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From our Selene 38 Voyager Aft-cabin luxury pocket-yacht to our Selene 128 super Expedition Yacht, Selene Yachts has the boat which will be perfect for your sailing plans… Sailing in the fast lane with our Artemis line, enjoying family coastal cruising on a Selene Voyager or contemplating a circumnavigation with one of our beautifully appointed Ocean Explorer, let’s talk about your dream…

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crossing the atlantic by motor yacht

Crossing The Atlantic By Motor Yacht? Everything You Need To Know

A yacht can travel both the Pacific and Atlantic seas. A sailing boat or a motor yacht may span the Pacific and Atlantic seas. It’s preferable to have a tank large enough to store the amount of fuel you’ll be burning.

Not all yachts, however, are capable of undertaking these journeys. If you intend to sail across any of these seas, be sure you have an ocean-going boat as well as the necessary equipment and abilities.

Some yachts will not have enough fuel to make the journey and will be transported aboard specially constructed freighters.

In this essay, I’ll go over some of the key facts concerning yachts that you should be aware of before embarking on your journey.

How Long Does it Take to Sail Across the Atlantic?

Sailing across the Atlantic takes roughly 3-4 weeks, but if you’re lucky, use shortcuts, and have a speedy sailboat, you can accomplish it in two weeks. It might take up to a month if you don’t get enough wind for a week or longer. It’s critical to know the shortcuts, optimize speed, and have cross-Atlantic sailing expertise.

How Far Can a Yacht Travel?

In an 8-hour day, a powered boat of 35 feet in length can go over 200 miles at a speed of 25 knots. They can cover about 300 miles in a day at 35 knots. You can go thousands of kilometers if you have adequate gasoline or fill-ups.

Can a Yacht Cross the Atlantic Ocean?

A typical powered boat would require a tank with a capacity of roughly 5000 gallons of petrol and a fuel efficiency of 2.5 nautical miles per gallon to traverse the Atlantic.

This is based on a gasoline consumption rate of 4 gallons per hour at a cruising speed of 10 knots. Of course, this is at cruising speed. They can’t keep going at top speed for an extended amount of time (which would burn through the fuel faster).

The voyage (about 3,000 miles) would take 300 hours or 12.5 days at 10 knots.

Every year, sailing boats cross the Atlantic since the only fuel they use is to power generators that power aboard equipment.

When the weather isn’t cooperating, some fuel may be utilized to power the boat.A fast boat traveling at 25 knots takes roughly 4–5 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean. In a sailing yacht, though, it would take longer (which also depends on the winds).

We have a lot more information on which boat types are capable of crossing oceans. If you’re thinking of taking a boat journey across the oceans, this is a must-read.

Read more: Boat Fuel Tank Vent Open or Close (What to do?)

How Large Does A Boat Need To Be In Order To Cross The Atlantic Ocean?

To cross the Atlantic, you’ll need a boat that’s at least 30 feet long, whether you’re sailing or motoring. For safety and comfort, your boat should be at least 40 feet long. Although the experience of sailing or motoring across the Atlantic is vastly different, both require a boat of this size. If you plan on having a crew on board, you may need a boat that is much larger. Why do you need a 30 or 40 foot boat when you can cross the Atlantic with a lot smaller boat? The simple answer is that attempting to cross in anything smaller may be extremely risky and inconvenient. Here are a few reasons why you should get a boat at least this size:


You don’t want to be stranded in a tiny boat as the waves start to rise. In the Atlantic, boats significantly larger than 30 or 40 feet are often sunk due to bad weather.

If you go any smaller, you run the danger of being sunk in a storm. Make the mistake of assuming you can organize your vacation around the possibility of bad weather.

Storms may appear out of nowhere in the unpredictable Atlantic Ocean, and any vessel could be caught off guard, regardless of the season. Although not every 30 or 40-foot yacht is seaworthy enough to cross the North Atlantic, this size is a minimum need for ocean navigation.

Supply Storage

Even if you want to conduct as much open-ocean fishing as possible while crossing the Atlantic, you’ll need to have supplies. You should have enough food and drink for everyone in your crew to last the whole voyage.

Keep in mind that crossings can take longer than expected, so make sure you have adequate supplies to account for delays. You’ll need to reserve gasoline if you’re crossing in a motorboat or if you have a backup motor for your sailboat.

You may need a larger boat if you need to store a lot of provisions for your voyage. Too much weight can cause your boat to sink in the water, making even a seaworthy boat much less seaworthy. A boat that is too low in the water might be swamped by waves more quickly.

Before you load up your boat and set out on the water, be sure you know how much it can securely handle.

Comfort Of The Crew

Until you’ve spent a few weeks out on the open sea aboard a 30 or 40-foot boat, it may appear to be rather large. If you want to enjoy your passage, you’ll need a boat large enough for everyone on board to have their own space and stretch their legs at regular intervals throughout the journey. Even with a one- or two-person crew, 30 to 40 feet is required to achieve this aim.

Crossing The Atlantic In A Motorboat

You might be surprised to learn how much gasoline it takes to cross the Atlantic in a powerboat. Simply storing all of that fuel aboard your yacht can take up a lot of space.

Fuel should not be utilized for longer than 90 days in most cases. This should be enough time for you to cross the Atlantic, but it could not be. You may preserve fuel for up to six months or even two years if you use a fuel stabilizer or don’t mix it before use.

Fuel storage will require a large portion of your entire storage space. For the same journey, you could require a larger motorboat than a sailboat.

The advantage of crossing in a motorboat is that, while it may require more storage and gasoline, utilizing it instead of the wind for movement may make your route much more predictable. A speedboat can move in nearly any situation except particularly severe and inclement weather, but a sailboat must wait for the wind to be right to make headway. As a result, you won’t need as many resources to prepare in case you don’t arrive at your location on time.

Enjoy Your Crossing

It’s difficult to imagine a more thrilling experience than sailing the Atlantic Ocean on your own boat. You will most likely have a very pleasurable vacation whether what kind of boat you choose, as long as you choose a boat of at least 30 or 40 feet and plan wisely.

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smallest ocean going motor yacht

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After hundreds of years of combined experience in designing, building and cruising yachts on the open ocean, Fleming Yachts are bringing to you what will be the ultimate of cruising yachts. A brand new design from the keel up. The Fleming 85.

Our Mission

To design and build literally the finest possible ocean going pilothouse motor yacht, in every respect. With true ocean crossing range the Fleming 85 will take you anywhere you want to be in the world, in total comfort, grace and peace of mind.

Standard Specifications

85' 2' (25.9 m)

72' 3' (22 m)

20' 6' (6.3 m)

5' 5' (1.7 m)

20' (6.1 m)

Displacement Light:

146,280 lbs (66,350 kg)

Displacement Full:

183,050 lbs (83,030 kg)

3,170 US gal (11,999 l)

500 US gal (1,892 l)

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Fleming 85 Specifications

smallest ocean going motor yacht

Overview Continued...

Design and Engineering

From the renowned naval architects of Norman R Wright and Sons the hull is designed to be the most efficient and most beautiful semi-displacement hull on the water. 

Building on their experience we have made extensive use of Computational Fluid Dynamics CFD software to fine tune the hull design to ensure it is absolutely the most efficient it can be and have the best possible behavioural characteristics in all sea states.

Composite engineers have designed the optimum strength/weight ratio of the structure, so we retain the traditional robust construction you would expect from Fleming – but it is achieved with less weight and is all verified by DNV.

The hull design and engineering will result in the best fuel economy and range of any semi displacement boat in the world. 

The absolute highest specification of equipment available - as standard – installed the Fleming way, with redundancy and access for maintenance in mind.

Two versions

Open air – for those who prefer the wind in their hair, the traditional style Fleming open flybridge.

Enclosed – The pilothouse is moved to the upper deck where it is fully enclosed and still fully outfitted like a Fleming pilothouse should be. Down below more space is opened up for flexible dining and entertaining.


Exterior - The lines and the look are unmistakably classic Fleming. Furthermore the exterior details have been refined and simplified to create a cleaner look with flush and hidden hardware throughout.

Interior – Various options from traditional to contemporary, but always elegant, warm, comfortable and practical. Double glazing as standard throughout keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer.

Deck Spaces

Foredeck – Hydraulic and electric Maxwell windlasses, Ultra anchors and s/s chain. Huge storage lockers for all shapes and sizes of gear. Fold away seating alcove.

Flybridge deck – Everything you need for cruising, entertaining and relaxing as well as space for a 17 foot tender that can be launched on either port or stbd sides via the 2000lb crane.

Aft deck – Raised and sheltered seating and dining for 10 with amenities you need and sheltered gul-wing door access to engine room and crew’s quarters below.

Cockpit – Easy access, ample storage for all the dive gear and fishing equipment you may need. Warping winches to help take the load off

Swim platform – expansive enough for all uses and hydraulic lowering option makes it easy for additional tender or PWC storage and launching. 

Easy boarding – Multiple side boarding gates make accessibility from fixed or floating docks easy and safe for all.

Interior Layout options

Accommodation A - 3 cabin layout

Accommodation B - 4 cabin layout

Crews quarters A – Twin cabins and crew galley

Crews quarters B – Single cabin and crew galley


  • LOA: 85' 2" (25.98 m)
  • Beam Max: 21' 2" (6.48 m) 
  • Draft: 5' 5" (1.69 m)   
  • W/L to top of mast: 26' 6" (8.10 m) 
  • Displacement min: 146,280 lbs (66,350 kg)   
  • Displacement max: 183,050 lbs (83,030 kg)  
  • Main Engines: Twin MAN V12-1550 HP @ 2,300 RPM
  • Transmissions: Twin Disc MGX 6599A with Quickshift 
  • Engine Controls: Twin Disc EC600 with EJS and EPS 
  • Driveline: Aqua Drive CV60 & HDL 780HT 
  • Generators: Two Onan eQD 29 Kw 240v 60Hz (27Kw 230v 50Hz)
  • Stabilizers: Humphree 16 sq. ft (1.5 sq. m) fins zero-speed, 24 vdc
  • Interceptors: Humphree (Active Ride Control System) 
  • Bow Thruster: Twin Disc BP600 82HP Hydraulic 
  • Stern Thruster: Twin Disc BP400 47HP Hydraulic 
  • Fuel: 3,170 US gals (12,000 l) 
  • Water: 500 US gals (1,900 l) 
  • Black Water Tank: 224 US gals (850 l) in single FRP tank
  • Grey Water Tank: 224 US gals (850 l) in single FRP tank

smallest ocean going motor yacht

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smallest ocean going motor yacht

Built for Adventure: Everything You Need to Know About Today’s Explorer Yachts

What is an expedition or explorer yacht .

Most yachts are designed to cruise inland and coastal waterways but in reality, very few are built to voyage the world’s oceans. It is only these bluewater vessels, known as explorer or expedition yachts, that can take you on adventures to the most remote, spectacular, and pristine corners of the globe.

A few decades back, these long-range motoryachts were called “ trawlers ” after the commercial fishing trawlers they often resembled, topped by enclosed pilothouses that frequently featured reverse-slanted, “ North Sea ” windshields. But over the years, the trawler yacht category became crowded with “wannabe” boats that only looked like their rugged offshore counterparts. In reality, many of them were unable to venture very far from the coast.

Enter the true explorer yacht – a vessel that is purpose-built to be seaworthy and self-sufficient enough to serve as a luxury platform for oceangoing expeditions that are virtually without limits.

smallest ocean going motor yacht

“ The whole idea of an expedition yacht is how the owner intends to use his or her boat. We are working on the first Cheoy Lee 107 Explorer project now. It’s a boat capable of going practically anywhere in the world ,” said Jon Overing of Overing Yacht Design , the naval architect who collaborated with Cheoy Lee Yachts on its new Explorer Series .

“ The whole idea of an expedition yacht is how the owner intends to use his or her boat. We are working on the first Cheoy Lee 107 Explorer project now. It’s a boat capable of going practically anywhere in the world ”

What gives an expedition yacht “go-anywhere” capability?

It’s not just one single aspect of the vessel’s design, construction, or outfitting. With the world’s best explorer yachts, it’s the entire package.

“ I think any viable explorer yacht has be based on a full-displacement hull. That type of hull makes a better sea boat than a semi-displacement or planing hull … Full displacement hulls also inherently have more volume, and you need more volume to fit the mission profile for an expedition yacht. ”

Rugged and reliable:

What to look for in explorer yacht design and construction, full-displacement hull.

smallest ocean going motor yacht

Sufficient speed

Historically, full-displacement vessels tended to be slow through the water, making up in seaworthiness what they lacked in speed. “ The image in everyone’s mind was a 10-knot boat, but it doesn’t have to be that way ,” Overing said. Today’s full-displacement hull designs, notably our fast-displacement hullform that Overing has developed for the Cheoy Lee Explorer Series .  Overing’s fast-displacement hull combines superior seakeeping, optimum range and efficiency at 9 to 10 knots with the capability of running over 14 knots if needed to avoid a storm or make up time in a tight itinerary. With a speed/length ratio of 1.6 – 1.7, the Overing fast-displacement hulls are capable of well exceeding theoretical hull speed allowing higher speeds if the owner chooses the higher horsepower options.

Bulbous bow

smallest ocean going motor yacht


Practical profile.

Take the Cheoy Lee Explorer Series , for example. These multi-deck yachts sport graceful superstructures that are skillfully wrought in aluminum by Cheoy Lee Shipyard artisans . They feature spacious on-deck gathering areas, including flybridge, bridge and lower aft deck lounges, designed for sunbathing, dining and entertaining. They even boast aft beach clubs that are ideal for launching myriad watersports adventures.

“The exterior styling of an explorer yacht doesn’t have to look like a tugboat. It can be modern, classic, traditional – however you want,”

At the same time, however, expedition yacht design should address the long, rough passages the yacht will frequently face. Typically, these yachts have high bulwarks, full pilothouses and Portuguese bridges designed to protect the yacht from seas breaking on deck. The new Cheoy Lee Explorer 132 , which features an aft-pilothouse design is an excellent example of form following function while still displaying an eye-catching profile.

High-tech construction.

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“ It’s another system of checks and balances you are bringing into the project. I view it as an insurance policy for the owner ,” Overing said, adding, “ If you are building a good boat to begin with, there’s not a lot of cost difference in building it to class. ” Cheoy Lee Explorer Yachts are available built to Lloyd’s ✠ 100A1 SSC Yacht Mono G6 classification.

Fuel tankage.

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Commercial-grade equipment.

Maximized storage..

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Well-laid-out crew areas.

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Bespoke owner/guest accommodations.

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Satellite communications.

Tenders & toys., have it your way:, building a new explorer yacht.

There are pre-owned expedition yachts on the market today that come in all makes, models, sizes, vintages, and levels of bluewater capability. An owner who elects to purchase a brokerage boat is best advised to develop a mission profile for his or her desired vessel in advance and then choose the boat that ticks off the most boxes on that list. How far do you want to go? How many guests do you want to bring with you? It’s important to determine all your desires and needs before you start shopping for a yacht.

Explorer Yacht Dorothea III Winer Voyager Awards 2020

“ It’s always a compromise with a pre-owned explorer yacht. It’s someone else’s design for another owner ,” said Panu Virtanen, vice president – sales, Cheoy Lee Shipyard North America. He added, “ Who built it and how was it built? Does it have maintenance issues? It’s important to find out. ”

Use a surveyor with a proven track record to determine whether there are any hidden problems with the pre-owned yacht. And if you decide to go ahead with the purchase, many brokers recommend keeping a budget in reserve to refit the vessel. You may need to update the electronics and stabilizers, and you probably will want to change at least some of the furnishings and the soft goods. The yacht also may need its classification certificate renewed. “ That can be an expensive process ,” Virtanen cautioned.

Building a new explorer yacht with a reputable shipyard, on the other hand, will ensure you get the vessel that fulfills your individual dreams for global exploration. “ You can get exactly what you want ,” he said.

The shipyard can help you to put together a team dedicated to designing the best expedition boat for your mission profile, including members of the shipyard’s management, design and engineering teams, the yacht’s naval architect and interior designer, along with your captain, yacht broker, and yacht management company, if you so desire. This “ dream team ” will be dedicated to creating an explorer yacht that is unique to you.

“There is no ‘perfect boat’, but when you build one, you can come extremely close to getting the explorer yacht that is perfect for you”

Do you want a main-deck master suite with panoramic views so you can see spectacular scenery you when you wake up each morning? Do you want to be able to cook breakfast for your family yourself in an eat-in galley on a sunny Sunday morning? Would you like to be able to soak in a Jacuzzi on the flybridge, watch a film on the foredeck, or fish from the aft deck? Or do you fancy a beach club where you can lounge virtually at eye level with the sea, hop onto a Jet Ski whenever the mood strikes you, and enjoy a cocktail while your yacht’s underwater lights attract an “ aquarium ” full of exotic fish? “ There is no ‘perfect boat ’, but when you build one, you can come extremely close to getting the explorer yacht that is perfect for you ,” Virtanen said.

smallest ocean going motor yacht

Who builds the best explorer yachts?

If you plan to build a new explorer yacht, it’s important to consider working with a shipyard that has a commercial shipbuilding pedigree in addition to a proven reputation for launching high-quality luxury yachts. Longevity, integrity, and family are key factors behind a successful shipyard. Few shipyards around the globe can boast more than 150 years of experience under continuous operation by the same family, like Cheoy Lee.

“ Cheoy Lee Shipyard has 150 years of experience in building commercial vessels that operate 24/7 in demanding conditions. That is the philosophy of the commercial side of the company, and it carries over to all the explorer yachts that we build as well. ”

It’s also important to research other expedition yachts the shipyard has launched in the past. Have they won awards and voyaged 200,000 nautical miles through most of the world’s oceans in a decade, like the 146’7” Cheoy Lee expedition yacht Dorothea III ?

“If you plan to voyage far, you need to be able to rely on your yacht in any conditions anywhere in the world. That experience is what you look for in a shipyard when you are building a true expedition yacht.”

smallest ocean going motor yacht

“ Cheoy Lee Shipyard has 150 years of experience in building commercial vessels that operate 24/7 in demanding conditions. That is the philosophy of the commercial side of the company, and it carries over to all the explorer yachts that we build as well ,” Virtanen said. “ If you plan to voyage far, you need to be able to rely on your yacht in any conditions anywhere in the world. That experience is what you look for in a shipyard when you are building a true expedition yacht .”

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Home » Blog » Buy a boat » 5 best small sailboats for sailing around the world

5 best small sailboats for sailing around the world

By Author Fiona McGlynn

Posted on Last updated: April 19, 2023

sailing around the world

A small sailboat can take you big places

Small sailboats are the ticket to going cruising NOW — not when you retire, save up enough money, or find the “perfect” bluewater cruising boat. In fact, it’s the first principle in Lin and Larry Pardey’s cruising philosophy: “Go small, go simple, go now.”

Small yachts can be affordable, simple, and seaworthy . However, you won’t see many of them in today’s cruising grounds. In three years and 13,000 nautical miles of bluewater cruising, I could count the number of under 30-foot sailboats I’ve seen on one hand (all of them were skippered by people in their 20s and 30s).

Today’s anchorages are full of 40, 50, and 60-foot-plus ocean sailboats, but that’s not to say you can’t sail the world in a small sailboat. Just look at Alessandro di Benedetto who in 2010 broke the record for the smallest boat to sail around the world non-stop in his 21-foot Mini 6.5 .

So long as you don’t mind forgoing a few comforts, you can sail around the world on a small budget .

dinghy boat

What makes a good blue water sailboat

While you might not think a small sailboat is up to the task of going long distances, some of the best bluewater sailboats are under 40 feet.

However, if you’re thinking about buying a boat for offshore cruising, there are a few things to know about what makes a small boat offshore capable .

Smaller equals slower

Don’t expect to be sailing at high speeds in a pocket cruiser. Smaller displacement monohulls are always going to be slower than larger displacement monohulls (see the video below to learn why smaller boats are slower). Therefore a smaller cruiser is going to take longer on a given passage, making them more vulnerable to changes in weather.

A few feet can make a big difference over a week-long passage. On the last leg of our Pacific Ocean crossing, our 35-foot sailboat narrowly avoid a storm that our buddy boat, a 28-foot sailboat, couldn’t. Our friend was only a knot slower but it meant he had to heave to for a miserable three days.

pocket cruiser

Small but sturdy

If a pocket cruiser encounters bad weather, they will be less able to outrun or avoid it. For this reason, many of the blue water sailboats in this list are heavily built and designed to take a beating.

Yacht design has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Today, new boats are designed to be light and fast. The small sailboats in our list are 30-plus year-old designs and were built in a time when weather forecasts were less accurate and harder to come by.

Back in the day, boat were constructed with thicker fiberglass hulls than you see in modern builds. Rigs, keels, rudders, hulls and decks – everything about these small cruising sailboats was designed to stand up to strong winds and big waves. Some of the boats in this post have skeg-hung rudders and most of them are full keel boats.

The pros and cons of pocket cruiser sailboats

Pocket cruiser sailboats present certain advantages and disadvantages.

More affordable

Their smaller size makes them affordable bluewater sailboats. You can often find great deals on pocket cruisers and sometimes you can even get them for free.

You’ll also save money on retrofits and repairs because small cruising sailboats need smaller boat parts (which cost a lot less) . For example, you can get away with smaller sails, ground tackle, winches, and lighter lines than on a bigger boat.

Moorage, haul-outs, and marine services are often billed by foot of boat length . A small sailboat makes traveling the world , far more affordable!

When something major breaks (like an engine) it will be less costly to repair or replace than it would be on a bigger boat.

how to remove rusted screw

Less time consuming

Smaller boats tend to have simpler systems which means you’ll spend less time fixing and paying to maintain those systems. For example, most small yachts don’t have showers, watermakers , hot water, and electric anchor windlasses.

On the flip side, you’ll spend more time collecting water (the low-tech way) . On a small sailboat, this means bucket baths, catching fresh water in your sails, and hand-bombing your anchor. Though less convenient, this simplicity can save you years of preparation and saving to go sailing.

Oh, and did I mention that you’ll become a complete water meiser? Conserving water aboard becomes pretty important when you have to blue-jug every drop of it from town back to your boat.

Easier to sail

Lastly, smaller boats can be physically easier to sail , just think of the difference between raising a sail on a 25-foot boat versus a 50-foot boat! You can more easily single-hand or short-hand a small sailboat. For that reason, some of the best solo blue water sailboats are quite petite.

As mentioned above small boats are slow boats and will arrive in port, sometimes days (and even weeks) behind their faster counterparts on long offshore crossings.

Consider this scenario: two boats crossed the Atlantic on a 4,000 nautical mile route. The small boat averaged four miles an hour, while the big boat averaged seven miles an hour. If both started at the same time, the small boat will have completed the crossing two weeks after the larger sailboat!

Less spacious

Living on a boat can be challenging — living on a small sailboat, even more so! Small cruising boats don’t provide much in the way of living space and creature comforts.

Not only will you have to downsize when you move onto a boat  you’ll also have to get pretty creative when it comes to boat storage.

It also makes it more difficult to accommodate crew for long periods which means there are fewer people to share work and night shifts.

If you plan on sailing with your dog , it might put a small boat right out of the question (depending on the size of your four-legged crew member).

boat galley storage ideas

Less comfortable

It’s not just the living situation that is less comfortable, the sailing can be pretty uncomfortable too! Pocket cruisers tend to be a far less comfortable ride than larger boats as they are more easily tossed about in big ocean swell.

Here are our 5 favorite small blue water sailboats for sailing around the world

When we sailed across the Pacific these were some of the best small sailboats that we saw. Their owners loved them and we hope you will too!

The boats in this list are under 30 feet. If you’re looking for something slightly larger, you might want to check out our post on the best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet .

Note: Price ranges are based on and listings for Aug. 2018

Albin Vega 27($7-22K USD)

small sailboats

The Albin Vega has earned a reputation as a bluewater cruiser through adventurous sailors like Matt Rutherford, who in 2012 completed a 309-day solo nonstop circumnavigation of the Americas via Cape Horn and the Northwest Passage (see his story in the documentary Red Dot on the Ocean ). 

  • Hull Type: Long fin keel
  • Hull Material: GRP (fibreglass)
  • Length Overall:27′ 1″ / 8.25m
  • Waterline Length:23′ 0″ / 7.01m
  • Beam:8′ 1″ / 2.46m
  • Draft:3′ 8″ / 1.12m
  • Rig Type: Masthead sloop rig
  • Displacement:5,070lb / 2,300kg
  • Designer:Per Brohall
  • Builder:Albin Marine AB (Swed.)
  • Year First Built:1965
  • Year Last Built:1979
  • Number Built:3,450

Cape Dory 28 ($10-32K USD) 

small sailboat

This small cruising sailboat is cute and classic as she is rugged and roomy. With at least one known circumnavigation and plenty of shorter bluewater voyages, the Cape Dory 28 has proven herself offshore capable.

  • Hull Type: Full Keel
  • Length Overall:28′ 09″ / 8.56m
  • Waterline Length:22′ 50″ / 6.86m
  • Beam:8’ 11” / 2.72m
  • Draft:4’ 3” / 1.32m
  • Rig Type:Masthead Sloop
  • Displacement:9,300lb / 4,218kg
  • Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:52
  • Displacement/Length Ratio:49
  • Designer: Carl Alberg
  • Builder: Cape Dory Yachts (USA)
  • Year First Built:1974
  • Year Last Built:1988
  • Number Built: 388

Dufour 29 ($7-23K)

small sailboat

As small bluewater sailboats go, the Dufour 29 is a lot of boat for your buck. We know of at least one that sailed across the Pacific last year. Designed as a cruiser racer she’s both fun to sail and adventure-ready. Like many Dufour sailboats from this era, she comes equipped with fiberglass molded wine bottle holders. Leave it to the French to think of everything!

  • Hull Type: Fin with skeg-hung rudder
  • Length Overall:29′ 4″ / 8.94m
  • Waterline Length:25′ 1″ / 7.64m
  • Beam:9′ 8″ / 2.95m
  • Draft:5′ 3″ / 1.60m
  • Displacement:7,250lb / 3,289kg
  • Designer:Michael Dufour
  • Builder:Dufour (France)
  • Year First Built:1975
  • Year Last Built:1984

Vancouver 28 ($15-34K)

most seaworthy small boat

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
  • Length Overall: 28′ 0″ / 8.53m
  • Waterline Length:22’ 11” / 6.99m
  • Beam:8’ 8” / 2.64m
  • Draft:4’ 4” / 1.32m
  • Rig Type: Cutter rig
  • Displacement:8,960lb / 4,064 kg
  • Designer: Robert B Harris
  • Builder: Pheon Yachts Ltd. /Northshore Yachts Ltd.
  • Year First Built:1986
  • Last Year Built: 2007
  • Number Built: 67

Westsail 28 ($30-35K)

small sailboat

Described in the 1975 marketing as “a hearty little cruiser”, the Westsail 28 was designed for those who were ready to embrace the cruising life. Perfect for a solo sailor or a cozy cruising couple!

  • Hull Type: Full keel with transom hung rudder
  • Hull Material:GRP (fibreglass)
  • Length Overall:28′ 3” / 8.61m
  • Waterline Length:23’ 6” / 7.16m
  • Beam:9’ 7” / 2.92m
  • Displacement:13,500lb / 6,124kg
  • Designer: Herb David
  • Builder: Westsail Corp. (USA)
  • Number Built:78

Feeling inspired? Check out the “go small” philosophy of this 21-year-old who set sail in a CS 27.

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.

Saturday 1st of September 2018

Very useful list, but incomplete - as it would necessarily be, considering the number of seaworthy smaller boats that are around.

In particular, you missed/omitted the Westerly "Centaur" and its follow-on model, the "Griffon". 26 feet LOA, bilge-keelers, weighing something over 6000 pounds, usually fitted with a diesel inboard.

OK, these are British designs, and not that common in the US, but still they do exist, they're built like tanks, and it's rumored that at least one Centaur has circumnavigated.

Friday 31st of August 2018

This is a helpful list, thank you. I don't think most people would consider a 28' boat a pocket cruiser, though!

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Expedition Yachts for Sale

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For anyone looking for expedition yachts for sale, these are a quickly-growing market in the yachting world, as increasing numbers of yacht owners choose to get off the beaten track and indulge in some remote cruising! Here is the full current selection of all expedition yachts for sale worldwide with photos and full specifications for each.

Expedition yachts, often called explorer yachts, are extremely versatile. As much at home in the wilds of Alaska as sitting pretty in the glamorous port of Monaco, expedition yachts are built to cross the world’s oceans while offering the extraordinary comfort of a luxury yacht.

The explorer vessel featured above, LEGEND Expedition Yacht For Sale, is a 254-foot or 77m Icon Expedition yacht available for sale. She is the only ice breaking mega yacht in the world. The proven world cruiser features a panorama Jacuzzi on the main deck, large sales throughout, welcoming cocktail bars, Movie theaters, Exclusive Balinese Spa (pictured below) and a gym.

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AKULA Expedition Yacht For Sale – for full specifications and photos, click on the link.

Expedition yachts for sale are also becoming increasingly common options for new-build construction projects, but there are also many existing expedition yachts that have been converted from commercial vessels. As such, often expedition yachts for sale have wonderful histories as research ships, hospital ships, ice-breakers, trawlers and military vessels, and are now enjoying their latest incarnation as impressive luxury yachts.

Often sporting a more functional exterior, the interior of explorer vessels are as palatial and luxurious as their traditional superyacht counterparts. Expedition-style yachts tend to have a wider beam, thereby offering more volume for larger cabins and interior spaces. The yacht’s generous interior spaces are designed for live-aboard comfort for extended periods, and many of these yachts will have living quarters or suites for the owners, rather than smaller cabins.

expedition yacht for sale STAMPEDE

STAMPEDE Expedition Yacht For Sale – for full specifications and photos, click on the link.

Outside you’ll find generous open decks with elegant dining and entertaining spaces, with all the luxuries you’d expect on a superyacht.  Jacuzzis, helipads and observation decks are common features found on expedition yachts for sale.

Expedition yachts are sometimes nicknamed ‘toy carriers’, as they have plenty of space to carry the tenders and water sports equipment you’ll want as you cruise exotic places. Explorer yachts for sale often carry crew who are trained as instructors, so you might learn diving, jetski, kitesurfing or even photography while cruising the South Pacific or the Galapagos.

Because they’re built as sturdy ocean-going vessels, expedition yachts are built with a strong focus on safety, self-sufficiency and comfort underway. Some expedition yachts have reinforced ice-breaker hulls for exciting Arctic expeditions, and all have modern stabilization technology and state-of-the-art safety systems. Expedition yachts are built with large fuel tanks giving them exceptional range, while onboard water-makers and excellent cold and dry storage allows them to make long sea voyages without needing to stop for supplies. Because they are built to be away from port for long periods, expedition yachts normally carry the best in communication, entertainment and Wi-Fi capabilities.

expedition yacht for sale THE BIG BLUE

THE BIG BLUE Expedition Yacht For Sale – for full specifications and photos, click on the link.

Expedition yachts allow the yacht owner to get to all corners of the world, opening up beautiful destinations otherwise difficult to reach. From the snowy landscapes and penguins of Antarctica to the coral reefs and jungles of Micronesia, an expedition yacht opens up the world for exploration.

There are a multitude of options available for expedition vessels. Above are examples of existing brokerage vessels. Other options to consider include Full Custom Builds and Semi Custom Builds. A Fully Custom Expedition yacht build is a ground up design and specification package, which will include tank testing of hull forms, 3D modeling, etc. A Semi Custom Expedition Build includes an existing hull form and common engineering package, already being used and then customizing the house styling, layout and décor.

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The 80m Explorer Yacht, unnamed, is an example of a Fully Custom Explorer Build. The vessel includes float in float out wet dock that will be able to hold a 65-70 foot sport fisherman in the stern, when the sport fish is removed the tender well becomes a deep swimming pool.  She is diesel electric with Azipod drives.   The vessel has the capability of landing two helicopters and can house both helicopters in a single hangar.  The vessel also has a large tender garage that could hold multiple smaller vessels including a RIB, flats boat, jets skis and two submarines.  The vessel has accommodations for 18 guests and crew of 36.  The vessel would be commercial fit and finish on the exterior and the interior are envisioned to be built to high end cruise ship standards.

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The 75m Explorer, by Admiral Shipyards is an example of a Semi Custom Build. The yacht’s exterior design, which remains unnamed, is a display of an elegant yet robust platform with generous exterior deck spaces. The expansive aft deck is designed to accommodate an Agusta Grande helicopter, complete with a storage and refueling hangar below deck.

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The interior is spread across four decks and will be finished in a timeless nautical style that is finished with contemporary elements, which will be built and installed by German interio specialists, Fitz Interior. The owner, who is expected to spend prolonged period onboard, will be treated to an exclusive main deck area covering over 300 square metres with five additional guest suites on the lower deck.

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Explorer yachts look a little bit different and offer extraordinary cruising potential, marking an exciting difference in the luxury yacht market for those who love an adventure on the open ocean. If you are be interested in viewing our full portfolio of exhibition yachts for sale, reach out to the sales team by email , by this sales inquiry form or by calling one of our yacht brokerage offices worldwide.


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See what our happy customers are saying.

“My Selene 80 Ocean Explorer ticks all the boxes! We like fishing offshore and Howard Chen has beautifully extended the cockpit, adding working space, waterline and speed to this powerful fishing machine. I am also delighted with the very professional layout of the engine room with its twin Cummins and two generators. Hydraulic windlass, stabilizers and thrusters were also a must in my view. The bespoke interior general arrangements is also perfectly adjusted to our family lifestyle… South-East Asia, the Celebes sea, Torres straight, Australia and the Pacific Ocean are definitely on my bucket list!”

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“Ever since I stepped aboard my first Selene, I knew there was something special about these yachts. You can see and feel the passion in the craftsmanship, and the woodwork is just breathtaking. What truly impressed me was the strength and stability of the yacht out in open water. And the fact that I could tailor some of the interiors to my liking? That was the cherry on top. Every voyage just feels like a dream.”

“We've had our fair share of experiences with different yachts, but Selene stands out. The Caribbean trip we took last summer was nothing short of luxurious. The decks, the interiors, the entire build screams quality. And I must say, getting our yacht delivered faster than expected was a delightful surprise. If you're looking for the perfect blend of comfort and adventure, Selene is where you find it.”

“We've had our fair share of experiences with different yachts, but Selene stands out"

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Selene has a 25 year tradition of building elegant long range cruising trawlers for active adventures. Selene Yachts Americas is dedicated to connecting you with a Selene customized to meet your requirements and getting you on the water for experiences of a lifetime.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We are the Selene Distributor for North America covering the US, Canada and Mexico.

We welcome the opportunity to have you involved and updated with each step of building your yacht including seeing your Selene while under construction at the factory.

A Trawler combines a more comfortable ride due to it's heavy full displacement hull and fuel efficiency that enables long-range cruising capability.

High quality woodwork, luxurious interiors, rugged build and a low profile design and that provides increased stability in a seaway.

Yes, there are many customizations available beyond what we display here including additional size boats and configuration options. Please contact us to learn more.

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Long cruises through uncharted territory are this yacht type's specialty. A yacht built to this style is meant to tackle everything from the icy waters of the Arctic to the rough waves of the South Pacific in monsoon season. Sturdy and constructed with a reinforced steel hull in most designs, this style of yacht is perfect for a family of explorers looking for their next adventure.

The curved bottom displacement hull gives you sleeping and cooking areas that are as large as any you would find in your home. Long range cruisers don't need much engine power to get moving, so smaller motors and less fuel is required which can extend your sea faring trip.

Often called semi-displacement vessels, long range cruisers aren't known for their speed. Yet due to their hull design, they are known for being fuel efficient per nautical mile. Designed for longer trips, trawlers are the ultimate cruising vessel, whether you are out at the open sea or a lake.

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The Bering line of Expedition yachts includes 3 models:

All these yachts are built to provide power, safety, and comfort. Each vessel remains stable, even in the roughest seas, and is designed to be your luxurious “home away from home.”

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Ocean Going Yacht Manufacturers

Due to the immense size of yachts, they are able to travel through open waters at incredible distances, especially on travels when they are traversing through an entire ocean. It is for this reason that if you are looking to take on incredible journeys, you should only choose the absolute best ocean-going yacht manufacturers. And when you want the best, look no further than Bering Yachts. At our fine establishment, we take the time to not only craft the perfect vessels but also craft them based on your needs. Yachts are able to travel through expansive oceans because ocean-going yacht manufacturers design them to perform such feats. Yachts are big vessels, granting space for large engines. Due to this, they carry a lot of power that can excel a yacht to high speeds. Moreover, because of their big size, yachts are also able to hold a lot of fuel, allowing them to also cover a wide distance without the need to refuel for some time. But the main reason ocean-going manufacturers are able to design vessels capable of traveling at great distances is that they are large enough to hold an operating crew. At Bering Yachts, our ocean-going yacht manufacturers design our models to be spacious, allowing a certain amount of passengers to occupy the vessels. Thanks to this, you can travel with peace of mind knowing that you can have a full crew ready at hand to operate your yacht, guaranteeing smooth sailing on all voyages that you take.

Contact us Now & Let Our Ocean-Going Yacht Manufacturers Build The Perfect Vessel For You

When you are ready to have the ultimate vessel ready to be used at your disposal, do not hesitate at all in contacting Bering Yachts. Our ocean-going yacht manufacturers will gladly construct the perfect vessel for you. To contact us, click  HERE .

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What’s the right yacht for an Atlantic crossing? The one you’ve got now

  • Elaine Bunting
  • May 20, 2015

What sort of yacht do you need to sail across the Atlantic? There’s no black art, says Elaine Bunting, you just need a bit of preparation

smallest ocean going motor yacht

Numerically, the most common yachts for sailing across the Atlantic are ordinary production cruisers with standard kit, usually with upgrades of safety and power generation equipment. The happy truth is there’s no black art to sailing 3,000 miles downwind; the toughest part can be getting across the Bay of Biscay.

So whatever boat you have right now, the chances are that she’ll be fine for an Atlantic crossing with a bit of extra preparation. You don’t have to let waiting for the ‘right’ boat put you off going.

However, this doesn’t apply so much if you intend to complete an Atlantic circuit and sail from the Caribbean to Europe . The return route can be very tough, with a real chance of rough windward work, and a yacht that is wonderfully comfortable and spacious at anchor can slam and be very uncomfortable on the way back. Shipping back or delivery are both alternative options.

I’ve found that skippers tend to focus on equipment that adds comfort, but also complication: watermakers, generators, comms equipment. All are undoubtedly useful, but remember that every additional item adds complication, spares and service cost/time.


Apart from a sound boat, all you really need is water, food, fuel and a (paper) chart of ‘North Atlantic, Southern Part’.

Whatever else you do, don’t let those extras distract you from ensuring the integrity of the rig (including the boom and gooseneck fittings), rudder and hull. These are paramount. Rudders, in particular, are subjected to very high side loads in big following seas. I’ve seen people about to set off across the Atlantic on boats that were sporting the latest luxury kit, from ice cream makers to air conditioning, but with split pins not bent back or a clevis pin working out.

What sails are best?

The simple answer is reasonably recent, quality sails that aren’t liable to break. However expensive, good sails are worth every penny. As to what combination is best on a long downwind passage, that’s a complicated and potentially long-winded debate. Let’s just say that, for the average family crew, a smart crossing is all about consistent speed, 24 hours a day. The key is not to have downtime.


There is absolutely no need to sail hot angles downwind unless you are sailing to polars on a high-performance design. A spinnaker or code sail is great in lighter winds, but in stronger winds you will need several crew on watch at a time and if you blow the sail in a squall or a sudden reload it will be a costly choice.

There is nothing wrong with the old ‘barn doors’ arrangement of mainsail and poled-out genoa. Sure, it’s unflashy and unheroic, but it’s also easy, trouble-free and you’ll trot along in any conditions with minimal drop in speed for the occasional gybe. Just keep an eye out for chafe and be sure to set up a preventer on the boom and a foreguy topping lift and downhaul when poling out the headsail, so you can furl in quickly when that night-time squall hits (which it will).

Power planning

However much power you expect to use on an ocean crossing, you will need more. Nav lights, radar, radio scheds, autopilot, watermaker, fridge, freezer, computer, fans – you name it, they all add up. Last year, when we carried out our annual survey of ARC skippers , we found that yachts of between 46ft and 55ft had a battery capacity, on average, of 700ah, rising to 1,000ah for yachts over 56ft.

Since the design life for marine batteries is five years, it makes sense to set off with new batteries – it’s easier and may be cheaper than replacing them later. A majority of people in our survey had an extra house or domestic battery bank and one or two had boosted the battery used for their windlass.

Interestingly, when we asked about the power equation again in our follow-up survey a few months later , numerous skippers said that they had increased battery capacity yet again or planned to do so in future.

A water generator could be a useful addition

A water generator could be a useful addition

Rather than adding to machinery with a diesel generator, it’s worth looking at wind generators, solar panels and the Watt & Sea or Sea-Gen water turbines . These alternative power generation sources have advanced a lot in recent years. A larger alternator may be worth fitting too, and if only one is fitted to the engine, carry a spare.

Be prepared for gear failure

Be prepared for key equipment to fail because sooner or later it probably will. If it’s gear you normally rely on, like an autopilot or watermaker, have a contingency or a workable plan to do without. Of all the gear problems that give most stress and trouble, the most pressing is autopilot failure. That will start to put a small crew under strain by robbing everyone of rest time.

For the same reason, it’s a good idea to make sure most or all of your crew are decent helmsmen downwind in following seas. If not, spend some time on passage tutoring them.

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All the kit you need to go sailing offshore or cross the Atlantic

  • March 17, 2023

Items of kit and spares for an offshore or ocean passage are seemingly endless, but some are essential. Sophie Dingwall finds out what this year’s ARC crews made sure was on board

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The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) has supported hundreds of boats crossing the Atlantic Ocean for over 35 years. It’s become an iconic voyage, is one of the largest ocean rallies for amateur crews and is organised by World Cruising Club.

Last year the docks in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria welcomed 143 boats from all over the world, of which 138 set sail for the Caribbean on 20 November 2022.

Participants had to navigate 2,700 miles of open ocean to reach their destination in Rodney Bay at the north-west tip of St Lucia. Most of the fleet took 18 to 21 days to cross the finish line, where they were greeted with fresh local fruits and ice-cold rum punch. It’s just one of the rewards for completing the rally.

In the 1980s, while talking to cruisers planning to adventure across the Atlantic , journalist Jimmy Cornell was inspired to organise a rally that focused on celebrating and boosting the community spirit and confidence of sailors, by implementing safety protocols to help develop strong bonds between entrants.

This idea led to the inaugural ARC in 1986, and since then, the ARC has made the often daunting task and lifelong dream of crossing the pond a reality for thousands of sailors of every ability.

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Motivations for ocean sailing vary. Sailors Steffan and Julie from Berlin are sailing a Pogo 36 double-handed, embarking on an adventure to learn about themselves and develop their sailing. With a year set aside to build miles and make memories, Steffan tells us his most important considerations for their journey: ‘I think the boat itself is very important, I have faith in the construction and design. The boat has two sealed bulkheads and this gives me the confidence that even with significant damage, she will remain afloat.’

Crossing an ocean is an endeavour that demands maximum respect. Crossing thousands of miles of open water in a small vessel is a humbling experience when there is nowhere to hide from the changing conditions. In addition, sailing more heavily laden boats, in big seas and strong winds non-stop for days on end, places far more strain on the boat, rig and gear than is clocked up in years of coastal cruising.

You need to be able to trust your vessel, so preparation is clearly a serious matter.

Boats in the 2022 ARC ranged from 28ft to 85ft in length. The smallest was a French-flagged Vancouver 28 Oberoi , measuring a modest 8.35m, while the largest was a luxury 27m Oyster 885, Karibu .

Irrespective of size, all yachts undergo a rigorous safety inspection and must meet the minimum safety requirements. Experienced seaman and safety inspector Mark Burton says, ‘At the ARC, we ensure that the boat is prepared with enough safety equipment on board to give them the ability and facility to be safe on their way across.’

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Crews learn how to deploy the liferaft. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

It’s one of, if not the most essential piece of equipment to carry on board, yet one hopes never to use it. Each year, the ARC demonstrates how to inflate, enter and, most importantly, survive in a liferaft.

Participants are encouraged to participate in the exercise in a local swimming pool. It has been described as claustrophobic, uncomfortable and seasick inducing, but it’s a fantastic exercise to familiarise oneself with what to do in a real-life scenario. It’s also a good idea to ask if you can see yours being packed at a service centre, and while basics will be included in the in-raft packs, additional items such as reading glasses or extra rations can be added.

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Lifejacket drills are a fun way to understand how yours works. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

Clearly, a lifejacket is the last line of defence and moving around in a way that minimises the risks of going overboard needs regularly going over with crew. You can never discount the moment when you are caught off-guard and go in, but you can increase your chances of survival by up to four times by wearing the best lifejacket for you.

The ARC requires all lifejackets to include sprayhoods, three-point tethers, reflective tape, a light, the vessel name or personal name, a crotch strap, in-built harness and a personal AIS beacon unit fitted.

Interestingly, a personal AIS locator beacon was added to the list of requirements in recent years. Once activated, the man overboard device (MOB) will transmit an alert to all AIS receivers and plotters, meaning vessels in the vicinity can see the MOB’s position, with the best chance of rescue from your own yacht. It’s essential for those sailing short-handed or running single watches.

‘We are sailing double-handed and we have confidence using an AIS beacon because it means that if either of us goes overboard, the other person will know immediately,’ said Steffan Otto, Pogo 36.

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ARC safety inspector Mark Burton carries out a pre-event safety check. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

EPIRB distress beacons are a fast, effective way to initiate an alert in an emergency. They work in the same way as a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), but can activate automatically, float independently and have a much longer battery life. Once activated, it transmits a distress message by satellite to the relevant Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre. This shows the vessel’s location to the rescue authorities with no range limitation, meaning the vessel can send a signal and be located anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately, several sailors have needlessly lost their lives because their EPIRBs were not registered – this oversight can add up to two extra hours for the message to reach the coastguard over the international satellite system.

ARC safety inspector Mark Burton said, ‘I think the development of EPIRBs and assurance of AIS units has made a massive change, certainly on the Atlantic circuit.

‘You’re probably only going to spend a maximum of 48 hours in a liferaft because we now have the facility to communicate really clearly with sat phones.

‘The EPIRB tells us where the vessel is and we, the ARC, can divert shipping or other vessels. When there are 138 boats on the ARC this year, we can redirect the boats close-by to assist.’

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Satellite communications devices offer faster data with no interference, but can’t communicate with a group. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

Non-satellite communication

Traditional SSB radio was initially developed after the Second World War to enable better communication systems in military aircraft, and was later introduced to merchant ships in the 1960s. SSB radio allows communication between vessels, the high frequency reaching distances up to thousands of miles, and it’s free after the initial equipment cost.

To receive GRIB weather files and email is possible by adding a Pactor Modem into the system. An unrestricted amount of data and weather downloads are available for a yearly subscription and it’s a cost-effective solution for a long-term cruising boat, although the download speed and total amount receivable is fairly low. Satellite communications will be faster and without interference, but at a price.

The ARC organises the SSB Radio Net, and together 36 boats work in rotation to provide weather forecasts and updates for the fleet twice a day. Thomas Clemens had an SSB radio installed for the ARC on his Hallberg Rassy 352 and said, ‘I thought an SSB radio was necessary but in reality, I’m not sure it was.

I believe my Garmin inReach was my best form of contact with the outside world.’

Stu and Lana Holmes appreciated having an SSB radio: ‘It was a really nice way to stay in touch with other boats during the crossing. Instead of reading emails, we heard actual voices of other people (besides our crew) for three weeks! We exchanged weather reports, positions, happenings on board and breakdowns etc…’

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GRIB files use very little data, but linked with an app on your computer, offer detailed graphical forecasts. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

Entry-level Sat Comms

Over the years, the ARC has gathered a number of commercial and sailing partners, providing a great source of information for participants from industry-leading figures, including meteorologist Chris Tibbs.

There are an increasing number of weather routeing programmes on the market, but they all come at a price, explained Chris. Regarding communications, it tends to be the more you pay, the faster the downloads, but none are cheap.

Having said that, Chris said, ‘As communications have improved along with the weather forecasts, I’ve seen weather routeing programmes become mainstream. Initially, it was the preserve of round-the-world racers but now it’s available to all at a reasonable cost.’

Satellite phones and the Iridium GO ! are equally efficient for small downloads as they rely on very slow download speeds.

The Iridium GO! has become very popular, primarily because of a link with PredictWind, which allows a competitive SIM card with unlimited data download and limited voice time. Linked to the offshore app PredictWind, GRIB files from several models can be downloaded along with what’s known as ‘cloud’ routeing. The route is sent from a computer ashore directly to the boat, meaning routes for all six forecasts are quickly and easily displayed, saving you megabytes worth of downloads.

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Iridium GO! in use. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

Stu and Lana Holmes were pleased with the performance of their Iridium GO! and said, ‘It was really helpful to get a graphical representation of the weather forecasts through PredictWind. With the multiple weather models they offer, it allowed greater accuracy for our position and therefore helped us route the most efficient path through the weather. We also received daily weather emails through the ARC and some general routeing advice. It was nice to double-check our forecasts with that, and get an overall mental image (via email) of the entire Atlantic Ocean.

‘Without land getting in the way of things, we can rely upon GRIB files for an accurate forecast, but we must remember that it will miss minor features such as squalls, and the wind speed will read as an average – therefore, it’s wise to consider the maximum wind to be much greater.’

Chris said, ‘I usually download a reasonably small area each day to see what to expect in the short-term and also download a large area at low resolution to run a weather routeing program. I would strongly advise downloading synoptic charts to get the bigger picture.’

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There are many ways to stay in contact with land and other boats in the rally and beyond. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

Satellite messaging

Another recent must-have is the Garmin inReach , whether you’re crossing an ocean or not. This compact satellite communication device has global satellite coverage, allowing you to send text messages, receive basic weather forecasts and importantly includes an emergency SOS feature.

A subscription is required to access the Iridium network, but Garmin offers this as an annual or attractive month-to-month plan. Though the Garmin inReach has many useful features, the simple comms to friends and family back home seem most popular.

Thomas Clemens, owner of Petoya Too , a Halberg Rassy 352 which undertook a substantial refit in the winter, used a Garmin inReach Mini for the crossing. He said, ‘I purchased a one-month contract which made it possible to stay in contact with people at home. We once had some problems with SMS messaging but email was always possible. So all together it was an important part of our security. It’s a thumbs up from me!’

Crewmember Jonathan Heldt on a Sigma 400, Prime Evil , used his Garmin inReach Mini sailing from the UK to the Canaries and said, ‘I hadn’t realised how valuable it would be. The Garmin is easy to use and it’s compact. I can clip it to me without it getting in the way and it means I can send basic text messages home to the family.’

smallest ocean going motor yacht

A conventional satellite phone will let you make voice calls, as well as receive weather data. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

High speed sat-comms

If you’re looking for something significantly quicker, there are new options on the market to get you excited.

Ed Wildgoose explains, ‘This year I saw a big increase in users taking faster systems. This started with the introduction of the SkyLink Certus 100, which has been a gateway to still faster systems such as the 200, the 700 and other systems. However, it’s proved to be the step up which has encouraged users to pay a little more and receive a big step up in capability.’

Though it is considered expensive, flexible monthly tariffs are available, and the overall cost of data is reduced. With the promise of significantly faster download speeds, it’s a good option for more advanced routeing software such as Expedition, Adrena, or MaxSea. Above all, be sure to ask an expert. Communication systems can be tricky, and the support you’ll receive through a registered provider could save you time, money and hassle.

smallest ocean going motor yacht

A paper chart is a crucial backup, as well as a useful passage planning tool. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

Navigation was a key topic of discussion, provoking varied responses to the use of digital versus paper charts. Generally speaking, it’s only in recent years that going to sea without paper charts was even a consideration. Ever more sailors now feel that they do not need paper charts to head across an ocean.

The accuracy and ease of use of GPS, electronic chartplotters and routeing software make it the default option on most boats. Once the only means of navigation, some ARC crews went so far as to dismiss paper charts as being a purely nostalgic item of equipment.

Sailing his Pogo 36, Klaus Hartkopf from Germany said, ‘I’ve never used paper charts and I have an electronic logbook that runs separately from the other electrics. I previously had a company for electronic products, which is why I know what I want and rely on these.’

Paper charts do, however, provide a comprehensive overview of an area that can’t be matched by digital navigation on small screens and has no chance of ‘failing’, unlike electronics. While it’s unlikely for all electronic systems to fail, it is far from impossible to experience a total power loss at sea, in which case, paper charts are the only fall-back for navigation.


Laptops are cheap and make navigation systems easily expandable

The majority of the fleet said they would continue to carry and use paper charts, at least marking a fix once a day, and believed that paper navigation is still a valuable skill to maintain.

Gary O’Grady on board his 28ft Westerly Konsort had no option but to revert to paper charts when he suffered an electronic failure and made the decision to divert to the Cape Verdes to fix the electronic issues. He said, ‘The 300-mile trip to the Cabo Verdes was purely on paper with my first astro sights and compass. I had to use paper, as that’s all I had!

‘Funnily enough, the last thing I purchased was a chart of Cabo Verde (just in case), otherwise I’d have had no idea where to go. I’m pleased to say, I hit the waypoint I wanted just north of the Islands almost perfectly.’

Expedition, Adrena and MaxSea routing software provide some of the most advanced technology on the market and are mainly used by racing boats, including boats competing in the America’s Cup and The Ocean Race . However, the software relies heavily on the boat’s performance polars and weather forecast in order to provide accurate information. Therefore, the majority of smaller boats in the fleet tended to use PredictWind or SailGrib, ideal for any sailor after a well thought-out, easy-to-use and responsive weather routeing option that’s also great value for money.

Andy Bates used LuckGrib, another cost-effective option which added up to approximately £100 for the crossing on his Sigma 400. However, LuckGrib aims to provide a better understanding of the weather system rather than a path to follow. It allows the user to make an informed decision on which route to take and explore more navigation possibilities.

Andy said, ‘I liked the packages as they weren’t from a massive corporation – it’s a dude who is clearly a sailor and meteorology expert. But, to be honest we didn’t use the routing software all that much, though in less wind it helped affirm our decisions. Also, the files were compressed, so it used far less data than I thought.’​​​​

A man using a sextant to navigate on the deck of a boat

Celestial Nav is back in fashion for many with several of the Golden Globe Race sailors taking a sextant with them around the world. Credit: GGR

Celestial navigation

Stokey Woodall, the celestial navigation guru, has covered over 300,000 miles offshore under sail on other vessels while teaching celestial navigation. He’s worked alongside the ARC for many years and visited Las Palmas for the ARC 2022 start, delivering highly popular workshops and seminars for participants.

One sailor who was eager to learn from Stokey was Gary O’Grady, who was sailing his beloved Katy , a 28ft Westerly Konsort, the second smallest yacht in the fleet.

This is his first crossing and says he hopes to ‘crack the sextant and ultimately become a better sailor’. His sailing background is brief, but his passion and enthusiasm make up for his limited years on the water. He began offshore sailing a mere four years ago and said, ‘I enjoy the solitude of long-distance sailing, the peaceful nature and I get a great sense of accomplishment from it. I think offshore sailing suits me.’

To Stokey’s delight, it’s evident from the engagement that there is still a strong interest in one of the oldest forms of navigation. Although it’s not an obligatory requirement, many sailors are still keen to pursue the long maths equations out of pure interest in the subject.

Stokey said, ‘It is a skill that brings people back to nature. There’s a free sky subscription, just look up!’

smallest ocean going motor yacht

Flexible solar panels are sewn into a sprayhood on this Oyster 46. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

Solar power

Between the bustling pontoons with yachts rafted stern to, the increasing popularity of solar panels is apparent. Yachts today are taking advantage of this almost guaranteed ‘free’ energy. The number and power of solar panels fitted to boats is increasing and it’s been a hot topic of conversation.

‘Given all our equipment needs power, solar panels are key for our journey. We have increased the amount of solar on board by double and hopefully we won’t have to use any diesel,’ said Andrew Tucker, owner of Oyster 46 Voyager II .

For more serious provision of solar power, real estate on deck is always in demand. Stern arches or dinghy davits provide a convenient solar panel mounting option, well clear of the shadows on deck. Other locations include stanchion-mounted brackets, or sewing attachments for flexible panels into sprayhoods, sail covers and biminis, allowing for a variety of different configurations to suit each boat and situation. Many owners hope to offset the relatively high cost of solar panels against a reduction in their diesel costs over time, and enjoy sailing a little greener.

smallest ocean going motor yacht

A solid solar panel on Thomas Clemens’ HR352. Photo: WCC James Mitchell / Sophie Dingwall

Having said that, portable solar panels to run devices such as mobile phones or a Garmin inReach are now easily available, cheap to buy and increasingly efficient. Andy Bates from Prime Evil , a Sigma 400 and his crew had a few of them lying about the boat soaking up the rays: ‘They’re great for us to use to charge small devices and don’t take up much room,’ he said. ‘We’re limited to the amount of batteries we have so having small solar devices really makes a big difference to our consumption.’

Emergency rudders

Steering failure is a common problem. It’s almost impossible to mitigate the risk of hitting a submerged object, though regular inspections and thorough maintenance should help you spot issues with bearings, seals and rudder posts. Corrosion inside rudder blades or shafts is much harder to spot. Being able to steer the boat in the event of steering failure adds significantly to your self-reliance.

There are various options when choosing an emergency rudder, and often master mariners have used intuition and what they had in dire situations, but it’s better to be prepared. Commercial systems for emergency rudders are available and well-engineered, but they are not boat specific.

Hand-crafted emergency rudders were common amongst the fleet and the advantages of building them yourself ensure you can take into consideration the weight and balance of your boat. Andrew Tucker, skipper and owner of Oyster 46, Voyager II built his to include usage for multiple purposes. The ply-constructed rudder attaches through a pintel at the stern, fixing it in place.

It doubles up as an onboard workbench which sees regular use. Andrew hopes it will never see salt water, but utilising such a large piece of emergency kit for dual purposes is a great idea and makes best use of limited space on board.

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