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

By Author Fiona McGlynn

Posted on Last updated: August 17, 2023

What are the best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet

1. the westsail 32.

Westsail 32 sailboat

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

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

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

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

2. Tayana 37

Tayana 37 sailboat

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

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

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

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

Read more about the Tayana 37 in this Practical Sailor review .

3. Hans Christian 38T

Black and white photo of Hans Christian 38T Sailboat

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

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

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

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

4. Island Packet 380

Drawing of Island Packet 380 sailboat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Ingrid 38

Drawing of Ingrid 38 sailboat

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

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

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

Description

Fiona McGlynn

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

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10 of the Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 40 Feet

Best Bluewater Sailboats under 40 feet Hallberg-Rassy 372

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

Hallberg-Rassy 372

Length: 37’6′.

Best Bluewater Sailboats under 40 feet: Hallberg-Rassy 372

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

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

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

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

bluewater sailboats

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

Outremer 4X

Length: 40′.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Outremer 4X

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

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

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

Pacific Seacraft Crealock 37

Length: 37’10”.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Pacific Seacraft Crealock 37

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

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

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

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

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

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

Length: 37″11′

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Lagoon 380

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

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

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

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

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

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Najad 380

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

Gemini Legacy 35

Length: 35′.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Gemini Legacy 35

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

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

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

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

Length: 37″3′

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Tayana 37

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

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

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

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

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

Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40

Length: 38’6′.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40

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

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

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

Island Packet 370

Length: 37’2′.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Island Packet 370

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

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

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

Seawind 1160

Length: 38′.

Best Bluewater sailboats under 40 feet Seawind 1160

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

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

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

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

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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 small bluewater sailboats

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.

Article continues below…

best small bluewater sailboats

The perfect boat: what makes an ideal offshore cruising yacht?

Choosing a boat for offshore cruising is not a decision to be taken lightly. I have researched this topic on…

luxury-cruisers-European-yacht-of-the-year-sunbeam-46-1-exterior-credit-bertel-kolthof

European Yacht of the Year 2019: Best luxury cruisers

Before the sea trials began, I would have put money on a Hallberg-Rassy or the Wauquiez winning an award. The…

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 small bluewater sailboats

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.

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-Contest-50CS-credit-Sander-van-der-Borch

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.

best-ever-bluewater-yachts-discovery-55-credit-rick-tomlinson

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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  • Articles and Guides

Best Blue Water Sailboats Under 40 Feet

19th jan 2023 by samantha wilson.

Rightboat logo

What is a blue water sailboat?

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

  • Best blue water sailboat models under 40 Feet

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

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

blue water sailing

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

Construction:

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

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

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

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

Self-steering:

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

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

Ability to heave-to:

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

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

Ability to Store or Make Water:

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

Good Navigation Systems:

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

small sailing yacht

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

Affordability:

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

Easier to Sail:

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

Less Spacious:

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

They Tend to be Slower:

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

Less comfortable:

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

Best blue water sailboat models under 40 Feet

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

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

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

blue water sailboat beneteau

Photo credit: Beneteau

Jeanneau’s Sun Odyssey 349 and Sun Odyssey 380:

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

blue water sailboats jeanneau

Photo credit: Jeanneau 

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

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

blue water sailboats hallberg rassy

Photo credit: Hallberg-Rassy

SeaWind Catamarans’ 1160, 1190 and 1260:

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

blue water sailboat seawind

Photo credit: SeaWind  

Written By: Samantha Wilson

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

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7 Legendary Solo Bluewater Sailboats Worth Considering

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

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

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

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

best small bluewater sailboats

On this page:

The best solo bluewater sailboats, what makes a good solo bluewater sailboat, cost considerations when choosing a sailboat, maintaining your bluewater sailboat, contessa 32 is a classic, compact, and seaworthy sailboat.

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

Westsail 32 is known for its rugged construction

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

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

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

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

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

best small bluewater sailboats

Pacific Seacraft 37 is designed for serious cruising

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

Island Packet 38 is known for its spacious interior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

best small bluewater sailboats

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

Size and stability of a solo sailboat

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

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

Ease of use and maneuverability of any solo sailboat

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

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

Durability and seaworthiness for long-term safety

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

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

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

Comfort and livability of a solo sailboat

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

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

Affordability and availability determine the sailboat's practicality

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

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

best small bluewater sailboats

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

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

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

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

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

best small bluewater sailboats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Great post... Most of these boats are slow for their waterlines and, for me at least, speed is a factor in safe passagemaking due to the ability to avoid and dodge weather. I want the ability to easily make 7+ knots in all conditions. (I don't take this as a compromise to seakeeping.) One quirk of the HC33: The teak decks were fastened from the bottom up (e.g. through the deck) and the heads were then glassed over. (Not joking.) The tips of the screws pricking your feet is the first clue your decks need replacing. From my dock neighbors entire summer (3 full days per week) this is a truly massive problem to fix and delayed their cruising dream by a year.

timone - Great comments, thanks! I agree, there's a definate choice to make between speed and tank-like toughness. My personal preference for bluewater is a a heavy full keeler, though this may change with experience. Maybe I'm too wrapped up in the asthetics of these classic designs. Good tip on the HC33. I'm leary of teak decks on any boat due to maintenance issues and would prefer any of the above boats without teak decks.

You are on to something with these large dispacement boats. power or sail . they are the best

Semi-bunk. We sailed a Cal 40 all over the SoPac; not the ideal cruiser but certainly seaworthy. Most of our class of 2008 were fin keel, and some form of spade rudder. With the exception of the Valiant and the Tayana, most of these clunkers are better suited to the dock.

Our family sailed the East Coast and Caribbean for two years and I loved our Lord Nelson's teak decks. The teak is first to dry after the morning dew. A small leak disappeared as it swelled in the warm humid tropical weather.

To me to "dodge weather" when you are in the mid of an ocean has little meaning, unless you have a really fast boast like those racers who do the Volvo ocean race. If you are short handed a slow boat will give you a better chance to rest during a storm, which is paramount for safety, while the fast one will wear you out.

A massive...and very expensive problem to fix.

Even ocean racers get caught at sea in bad weather and more the a few have capsized and demasted. No sail boat can outrun the weather. Even motor yachts with huge Diesel engines that can motor at 20-30knots get caught at seas in bad weather. And many times sailing away from shore and weathering the storm at sea is safer then trying to enter a harbor once the blow is there. Many inlets are risky when the current and winds create breaking waves that can swamp a small craft or force it on to the rocky shore attempting to enter. There are times going further away from shore is safer then attempting entry into the harbor. Having a boat that will ride out a storm safely is worth losing a few knots on passage.

Great list! Not sure the HC33 meets your $50k criteria though. I have yet to see it under $75k in decent condition.

Hahn - True enough, finding a HC33t for $50k is a difficult proposition. But the boat is s so beautiful and so well made that I had to include it, even if finding a good one may mean spending $25k more.

Yes the Baba 30 would fit the Boat Porn listing ! I'll tell my wife that's what I'm doing as I sit with blurry vision @ 2am ! Looking at Porn !!

Agreed, the Baba 30 is really beauty. The canoe stern is perfectly in proportion with the rest of the boat and makes for a really sweet profile.

Our good friend has a HC33 and we have a W32. Its amazing how close they are in sailing ability. I think the W32 tracks a tad better and the HC33 is just a hint more nimble, but they are very close in our limited experience. We really love the HC33's pullman berth in the center of the boat but at the same time we don't enjoy the forward head nor do we like the table layout on the HC33 which requires a lot of people to get up if the person furthest in the booth needs to get out. Its a toss up between the HC33 and W32 about interior layout overall. We love the little quarter berth "room" in the HC33 but at the same time you sacrifice a lot of space in the engine room. The W32 gives you a lot better access to the motor. If push came to shove, I'd take the HC33's extra berth instead of the berth in the center of the W32 factory layout. The cockpits are very close in size (read:small). The HC33 has a rounded cabin top that makes sitting on the edges of it more of a pain, but the W32 requires drop boards or water will run into the cockpit. The W32 does win in price competition though. No comparison there. Just wanted to add some thoughts to your post.

Great comments, thanks for sharing Tate. It's always good to hear from someone who has hands-on, side-by-side comparison experience. I agree the forward head on the HC33 isn't ideal, but I do like that it has a stall shower. If price isn't an issue, maybe the real way to decide between the W32 and the HC33 is the size of the crew. The W32 might be the choice for 2, while the HC33 might be better for 3-4 based on having two private sleeping quarters.

Downeaster 32' is a clear contender here, and also wins as most beautiful ;-D and very stable. Also possibly the largest interior per length? Great head room.

Agreed, the Downeaster is a real looker and a lot of boat for 32 feet, particularly given their value pricing on the used market.

I owned a Downeast32. Roomy yes,slow?, yes! Very slow. Had 7 people on her for an overnighter. Storage everywhere. Lots of rear deck space.

I wouldn't say the Downeaster 32 is merely a contender, but possibly an outright winner in the category of "Affordable Bluewater Sailboats",.. ,much more so in fact than 10 boats mentioned in this article,.. at least from the prices I've seen. I honestly don't understand why something like HC33 even gets a mention,.. beautiful? definitely!!!,.. but affordable??!!,, hmm,. not so much.

Fair enough. I included the HC33 because it's one of my all time favorites and the definition of "affordable" is subjective. As I've defined it here, ~$50k. Yes, that's a stretch for the HC33, but I've seen a few approaching that price point. As for the DE32, she's a capable beauty too.

No mention of the Nor'Sea 27.... Should be on the list for sure. :)

I didn't include the Nor'Sea 27 here, but it is in my list of favorite pocket cruisers to take you anywhere .

Hello, I appropriate your reviews. Our family own CSY-33. Now a day, sailing is a completely new sport for me and I wasn't sure what to expect but I've definitely got the bug. thanks all, @Nadia Brightman :)

Glad to hear you're enjoying your CSY 33!

My wife is 5'9" and I 6'3". Which of these wonderful boats would have sufficient headroom and a nice sleeping double for a couple like us?

This is a great post. I just restored a little Hunter 25 and plan to sell it to get something bigger. It's nice to dream! I second the comment about the Downeaster. I love double enders and clipper bows. How about a Bayfield!

Thanks Dan. I like Bayfields (and other Ted Gozzard designs) too, but they're outside my top 10. Thanks for reading.

Bluewater Offshore Cruising Sailboat Bluewater Cruiser New French-built cruiser with a distinctly American look. Here’s an interesting design from Group Finot for Beneteau. I find interesting the fact that this design is not especially “Euro” in its styling. In fact, it’s sort of American looking and good looking too. So, let’s examine this profile in detail. The transom is traditionally raked as opposed to reversed. This eliminates the standard swim step we see so often. But Beneteau has countered this with a drop-down platform that extends about a foot beyond the transom. This platform is raised and lowered by block and tackle. A sliding flush-deck hatch covers the steps when they are not in use. This is an elaborate and very well thought out transom detail that will allow you to bring your dinghy up next to the boat without threatening the gelcoat on the transom edge. This traditionally raked transom really drives the look of this boat. It certainly affects the character of the sheer. I would have liked to see a bolder sweep to this sheer, but it’s fine as is. Note how the tip of the transom is at the waterline. This, combined with the short bow overhang, produces a long sailing length. I think the designers have done a good job of blending the deck structures with the hull. The D/L of this design is 183. L/B is 3.38, making this a moderately beamy boat on the lighter side of medium displacement if we choose 200 to be the middle of current D/Ls for cruising boats. The keel is a bulbed fin giving 5 feet, 11 inches of draft. Note the deep forefoot on this design and the straight line to the canoe body profile. All in all this is a handsome and moderate hull. The interior shows a two-head, two-stateroom layout with the galley in the passageway to the aft cabin. The galley is spread out fore and aft, but it looks to me like there is still plenty of working room. The aft cabin has a large double berth and symmetrically arranged lockers and settees. Why settees? Well, they look good and occupy volume that is not much good for anything else due to the shape of the hull. There is a head with shower stall adjoining the aft cabin. The saloon has a dinette, which to my eye looks on the minimal side. I suppose you could seat four for dinner if you had to, but it would be a tight squeeze. The forward stateroom has a double berth with the toe end cut away to make room for the forward head. I’m not sure how this berth would work for a couple. Obviously, the biggest advantage to center-cockpit boats is the separation of the sleeping accommodations. There is space below the cockpit for the engine room. Putting the cockpit in the middle of the boat allows the designer to place the mainsheet traveler at the end of the boom and place the traveler where it will not interfere with the cockpit layout. This rig is well forward and shows swept spreaders with forward lower shrouds. Unfortunately, the sailplan we have is not carefully drafted so it doesn’t do much for the look of the boat. The photos also show a staysail. This is a very nice looking boat. The windshield is fixed and, while obtrusive in the drawing, looks just fine in the photos. I’m not too keen on the wheel position. It is a bulkhead-mounted wheel offset to starboard, much like we see on cruising catamarans. This means you will sit in one position at the wheel without the benefit of being able to turn 90 degrees or change sides. This wheel arrangement does free up the rest of the cockpit and puts the helmsman securely under the dodger. A teak-capped bulwark adds a rich look to the deck. Beneteau’s boats always deserve a close look. The company obviously puts a lot of market research into its new models. In this case the company has given us a well-designed boat with some unusual features. This is one boat I’ll definitely board Beneteau Wave Rider 42CC at Annapolis.

I wonder if the keel will stay attached

I've saled from the Med to Australia on my own Beneteau Oceanis 42cc and plan to continue the circumnavigation via cape Town to the Caribbean in April 2015. We love our Bene layout... Fun to sail . The center cockpit is Ideal. The aft deck spacious and the aft cabin just wonderful. A huge engine room accommodates all our gear.water maker. Genset. Tools....

Hey, I think a strong case could be made for Bayfield 32 cutters, beautiful boats and pretty bullet proof as well. speed is a bit of an issue! great post!

I single-handed a Bruce Roberts 31 (schooner-rigged) across the Atlantic and back . I was 70 yrs.old, the boat did the work. Also, list the Dreadnought 32 (Tahiti ketch in heavy fg).

I'm intrigued by many of the Roberts designs and metal boats in general, but I don't have any experience with either. The Dreadnought is another really cool and unique double-ender with a lot of character...often available for a bargain price. Thanks for sharing.

Yeah how about some feedback on the Alberg's. They seem worthy & affordable too. Please respond, thx. L

My first true-love in sailboats was the Pearson Triton 28, of course designed by Carl Alberg. As my experience and taste evolved, I began to prefer canoe sterns and slightly more modern designs. The biggest fault I can find with Alberg designs is that many seem to have very narrow beams, making them tight for family cruising. The narrow beams can also contribute to a tender boat. However, Alberg did a fine job of making his designs very sexy with swoopy sheerlines and long overhangs. The Triton, 35 and 37 are all capable and proven offshore boats.

The HC33 shown, Sabbatical. is for sale @ $95,000. Ouch.

Agreed, that's a steep price. I've seen 2 33t's that needed a little TLC sell near $50k. In general, the HC 33t probably has the highest average price of any in my list, but its' such a sweet ride!

You forgot the Allied Seawind 32 for $25,000

Good call! The Seawind II (32') is but one of several Gillmer designs worthy of any "best affordable bluewater cruisers" list. Others include the Southern Cross 28/31/35, Weatherly 32, Aries 32 and Roughwater 32. Perhaps it's time I write a sequel to this post to include the many good recommendations from the comments. Note - I did include the Southern Cross 28 in my post called "Bluewater on a Budget: 5 Budget Cruisers for Crossing Oceans."

there is one you may have over looked! tanzer 10.5 pilot house! not the fastest but with it's swing keel it is a fun wide nice sailing boat!! and great for the island's

I like the Tanzer 10.5, but is she bluewater capable? Definitely a unique look, in a good way. And Tanzer has a good reputation for affordable quality and decent sailing performance.

This is almost the identical boat to a Southerly 10.5 which has made many ocean crossings. Definitely bluewater capable. I own hull # 11 built in 1983 and she has sailed completely around the world spending a lot of time in the South Pacific. She has a righting angle of 140 degrees with the lifting keel up. The hull to deck joint is glassed over on the inside during production resulting in a absolutely solid boat with no joint leaks. The amount of storage is phenomenal for those long passages. I have had her out in 50 knots with no issues. The self tending jib makes single handing easy, and with the keel down to 6.5 feet she handles well.

Could an old Irwin 37 MK I be upgraded so she can be blue water capable? If so...HOW?

I suppose anything COULD be upgraded to bluewater capable, but at what cost? The I37 is known for it's roominess and affordability, but not necessarily offshore capability or robust construction. Irwin's can be fine boats (I owned one for 5 years), but they would not be my choice for bluewater. If you're simply considering passage from Florida to the Bahamas, or some island hopping in the Caribbean, then there are plenty of Irwin's with that under their belt, but an ocean crossing or a run to Bermuda in an I37 should be carefully considered. For more info and specifics about the I37, try Jack Horner's review here: http://www.boatus.com/boatreviews/sail/Irwin37.asp

What about the Irwin 42 Ketch? Is it what you would consider blue water worthy?

What, no mention of the Bill Garden designed Fast Passage 39?

Love the Fast Passage 39 and Garden's original s/v Bolero! Thanks for the addition.

Aah there I am trying hard to decide which one to choose........except I couldn't afford even a model version! So I content myself by saying that at nearly 60 and with no experience wòrth talking about I'm way to old to start now. Youtube and some of the wonderful sailing videos help a bit!

Tashiba 31 is heavy duty double ender good for ocean crossings don't you think? I like the cutaway forefoot.

One of Bob Perry's personal favorite designs, or at least he thinks highly of it. It's also one of his last full keel designs. “I think the Tashiba 31 and 36 mark the best boats I ever designed with modified full keels. The boats were fast, close-winded, stiff, and well balanced. I constantly got calls from owners telling me how they had “beat” a local contemporary design.” (from Yacht Design According to Perry).

Why no mention of the Cabo Rico 34?

James - The Cabo Rico 34 is certainly worthy of this list. In fact, so is the Tiburon 36, the first boat built by Cabo Rico and perhaps a bit more affordable than the 34. The Tiburon is a Crealock design and eventually became the CR 38. Thanks for the addition!

Another good boat is the Gulf 32. Solid build, good tankage, though at this age the 75 gal fuel tank needs serious inspection. William Garden feels it is one of his finest, safest designs!

A boat that is not so well known in European and N.American circles is the Oswald Berckemeyer designed Miura 32.Built strong to cope with South African waters it has been said (though I am not sure how true) that more circumnavigations have been carried out in Miura's than any other class of boat.I owned a Corrida which is the 36foot version of the boat (also designed by Berckemeyer) and I took this boat across the Atlantic without a worry. Strong and fast - I loved that boat.

Hi Mike. I am trying to find drawings, specs and photos of the Corrida 36. Very little available online. Can you point me to anything you are aware of? Thanks.

Did any one mention a DownEast 32? They may be fat and slow, but so is the WestSail 32. Any one agree / dissagree?

Hey I did a post at Urban Nomads about your excellent blog. Check it out here: http://urban-nomads.net/great-boat-living-websites. Thanks for the helpful tips!

The Southern Cross 31 / 35 / 39 really should be on this list. Excellent heavy displacement boats that will take you anywhere.

Agreed. I'm a fan of Southern Cross sailboats and Gilmer designs.

What is your position on an Island Packet 320?

I've never sailed a 320, but I do like IP's in general for their salty style, solid construction and seaworthiness. I particularly like the 320's rig - a cutter is nice for having headsail options and the Hoyt staysail boom keeps things simple. IP's tend to command an upper tier price and aren't known for speed, but if you can get beyond those two factors, the 320 looks to be a nice size and layout for a cruiser.

I love your list. Mine would be very similar, but might include the Endeavour 37. It's hard to beat the price!

I sailed our HC 33 from Alaska to New Zealand on a 5-year cruise. We loved how she handled in heavy weather. We are in the 50+knot "club" and our HC did great while other cruisers suffered dearly. While she isn't fast, she tracked well, and behaved at anchor or hove to. Yes, the teak deck is something to consider, but overall, not a deal breaker in the big picture of off-shore cruising. We sold our HC in New Zealand because I had to return to work. I miss her every day. I am plotting to get another bluewater boat. At this point my short list is another HC or perhaps an Island Packet or Pacific Seacraft. If I were rich, it would be a Najad. These choices are based on our years sailing with other cruisers. While boats are so incredibly expensive, the bottom line is safety at sea, getting parts in exotic locations, and the cost of repairs. The better you are equipped before leaving home port, the less likely you are to have life-threatening problems or serious repairs in expensive locations.

You missed Acapulco 40, so likely never read "One Wave at a Time" by Ed Atkin - regards, Matt

Thanks for the kind word for the Fugi 35. Here's one you can have for under $50k. Needs a little work but is a great boat. miami.craigslist.org/mdc/boa/d/classicblue-water-passage/6479457885.html

I don't see Corbin 39

Thank you for the article it has given me information on my up coming purchase I'm working towards living aboard my own sailboat as I travel the East Coast, Caribbean, South America and West Coast in my retirement years.

I understand this is US based but as a Brit I used to covet the Tradewind 35, a proper long keel, flush decked, cutter rig, blue water cruiser. If money was no object that is the boat for me.

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20 Bluewater Cruising Sailboats Under $100,000

January 5, 2021 by Travis Turgeon 2 Comments

thom milkovic p 0tDp9zAeI unsplash 1 - 20 Bluewater Cruising Sailboats Under $100,000

Choosing the right bluewater yacht for your needs requires a ton of research. With so many designs and features available, it can be overwhelming trying to narrow down your options. The process gets even more complicated when you begin to consider the personal opinions of other sailors. 

So how do you know where to start? Every person’s definition of comfortability will vary when it comes to onboard living. What suits a family of four won’t necessarily suit a couple or a single-handed sailor. Your budget, style, and needs are all unique to you and your situation, so it’s essential to know just what to look for when buying a new or used vessel . 

To start you off in the right direction, we put together a list of our top choices for bluewater cruising yachts under $100,000.

Allied Princess 36

Green Allied Princess 36 sailboat at a marina

Built as a long-keel ketch or cutter, the Allied Princess 36 was in production from 1972 to 1982. Around 140 vessels were manufactured in total, so you can occasionally find them on the used market. 

While these cruisers’ design and construction are considered sufficient, the excessive use of fiberglass makes the design a bit bland. Although they may not have the most appealing design, these bluewater yachts certainly tick a lot of boxes.

With the full-keel measuring just four-foot six inches, it’s a design that holds steady on its course without pointing as high as a fin-keel design. 

Overall, the Allied Princess 36 is a wonderful option for bluewater sailing.

Prices range between $30,000 and $60,000.

Cabo Rico 38

Cabo Rico sailboat with green sails

The Cabo Rico 38 is at the top of its class, constructed with a long-keel cutter rig design that gives it outstanding bluewater capabilities for its price point. The vessel was produced in two models – Pilothouse, and Trunk Cabin – although the Pilothouse design is less common.

Cabo Rico i s consistently successful with it s 38 models, and t hey remain one of the most prominent cruising boats on the water.

Internally, this boat has various features required for a bluewater cruiser: Large water and fuel tanks, a solid design with balsa wood cores for thermal and noise insulation, and an overall seaworthy design.

While this boat wasn’t m eant to win races, it is a fantastic choice for a crui sing vessel.

Prices range between $30,000 and $80,000.

Celestial 48

Bluewater Celestial 48 sailboat

The Celestial 48 is the largest boat on our list and is commonly sought after by the cruising fraternity. The problem is, these vessels are scarce on the used market. 

The Celestial 48 is a ketch rig with a shoal-draft, fin-keel design, and a center-cockpit configuration that is comfortable and ideal for bluewater sailing. One of our favorite features is the six-foot, two-inch headroom in the cabin, along with high-capacity water and fuel tanks.

The Celestial 48 was built in China by the Xiamen boatyard, although it’s no longer in production.

If you can find one, the Celestial 48 will make an excellent bluewater cruiser.

Prices start near our $100,000 mark.

Bluewater Corbin 39 sailboat

The Corbin 39 is manufactured in two designs, aft or center cockpit. Designed and built in Canada by Robert Dufour and Marius Corbin, the 39 is now (sadly) out of production. This cruiser remains a favorite of many and is still commonly searched for on the used market.

One thing to note is that most of the boats were sold as unfinished kits, leaving owners to complete the interiors themselves. For this reason, the standard of interior design finish will vary, so it’s worth checking and comparing with other vessels carefully.

When found, the Corbin 39’s present a very reasonable price tag, but a full survey is essential.

Prices range between $40,000 and $60,000.

Docked Freedom 36 sailboat at sunset

The Freedom 36 is one of the smaller yachts on our list, but it has an exciting design that attracts cruisers. The wide beam and long waterline design allow for a much larger interior than most other boats of similar length. As a cruiser, space is a top priority, so this cruiser should be on your list of considerations.

A unique feature of this Freedom yacht is the stayless carbon fiber mast. It looks a little odd for most, with no forestay or backstay and a mast that flexes alarmingly in the wind. It’s a proven design, though, and gives clean lines just like an aircraft wing.

The Freedom 36 is certainly an exciting cruiser to keep an eye on.

Prices range between $40,000 and $80,000.

Gulfstar 44

Gulfstar 44 sailboat at sea

Known as a capable cruiser or live-aboard boat, the Gulfstar 44 is a spacious yacht that can take you around the world.

Designed with a fin-keel and skeg-rudder, the Gulfstar is comfortable and well built.

Internally, you’ll find a large galley, king-size aft cabin, and spacious fore cabin, with ample room in the saloon. Earlier Gulfstar vessels suffered from inconsistent build quality, but from around 1976 onwards, the company made huge improvements.

For a spacious bluewater sailboat with excellent heavy-weather handling characteristics, the Gulfstar 44 is a great choice.

Prices start around $60,000.

Hans Christian 38

1989 Hans Christian 38 T sailboat

If you’re considering cruising the world in a bluewater yacht, then the Hans Christian 38-T should be added to your shortlist of candidates. 

With a full-length keel design and laden with solid teak, this boat weighs in at 12.5 tons, making it a heavy displacement vessel that you can rely on to take you through some of the harshest conditions.

Manufactured in Taiwan, these cruisers can be a chore to acquire. One of the most common downfalls of the Hans 38-T is electrical problems, so be sure to get the wiring checked out by a professional. 

Outside of electrical issues, this boat is a proven winner in the cruising world. 

Prices start around $70,000 but expect to pay well over $100,000 for the more admirable models.

Hinckley Bermuda 40

Group of people on a Hinckley Bermuda 40 with blue sails

The Hinckley Bermuda 40 was in production for over 30 years, from 1959 until 1991, but only 203 boats were manufactured in total. Many Bermuda 40s were used as racing vessels throughout their production, winning the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy in 1964. 

The design also gained many admirers in the cruising world thanks to the long keel and centerboard, which allows the boat to maneuver through shallow waters. The Hinckley Bermuda 40 is hard to beat for versatility, combining classic looks with the shallow draught and generous interior space.

Early models from the 60s and 70s start around $80,000, but later models land well above our $100,000 threshold.

Island Packet 35

Island Packet 35 sailboat anchored at harbor

Although only in production for six years, 178 Island Packet 35s made their way onto the market. These vessels have become justifiably popular with coastal cruisers and bluewater sailors alike.

These cruisers are available in two designs; long-keel or long-keel with centerboard – both of which come with cutter rigging. 

The design is conservative and built for comfort rather than speed. Inside space is very generous, with a 12-foot beam, a v-berth cabin in the forepeak, and a double cabin on the aft port side.

Island Packet 35’s appear on the used market regularly, so locating one shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Prices start at around $65,000.

Niagara 35 yacht at a dock

The Niagara 35 is a popular cruiser available in two exciting models, each one coming with a fantastic interior design. 

The original model features a center galley and marine toilet that separates the fore and aft areas. The saloon is completely closed off, making it useful during extended passage journeys.

The later model has a double-berth forward, separated from the saloon by the head and shower. Both models include a spacious cockpit design. Through its 12 years of production, 260 Niagara 35’s went on the market – so you can regularly find them for sale.

Early models start around $30,000, with later models coming in closer to $70,000.

White Nordic 40 sailboat with blue sails in a marina

Only 32 of the Robert Perry-designed Nordic 40s went through production, making them exclusive and difficult to find. If you do manage to get your hands on one, however, you won’t be disappointed.

The fin-keel and skeg-mounted rudder design allow for up to six people to stay comfortably, including extra storage space for luggage and provisions. 

The Perry design is recognized for the quality of its fittings, including rod-rigging and full hull insulation on early models. After 1987, they cut back on a few design features, but it’s still a quality boat. 

If you can manage to find a Nordic 40, it will make an excellent investment.

While it may be rare to find one below our $100,000 mark, it is possible.

Passport 40

Passport 40 sailboat anchored near shore

Built in Taiwan, the Passport 40 is another excellent design by Robert Perry. Sporting a fin-keel and a skeg-mounted rudder, the design is known for its well-balanced performance. 

Originally supplied with a sloop-rig, the majority have an inner stay, fitted to allow a double headsail. This cutter-style rig makes the Passport 40 even more suitable for ocean crossings.

The interiors are well designed – as you’d expect from a Robert Perry – and make for comfortable living during long passages.

Peterson 44

Peterson 44 sailboat with a mountain backdrop

The Peterson 44 was designed and built as a performance cruiser, combining sufficient speed and sea-kindly handling. 

A low center-cockpit, 10,000 pounds of lead ballast, and a long fin keel allow this vessel to take turbulent conditions in stride without sacrificing the crew’s comfort. 

Internally, there is plenty of space in the well-designed cabin. For long passages, there’s a 132-gallon water tank and a 117-gallon fuel tank.

Finding a Peterson 44 may be your only problem. They manufactured about 200 boats, but owners rarely like to part with them – adding to their intrigue and value.

Prices for these yachts vary widely. Expect to pick up an older model between $50,000 and $75,000.

Prout Snowgoose 37

Prout Snowgoose 37 catamaran on a mooring line

As the only catamaran on our list, the Prout Snowgoose 37 is a proven boat for circumnavigation on the bluewater trail. 

A standout feature of the early Snowgoose models is its narrow beam, which allows them to navigate canals easily. These boats are popular in Europe and are common on the journey between Spain and France on the Mediterranian. Additionally, the Prout Snowgoose 37 can fit into a single-hull marina, reducing berthing costs when compared to most other catamarans. 

If you have never considered a catamaran in the past, the Prout Snowgoose 37 may change your mind.

Prices start near $45,000, with later models reaching over $100,000.

Two people on the back of a Shannon 38 sailboat

The Shannon 38 comes in two styles, with either an aft cockpit or pilothouse. Shannon Yachts are known for their build quality and attention to detail, and the 38 is no exception. The boat is available as either a ketch or cutter rig, but it’s renowned for its performance at sea in both forms.

Only 100 were built, with the final boat launched in 1988. If you can find one on the used market, it will make a competent bluewater cruiser.

Prices start at $40,000 for older models, with newer models inching closer to our $100,000 mark.

Tartan 4100 Spark sailboat on a cloudy day

Only 80 of the Tartan 41s were manufactured, although they produced a similar Tartan 43 with the same molds. It is a fin keel design, with a skeg-mounted rudder and sloop-rigging. In its day, it was considered a fast cruiser, but now they’re mostly made for comfort.

If you’re looking at a Tartan 41, check out the keel dimensions. The keel was undersized on earlier models, which caused heavy-weather steering issues. The boatyard redesigned the later models, and some retrofitting has been done on the originals.

Prices start around $45,000 and reach upwards of $70,000.

Tayana 37 bluewater sailboat with an American flag

No list of bluewater sailboats would be complete without the Tayana 37. It’s a beautiful boat designed by Robert Perry that comes in three variants; cutter, ketch, and pilothouse. 

Built to compete against the popular Westsail 32, the 37 became a good seller – with almost 600 launched to date. Today, they are manufactured in limited numbers, as the traditional teak-heavy design is now less popular.

If you can find a good Tayana 37, cruising the oceans will be a pleasure in this sturdy and robust vessel.

Early models cost around $45,000, with newer or retrofitted models topping $75,000.

Valiant 40 cruiser with white sails designed by Robert Perry

Another boat designed by Robert Perry, the Valiant 40 is one of the most sought-after bluewater cruisers on the used market. By the end of production, two manufacturers were able to put out around 200 boats, so it’s certainly possible to get your hands on one.

With a fin keel, reasonably heavy displacement, and solid build, open ocean cruising is made comfortable in the Valiant 40.

The Valiant’s trademark is the canoe stern, something Perry has carried over into many of his designs. The boat’s performance sets it apart from the more traditional heavy-cruisers, and it still has many admirers.

Expect to pay upwards of $45,000 for an early Valiant, but well-maintained vessels will command much higher prices.

Wauquiez Pretorien 35

Wauquiez Pretorien 35 small sailboat

When the weather gets rough, most people prefer bigger, heavier cruisers. Small boats generally don’t perform as well in harsh conditions, but the Pretorien 35 is an exception.

Built to IOR specifications, it’s a short, wide-beam design, with a ballast in the keel that makes up half of the displacement. It may be disappointing in light winds, but as the breeze picks up, the Pretorien comes alive.

Wauquiez built boats are known for their quality finish, so you shouldn’t hold any doubts when buying a used Pretorien.

Prices start around $39,000.

Westsail 32

White Westsail 32 cruiser in a marina

At just 32 feet, the Westsail might be a surprising inclusion on our list. However, the design has proven itself many times over and remains popular with many cruisers.

With a long keel, transom-mounted rudder, and heavy displacement, these are seaworthy yachts.

The flipside to this is that the performance can be underwhelming. The Westsails are known for being slow, safe boats that will get you wherever you need to go – making them perfect for leisurely cruising. 

Over 800 vessels entered the market between 1971 and 1981, so there should be plenty available if you look hard enough. The other point to remember is that they sold them as owner-completion kits, so the internal fitments, in particular, will vary in quality.

With so many available, the prices remain reasonable – with an early Westsail 32 fetching around $29,000 and well-maintained older models coming in closer to $50,000.

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

If you’re looking for a seaworthy, heavy-displacement design, you’ll have to compromise on the boat’s age. Choosing a modern, light design will allow you more for your money.

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

Want to join the community at #BoatLife? Get a conversation started on our new 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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November 15, 2021 at 6:30 pm

You guys didn’t mention Cape dory or pacific seacraft. How long have you been sailing?

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February 18, 2022 at 1:37 pm

Very nicely done. There will always be people who disagree with your list but they reserve the right to comment without creating any value which is what you provided. Thanks for putting this together.

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Things to Do in Elektrostal, Russia - Elektrostal Attractions

Things to do in elektrostal.

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  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

best small bluewater sailboats

1. Electrostal History and Art Museum

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2. Statue of Lenin

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3. Park of Culture and Leisure

4. museum and exhibition center.

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5. Museum of Labor Glory

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7. Galereya Kino

8. viki cinema, 9. smokygrove.

best small bluewater sailboats

The Unique Burial of a Child of Early Scythian Time at the Cemetery of Saryg-Bulun (Tuva)

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Pages:  379-406

In 1988, the Tuvan Archaeological Expedition (led by M. E. Kilunovskaya and V. A. Semenov) discovered a unique burial of the early Iron Age at Saryg-Bulun in Central Tuva. There are two burial mounds of the Aldy-Bel culture dated by 7th century BC. Within the barrows, which adjoined one another, forming a figure-of-eight, there were discovered 7 burials, from which a representative collection of artifacts was recovered. Burial 5 was the most unique, it was found in a coffin made of a larch trunk, with a tightly closed lid. Due to the preservative properties of larch and lack of air access, the coffin contained a well-preserved mummy of a child with an accompanying set of grave goods. The interred individual retained the skin on his face and had a leather headdress painted with red pigment and a coat, sewn from jerboa fur. The coat was belted with a leather belt with bronze ornaments and buckles. Besides that, a leather quiver with arrows with the shafts decorated with painted ornaments, fully preserved battle pick and a bow were buried in the coffin. Unexpectedly, the full-genomic analysis, showed that the individual was female. This fact opens a new aspect in the study of the social history of the Scythian society and perhaps brings us back to the myth of the Amazons, discussed by Herodotus. Of course, this discovery is unique in its preservation for the Scythian culture of Tuva and requires careful study and conservation.

Keywords: Tuva, Early Iron Age, early Scythian period, Aldy-Bel culture, barrow, burial in the coffin, mummy, full genome sequencing, aDNA

Information about authors: Marina Kilunovskaya (Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dvortsovaya Emb., 18, Saint Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation E-mail: [email protected] Vladimir Semenov (Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dvortsovaya Emb., 18, Saint Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation E-mail: [email protected] Varvara Busova  (Moscow, Russian Federation).  (Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation). Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences.  Dvortsovaya Emb., 18, Saint Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation E-mail:  [email protected] Kharis Mustafin  (Moscow, Russian Federation). Candidate of Technical Sciences. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.  Institutsky Lane, 9, Dolgoprudny, 141701, Moscow Oblast, Russian Federation E-mail:  [email protected] Irina Alborova  (Moscow, Russian Federation). Candidate of Biological Sciences. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.  Institutsky Lane, 9, Dolgoprudny, 141701, Moscow Oblast, Russian Federation E-mail:  [email protected] Alina Matzvai  (Moscow, Russian Federation). Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.  Institutsky Lane, 9, Dolgoprudny, 141701, Moscow Oblast, Russian Federation E-mail:  [email protected]

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Best Inexpensive Bluewater Sailboats

Best Inexpensive Bluewater Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

December 28, 2023

Sailing is an exhilarating experience, but it can be expensive. If you are looking for the best inexpensive bluewater sailboats, then this article will help!

The best inexpensive bluewater sailboats are the ones that are small, fast, and sturdy. If you can find one that is easy to build as well, then you will have to pay much less for it. These sailboats are also seaworthy enough to handle the open ocean without being too big or complicated.

Sailing is a great way to spend your free time. It's an activity that has been enjoyed by people for centuries, and it can be done with just about anyone of any age or physical ability. The only problem many people have is the cost associated with purchasing a boat, which can really put a damper on things if you are on a tight budget. But don't worry! We have found some of the best inexpensive bluewater sailboats, so you won't have to break your bank account in order to enjoy sailing!

There are many options available, but not all of them are worth your money. That is why we have looked at some of the top boats on the market and picked out our favorites. Whether you're an experienced sailor or just getting started, these boats will get the job done right!

Table of contents

‍ 1. Cape Dory 30

{{boat-info="/boats/cape-dory-30"}}

If you're looking for a quality, affordable bluewater sailboat, the Cape Dory 30 is definitely worth a look. This boat has been cruising the world's oceans for over 30 years and has a well-deserved reputation for being sturdy, reliable and easy to sail.

The  Cape Dory 30  is a moderate displacement boat that's designed for coastal and offshore cruising. She features a full keel with a rudder, making her stable and seaworthy in rough seas. The hull is hand-laid fiberglass with balsa core construction, which makes her strong and durable. The deck is also fiberglass with molded-in non-skid surfaces for safety while sailing.

The layout of the Cape Dory 30 is simple yet functional. The cockpit is roomy, with plenty of space for lounging around but not so much that you can't work the sails if needed. The self-draining cockpit has two lockers underneath that are perfect for storing tools or other nautical gear that you need to keep dry.

This bluewater cruiser offers a moderate sail area, which makes it easy to handle even under windy conditions. Because of this, she requires some wind to get going -- in 10 knots of breeze, she can reach speeds up to 6 knots under power and 7 knots under sail. As far as storage space goes, there are lockers on both sides of the berth area plus shelves above the berth for items like books and clothing.

The Cape Dory 30 was initially outfitted with worm gear steering. This sort of gear is durable, simple to use, and does not require a cockpit steering pedestal. The wheel will also keep the rudder in place without the help of a brake. The biggest disadvantage is that there isn't much rudder feedback, making it difficult to know when the boat is properly balanced. Not to mention worm gear steering will not help you sail better.

The berthing area is good, with enough room for two people to sleep comfortably. There's also plenty of headroom at six feet. The Cape Dory 30 is a great boat for coastal cruising, ocean passages, and extended cruising. She has all the features that you need to make your journey comfortable while still being able to handle a variety of sailing conditions. The estimated price for the  Cape Dory 30  ranges from $12,000 to $32,000

  • Sturdy and reliable with a long history of ocean crossings
  • Good performance in windy conditions
  • Functional layout with plenty of storage space
  • Comfortable berthing area for two people
  • May require modifications for ocean passages
  • Not as fast as some other bluewater sailboats
  • A tad expensive for an entry-level cruiser

2. Sabre 28

{{boat-info="/boats/sabre-28"}}

The  Sabre 28  is another fine bluewater cruiser in this price range. Made by Sabre Yachts, these boats have a solid reputation for being reliable, seaworthy cruisers that will last you for many years to come.

When making their 28-foot bluewater sailboat, Sabre Yachts took every aspect into consideration when designing her. They made her strong with a full keel and fiberglass hull construction but light enough to allow for better sailing abilities under power or sail. She also has plenty of storage space with lockers on both sides of the berth plus shelves above the berth to give you ample room for all your belongings while cruising.

The Sabre 28 is built with a solid fiberglass hull and deck, making her strong and durable. She has a moderate displacement of 6,000 pounds and features a full keel with encapsulated ballast. This helps her handle well in various sailing conditions while still providing good performance.

While she may not be fast compared to other bluewater sailboats in her class, the Sabre 28 makes up for it with her great handling and seaworthiness. She can handle a wide variety of sailing conditions with ease, making her the perfect boat for coastal cruising, ocean passages and even extended cruising.

The Sabre 28 comes standard with wheel steering, which gives you better control over the boat in varying conditions. There is also plenty of cockpit space for lounging around or working the sails. And because of her moderate sail area, she's easy to handle even under windy conditions.

The berthing area is good, with enough room for two people to sleep comfortably. There's also plenty of headroom at six feet. The cabin is spacious and well-ventilated, making it a great place to relax after a long day of sailing.

The Sabre 28 is also outfitted for single or double hand sailing, making her the perfect choice for couples or small families who want to explore new waterways together. She's easy to sail and forgiving, making her the perfect boat for novice sailors. The  Sabre 28  will set you back anywhere from $7000 to $27000. If you're looking for a smaller cruising sailboat, the Sabre 28 should definitely be on your list!

  • Solid reputation for being a reliable and seaworthy cruiser
  • Handles a wide variety of sailing conditions well
  • Good performance under power or sail
  • Plenty of storage space for all your belongings
  • Not as fast as some other bluewater sailboats in her class
  • Designed primarily as a coastal cruiser so it may not perform well in open waters without modifications
  •  Can only accommodate two people comfortably underneath the V-berth (greater than that might be too crowded)

3. Island Packet 31

{{boat-info="/boats/island-packet-31"}}

The  Island Packet 31  is another great bluewater cruiser for people looking to explore new waterways. They are known as one of the best sailboats for bluewater cruising due to their strength and durability.

If you're looking for a bluewater sailboat with stability, speed and comfort, then the Island Packet 31 might be the boat for you! She has excellent performance under power or sail, can handle harsh conditions with ease, and is comfortable enough to spend long periods aboard.

Designed by Bob Johnson (a boat builder and naval architect), this 31-foot boat was made specifically for open ocean sailing. Her hull is strong yet thin, making her fast while still being able to handle a wide variety of conditions. The Island Packet 31 is built with a solid fiberglass hull and deck, making her strong and durable. She has a moderate displacement of 11,000 pounds and features a full keel with encapsulated ballast. This helps her handle well in various sailing conditions while still providing good performance.

The Island Packet 31 is also built with a full keel, giving her plenty of stability should the weather become rough while out at sea. She was designed to handle large amounts of wind and waves without losing her composure, making her perfect for bluewater cruising!

She's also easy to sail, even under intense winds and stormy conditions. She has very good stability with a wide beam and moderate displacement, making it nearly impossible to capsize while sailing in open water.

The  Island Packet 31  is easy to sail and forgiving, making her a great choice for novice sailors. With a top speed of 8 knots, she's not the fastest boat on the water, but she's certainly no slouch. She also has a shallow draft of just 2 feet, 6 inches, which makes her ideal for exploring coral reefs and other shallow waters.

Though she can be somewhat slow when traveling under power or sailing alone (due to the long keel), the Island Packet is able to reach speeds up to 8 knots when using both methods together. This is still quite impressive when compared to other sailboats in her class.

One downside to this boat's construction is the lack of plywood in the deck and cabin. This can cause some concern among people who are looking for a bluewater sailboat that can withstand harsh weather conditions. However, it should be noted that the Island Packet has numerous positive reviews from sailors - proving her strength and reliability.

The Island Packet 31 is a great choice for people who want a sturdy and reliable bluewater sailboat. She's perfect for small families or groups of friends who want to explore new waterways together. With her stability, speed and comfort, she's sure to make your next sailing trip an enjoyable one! Depending on the model, the price ranges from $35,000 to $50,000.

  • Excellent performance under power or sail
  • Great option for novice sailors
  • May require some modifications for offshore sailing (depending on your experience level)
  • Some are concerned about the lack of plywood in the deck and cabin construction.
  • A tad expensive

4. Caliber 40 Sailboat

{{boat-info="/boats/caliber-40"}}

Bluewater cruisers are on the lookout for a robust, durable boat that is simple to operate and can handle all of their belongings for a lengthy trip without breaking the bank. With features like that, the  Caliber 40  comes to mind, and it's distinctive in that it's a boat that (with modifications) has been developed over many decades and has demonstrated success.

Caliber Yachts Inc. was founded in 1979 by George and Michael McCreary, along with Marshall Jones, as a backyard boatbuilding business. The brothers grew up sailing in the bay area and across Florida and the Caribbean, so they were no strangers to the sailing world.

The layout of the Caliber 40 is comfortable and accommodating for a cruising couple, with six feet, four inches of headroom and plenty of storage. There's also an optional in-mast furling system to make sail handling a breeze. The cockpit is roomy and perfect for lounging around or entertaining guests.

Because of her heavy displacement, she requires some assistance from the wind. However, sailing 5 knots in 9 knots of wind with a beam reach isn't bad and can last up to 140 miles in the trade winds, which is not too shabby. This sailboat sails well and has a surprisingly light helm. The boat heels to 15 degrees, but it doesn't have the signature hobbyhorse effect that heavy displacement boats typically have.

Her overall performance is respectable, with a top speed of 9 knots under power in 10 knots of wind. In ideal conditions, she can reach up to 14.5 knots under power, so this one's no slouch when it comes to getting around quickly or having fun on the water!

In terms of storage space, there are six lockers below for all your gear and a large anchor well for bigger stuff like a spare anchor and chain, as well as other nautical tools you may need during your trip. There's also plenty of headroom at six feet, four inches. As a storage unit, the Caliber 40 has a couple of hanging lockers and shelves that are perfect for keeping belongings organized and out of the way.

The berth is full-size with plenty of width to fit two people comfortably or three in an emergency situation. One drawback about the berth is that there's only room underneath to store suitcases, so you'll have to be creative if you plan to keep anything else under there.

This boat can be outfitted for single or double hand sailing, depending on your preference! It's easy to see why this popular cruising yacht has been around for decades -- it's roomy, strong, sturdy and built to last a lifetime.

The major downside to this boat is that it can be expensive. The Caliber 40 can range anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000. However, it is possible to get a better deal on older models.

Overall, the  Caliber 40  is a great boat for coastal cruising, ocean passages, and extended cruising. It has all the creature comforts that you need to make your journey comfortable while still being able to handle a variety of sailing conditions. If you're in the market for, well-made cruiser and are willing to spill some cash, the Caliber 40 should definitely be on your list!

  • Roomy and comfortable for a cruising couple
  • Durable and long-lasting with a cored hull and deck
  • Respectable performance, with a top speed of 9 knots under power
  • Full-size berth that can comfortably fit two people or three in an emergency situation
  • Only room to store suitcases under the berth
  • May require modifications to be fully equipped for ocean passages
  • Newer models are very expensive

5. Endeavour 37

{{boat-info="/boats/endeavour-37"}}

The  Endeavour 37  is a great option for people who want a bluewater sailboat that can handle harsh weather conditions. She has excellent performance under power or sail and good stability and storage space.

If you're looking for a sailing boat that can withstand harsh conditions, the Endeavour 37 might be a perfect choice! She's known as one of the best bluewater cruising yachts due to her ability to handle large amounts of wind and waves without much trouble.

This classic yacht has a long list of positive reviews from sailors - proving she's reliable and durable enough to take you on countless adventures throughout the world. The majority of owner reviews give this boat high ratings, with most being four stars or better.

With a displacement of 21,000 pounds and a beam of 12 feet, the Endeavour 37 is not only durable but also quite spacious. She has more than enough room for any sailor - whether you're cruising with your significant other or taking your family out on an extended voyage!

Even though she's known to be strong and reliable, the Endeavour is also fast and comfortable under all conditions. She can reach speeds up to 7 knots with two powerful diesel engines while cruising in calm waters. Her top speed drops slightly when sailing in rougher weather or against stronger winds - down to 6 knots.

She's also very easy to maneuver with either power source at hand. Her Perkins 4-108 diesel engines make it simple to get her to where you want when you want.

The Endeavour 37 is equipped for cruising, with plenty of storage space for all your gear. There's a large V-berth that can comfortably fit two people, as well as an enclosed head with a marine toilet and sink. The cabin is spacious and well-ventilated, making it a great place to relax after a long day of sailing.

Though the Endeavour 37 is a high-quality boat, it's important to keep in mind that she does have some downsides - she can be costly to maintain. The Endeavour 37 can be expensive to maintain, making her a costly vessel to own and operate. If you decide to purchase this boat, make sure you have enough money saved up for regular upkeep!

Another downside is its poor up sail performance - especially in light winds. When sailing the Endeavour 37, you have to have a good sail plan and be careful not to use too much power under certain conditions.

Though the Endeavour has a few downsides, she does have a lot of benefits as well - such as her impressive speed and durability under all weather conditions. The  Endeavour 37  is estimated to be around $20,000 to $50,000. It's important to weigh both sides before making your final decision, but overall most people are very happy with their purchase!

  • Powerful wind and sea boat
  • Strong construction capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions
  • Plenty of storage space for any sailor or family
  • Good stability and handling abilities
  • Poor up sail performance
  • A bit expensive to maintain (depending on user experience)

6. Tartan 37

{{boat-info="/boats/sparkman-stephens-tartan-37"}}

The  Tartan 37  is a seaworthy, sturdy boat that's known for its strength and stability. She's very similar to the Endeavour 37 in terms of both construction and performance - with two significant exceptions: she doesn't have as much storage space, and her overall exterior design is less attractive.

With a displacement of 15,500 pounds and a beamwidth of 12 feet, the Tartan 37 can handle large amounts of wind or waves without any trouble. Like the Endeavour 37, she has two powerful diesel engines, making it simple to maneuver even in rougher conditions.

With an overall length of 37 feet 2 inches, you'll find that this sailboat offers quite a bit of room for its size. There's more than enough space for a few people to sleep comfortably, and you'll find that it's easy to move around even when at sea.

Though the Tartan 37 is very reliable and durable, she has some downsides, such as her high maintenance costs, small water tank, and inefficient interior design. If you're spending most of your time on the boat, then these will likely be little issues that don't take away from your overall experience.

If you do decide to purchase this boat, make sure you can afford all the necessary upkeep it requires! It's also important to note that owning a Tartan 37 comes with its fair share of risk as well - they haven't been manufactured for over 30 years, which means there isn't much help available should you run into some problems down the line.

The  Tartan 37  comes at around $34,000 to $70,000.

  • Sturdy boat with a strong design capable of handling large waves and winds
  • Easy to maneuver even in rougher weather conditions due to her powerful diesel engines
  • Plenty of space for both people out on the water and gear you need to store ashore
  • Not as many storage spaces as similar sailboats (such as the Tartan 37)
  • Higher maintenance costs than most other vessels on this list
  • Small water tank that can easily be tainted if not careful when cleaning or using it
  • Inefficient interior design that doesn't allow for too much privacy among family members or friends who may venture abroad from time to time

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

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  1. The Best 5 Small Bluewater Sailboats for Ocean Cruising (2023)

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  4. 4 Best Blue Water Sailboats Under 50 Feet: 2021 Edition

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  1. TOP 6 BLUE WATER SAILBOATS FOR COUPLES WE CONSIDERED SAILBOATS FOR SALE??? WAVE 11

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

    The best 5 small bluewater sailboats for sailing around the world. There are a lot of great little cruising sailboats for sale that are capable of offshore cruising. Here are five of the best ones out there. Albin Vega 27. Photo: Wiki Creative Commons, Original Uploader: Oddis.

  2. 5 best small sailboats for sailing around the world

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

  3. Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 24 Feet

    Fortunately, bluewater sailboats under 24 feet, also known as pocket sailboats, are affordable small yachts that are trailerable to your choice of destination, so you don't have to bear the unnecessary docking fee. The best bluewater sailboats under 24 feet are the Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, Norseboat 21.5, Catalina 22 Sport, Pacific Seacraft ...

  4. 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.

  5. The best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet (we analyzed ...

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  6. 10 of the Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 40 Feet

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

  7. Best Single-Handed Bluewater Sailboats

    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.

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  9. Best Blue Water Sailboats Under 40 Feet

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  12. 17 Legendary Bluewater Sailboats Under 50 Feet (with Photos)

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  14. Best Bluewater Sailboats Under $100k

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