Chris White Designs

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Discovery 20 Trimaran

See  Discovery 21 .

The Discovery 20 trimaran is a fast, fun daysailer with the potential to be a camper/cruiser for the adventurous. The D 20 design has been updated as an exciting and powerful new daysailer. It is available as a kit or a complete boat. This design is intended for enjoyable day sailing, although there is space below deck for camping gear. There is a 7' by 7' cockpit that is roomy for 4. You sit upright, with a backrest, not sprawled on a trampoline. My 75 year old mother-in-law found the boat very comfortable. The D-20 is quite fast; the all up weight of the boat is 527 pounds. She utilizes a daggerboard, a rotating aluminum mast and streamlined crossbeams. Construction is wood/epoxy/glass composite.

I really never appreciated how fast the Discovey is until about 10 years after she was designed when I raced mine in a Wednesday night yacht club series against a new Newick 24' trimaran (longer, wider, taller rig, new laminate sails). The other boat was sailed by a very experienced sailor and I was expecting to get my butt kicked. During the first upwind leg (in about 8 knots breeze) the Discovery 20 blew everything away, including a fleet of Etchells. I was so impressed I hove to at the weather mark and waited for the other tri to catch up so that I could get a better comparison on the down wind leg (he had a spinnaker I didn't). As expected, I lost some ground here but not really that much, and I was able to get it all back on the next upwind leg.

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2022 Boat of the Year: Best Pocket Cruiser/Daysailer

  • By Cruising World Editors
  • December 15, 2021

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

From the very beginning, nearly 50 years ago, Cruising World has kept an open mind as to exactly what constitutes cruising. For some, it might mean circling the globe under sail alone. For others, lowering the mast and motoring through America’s rivers, lakes and canals to complete a Great Loop fits the bill. Some seek long bluewater passages, others are content to gunkhole along a lakeshore in a shallow-draft vessel, sleeping under the stars on a cockpit bench or tucked under a boom tent should it rain.

And likewise, since the inception of our Boat of the Year contest a quarter century ago, we’ve asked our independent team of judges to evaluate a wide range of boats and measure them against their stated design brief. It’s not every year that our experts have the opportunity to inspect a category of nifty, smooth-sailing vessels under 30 feet, but for 2022, there was a trio of modestly sized smart, cool boats to put through their paces. The only problem? Each model was designed and built with a vastly different purpose (and sailor) in mind. 

The Tartan 245 was originally conceived as a training boat for sailing schools. J/Boat’s J/9 is an unabashed daysailer, meant to provide exciting spins around the harbor, even under mainsail alone. And, the Beneteau First 27 is fine-tuned to deliver performance, and definitely lives at the racier end of the spectrum. 

The judge’s task? Decide which nominee came closest to fulfilling its stated purpose.

Let’s begin with the J/9 . It’s simple. It’s fun. It’s a totally enjoyable, stress-free sailing experience that can be easily handled by any sailor looking to enjoy a breezy afternoon. And that’s just what the crew at J/Boats was striving for with their new 28-foot daysailer. 

J/Boat’s J/9

In promotional materials, the company asks, “Is this the most comfortable cockpit ever?” And the answer, after sailing the boat on a blue-sky Annapolis day, would have to be yes. There is plenty of room for a couple of couples to sit comfortably. But the tiller and its extension also allow a singlehander to sit forward and easily reach the jib sheets, led to winches on the low-profile cabin top. Aft, there is even a small swim platform and ladder for when the time comes to douse sails and enjoy a dip on a hot afternoon.

Described from the get-go as a “daysailor,” a small cabin has room for an open V-berth, a couple of settees, a head, and space for a small portable cookstove and cooler. 

Underway in 10 knots or so of breeze, the boat was quite well mannered, even with the jib furled. Judge Tim Murphy notes, “The design writ started off with it being a mainsail-only boat, and then it ended up having a headsail too. But it’s really mainsail-driven. And the big drawing point is the huge cockpit. We sailed the boat under main alone, and sure enough, you could go out for an afternoon with just the main and have a time for yourself. The cockpit is perfect. It really is the strongest part of the boat.”

With the Tartan 245 , longtime Tartan naval architect Tim Jackett, who’s now practically synonymous with the brand, was originally asked to design an easily handled, simply laid-out 24-footer that would be ideal for sailing lessons. 

Tartan 245

What he came up with is a delightful little boat that does all that and more. Longtime aficionados of the Carl Alberg-designed Ensign will recognize several features from that classic daysailer (the sailor who commissioned the 245 had a soft spot for Ensigns). The long and spacious cockpit, the tiller steering and the handy cuddy cabin are all perfect. What separates the designs is the Tartan’s lifting keel, which makes it versatile and trailerable. 

If the J/9’s focus is on simple sailing, the Tartan’s aim is to give students the ability to tweak sails and rig to their hearts’ content in order to learn big-boat handling and racing skills. Numerous control lines are led into the cockpit from the base of the mast, and aft, there is a beefy backstay adjuster.

The boat that the judges sailed in Annapolis was a demo boat for a local sailing school, and was stripped out inside, except for a cushion for the V-berth. But the owner’s plans included towing the boat back to his home in Florida, where he’s contemplating loading aboard a port-a-potty, cooler and stove, and possibly sailing it across to the Bahamas. Outfitted as such, it would be a sporty little vessel for exploring shallow-water venues between the cays.

With two boats that so closely hit the bullseyes described in their design briefs, there was one boat left to assess, and in the end, the Beneteau First 27 turned in a performance that insured it would sail away with the pocket-cruiser hardware.

Beneteau First 27

Built in Slovenia and, before undergoing a branding and systems revamping by Beneteau, this sharp, tidy “sport cruiser” was known as the Seascape 27. By any name, it delivers thrilling performance in a compact, well-reasoned package. 

While the Seascape 27 was originally conceived as a major player in the ever-expanding world of doublehanded offshore racing— CW ’s sister publication, Sailing World , tested and rewarded that boat—the cruisier version was reintroduced this year with several tweaks and the new moniker: First 27. And as a racer/cruiser, it boasts all the amenities necessary for weekend and coastal voyaging: a serviceable head, galley and berths, and a Yanmar diesel. In other words, a couple could easily liveaboard, rather than camp, for short periods of time, but they could also expect to be serious podium contenders should those outings involve a regatta.

In the end, it was the little things that swayed the judges. “The fit-and-finish for the price point is at a different level,” judge Gerry Douglas said. “The equipment level was higher.”

  • More: beneteau , Boat of the Year , Boat of the Year 2022 , J/Boats , Sailboats , tartan yachts
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Dragonfly 25 – review and test

The dragonfly 25 trimaran weights a shade over 1,000kg and can sail at 17 knots, st’s verdict: an easily-handled daysailer..

Performance: 5/5 Accommodation: 3.5/5 Looks: 4/5

£65,000 ex VAT (as tested)

multihullsolutions.co.uk

The need for speed

The 25 is a pure daysailer/weekender with purpose-built roll-on roll-off trailer for easy launching and recovery. She weighs 1,050kg and, with her minimal wetted area, it's a recipe for speed. The swing wings are delicate but easy to operate.

Create your own apparent wind

With the gennaker up you can almost sail faster than the true windspeed by using your momentum to build apparent wind. On our test sge sailed at 30-32 degrees off the wind and clocked 7knots in 8knots of breeze.

It's not sailing, it's flying

With its floats providing 160 per cent buoyancy, the Dragonfly is capable of flying both leeward and main hull. It's turbo-charged sailing that opens up your horizons. You can beat a foul tide with ease and a cross-channel trip takes half the time.

So this is what a trimaran interior looks like...

There are two removable pods with a small cooker and basin, a lengthy forward berth with a Porta-Potti beneath and a light saloon with removable table. It's adequate for an occasional overnighter and there's substantial extra storage in the sponsons.

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16 Best Trimarans For Sailing Around The World (And a Few For Daysailing)

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Trimarans are growing in popularity worldwide, due to their light construction and high stability these multihulls are even faster than catamarans. Trimarans are still one of the lesser-known boat types so in this article ill be checking out some of the most popular models.

The best trimarans include: 

  • The Neel 43 
  • The Neel 47 
  • Dragonfly 28 
  • The Pulse 600 
  • Corsair 37 

These tris are built with your safety in mind while also packing powerful speed and a wide array of comfort features to optimize your sailing experience , some are even foldable making them possible to load on a trailer and transport to the sailing destination of your choosing.

In this article, I have created a list of the 16 best trimarans in the market and their unique features. You’ll also learn the best options for different purposes such as circumnavigation, weekend sailing, racing, and more. 

Table of Contents

What Is a Trimaran?

daysailer trimaran

A trimaran is a multi hulled sailboat with three individual hulls; the main hull ( vaka ) and a pair of outrigger hulls ( amas ). These smaller outrigger hulls are attached to the main hull using beams. 

While trimarans have a rich history dating back nearly four millennia, these types of sailboats have only gained popularity in the late 1900s and early 2000s. 

Trimarans are primarily used as personal boats for sailing enthusiasts or racing. These sailboats draw their versatility from their lightweight design, making them faster and easier to handle at sea when compared to single-hulled boats (monohulls). Additionally, the three hulls also contribute to better stability, making it very hard to capsize (although more likely than a cat according to this study)

Trimarans come in various sizes, and some can be as small as 19 feet (5.8 meters) in length, while others go up to 60 feet (18meters). They’re also used for different purposes. Most trimarans are used for racing and recreational purposes, although some units are still used as ferries.

As with all things, to find out which is the best we need to understand what it will be used for. There is a big difference in requirements between a boat used for day sailing compared to offshore around the world sailing.

The list below highlights the best trimarans for different purposes.

Best Trimarans For Cruising, Liveaboard and Sailing Around The World

The Neel 43 is a French trimaran best suited for cruising. Its key features include: 

  • Easy maneuverability on the open sea by only a small number of crew members 

This unit is also built for comfort, ideal for more extended travels. This 43-feet (13-meter) trimaran is also made with recyclable and bio-sourced materials, highlighting the manufacturer’s commitment to environmental consciousness. 

This trimaran has a base price of  €329,000 excluding VAT. This translates to approximately $370,138. 

2.Neel 47 Possibly The Best

Named the best full-size multihull for 2020, the Neel 47 is a strong contender for one of the best trimarans in the market. This 47-foot (14.3-meter) long trimaran features optimized exterior and interior ergonomics for a unique design and look. 

Still on design, the Neel 47 is ideal for couples looking to take a weekend off or spend some time as liveaboard. It has a spacious owner’s cabin and two bedrooms. It also features a spacious living room and kitchen and is optimized to ensure comfort for a couple. 

The Neel 47 also has two basic guest cabins so your friends or children can tag along on your sailing adventure. Accordingly, this unit is ideal for those looking to explore the sea for the sheer joy of sailing. 

The Neel 47 comes at a 571,139 euro ( $643,600 ) price tag, excluding VAT. 

3. Rapido 60 The Fast and Comfortable Circumnavigator

The Rapido 60 offers a blend of performance, safety, and luxury, making it one of the best options for bluewater sailing. Measuring 59.3 feet (18 meters) in length, the Rapido 60 is an imposing unit. It’s made from lightweight sandwiches and carbon materials that provide speed and strength, allowing it to stand up to strong ocean currents. 

The Rapido 60 also has spacious living spaces and is built for comfort at all points of the sail. Its design also optimizes safety. While it’s an ideal option for circumnavigating, it’s also an excellent choice for racing due to its speed. 

This is also the same boat that The Youtube channel La Vagabond just purchased.

The Rapido 60 retails at $1,400,000 . 

4. Rapido 40

The Rapido 40 measures 39.4 feet (12 meters) in length and is ideal for cruising around the world. The Rapido 40 features twin “C” foils, which provide added lift, enhancing its speed and performance whether you are sailing downwind or upwind. 

Because it has C foils, this trimaran doesn’t have a central daggerboard, increasing interior space. Accordingly, it’s an excellent option for couples looking to cruise and enjoy great performances .

The Rapido 40 is made from high-tech all-carbon materials for a lightweight yet sturdy design. This material is also used for the countertops and furniture, and the cork flooring adds a touch of style.

This trimaran retails for $595,000 , making it a cheaper option than the Rapido 60. 

5. Dragonfly 40

The Dragonfly 40 measures 40 feet (12 meters) in length. It features high-comfort standards, making it one of the best trimarans in the market for taking your family for a cruise. Because of its larger size, it has a better capacity, being capable of accommodating six to eight people, so you can bring your family and friends along. 

It’s easy to navigate and extremely safe. With a maximum speed of 24 knots (44.5 km/h), this trimaran also provides fast speeds to make your cruise even more exhilarating. 

The Dragonfly 40 retails from €509,000 exclusive of VAT, which rounds up to $572,000 . 

6. Dragonfly 32

The Dragonfly 32 is a high-performance cruiser. Like the Dragonfly 28, this unit features a contemporary design for racing. This trimaran can accommodate five to seven crew members. 

Although slightly longer than the Dragonfly 28 with its 32-foot (9.8-meter) length, the Dragonfly 32 has a max speed of 23+ knots (42.6+ km/h), making it one of the fastest trimarans for racing. This unit also has comfortable accommodation, which makes it an ideal option for a weekend cruise with family and friends. 

The Dragonfly 32 has a base price of $350,000 . 

7. Corsair 37

Thanks to a variable draft with a retractable rudder, the Corsair 37 is an ideal choice for shallow water exploration. This 37-foot (11.3-meter) long trimaran features advanced foam-cored construction designed for safety, making it virtually unsinkable. 

The carbon hulls minimize weight, this makes for a lightweight ocean exploration sailboat with blistering speeds. One of its selling points is that this trimaran has previously been used for Arctic expeditions, possibly marking it as one of the better options for circumnavigation and offshore sailing in the northern waters. 

This trimaran has a base price of $189,000 but can go up to $204,125 .

Best Trimarans For Day/Weekend Sailing

8. dragonfly 28.

The Dragonfly 28 is a 28-feet (8.75-meter) long sailboat that can accommodate up to five people. It comes in two versions: 

  • Touring version: This version is ideal for families.  
  • Performance version: This is built to provide optimal performance for the sports enthusiast within you. 

It clocks a maximum speed of 22+ knots (22+ km/h) and is beam-folded. It’s an excellent option if you want a high-performance, comfortable yet smaller unit for your day or weekend cruise. 

The Dragonfly 28 starts at  €188,280 inclusive of VAT, which comes to around $211,600. 

9. Dragonfly 25

Like other trimarans under the Dragonfly brand, this 25-foot (7.62-meter) trimaran is great for both racing and short term cruising. However, this high-performance boat delivers easy handling, making it perfect for couples looking to take a ride out over the weekend and seasoned sailors looking for an exhilarating racing adventure. 

The Touring version features a lightweight build and offers comfort and accommodation to keep you, and the few guests you can fit, comfortable during the ride. This trimaran also has a Sport version, which is optimized for racing. 

The Dragonfly 25 retails from EUR 86,800 . 

10. Pulse 600

The Pulse 600 trimaran is a compact sailboat. It’s made from lightweight, carbon-reinforced construction and vacuum-formed materials for optimal speed. This trimaran is an ideal option if you are looking for speed. 

It also features ample deck space, greater stability, and volume than most trimarans of similar size and build. 

This trimaran measures 19.8 feet (6 meters) in length and can be sailed single-handedly by one person with minimal effort. The Pulse 600 has a base price of $38,800 , which places it in the lower price range. 

The F-22 is one of the smaller trimarans in the market. Developed in New Zealand, the F-22 is a folding trimaran built for speed. The hulls are made from narrow fiberglass tied together using fiberglass beams and aluminum, minimizing bulk while optimizing speed. 

The F-22 is roomy and is not as pricey as other models in the market. This trimaran has two main versions: 

12. 2019 Weta Trimaran

The 2019 Weta trimaran is a 14.5-foot (4.4-meter) trimaran featuring a carbon frame, centerboard, rudder foil, and rudder shock. The hull is made from fiberglass and foam. The Weta is built for strength and speed based on these lightweight materials. 

The 2019 Weta trimaran is easy to sail and is worth considering whether you want to take a quiet sail, race with your friends, or take kids to a sailing lesson. It has a simple design and is easy to set up independently. Thanks to its collapsible design, this trimaran is easily stored away with minimal space demands. 

13. WindRider 17

The 17.4-foot (5.3-meter) WindRider 17 is one of the more versatile trimarans in the market. It packs high performance for a low cost. This trimaran has a light rotating mast to boost performance, and a full-battened mainsail optimizes visibility. 

This sailboat is made from rotomolded polyethylene, which is more durable than fiberglass and demands less maintenance.

The WindRider 17 has a comfortable interior and can fit six adults. This is an ideal choice for social sailing for a couple or a family and friends. It’s easy to ride, and a shallow draft allows easy maneuverability. 

14. Astus 22.5

If you’re looking for something small but still comfortable, this 22.5-foot trimaran is for you. Built for speed and maneuverability, the Astus 22.5 has optional foils to optimize speed. The modern design, coupled with the spacious interior, can fit up to four beds. Accordingly, this trimaran is suited for family outings. 

This trimaran also has a foldable design, collapsing to only 16 feet (4.9 meters) for easy storage. 

15. Multi 23 Trimaran 

The Multi 23 trimaran has a contemporary design, featuring a vinyl ester and PVC foam core construction. The section below the waterline is made of solid glass for a sturdy base.

The beams are made of lightweight carbon, and the trimaran features a 33-foot (10-meter) aluminum rotating wing mast for optimal harnessing of the wind. While ideal for weekend excursions with family, once rigged with the asymmetrical spinnaker will get your heart pumping.

This trimaran packs high performance at a lower cost than most other options in the market. It’s a good choice if you are looking for a high-performing unit without spending an arm and a leg. 

16. Challenger Class Trimaran

The Challenger Trimaran 15 is the best choice for persons with disabilities. It’s designed to provide disabled sailors an opportunity to explore their passion for sailing without worrying about aspects like safety or operation. 

A man named Geoff Hold circumnavigated the British Isles in 2007, becoming the first disabled person to achieve this feat. He had quadriplegia. 

Living up to its name, the Challenger can withstand harsh weather conditions while blending performance with speed. 

Final Thoughts 

Admittedly, no trimaran is best for everyone. But whether you are looking to race with your friends, take your loved ones or friends for a cruise over the weekend, or circumnavigate the ocean, you can rest assured that these lightweight trimarans will deliver speed, safety, and comfort to make it worth your while. 

These brands are innovatively designed and feature intricate safety mechanisms that make them virtually unsinkable. Give them a shot and begin your ocean adventure. 

  • Basco Boating: A Comprehensive Guide & Introduction to Trimaran Yachts
  • TheBoatAPP: New Trumarans: Which are the Best Ones
  • Corsair Marine: Corsair 37
  • Dragonfly: Dragonfly 28
  • Rapido Trimarans: Rapido 60
  • Neel Trimarans: Neel 43
  • Yachting World: World’s Collect Yachts: Maxi Trimaran MACIF
  • Yachting Monthly: Dragonfly 28 Performance
  • Rapido Trimarans: Rapido 40
  • Dragonfly: Dragon 32
  • Dragonfly: Dragonfly 40
  • Yachting World: Dragonfly 40 yacht tour: This cruising trimaran can do 24 knots
  • Dragonfly: Dragonfly 25
  • NauticExpo: Dragonfly 25
  • Yachtworld: Corsair 37 boats for sale
  • Cruising World: Neel 47 Trimaran: Best Full-Size Multihull0
  • Neel Trimaran: Neel 47
  • Multihull Solutions: NEEL 47 Boat Review | Cruising World
  • Yacht World: 2022 Neel 47 for sale
  • Farrier International: F-22
  • Weta Marine: The Boat
  • WindRider: WindRider 17 Trimaran Sailboat 
  • Astus Boats: Astus 22.5
  • Boat-specs: Multi 23
  • National Maritime Museum Cornwall: Challenger Trimaran #1 – BC26

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

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11 Best Small Sailboat Brands: How to Choose Your Next Daysailer or Pocket Cruiser

12th oct 2023 by samantha wilson.

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Sailing is a relaxing, invigorating pastime that allows you to harness wind and waves in a unique and historic way without requiring a 50-foot yacht to enjoy what’s special about the experience. In fact, small sailboats allow a delightful back-to-basics experience that often gets lost on larger, systems-heavy sailboats.

On a small sailboat you can connect with the sea, feeling the boat move beneath you. The boat is typically easy to rig, simple to sail, and can even be sailed solo. Small sailboats give you the freedom to trailer your or car-top your boat and go anywhere, and they’re perfect for learning the nuances of sailing. There are many excellent brands and models of small sailboat, each with their own appeal, and here we narrow down some of our favorite in the daysailer and pocket cruiser categories under 30 feet. 

Difference Between a Daysailer and a Pocket Cruiser

While there are many different types of sailboat on the market and there is no single definition of either a daysailer or a pocket cruiser, they are used in a particular way, as the names imply. The term daysailer covers a huge array of sailboats, smaller and sometimes larger, and is generally defined as any day boat used for local sailing, with a simple rig, and easy to get underway. A pocket cruiser typically offers a cabin and head, and adequate accommodations for an overnight stay and sometimes longer cruises. Having said that, there is a large overlap between the two in many instances, so the lines may become blurred. 

What Size is a Small Sailboat?

Small is a relative term of course, but in general—and for the purposes of this article—a small sailboat is one that could be sailed by a small crew, often with one or two people aboard. It will have a simple rig and be trailerable, and it might be either a daysailer or pocket-cruiser style vessel as above. Within those categories, there are many models and styles, but when it comes to length we consider a sailboat as small when it’s under 30 feet in overall length. 

The Best Sailboats Under 30 Feet

Pocket cruiser: Beneteau First 27.  The Beneteau First 27 is a modern example of a pocket cruiser, earning Cruising World ’s Boat of the Year award in the Pocket Cruiser category in 2022. With space for up to six people accommodated in a separated bow-cabin and open saloon, it offers families the chance to go farther, explore more, and cruise in comfort. There is a galley with freshwater and a head, adding to the interior home comforts. The sailboat itself is modern, fast, and stable, designed by Sam Manuard, and has been designed to be incredibly safe and almost unsinkable thanks to its three watertight chambers. The handling is also refreshingly intuitive, with a well-designed cockpit, simple deck controls, and double winches allowing it to be sailed solo, by two people, or a small crew. 

Beneteau First 27

Photo credit: Beneteau

Daysailer: Alerion 28.  You’ll certainly turn heads cruising along in an Alerion 28, a daysailer whose forerunner by the same name was designed by Nathanael Herreshoff in 1912 and then updated with a modern underbody for fiberglass production by Carl Schumacher in the late 1980s. This pretty daysailer manages to combine a traditional silhouette and classic feel, with very modern engineering creating an excellent package. Over 470 of these sailboats were built and sold in the past 30 years, making it one of the most popular modern daysailers on the water. With a small cabin and saloon, complete with miniature galley area, it offers respite from the sun or wind and the option for a night aboard. The cockpit offers a beautiful sailing experience, with plenty of space for the whole family. 

Alerion28

Photo credit: Alerion Yachts

The Best Sailboats Under 25 Feet

Pocket cruiser: Cornish Crabber 24.  British manufacturer Cornish Crabber has been producing beautiful, traditional style small sailboats for decades, ensuring they honor their heritage both in the construction style and appearance of their boats. The Cornish Crabber 24 is the most iconic of their range and dates back to the 1980s. It offers a simple yet surprisingly spacious interior layout with cabin, galley, and head, and a good sized cockpit, as well as seating for up to six people. It’s the perfect family sailboat, with clever use of storage as well as just under 5000 pounds of displacement providing stability and easy tacking. Aesthetically the 24 is simply beautiful, with a traditional silhouette (combined with modern engineering), finished in hardwood trims. 

Cornish Crabber 24

Photo credit: Cornish Crabber

Daysailer: Catalina 22 Capri.  Catalina sailboats need little introduction, and are one of the world’s best-known, most-respected brands building small sailboats. The Catalina 22 Capri (also available in a sport model) is a great example of what Catalina does so well. While we’ve classified it as a daysailer, it could easily cross into the pocket cruiser category, as it offers excellent sailing performance in almost all conditions as well as having a small cabin, galley, and head. Loved for its safety, stability, ease of handling and simple maintenance, it makes for a good first family boat for getting out onto the bay or lake. 

Catalina 22 Capri

Photo credit: Catalina

The Best Sailboats Under 20 Feet

Pocket cruiser: CapeCutter 19.  This is another model that combines the beauty of the traditional silhouettes with modern-day advancements. The design originates from the classic gaff cutter work boats, but today offers excellent performance—in fact it’s one of the fastest small gaffers in the world. The interior is cleverly spacious, with four berths, two of which convert into a saloon, as well as a simple galley area. With quick rigging, it can be sailed solo, but is also able to accommodate small groups, making it a capable and hugely versatile pocket cruiser. 

CapeCutter 19

Photo credit: Cape Cutter 19

Daysailer: Swallow Yachts’ BayRaider 20.  Classic looks with modern performance are combined in Swallow Yachts’ beautiful BayRaider 20. This is one of the most capable and safest daysailers we’ve seen, but also incredibly versatile thanks to the choices of ballast. Keep the ballast tank empty and it’s light and fast. Fill the tank up and you’ve got a stable and safe boat perfect for beginners and families. While it’s got an eye-catching traditional style, the engineering is modern, with a strong carbon mast and construction. While this is a true daysailer, you can use the optional spray hood and camping accessories to create an overnight adventure. 

Swallow Yachts BayRaider 20

Photo credit: Swallow Yachts

The Best Sailboats Under 15 Feet

Pocket Cruiser: NorseBoat 12.5.  Can we truly call the NorseBoat 12.5 a pocket cruiser? Yes we can! The sheer versatility of this excellent little sailboat has convinced us. These beautiful hand-crafted sailboats offer exceptional performance and are described by the manufacturer as ‘the Swiss Army Knives of sailboats’. The traditionally styled 12.5 can be sailed, rowed, and motored. It can be trailered, easily beached, and even used as a camp cruiser, allowing for overnight adventures. There is no end to the fun that can be had with this easy-to-sail and easy-to-handle boat, which makes it a dream to learn in. With positive flotation, lots of clever storage, and a full-size double berth for camp cruising, it really is the perfect mini pocket cruiser. 

NorseBoat 12.5

Photo credit: NorseBoats

Daysailer: Original Beetle Cat Boat 12: All across the bays of the US east coast cat boats have long been part of the ocean landscape. Able to access shallow rocky coves yet also withstand the strong coastal winds, these traditional New England fishing boats have an iconic shape and gaff-rigged mainsails. Beetle Cat have been producing elegant wooden cat boats for over 100 years – in fact they’ve made and sold over 4,000 boats to date. Their 12 foot Cat Boat 12 is one of their finest models, offering lovely daysailing opportunities. It has a wide beam and centerboard that lifts up, allowing it to access shallow waters, as well as a forward mast and single sail gaff rig in keeping with the traditional cat boats. To sail one of these is to be part of the heritage of New England and Cape Cod, and to honor the ancient art of hand-made boat building. 

Beetle Cat official website

Beetle Cat Boat 12

Photo credit: Beetle Cat

The Best Small Sailboats for Beginners

When it comes to learning to sail, it’s important to have a boat that is easy to handle. There’s no quicker way to put yourself or your family off sailing than to start off with a boat that is either too big or too complicated. When choosing your first boat we recommend the following characteristics:

  • Small: The benefits of starting off with a small boat are many, as we’ve seen above. They’re easier to control as well as to moor, and they react more quickly to steering and sails. They can be trailered and launched easily, and the loads generated are much lower than on bigger, heavier boats.
  • Easy to sail: You want a boat that is stable and forgiving of mistakes, doesn’t capsize easily, and isn’t too overpowered in a stronger breeze. Keep things simple and learn as you go.
  • Simple sail configuration: Choosing a boat that can be rigged by one person in a few minutes, and easily sailed solo, makes it easier to take along inexperienced crews. With regards to the rig, all you need are a halyard to hoist the mainsail and a sheet to control the mainsail.
  • Tiller steering: We recommend boats with tiller steering over wheel steering when starting out. The tiller allows you to get a real feel for the boat and how the rudder works as it moves through the water. 

For more information on choosing the best beginner sailboat check out our full guide. There are many popular brands of beginner boats including Sunfish, Laser, and Hunter Marlow. Some of our favorites include;

Hobie 16: The classic Hobie catamaran has been a well-loved beginner sailboat for years, and the Hobie 16 started life back in 1969. Since then they’ve made and sold over a staggering 100,000 of the 16s. It has twin fiberglass and foam hulls, a large trampoline, and a pull-up rudder so it can be sailed straight onto the beach. The basic package comes with an easy to handle main and jib with plenty of extras available too such as a spinnaker and trailer. The Hobie 16 promises a great learning experience and lots of fun in a very nifty and inexpensive package. 

Hobie 16

Photo credit: Hobie

Paine 14: You’ll immediately fall in love with sailing when you step into a beautiful Paine 14. Made from seamless epoxy cold-molded wood, the P-14 is simply beautiful and offers the classic sailing experience with the design and innovation of a more modern hull and rig. Two people will be able to enjoy getting out on the water together and learning the ropes. The Paine 14 has a lead ballast keel that accounts for nearly half her weight, giving her the feel of a much larger boat, but is still trailerable and easy to manage offering the best of both worlds.

Paine 14

Photo credit: Chuck Paine

High-Performance Small Sailboats

Small sailboats generally become high performers if they are light, have a lot of sail area, or they have more than one hull. More recently, some of have been designed with foiling surfaces, as well. For the purposes of this article, we’d like to close by pointing out one model that is super fast and has versatile pocket-cruising capabilities.

Corsair 880 trimaran : The Corsair 880 trimaran is the grandchild of the company’s F27, a model that launched the popularity of trailerable leisure trimarans about 40 years ago. The 880 has taken the model to new heights and exemplifies the incredible space benefits you can achieve in a 29-foot sailboat. We’re talking an aft cabin, room to sleep 5 people, an enclosed head, and standing headroom in the galley and main saloon. It brings many of the opportunities that a much larger yacht plus the ability to cruise in extremely shallow water. Whether you want to cruise to the Bahamas or enjoy a high-adrenaline race, the Corsair 880 offers incredible performance and unlimited adventures in a truly pocket size. 

Corsair 880

Photo credit: Corsair

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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CORSAIR PULSE 600

A new one design 20' corsair trimaran - more compact and affordable than ever before, to appeal to modern sailors and families who can now join the growing corsair trimaran community., unfold your freedom, on the pulse 600 trimaran.

A new one design 20′ Corsair trimaran – more compact and affordable than ever before, to appeal to modern sailors and families who can now join the growing Corsair trimaran community. The Pulse 600 trimaran offers countless hours of fun, excitement and adventure in an easy to launch convenient package.

get your pulse racing

In even the lightest of winds.

The Pulse 600 trimaran is a compact big sailboat, not an oversized small boat. Featuring lightweight carbon reinforced construction, and the same vacuum-formed materials as the rest of the trimaran range, this sailing trimaran will get your pulse racing in event the lightest of winds. The Pulse 600 is a sport trimaran that is about pure fun.

on a Pulse 600 trimaran

Designed for convenient, easy trailering, easy rigging and setup, the Pulse 600 trimaran can be quickly launched, unfolded, and get out on the water. With modern reverse bows and high volume floats, even the most performance-oriented sailors have plenty to get hooked on with our smallest addition to the Corsair  range, from design partners The Yacht Design Collective.

The open cockpit is designed for a crew of up to four but can equally be sailed single or double handed. Versatility is a key feature of this trimaran and the forward area provides enough storage and cover for day sailing / weekend adventures or can simply be left empty for go-fast racing. Family, crew mates or friends, it doesn’t matter with whom you sail, unfold your freedom on a Pulse 600 trimaran.

A FAST, FUN AND EASY TRIMARAN

A FAST, FUN AND EASY TRIMARAN "It was heartening to see a whole crop of new daysailers at this year’s fall shows, including sailboats with one, two or three hulls. But in the end, the judges decided the real standout in the group was the Corsair Pulse 600 trimaran." - SAIL Magazine

A FAST, FUN AND EASY TRIMARAN "Another great weekend test sailing the Pulse 600 sailing trimaran, although the breeze was a little shifty, we were able to test the carbon bowsprit. Until the bigger spinnaker arrives, the flying head sail had to do. But don't worry, we still managed to have plenty of fun! Some great reaching runs saw the leeward floats pressed at times and speeds in the high teens." - Mike Rees, General Manager at Corsair Marine Trimarans

A FAST, FUN AND EASY TRIMARAN "The Pulse 600 trimaran indeed makes it easy for sailors of different skill and experience levels to satisfy the need for speed while offering more deck space, more hull volume and stability than catamarans of the same size. And all of that without requiring circus acts on a trapeze wire. If a mellower pace is desired, it doesn’t put the Pulse 600 trimaran on the spot, because it has the necessary volume to accommodate guests. Regatta aficionados will be satisfied to learn that this little trimaran will be organized as a one-design class." - Reviewed by Dieter Loibner on boats.com

A FAST, FUN AND EASY TRIMARAN "Hitting 12+ knots of boat speed, the Pulse 600 trimaran just started to fly along and hum beautifully off the breeze and started to feel closer to an F18 than a Dash or Sprint... it was getting real fun at this stage. We started to drive it pretty hard downwind for the conditions as the apparent wind continued to increase. The float design just continued to impress as we flew through some chop and you could just see the buoyancy on those babies keeping the boat planning." - Brent Vaughan, Director at Multihull Central

A FAST, FUN AND EASY TRIMARAN "Three words suffice to describe the Pulse 600 trimaran's performance: IT'S. A. BLAST. Not only does this trimaran have superb sailing performance but it's the most comfortable small sailboat we have ever sailed on. The modern hull shapes created by Francois Perus means that we have yet to bury the leeward float bow even when reaching in 25 knots of wind with full main up." - Don Wigston, Windcraft

daysailer trimaran

SPECIFICATIONS

Overall length, 19'8" / 6 m, 14'9" / 4.5 m, beam folded, 8' / 2.45 m, draft (hull only), 9" / 0.22 m, draft d/b down, 3' 11" / 1.2 m, mast length, 31' 2" / 9.5 m, unladen weight, 992.2 lbs / 450 kg, recommended options.

daysailer trimaran

DUAL TILLER EXTENSIONS

These tiller extensions transmit subtle boat and rudder movements, allowing you to steer by the feel of the helm. The simple and lightweight design has no unnecessary frills—every aspect contributes to its strength, stiffness, or comfort.

daysailer trimaran

OUTBOARD BRACKET

A reinforced composite bracket for the Pulse 600 which helps you to mount the outboard engine quickly and easily.

daysailer trimaran

If you are planning to install a spinnaker head sail on your Pulse you will need to have this bowsprit option and the associated deck hardware installed (See options 17371 and 17480, or 17143) the downwind sheeting and tack line control or a top-down spinnaker furler.

daysailer trimaran

DOWN WIND SHEETING

This kit will include all hardware needed for the full functioning of the carbon bowsprit. If you plan to have a spinnaker or screacher this is a required option

daysailer trimaran

TOP DOWN SPINNAKER FURLER

The Ronstan continuous furling system delivers proven performance and reliability, within the reach of cruising budgeted sailors, and racing sailors alike.

SPECIAL NOTES: Advanced drum technology Maintenance-Free Bearing System Top-down models for soft luff sails Secure & flexible attachment options Rotation stop accessory

MATERIALS: Grade 17-4PH forged stainless steel shackles Grade 316 stainless steel fastners Grade 2205 stainless steel shaft & pins Aluminium drum, swivel jaws & line guide PTFE perimeter strip

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8 Best Daysailers Under 21 Feet – Buying Guide

HUNTER 15

SAFFIER SE 33 UD

Chris Riley

It’s a sunny day, and you want to take a spin around the harbor. What better way to do that than launching a daysailer?

These sailboats are traditionally smaller than a cruise ship or yacht, but considerably bigger than kayaks , catamarans, inflatable dinghies , and other smaller boats. Owning an open sailboat shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg, but expect to spend some top dollar.

Here are 8 best daysailers that are 21 feet or under.

CATALINA 16.5

CATALINA 16.5

Let’s kick things off with the Catalina 16.5 sailboat. It might come as a surprise to find a Catalina boat listed among the best daysailers under 20 feet because the name is more known for bigger cruiser yachts. But there are a whole lot of small boats built by Catalina, too.

The Catalina 16.5 is one of the most versatile hand-laminated fiberglass sloops from this designer and can be purchased with the option of a 4-feet 5-inch shoal-draft keel or a centerboard that draws 5-inch with the board up.

Consider choosing the lead-keel option if you want to park it on a mooring or at the dock. It is built to remain stable in such conditions. On the flip side, getting the centerboard version is most suitable if you want to store the boat on a trailer.

Catalina builds all their boats with a self-bailing cockpit, and the 16.5 is no different. It comes with a huge self-bailing cockpit. There is a waterproof hatch and a stowage space forward of the boat. The boat also comes with standard hiking straps and a tiller extension if you want to step on to the side deck for some spray in your face and good visibility forward.

You can get out on the water with around ten grand or more. Check out current listings for Catalina 16.5 .

 Boats  →

Teaching your kids or anyone to sail requires a low-maintenance and very steady boat. This is where the Hunter 15 shines. It is a perfect knockabout sailboat that can take a lot of rough beating without breaking, thanks to its high freeboard and fiberglass construction.

The boat has a wide beam that ensures she’s steady no matter what. Crew-weight shifts or sudden crazy jibes that may happen along the way won’t do a thing to this boat. And even the most fearful and unsteady learner won’t fall out of it. It will take a tremendous effort to capsize this beautiful boat, making it one of the best daysailers any daysailer (or intending daysailer) would want to have.

But stability and durability are not the only pluses for the Hunter 15. It has a self-bailing cockpit that allows any water that gets into the boat to exit quickly. There is room enough to comfortably accommodate up to four people.

Getting a durable and high-performance sailboat that will cruise smoothly on the water is one thing; finding convenient storage is an entirely different ballgame. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend extra cash when it comes to this boat. The sailboat can fit into your garage while sitting on a trailer. And here’s another good thing with Hunter 15; you don’t have to worry about varnishing wood afterward.

But perhaps the best part of the Hunter 15 is that it is a very affordable boat. Although sailboats don’t come cheap, you don’t have to break the bank to own one of the beauties.

Prices for a new one range from around $10k, and you can find used ones for less. Check out the listings of Hunter 15 and other equally excellent models of the Hunter sailboat.

PAINE 14

Ready for some painless daysailing? Renowned designer, Chuck Paine, has something classy and beautiful for you. The Paine 14 (obviously named after the designer) is a trailerable sailboat with exceptional performance and purposely styled after the traditional Herresholf 12 1/2 boat, except for its size. Paine 14 is a lot smaller in all aspects, which accounts for its considerable lightness.

It is fitted with a modern spade rudder and fin keel, giving the boat more agility and speed as she sails. And even with a lead-ballast keel almost her total weight, this sweet, small vessel maintains stability at top speed.

But why is a boat with an old-time appeal be listed among the best daysailers? Simple. It is a blend of the classic old and modern performance. Indeed, it is constructed from cold-molded wood with varnished gunnels and transom, but don’t be fooled by that century-old look.

Chuck Paine worked some modern magic into this cute beauty with the inclusion of a carbon mast and an extremely easy way to attach sails to it. Setting up sail is quick and simple, and you can get it done and over with in only a couple of minutes.

The boat can be gaff-rigged, or you can use a Marconi rig. Got a standard car? That’s all you need to trailer this light sailboat, and you are good to go.

Check here for Paine 14 listings .

 Chuckpaine  →

LASER

If you want a sailboat that will get your adrenaline pumping and bring out the competitive sailor in you, perhaps you should take a look at the Laser .

The 13-feet 10-inch Laser boat is not included on the list of the best daysailers for nothing. It is raced both as club races and as an international sailing category, featuring in world-class competitions, including the Olympic sailing championships.

However, you don’t have to take part in a competition to enjoy sailing this boat. And you definitely don’t need it for exercising. The Laser is a great choice even if you simply want to enjoy plain smooth sailing just for fun.

The Laser boat has an incredibly lightweight build with fiberglass and a powerful sail. It is an excellent choice for a single cruiser and works well for two adults, too. Be warned, though. It can easily capsize because it is lightweight, but it will also recover just as fast, too!

The boat is easy to transport, launch, and store, thanks to its kick-up rudder. Laser Performance built this model to have a single sail, two-part mast design, with a daggerboard.

This sailboat is very affordable. Prices start from $7k for new boats, and you can find used ones for far less than that. Check here for Laser boat listings .

You can’t go wrong with a design that has been in existence for over five decades and with more than one hundred thousand boats launched since it debuted in Southern California. The Hobie 16 is a long-lasting design that has stood the test of time and attracts quite a following.

This sailboat weighs only 320 pounds, so it is conveniently trailerable. It has ample room to accommodate a crew of four without straining it. The hulks are built from asymmetric fiberglass sandwich and come with kick-up rudders. This gives you the option of sailing all the way to the beach.

The Hobie 16 is designed to have great speed, thanks to its abundant high-speed gear. But that’s not all. It is also equipped with a spinnaker, a trailer, and a douse kit. The main and jib offer a wide sail area of more than 200 square feet.

Both adults and kids will enjoy having lots of fun in this spacious sailboat, especially in the summer. Little wonder it is one of the very best daysailers available on the market.

The Hobie 16 is a high-performance boat with starting prices for new ones in the $12K range. You can find used ones at a little less. But if you want a simpler, smaller, and more affordable option, take a look at the Hobie Cat Wave . It is not a high-performance design, but it offers loads of fun, too. It comes with roto-molded hulls and fitted with a boomless mainsail. This smaller version costs almost half the price of the 16’s, which is a pretty good bargain.

NORSEBOAT 17.5

NORSEBOAT 17.5

Looking for one of the best daysailers that will stand out from any crowd? The Norseboat 17.5 might just be the perfect sailboat for you. Dubbed as the “Swiss Army Knife of Boats,” this one-of-a-kind sailboat can be sailed or rowed.

But wouldn’t it take a lot of effort to row this boat? No. Not with the boat’s sheer. The fiberglass hull has lots of sheer – a deliberate and apt design to make rowing easy-breezy. So, even if there’s no wind, you can still have fun rowing while getting some exercise in the process. And if the wind is strong enough, you can relax and let the jib and mainsail do their thing.

The Norseboat 17.5 is the perfect choice for daysailers searching for a high-performance boat that comes with beautiful traditional lines. But even if you are a sea kayaker who is looking to move up, or a cruising sailor seeking to downsize a bit, you’ll find this legendary pedigree to be a good fit for you.

Some of its features include a fully battened mainsail, pivoting carbon mast, shallow draft, furling headsail, and a signature curved headboard. The lightweight boat comes with two rowing stations and performs excellently well, whether wind-powered or rowed. Plus, it has plenty of room to stow stuff.

The boat’s light weight makes transportation easy. All you need is a mid-sized car, and you can easily tow it. Storage is equally hassle-free, as the sailboat can fit into any standard garage.

Check out the current listings for Norseboat 17.5 .

 Norseboat  →

FAREAST 18

Traditional daysailers are small sailboats that you can take for a quick spin around the harbor. They lack accommodation primarily because they are not designed for spending the night (it’s even in the name!). But all that has changed over the years, and that distinction is almost non-existent with modern designs such as the Fareast 18 .

The boat is a Simonis Voogd design with incredibly high performance, high speed, low maintenance, and comes at a comparatively affordable price. The mainsail has a fully battened square-top and an asymmetrical spinnaker. This is an excellent choice for buoy racing with enough room for a crew of six to compete.

While you typically will not spend the night in a daysailer, there’s nothing wrong with taking a short break below deck. The boat can comfortably sleep up to three just in case you decide to spend the night on the water.

Fareast 18 design features a foam-core hull/vacuum-infused fiberglass, a carbon-structured contemporary bulb keel, and vacuum-infused foils. This high-tech boat is small enough to be rigged and launched by a single sailor.

Even with only one foot of water, this boat will float with the keel retracted and the rudder off. And it is quite easy to trailer this boat.

Check for the current price of new Fareast 18 boats .

 Fareast  →

If you are in the market for a top-class daysailer, you might as well take a look at the Saffier Se 33 UD . Hennevanger brothers, the designers, threw in a lot of know-how and investment to bring this dream boat to reality. The production facility shows in the vacuum-infused build and quality finish of the boat.

Saffier has a collection of models that range between 21 feet and 37 feet, with each boat thoroughly tested to ensure seaworthiness. Considering the size of these boats, one will naturally assume they will be difficult to sail. But that’s not the case with these boats. Even the largest models can be sailed single-handedly and quite easily.

The Se 33 UD was launched in 2014 and done a sporty design. It sails smoothly in all weather conditions, thanks to its solid sprayhood. The sailboat features a practical self-draining cockpit to expel any water that gets into the boat. Included in the cockpit are a folding transform and two-meter benches. The boat is spacious enough for a crew of four, and you can even take a quick nap below.

This top-class boat is an excellent choice if you have deep pockets. Starting prices are in the range of $150k for new boats. You can also check out the new Se 27 model if you want something that is serious fun. The new models can clock up to 20 knots.

For more on pricing, you can check out listings on these boats.

How to Choose the Best Daysailers – Buying Guide

daysailer trimaran

With well over a hundred different daysailers on the market, it can be daunting to pick just one. Here’s what to look for when deciding on which open sailboat to buy for yourself or family use.

Ease of Sail

How a boat behaves when the wind blows up can make it easy or difficult to sail. A lot of modern sailboats are incredibly fast and are great for racing, but can be quite tricky to handle.

You want to look for an open boat that is tamer and stable. This is the perfect choice for a family day sailing boat, especially if you want to encourage kids to learn to sail. Look for a boat that is heavy enough to remain stable regardless of the crew’s acrobatics. It should be easy to rig, launch, and sail, even by a single person.

Reliability

While it is okay to take proper care of your boat, it is equally important to choose a boat that is easy to maintain. Go for boats with hulls designed to a beating without breaking down. Pay attention to the sails, too. Select one with tough sails that won’t easily blow out of shape after just one season of sailing.

Choose a Daysailer with Safety Features

Whether you will be sailing alone or with your family, safety should come first. Pick a boat that can cope with trouble in any condition or weather, and both on rivers or open waters. Look for a sailboat with positive foam floatation. Even if the hull gets filled with water or is punctured, the boat shouldn’t sink.

But because you cannot completely rule out manufacturing errors, even the best daysailers with safety designs can still capsize. However, you should look out for one with a “self-rescue” feature. In other words, choose a boat that rides very high even when it capsizes, so that the weight of her crew will quickly get her to recover without external help.

High Performance

Safety and stability are great, but that shouldn’t translate to a dull boat. You want a sailboat that provides safety as much as it offers some level of fun and exciting challenge even with your family on board.

Ample Space

Daysailers are typically small sailboats, but they should provide enough room to suit your purpose. Whether you want to sail with your family or a few friends, choose a boat that can comfortably accommodate the entire crew.

While not a requirement, a few modern designs include overnight abilities. Consider choosing these types if you spend a lot of time in the open water, even if you are primarily using an open daysailer. You never know when you will be tempted to spend the night cruising in the open water.

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Outdoors, I’m in my element, especially in the water. I know the importance of being geared up for anything. I do the deep digital dive, researching gear, boats and knowhow and love keeping my readership at the helm of their passions.

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10 Best Small Sailboats (Under 20 Feet)

Best Small Sailboats Under 20 Feet | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

December 28, 2023

Compact, easy to trailer, simple to rig, easy to maintain and manage, and affordable, the best small boats all have one thing in common: they offer loads of fun while out there on the water.

So whether you're on a budget or just looking for something that can offer ultimate daytime rides without compromising on safety, aesthetic sensibilities, alternate propulsion, and speed, the best small sailboats under 20 feet should be the only way to go.

Let's be brutally honest here; not everyone needs a 30-foot sailboat to go sailing. They come with lots of features such as electronics, entertainment, refrigeration, bunks, a galley, and even a head. But do you really need all these features to go sailing? We don't think so.

All you need to go sailing is a hull, a mast, rudder, and, of course, a sail. And whether you refer to them as daysailers, trailerable sailboats , a weekender sailboat, or pocket cruisers, there's no better way to enjoy the thrills of coastal sailing than on small sailboats.

There are a wide range of small boats measuring less than 20 feet available in the market. These are hot products in the market given that they offer immense thrills out on the sea without the commitment required to cruise on a 30-footer. A small sailboat will not only give you the feel of every breeze but will also give you the chance to instantly sense every change in trim.

In this article, we'll highlight 10 best small sailboats under 20 feet . Most models in this list are time-tested, easy to rig, simple to sail, extremely fun, and perfect either for solo sailing or for sailing with friends and family. So if you've been looking for a list of some of the best small sailboats , you've come to the right place.

So without further ado, let's roll on.

Table of contents

{{boat-info="/boats/hunter-15"}}

The Marlow-Hunter 15 is not only easy to own since it's one of the most affordable small sailboats but also lots of fun to sail. This is a safe and versatile sailboat for everyone. Whether you're sailing with your family or as a greenhorn, you'll love the Hunter 15 thanks to its raised boom, high freeboard, and sturdy FRP construction.

With high sides, a comfortable wide beam, a contoured self-bailing cockpit, and fiberglass construction, the Hunter 15 is certainly designed with the novice sailor in mind. This is why you can do a lot with this boat without falling out, breaking it, or capsizing. Its contoured self-baiting cockpit will enable you to find a fast exit while its wide beam will keep it steady and stable no matter what jibes or weight shifts happen along the way.

This is a small sailboat that can hold up to four people. It's designed to give you a confident feeling and peace of mind even when sailing with kids. It's easy to trailer, easy to rig, and easy to launch. With a price tag of about $10k, the Hunter 15 is a fun, affordable, and versatile boat that is perfect for both seasoned sailors and novices. It's a low-maintenance sailboat that can be great for teaching kids a thing or two about sailing.

Catalina 16.5

{{boat-info="/boats/catalina-16-5"}}

Catalina Yachts are synonymous with bigger boats but they have some great and smaller boats too such as Catalina 16.5. This is one of the best small sailboats that are ideal for family outings given that it has a big and roomy cockpit, as well as a large storage locker. Designed with a hand-laminated fiberglass sloop, the Catalina 16.5 is versatile and is available in two designs: the centerboard model and the keel model.

The centerboard model is designed with a powerful sailplane that remains balanced as a result of the fiberglass centerboard, the stable hull form, and the rudder. It also comes with a tiller extension, adjustable hiking straps, and adjustable overhaul. It's important to note that these are standard equipment in the two models.

As far as the keel model is concerned, this is designed with a high aspect keel as the cast lead and is attached with stainless steel keel bolts, which makes this model perfect for mooring or docking whenever it's not in use. In essence, the centerboard model is perfect if you'll store it in a trailer while the keel model can remain at the dock.

All in all, the Catalina 16.5 is one of the best small sailboats that you can get your hands on for as low as $10,000. This is certainly a great example of exactly what a daysailer should be.

{{boat-info="/boats/hobie-16"}}

There's no list of small, trailerable, and fun sailboats that can be complete without the inclusion of the classic Hobie 16. This is a durable design that has been around and diligently graced various waters across the globe since its debut way back in 1969 in Southern California. In addition to being durable, the Hobie 16 is trailerable, great for speed, weighs only 320 pounds, great for four people, and more importantly, offers absolute fun.

With a remarkable figure of over 100,000 launched since its debut, it's easy to see that the Hobie 16 is highly popular. Part of this popularity comes from its asymmetric fiberglass-and-foam sandwiched hulls that include kick-up rudders. This is a great feature that allows it to sail up to the beach.

For about $12,000, the Hobie 16 will provide you with endless fun throughout the summer. It's equipped with a spinnaker, trailer, and douse kit. This is a high-speed sailboat that has a large trampoline to offer lots of space not just for your feet but also to hand off the double trapezes.

Montgomery 17

{{boat-info="/boats/montgomery-17"}}

Popularly known as the M-17, The Montgomery 17 was designed by Lyle C. Hess in conjunction with Jerry Montgomery in Ontario, California for Montgomery Boats. Designed either with keel or centerboard models, the M-17 is more stable than most boats of her size. This boat is small enough to be trailered but also capable of doing moderate offshore passages.

This small sailboat is designed with a masthead and toe rail that can fit most foresails. It also has enough space for two thanks to its cuddly cabin, which offers a sitting headroom, a portable toilet, a pair of bunks, a DC power, and optional shore, and a proper amount of storage. That's not all; you can easily raise the deck-stepped mast using a four-part tackle.

In terms of performance, the M-17 is one of the giant-killers out there. This is a small sailboat that will excel in the extremes and make its way past larger boats such as the Catalina 22. It glides along beautifully and is a dog in light air, though it won't sail against a 25-knot wind, which can be frustrating. Other than that, the Montgomery 17 is a great small sailboat that can be yours for about $14,000.

Norseboat 17.5

{{boat-info="/boats/norseboat-17-5"}}

As a versatile daysailer, Norseboat 17.5 follows a simple concept of seaworthiness and high-performance. This small sailboat perfectly combines both contemporary construction and traditional aesthetics. Imagine a sailboat that calls itself the "Swiss Army Knife of Boats!" Well, this is a boat that can sail and row equally well.

Whether you're stepping down from a larger cruiser or stepping up from a sea kayak, the unique Norseboat 17.5 is balanced, attractive, and salty. It has curvaceous wishbone gaff, it is saucy, and has a stubby bow-sprit that makes it attractive to the eyes. In addition to her beauty, the Norseboat 17.5 offers an energy-pinching challenge, is self-sufficient, and offers more than what you're used to.

This is a small, lightweight, low-maintenance sailboat that offers a ticket to both sailing and rowing adventures all at the same time. At about 400 pounds, it's very portable and highly convenient. Its mainsails may look small but you'll be surprised at how the boat is responsive to it. With a $12,500 price tag, this is a good small sailboat that offers you the versatility to either row or sail.

{{boat-info="/boats/sage-marine-sage-17"}}

If you've been looking for a pocket cruiser that inspires confidence, especially in shoal water, look no further than the Sage 17. Designed by Jerry Montgomery in 2009, the Sage 17 is stable and should heel to 10 degrees while stiffening up. And because you want to feel secure while sailing, stability is an integral feature of the Sage 17.

This is a sailboat that will remain solid and stable no matter which part of the boat you stand on. Its cabin roof and the balsa-cored carbon-fiber deck are so strong that the mast doesn't require any form of compression post. The self-draining cockpit is long enough and capable of sleeping at 6 feet 6 inches.

The Sage 17 may be expensive at $25k but is a true sea warrior that's worth look at. This is a boat that will not only serve you right but will also turn heads at the marina.    

{{boat-info="/boats/laserperformance-laser-sb3"}}

Having been chosen as the overall boat of the year for 2008 by the Sailing World Magazine, the Laser SB3 is one of the coolest boats you'll ever encounter. When sailing upwind, this boat will lock into the groove while its absolute simplicity is legendary. In terms of downwind sailing, having this boat will be a dream come true while it remains incredibly stable even at extraordinary speed.

Since its debut in 2004, the Laser SB3 has surged in terms of popularity thanks to the fact that it's designed to put all the controls at your fingertips. In addition to a lightweight mast, its T- bulb keel can be hauled and launched painlessly. For about $18,000, the Laser SB3 ushers you into the world of sports sailing and what it feels to own and use a sports boat.

{{boat-info="/boats/fareast-18"}}

As a manufacturer, Fareast is a Chinese boat manufacturer that has been around for less than two decades. But even with that, the Fareast 18 remains a very capable cruiser-racer that will take your sailing to the next level. In addition to its good looks, this boat comes with a retractable keel with ballast bulb, a powerful rig, and an enclosed cabin.

Its narrow design with a closed stern may be rare in sailboats of this size, but that's not a problem for the Fareast 18. This design not only emphasizes speed but also makes it a lot easier to maintain this boat. Perfect for about 6 people, this boat punches above its weight. It's, however, designed to be rigged and launched by one person.

This is a relatively affordable boat. It's agile, safe, well-thought-out, well built, and very sporty.

{{boat-info="/boats/chuck-paine-paine-14"}}

If you're in the market looking for a small sailboat that offers contemporary performance with classic beauty, the Paine 14 should be your ideal option. Named after its famous designer, Chuck Paine, this boat is intentionally designed after the classic Herreshoff 12.5 both in terms of dimensions and features.

This is a lightweight design that brings forth modern fin keel and spade rudder, which makes it agile, stable, and faster. The Paine 14 is built using cold-molded wood or west epoxy. It has varnished gunnels and transoms to give it an old-time charm. To make it somehow modern, this boat is designed with a carbon mast and a modern way to attach sails so that it's ready to sail in minutes.

You can rest easy knowing that the Paine 14 will not only serve you well but will turn heads while out there.

{{boat-info="/boats/wd-schock-lido-14"}}

Many sailors will attest that their first sailing outing was in a Lido 14. This is a classic sailboat that has been around for over four decades and still proves to be a perfect match to modern small boats, especially for those still learning the ropes of sailing.

With seating for six people, the Lido 14 can be perfect for solo sailing , single-handed sailing, or if you're planning for shorthanded sailing. While new Lido 14 boats are no longer available, go for a functional used Lido 14 and you'll never regret this decision. It will serve you well and your kids will probably fall in love with sailing if Lido 14 becomes their main vessel during weekends or long summer holidays.

Bottom Line

There you have it; these are some of the best small sailboats you can go for. While there are endless small sailboats in the market, the above-described sailboat will serve you right and make you enjoy the wind.

Choose the perfect sailboat, invest in it, and go out there and have some good fun!

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

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Strike 15 trimaran at speed

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Strike 15 trimaran performance daysailer

Download Plan Price GBP130

Please click on the button below if you wish to buy plans. Note: You can pay using Paypal or with your normal credit card.    

Plans will be sent as a zip file once payment has been received. This is no longer an automated system, so please allow 48 hours for your order to be processed and your plans emailed to you. 

If you have not received plans after that time please contact us

THE FACTS AND FIGURES LOA 4.5m LWL 4.43m BOA 3.35m Sail Area 14.6sqm Mast 6.8m long 80mm x 55mm Empty weight 135Kgs Loaded weight to WL 305Kgs sheet ply (partly stitch and glue)

The STRIKE 15 trimaran, unlike the Strike 16 and 18, is a complete design and doesn't use parts from other boats (except see below). As on the 16 and 18 the main hull is hard chine. There are two options for the outriggers. Either small, lightweight, rounded V stitch and glue tortured ply, as used on the prototype. Or bigger, more buoyant (thus easier to sail) "soft chine" outriggers. Although it is light enough (just) to cartop (under 130kgs all up), trailering (folded beam is only 2.2m, 7ft3in) is a much more sensible option. The cockpit is 1.8m x 1.5m (6ft x 5ft) so is large enough to sleep in under a cockpit tent. Thus making the Strike 15 suitable for those who want to race in "raid" style events or even to coastal cruise. The outriggers fold for transport. This is a common arrangement, first used (I think) by John Westall (the 505 designer) in the early 1970's on the 30ft Ocean Bird trimaran. More recently it has been used on the Dragonfly range of trimarans. But on all those boats the outriggers fold aft. The Strike 15 folds forward as I think that is a more "fail safe" method. It also means the mainhull is further back on the trailer, so nearer the water and thus easier to launch and retrieve. However, the folding system is complicated to make, so "drop in" crossbeams (similar to those used on the Zeta 14) are also available The mast is "keel" stepped with a mast gate, while shrouds and conventional spreaders go to the main hull, not the outriggers. That means it can be left up with the outriggers folded when stored ashore in a dinghy park. For those who want a simple to sail boat with less performance I have also designed a forward mast step which takes a standard unstayed Laser rig. The Strike 15 is very easy to build with a stitch and glue hard chine hull and flat panel ply decks. Estimated build time ready to paint is 150 hours. I have tried to design it so that each stage can be broken down into 2 hour segments, making it ideal for an evening-after-work project

CLICK HERE for a study plan (in pdf format). A sheet from the building plans is included in the free sample plan pack

Plans cost GBP95 and are available only as download plans in pdf format

The photos below show the prototype Strike 15 being built in Canada.

Photo after 12 hours of work - below

The bulkheads have been cut out and notched. The panels have been butt strapped together and all panel stiffening added. Almost ready to stitch together!

And then a few hours later the daggerboard box/king post assembly is made and glued in position

A bit more fiddling around, making a total of 25 hours work and the hull was ready to assemble. You can see me doing a dry fit below. Note it is all one camera shot, proving it really is an easy boat to put together. And, unlike my other videos, this one does have sound. At this stage the boat weighs 16kgs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_XRpOCi4BQ

After 100 total build hours the main hull was complete.

Almost finished cockpit. Looking aft (above) forward (below) prior to glassing joints and cutting out daggerboard box

Jetti and Cameron lifting the complete unpainted hull to show its light weight

After a 6 month hiatus when we were out of the country work restarted on the prototype in May 2013. The photo below shows an outrigger ready to deck. Jetti could just lift it with one finger

The cross beams are simple wood trusses. These are strong and light, but more important is that there is a big "hole" at the hull end so water won't slam against the beam. The outer ends are set well above the outrigger deck, again to reduce wave drag.

The outriggers fold forwards for transport, trailering beam is around 2.2m, 7ft. The video below shows how the system works

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-zq-8meTQA

(the boat is at a slight angle, so gravity is opening the boat out, normally it takes a gently push with one finger). The stays attach to the main hull so the outriggers can be folded in with the mast left up for storage in a dinghy park

This photo was taken July 19th and shows the boat nearly finished

and this one, below, on its first sail, Aug 9th 2013, but still unfinished I'm afraid.

Temporary trampolines, no paint on the beams, only primer paint on the hulls - it will eventually be purple, and a 15 year old mainsail. But it sailed just like a performance dinghy, tacking quickly and accelerating fast. Very manoeuverable. So exactly the "geriatric dinghy" concept I was hoping for

After sailing around in light winds for an hour I sailed it back straight onto the trailer (a shame Jetti didn't video it) at 6.05pm. At 6.30 we drove away, slowed considerably by arguing over how best to lash the boat down, it being our first time. Clearly it will get much quicker once we have the trailer sorted. But definitely an easy boat to rig and launch singlehanded

On my second sail we got the time down to 18 minutes, which included me changing into shore clothes. I still need to make a proper bracket to hold the mast on the trailer, and the real trampolines. So 15 minutes is quite feasible. As a comparison, I never managed to rig and launch a Laser dinghy in less than 10 minutes.

The main hull with fittings weighs about 60kgs, the outriggers 12kg each, the crossbeam 2.5kgs each. So all up weight is under the 130kg I predicted

For those who want a less athletically demanding boat bigger hard chine outriggers are now available with more conventional drop in crossbeams. Please email me if you want the hard chine outrigger drawings.

and a video here https://www.youtube.com/v/SFymkiKJycU

And the best photo so far taken by Marlene Mackenzie of the BCMS, close reaching at about 8 knots

A report from a French Strike 15 builder (a slightly modified boat)

"Newly launched Strike 15 Citronette had its first testsail on 06 and 07 May. She was very well balanced, light and responsive, a real pleasure to helm. The first day with very light wind she sailed consistently at 7 kt . The second day with more wind, she sailed consistently at 9 to 10 average speed, with maximum 10 s average speed of 11.5 kt (no anemometer record in the close vicinity, but my estimate is around 9 kt average wind).

My feeling to windward was very positive, with average speed comparable to A class cat. On a beam reach I had the feeling of a drag hump to go over 11 kt, compared to my A cat, but it is only a feeling as I had no opponents. The sailing school manager of the club, on the water, reported me he was puzzled by the boat speed with not much wind. Congratulations Richard, Strike 15 is a good vintage!"

and later he wrote "Some news about my Strike 15. Tuning of the boat for solo racing is in progress. I weighted the boat at 280 lbs ready to sail. Best speed to date is 13.5 kt. Last Sunday during a three rounds regatta with 6 to 7 kts winds I was behind A class cat and Tornado with spinnaker, sometimes very close or before last A cats (despite my very bad starts !), but I consistently beated all the rest of the fleet including Darts (both 1 and 2 up). I achieved same course as A class cat upwind, slightly slower. Faster and closer than Darts upwind, faster and deeper downwind (main and jib only). I wait for comparison with more wind, next year, as it was the last regatta."

Later: "To windward on trapeze two Dart solo were trying to catch me for 8 miles but they couldn't. When returning downwind one succeeded in catching me at the very end. I think I was pointing as we use on A class cat to get speed, but too high for a slower boat ! I was lacking my genny at this time because the wind was dropping"

Still later "Today on my Strike 15 I hit 14.2 kt broad reaching under main and jib, 13.5 kt for 10 s, 12.5 kt over 500 m and 12.1 over a nautical mile. Mean wind was around 14 kt, my lee outrigger near submarined sometimes under gusts, not slowing the boat. The boat looks very sound."

And from the USA, these photos of a Strike 15 (in red) next to a Strike 16

Strike 15 Approximate Materials List

6mm gaboon (okoume) marine ply (8ft x 4ft sheets) 1sheet 4mm gaboon (okoume) marine ply (8ft x 4ft sheets) 5 sheets 3mm gaboon (okoume) ply (8ft x 4ft sheets) 3 sheets or 4mm if hard chine outriggers used

2in x 1in 30m 11/2in x 1in 10m 1in x 1in 30m 4in x 1in 10m 3in x 1in 5m Epoxy resin 10kgs min 200g glass cloth 2kg min Screws 3/4in #6 counter sunk stainless steel 1000 Filler etc as required Scrap timber for frame

No allowance for waste. Timber sizes nominal planed all round (PAR) use softwood, eg Douglas fir, Sitka spruce etc

COMMENTS

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