewater Sailboats Under $100k

Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 24 Feet

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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COMMENTS

  1. 4 best bluewater cruisers of 2022

    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 ...

  2. 5 Of The Best Bluewater Cruising Powerboats In 2022

    Here are our picks for the five best bluewater cruising powerboats of 2022. SILENT 62 3-DECK (Closed) Above: A 2022 Silent 62 triple deck catamaran yacht for sale on YachtWorld by Silent Yachts. Photo by Silent Yachts. This beautiful trans-ocean yacht is the ultimate in both luxury and design.

  3. Best Liveaboard Bluewater Catamarans

    The best production blue water cruising catamarans are the Manta 42, the Lagoon 42, the Leopard 45, the Lagoon 450, and the Prout 45. ... the best Bluewater catamarans are designed for durability and seaworthiness. A vessel's sea keeping abilities rely on more than just smoothness and speed. ... 2022. 4 Best Electric Outboard Motors. Daniel ...

  4. 2022 Boat of the Year: Best Multihull

    More: balance, Boat of the Year, Boat of the Year 2022, Sailboats. The Balance 482 catamaran is a 48-foot performance cruising catamaran that can be recreationally raced or used for coastal ...

  5. The best bluewater multihulls of all time: a complete guide

    Lagoon 380. The long-time best-seller from the world leader in catamarans, with more than 1,000 produced over almost 20 years from 1999. With its characteristic vertical windows, the 380 and its ...

  6. LEEN 56 Power Trimaran Boat Review: A Bluewater Cruiser

    NEEL sailing trimarans changed that up a few years ago by introducing a significant amount of living space across a larger main hull and wider amas capable of accommodating full-sized cabins. The powertri has adopted this design and it offers an astounding amount of room. Above: The salon onboard the 2022 LEEM 56 TRIMARAN.

  7. This $1.5 Million French Catamaran Was Named the Best Bluewater Cruiser

    Outremer's newest catamaran ticks all the boxes, combining an innovative layout with family-friendly amenities. It just snatched the European Boat of the Year 2022 Award in the Bluewater ...

  8. 43 of the best bluewater sailboat designs of all time

    Best bluewater sailboat 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 ...

  9. Twelve Top Bluewater Cruising Boats

    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.

  10. Bluewater Catamaran CK 70 Ready For The World Debut

    11 April 2022. 565 1 minute read. On the occasion of the 2022 International Multihull Show ( France, 20th to 24th April), Squalt marine shipyard presents its brand new CK 70 as a world premiere. This bluewater catamaran , designed for ocean cruising, offers a maximum of space for the comfort of its guests. The CK 70 surprises with the comfort ...

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

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

  12. 20 Blue Water Cruising Catamarans Under $100k

    The Maldives has a light displacement of 3.3 tons thanks to the fiberglass and foam sandwich construction. Add in a sail area of 592 square feet, and the Maldives can cruise at up to 11 knots. The Maldives 32 is an excellent basic boat readily available well under our $100,000 price point.

  13. Top 5 Luxurious Bluewater Catamarans 2022-2023

    Bluewater sailing refers to sailing on the open ocean, where there is enough flexibility to maneuver and go long distances without hitting land or running in...

  14. 10 Best Solo Bluewater Catamarans and What Makes Them Great!

    The ten best solo bluewater catamarans have unique designs, are about 40 feet (12.2m) long, boast an autopilot, all lines to the cockpit, and can provide a safe ocean passage with only one sailor on board. Popular short-handed bluewater cat models include the Manta 42, Dolphin 42, and the FP Belize 43. Whether you're looking to buy a brand ...

  15. 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.

  16. 15 Best Catamarans in 2024

    Xquisite X5 Plus. 2022 saw the Xquisite X5 named the Cruising World magazine's Best Cruising Catamaran of the year - yet again (it won the Best Multihull over 50ft award in 2017) . As Ed Sherman said: 'There are 40,000 man-hours invested in this boat. And you can see it.'.

  17. 2022 Boat of the Year: Best Cruising Catamaran (Over 50')

    And when the votes were tallied, it was the Xquisite X5 Plus that was the obvious choice as Best Cruising Catamaran (Over 50') for 2022. Advertisement. More: Boat of the Year, Boat of the Year 2022, Fountaine Pajot, Lagoon Catamarans, print 2022 jan, Sailboats, Voyage Yachts, Xquisite Yachts. With an unusual profile and exterior aesthetic ...

  18. 2022 Boat of the Year: Best Dinghy

    The Happy Cat Hurricane is an 18-foot inflatable sailing catamaran built of high-quality rubber. The boat is designed for recreational adventure sailing and racing, as well as portability.

  19. Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 24 Feet

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

  20. 5 Best Trawlers of 2022

    With the trawler's enormous growth in popularity, 2022 has birthed five spectacular new models perfect for bluewater travelers seeking style, comfort, and luxury. Plus, this year's line-up comes with added agility and desirable amenities. Let's take a look at the top trawler models of 2022. Nordhavn 41; Ranger Tugs 43 CB; Beneteau Swift 48

  21. Top 5 Most Affordable Bluewater Catamarans 2022-2023

    The term "blue water sailing" refers to the practice of sailing in open waters with lots of room for maneuvering and the ability to cover large distances wit...

  22. 12 Best Catamaran Sailboats

    The best catamaran sailboats can easily clock 250-mile voyages, offer incredible performance, and have great layouts. ... Designed in Argentina as a complete bluewater catamaran, this is a boat that's specifically built for private boat owners looking for a sturdy and well-equipped bluewater cruiser. ... June 15, 2022. 10 Best Sailboat Brands ...

  23. 6 Best Beaches for Kids in the U.S. and Mexico

    For families with children, we found half a dozen beaches in the United States and Mexico, each tailored to a particular summer activity. 72. Sand-castle building is a favorite activity at family ...

  24. Best Single-Handed Bluewater Sailboats

    Finding the best single-handed blue water sailboat for those needs can be a tough task. ... Best Liveaboard Catamaran Sailboats. Daniel Wade. ... Elizabeth O'Malley. June 15, 2022. 4 Best Electric Outboard Motors. Daniel Wade. June 15, 2022. How Long Did It Take The Vikings To Sail To England? Daniel Wade. June 15, 2022.