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The Best Shallow Draft Liveaboard Sailboat 2024

Looking for the best shallow draft liveaboard sailboat.

If you’re looking for the best shallow draft liveaboard sailboat then look no further.

After four years of living aboard our super shallow draft monohull, we are shallow draft boat connoisseurs and we can’t imagine being happy in anything other than a shallow keeled boat.

The Best Shallow Draft Liveaboard Sailboat

There are many different types of sailboats, and the best shallow draft liveaboard sailboat may not be the same for everyone. Some factors you might want to consider when choosing a sailboat include size, type of sailing, comfort, and cost.

One thing is fir sure, when choosing a vessel you will want to take into account the draft of a boat to make sure you can access the waterways you intend on cruising.

In this post, we will take a look at some of the best shallow keel liveaboard sailboats on the market today. So if you are in the market for a new sailboat, keep reading!

Table of Contents

The best large shallow draft sailboats.

  • The best small shallow keel sailboats

Shallow water sailing

The best spot in the anchorage, less chance of grounding, extra moving parts.

  • How To Find The Perfect Liveaboard Sailboat For You

The best large shallow draft sailboats

We’ve got some great suggestions for shallow draft liveaboard sailboats that are 38ft or above. Boats of this size are usually more practical for ocean crossings and have enough living space for a couple who expect to have guests regularly, or for a family.

#1 Kadey Krogen 38

The Kadey Krogen 38

The Kadey Krogen 38 is one of the best large shallow draft sailboats on the market today, offering plenty of space and comfort for all your sailing adventures (and we’re not just saying that because we live on one!)

With a maximum draft of just 3 feet, it can easily go where other boats cannot, making it perfect for exploring shallow waters. We have often entered a busy anchorage, snuck in shallow, and had all the room in the world.

The Kadey Krogen 38s are quite unique. All the ballast is in the tiny keel, and she has two centreboards that help performance. The large centreboard in the middle of the boat helps it point closer to the wind.

After a year of sailing without a functional centreboard we did find our upwind performance improved with the centreboard and tacking and heaving to was easier as well.

The after board helps with weather helm in heavy seas. It does make the steering handle a lot easier and is a great thing to have at your disposal, but we have also been in heavy seas and forgotten to lower it and the boat still tracked fine.

The perfect shallow draft sailboat in the sunset

What we really love about this design is the flexibility. As there is no weight in the boards we aren’t worried about losing them, and therefore losing the keel. The keel is fully encapsulated and going nowhere!

As a liveaboard sailboat, the Kadey Krogen 38s are extremely roomy. They have a wide beam and really make the most of the space. In fact, you could almost say they were designed for liveaboard, as the space is that cleverly laid out.

The cockpit is spacious which is perfect for entertaining. We have regularly seated 8 people in the cockpit and it has never felt like a squeeze. The locker lids are large enough to sleep on and we regularly do in the summer months when it’s stuffy below.

Saying that, we have never felt unsafe in big seas as there is coving all the way around and plenty of handholds and clip-in points.

a sailboat at anchor in a pretty bay

The interior is slightly different on each different boat, but they all have a separate shower in the head which is super handy, and the cabins have their own sinks. The owner’s bed is a full-sized double so you can use an off-the-shelf mattress, and there is storage for days.

One of the biggest drawbacks of this small keeled liveaboard sailboat is the compromise in steerage astern. She doesn’t do well with Med-mooring!

If you’re looking for a great shallow draft liveaboard sailboat that offers plenty of space and comfort, be sure to check out the Kadey Krogen 38.

Check it out on Sailboat Data

#2 Freedom Cat 40 Centreboard

If you’re looking for a great liveaboard sailboat with a shallow draft that offers plenty of space and comfort, be sure to check out the Freedom Cat 40 Centreboard. With a maximum draft of just 4 feet, this boat has no problem exploring the shallow waters of your favorite cruising grounds.

This boat sails well, especially on a reach, and is easy enough to handle as a couple or even a solo sailor.

Like the Kadey Krogen 38, this sailboat has a large cockpit but the Freedom 40 has a centre cockpit, which many prefer.

The Freedom 40 is a great liveaboard sailboat

Another standout feature of the Freedom Cat 40 is its spacious and well-designed interior. This boat is a great size for a liveaboard couple, with a large double bed aft as well as a v-berth forward.

While it does have some drawbacks–like poor maneuverability in reverse – there’s no doubt that the Freedom Cat 40 Centreboard is one of the best shallow draft liveaboard sailboats on the market today.

So if you’re looking for comfort, space, and flexibility, be sure to check out this amazing liveaboard sailboat!

#3 C&C 40 Centreboard Version

C&C 40 Centreboard Version

If you’re looking for an amazing shallow draft sailboat to live on that offers plenty of space and comfort, then the C&C 40 Centreboard Version is definitely worth considering.

With a maximum draft of just over 4 feet, this boat has no problem exploring the shallow waters of your favorite cruising grounds.

To maintain the same stability as the deeper keel versions of this sailboat, the centerboard boat carries an additional 885 pounds of ballast, making her noticeably slower in light air.

In tests, she was shown to be about 4 seconds slower per mile than the normal keel version in about 8 knots of wind, but basically identical in speed with 15+ knots of wind. For most cruisers, this won’t be an issue, but if you’re planning on using this sailboat for racing too then you might opt for the standard keel instead.

Another standout feature of this liveaboard sailboat is its spacious interior, designed for long-term living aboard. This boat can easily accommodate a couple, with a large v-berth forward as well as plenty of storage space throughout the interior.

there’s no doubt that the C&C 40 Centreboard Version is an incredibly comfortable and practical boat to sail.

#4 Privilege 435 Catamaran

Privilege 435 Catamaran

The Privilege 435 is built for performance and comfort, making it the perfect shallow keel liveaboard sailboat.

Most of these sailboats were built relatively recently, so while you might not be able to bag a bargain, you will find the latest navigation and safety equipment on board.

The fit and finish of these catamarans are excellent. You can expect high-quality materials and smart storage solutions. There are four separate cabins with their own heads, making it a great liveaboard sailboat for a family.

#5 Lagoon 40

shallow draft sailboats

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If you’re looking for a great shallow draft liveaboard sailboat that’s packed with top-of-the-line features, then the Lagoon 40 is definitely worth considering.

With a maximum draft of 1.35m, this boat offers plenty of space and comfort while being able to explore the shallow waters of your favorite cruising grounds.

One of the biggest benefits of this amazing sailboat is its spacious and well-designed interior. With plenty of room for a couple or even a solo sailor, you’ll love spending long days at sea aboard the Lagoon 40.

One of the biggest downsides of catamarans is usually their upwind performance, but the Lagoon 40 will keep her speed even at a 50-degree apparent wind angle.

So if you’re looking for comfort, space, and flexibility, be sure to check out this amazing liveaboard sailboat today!

#6 Prout Snowgoose 37

Prout catamarans have a great reputation among liveaboard sailors, and the Snowgoose is one of the most popular designs.

Prout no longer exists as a company, as it was bought by Broadblue in the 90s. Broadblue still makes catamarans today, and they have very similar features to the original Prouts, though obviously they are far fancier and have all the benefits of a more modern design!

The Snowgoose catamaran benefits from a shallow draft of 2.08ft, meaning you won’t have any trouble at all in shallow waters. It sails well and is a suitable bluewater sailboat, however, a low bridge deck clearance makes the boat slam in waves, both at anchor and underway.

The best small shallow draft sailboats to live on

a sailboat motoring out of an anchorage

As these are still liveaboard sailboats, we haven’t added any under 30ft. If you’re living aboard solo then 30ft is probably the smallest you will want to go before the sailing lifestyle starts to feel a bit too much like camping!

Here are our top picks for small small keel liveaboard sailboats.

#7 Columbia 31

If you’re looking for a compact, high-quality shallow keel sailboat that’s perfect for both recreational sailing and liveaboard cruising, then the Columbia 31 is definitely worth checking out.

With a maximum draft of just over 3 feet, this sailboat will be able to sneak into shallow anchorages with ease. It sails adequately and will be more than good enough for coastal cruising.

With its small size comes some definite compromises – while it may be great for traveling in sheltered waters and coastal areas, the Columbia 31 doesn’t have much in the way of speed or stability when going offshore.

That said, this little sailboat is incredibly well-built and carries all the hallmarks of quality craftsmanship. Its solid fiberglass hull and spacious interior for a boat of this size make the Columbia 31 a great option for both recreational and liveaboard sailing.

So whether you’re looking to sail in shallow water, explore coastal areas, or just spend some time living aboard, the Columbia 31 is definitely worth considering!

#8 Pearson 35

The sun setting over the sea

Pearson makes some great sailboats and is mostly well-regarded within the sailing community. The Pearson 35 is no exception and boasts the longest production run of any other Pearson model.

Boasting a shallow draft of just under 4 feet and a surprisingly spacious interior for a boat of this size, the Pearson 35 is an excellent small-sized liveaboard sailboat that won’t disappoint.

Due to its relatively simple construction, however, there are some definite downsides – while you’ll be able to find older models at great prices, they often have several issues that will need to be repaired before setting off on your next sailing adventure.

That said, if you’re looking for a dependable little sailboat that will allow you to explore shallow waters and coastal areas, the Pearson 35 is definitely worth considering.

#9 Gemini 105Mc (34ft)

The Gemini 105Mc is still in production in the US, which speaks to its popularity.

If you’re looking for a small keel sailboat on the smaller side, that still has plenty of space for living aboard, then this might be the perfect compromise. Many of these small catamarans have completed ocean passages so you won’t be limited on cruising grounds.

It has two double cabins, good headroom throughout, and nice finishes too.

A significant negative to this boat is the bridge deck clearance which isn’t amazing so you may experience some slamming. But that aside, this is a great small draft sailboat for anyone wanting to live aboard.

#10 Prout Event 34

The sails of a sailboat

These multihulls are quite hard to find, but if you like the Snowgoose but are on a tighter budget then they might be just what you’re looking for. These shallow draft catamarans share lots of features with the popular Snowgoose designs, just on a smaller scale.

There are three cabins, one head, a salon, and a galley, only they are rather squeezed in compared to the larger model.

The Prout Event 34 sails well and has crossed oceans, though it is also known for its slamming so if this is something that bothers you then you might want to think again before buying this liveaboard sailboat.

These shallow draft catamarans have an excellent reputation among cruisers because of their solid build and use of decent materials.

The boat has three cabins, a galley, saloon, and a head, so it’s perfect for slightly larger crews, though it’s obviously on the smaller side compared to some of the large shallow draft liveaboard boats on this list.

This catamaran sails well and people have crossed oceans in them, though they are probably better suited to coastal cruising

The bridge deck clearance is good on this catamaran so you shouldn’t experience too much slamming.

Why buy a narrow keel sailboat to live on?

a shallow draft liveaboard sailboat

There are many reasons why someone might choose to buy a sailboat with a small draft as a liveaboard.

Perhaps you don’t want the hassle of anchoring in deep water or dealing with the challenges that come with mooring, or maybe you simply enjoy being able to explore shallow coastal areas where other boats can’t go.

We’ll explore some of the reasons in more depth below.

Shallow water sailing refers to cruising in coastal areas where other boats cannot go.

The shallow draft of a sailboat means that you can easily explore coves, anchorages, and bays off the beaten track. Even if it’s just for an afternoon, there is something really special about being able to truly get away from it all by sailing away from the crowds in a secluded cove or anchorage.

Getting the best spot in the anchorage

One of the great things about living aboard a sailboat is that you have the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. You can easily move on if you find somewhere that better suits your needs, or stay put and enjoy all the great amenities at your favorite anchorage.

While many people love big marinas with all their facilities and good ground tackle, many others prefer the peace and quiet of a secluded anchorage. If you’re one of those people who simply love finding the best spot in an anchorage then living aboard a shallow draft sailboat is perfect for you.

You will be able to sneak into bays that no one else can reach, or anchor in shallow waters of busier anchorages when there is seemingly no space.

a shallow draft sailboat anchored between rocks

On a sailboat with a lifting centreboard you have lowered odds of damaging your boat.

In fact, we have even heard of experienced sailors using their centreboard as a worst-case depth sounder, allowing you to risk sneaking into unchartered shallow waters without any significant risk of damaging your boat.

If you hit rock bottom (literally) then at best your centreboard will be knocked higher into its slot, and at worst you might damage the centreboard a little, but either way, your keel will remain unharmed!

The disadvantages of a shallow draft liveaboard sailboat

the sunset with a sailboat in the foreground

As always, alongside the advantages of shallow draft sailboats are some disadvantages to make you question your decision.

For us, after four years of living aboard, we would say the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, but it is so depending on personal opinion and taste.

Here are the main disadvantages of shallow keel liveaboard sailboats.

One reason that many people choose not to live aboard a sailboat with a small draft is the reduced stability.

Compared to a deeper draft boat, your centre of gravity is lower on a shallow draft sailboat which can be worrying when you are in open water, particularly if there are swells or high winds.

On our Kadey Krogen 38 we haven’t found this to be a problem. She handles brilliantly in big seas and we have always felt very safe and stable. In swelly anchorages, she doesn’t fair so well and is usually one of the more rolly boats in the anchorages (though interestingly quite often not the worst!)

Another disadvantage of a shallow draft sailboat is that they are not always easy to steer, especially when going astern.

Our sailboats prop walk is quite impressive! Getting into mooring slips astern is very tricky indeed. This is a problem on a lot of deep, full-keeled sailboats so we aren’t alone in our troubles! One way around this is to just enter mooring slips forward and drop an anchor astern.

A sailboat with a centreboard is not as simple to maintain as one without.

In the four years that we’ve owned our boat, we have replaced both her swing keel bearing and the cable that connects it to the winch on deck. For some people, this might be more than they are willing or able to deal with, but for us, it has been simple to do and is part of the reason we love our boat.

How To Find The Perfect Liveaboard Sailboat With A Shallow Draft

a catamaran from above

If you’re looking to buy a shallow keel sailboat then you’ll need to take a few things into consideration.

Budget is key for most people when buying a boat to live in. You will need to compromise between size, age of the boat, and budget. Smaller, older monohulls tend to be cheaper than larger, newer multihulls.

One of the most convenient ways to decide where to search for sailboats is to look in the location you will be cruising in. This is easy enough if your cruising grounds are popular and large, like in Europe or the USA.

You will find it much harder to find the right boat for you if you’re only prepared to buy in a very specific place or on cruising grounds that are tricky to reach, like remote islands. That being said, if you can find the right boat for you in one of these places then you are more likely to get a great deal.

Size of Sailboat

As mentioned earlier, the bigger the boat the more you are likely to pay. That being said, if you’re looking for a liveaboard sailboat then the last thing you want to do is buy a boat that is far too small to meet your requirements.

Consider how many people will be living aboard full time, or almost full time. For a couple, a 38ft boat is usually a comfortable size, though there are couples living on 34-36ft boats (and they’re still together!)

For a family, or if you plan on having crew on for longer periods of time, you might consider getting a larger monohull or a catamaran so that everyone can have their own private space on board.

Larger boats tend to be more comfortable at sea too, so make sure you go for something a little bigger if you plan on crossing oceans.

Conclusion: The Best Shallow Draft Liveaboard Sailboats

a sailboat in the sea

Ultimately, finding the perfect boat will depend on what is important to you and what kind of experience you want to have while living on board.

The best shallow keel liveaboard sailboat is one that meets all of your needs and requirements. Whether you are looking for something large or small, budget-friendly or luxurious, there is sure to be a boat out there that will fit the bill.

So do your research, talk to other boaters in your area, and make sure you find the perfect vessel for your unique needs. Happy hunting!

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shallow draft sailboats

6 Popular Low-Draft Boats for Shallow Water (With Pictures)

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Many people have been asking for low-draft boats.

Here are six popular low-draft boats for shallow water.

Table of Contents

The Tiburon LX-21

shallow draft sailboats

The LX-21 has a draft that sits at only 5 inches deep.

It can cruise through the water almost as quickly as a jet ski, and to see it in action is almost surreal.  On top of this, it can retain shallow drafts of 8″ with four adults on top of it.

Tiburon has put this boat’s console right in the center, and a small bench seat stands right behind it.  The boat’s bow has a nice deck on it that would make fishing, crabbing, or even clamming friendly and easy.  It would also make a good jump-off point for anybody looking to do some wading or swimming.

This boat also features six built-in fishing rod holders and two different storage areas for holding gear.

The boat can handle up to a 175HP engine and go up to 50 miles per hour with this engine. This is all fueled with a 54-gallon fuel tank.

It’s also only 21′ long and 8’6″ wide and has a hull weight of fewer than 1,000 pounds.  This makes this boat a comfortable boat to trailer.

The only downside I can see to this boat is that it is expensive.  Expect to pay at least $45,000.00 for a new Tiburon LX-21.

The Egret 167

shallow draft sailboats

This boat is 16’7″ long with a beamwidth of 7’3″.

It is made from either fiberglass or Kevlar, with each weighing in at 800 pounds or 700 pounds, respectively.  Not quite as light as an aluminum boat would be but a lot more durable and capable in shallow waters.

The boat comes with many engine options ranging from 70HP to 140HP.  These engines come from Yamaha, Mercury, E-Tec, or Suzuki.  To fuel the engine, the boat has a 41-gallon fuel tank.  This is pretty large, considering the boat is only 16’7″ long.

The 167 also has a center console with a multitude of rod holders attached to it.  However, the seat is a bench seat integrated into the boat, and it seems to sit a bit lower than Tiburon’s bench seat.

You’ll notice that the bow of the boat features a lovely spacious deck with a storage area.  There are also storage areas on the sides as well as at the rear of the boat.  This boat was built for fishing in low waters, and it has a draft of only 9″.

The boat owners say that the boat is too heavy to pole for long periods of time, but it can handle choppy waters incredibly well for a boat of its size.  They like it because it is stable and easy to catch fish from.

These boats can range from the $30k to $40k price points, depending on the year and the options you choose.

Related Article: 9 Affordable Boats With Enclosed Cabins (with pictures)

The Eldora by Hell’s Bay Boat Works

shallow draft sailboats

This boat is a true skiff, and it has a draft of only 3.5 inches.

The boat is also 16’4″ with a beamwidth of 69,” so the 3.5-inch draft is pretty impressive.  It also only weighs 350 pounds, so it can easily be towed.

The engine on this boat is a Yamaha 25 Tiller, and it has a 6-gallon removable gas tank.  With its low weight and shallow draft, this boat can be polled through the water quite easily.

It also has a nice standing platform over the engine, so you’ll have a nice place to pole, to fish from, and to get a good view.

At the front of the boat, you’ll also find a nice standing platform.  Also, it appears that the storage can be gotten to from underneath the front deck, so you don’t have to worry about opening any hatches from the top to get to your gear.

The boat doesn’t have a console, so you’ll have to sit at the rear with the engine in hand, but the backbench comes with a nice pad.

Underneath this bench is a lockable compartment for additional storage.

I couldn’t get an exact price from the manufacturer’s website, but these boats appear to be in the neighborhood of just over $30k.

Related Article: 13 Clever Ways to Get a Good Deal on (New) Boats

The Dragonfly 17 Classic

shallow draft sailboats

The Dragonfly 17 is a 17′ boat with an 80″ beam and an 8″ draft.

It weighs in at only 700 pounds, and it could be trailered or even placed on top of a yacht.

This boat comes with a 90HP Evinrude engine with a 24-gallon fuel tank.  A plumbed live well comes standard with the boat, and there are recessed push pole holders molded into it.

The boat has a wood grain console and a nice cushioned backrest on top of the bench seat.  In fact, the entire boat has a luxury feel to it. The deck looks more like a yacht than a skiff, and I’d almost hate to get it dirty while fishing.

This being said, the boat looks like it would make a good fishing boat for shallow waters.  In fact, it has an ample number of fishing rod holders throughout the boat.

The boat is also nice and open, so you’d have plenty of space to move around inside.

Surprisingly, this boat comes in at right around $27,000.00.

Related Article: 9 Tips to Sell Your Boat Quickly (Without Dropping the Price)

The 177 Sport by Scout Boats

shallow draft sailboats

This boat has a length of 17’7″, a beam of 7’3″, and a dry weight of around 1,000 pounds.

The draft on the boat is 10,” which is pretty good considering it’s not a skiff and can hold an outboard engine of up to 115HP.

The fuel capacity on the 177 is 20 gallons, and the people capacity is five people.  However, I don’t think you’d have a lot of fun with that many people trying to fish on a boat of this size.

This being said, five people could easily go cruising in the 177.

One of the features that first caught my eye when looking at this boat is that not only does it have a two-person bench behind the console, it also has a seat built into the front of the console.

Combine this with the front deck, and I could see how five people could comfortably sit on this boat.

There are 6-rod holders built into the boat and plenty of areas for storage.  You can also add a bimini top to keep the sun off of you as well.

Scout’s website lists the boat brand new at $24,695.00.  This includes the standard engine and trailer.

Related Article: Minimum Age For Driving or Renting Boats: Rules Per 50 States

The Strike by Beavertail Skiffs

shallow draft sailboats

The Strike is 17’6″ long with a beam of 73″ wide.  It has a draft of about 6 inches.

Its gross weight is 550 pounds.

This boat can accommodate an engine of up to 90HP but can be used with an engine as small as 60HP.  It is fueled by a 20-gallon fuel tank, which makes sense for a boat of this size.

The Strike also features a backbench seat with a cushioned backrest and a seat in front of the center console. I’d classify its styling as simple yet clean and functional.

As a true skiff, this boat should be easy to pole, and there is a deck at the back to do it from.  There is also plenty of space at the boat’s bow, which should make poling and fishing nice and easy.

The base price on this boat is $33,000.00.

Related Article: How Much Do Boats Weigh? 11 Types (Numbers & Pictures)

What Is the Minimum Draft on a Boat

Technically speaking, there isn’t a minimum draft that is required on a boat.

However, I’ve yet to see a boat with a draft under a few inches.

In fact, once you put a person into a boat, even the best of drafts will get deeper.

Also, one has to consider that a boat will sit deeper into the water if there is more weight on top of it.  This means that any time you bring friends or even gear along with you, you’ll add to the draft of your boat.

Since fishing with friends is half the fun of boating for most people, it doesn’t always make sense to chase the shallowest drafts.

How Deep Is the Draft on a Pontoon Boat

Pontoon boats all have different drafts depending on how large and how heavy the draft is.

Generally, the larger and heavier the boat, the deeper the draft.

Smaller pontoon boats with small engines can have drafts shallower than 10 inches, while larger boats can easily have drafts higher than 12 inches.

Also, one has to consider that a pontoon boat will have an outboard motor attached to it.  This means that you’ll only be able to go so far into shallow water before having to lift your engine.

Since pontoon boats are hard to pole, this wouldn’t be a great idea.

Final Thoughts

There are many great boats out on the market right now with low drafts.

The classic shallow draft boat for poling is still a Jon boat.

You can choose between typical fishing boats to skiffs, and even pontoons, so if you’re considering buying a boat for shallow water, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from!

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Your source for the latest news on yachts, boats and more. Read through our articles to find out how to compare boats and find the right fit for you!

Find Out the Best Shoal Draft Sailboats

Feb 17, 2020

less than a min

Find Out the Best Shoal Draft Sailboats

re you looking to buy a boat or a yacht? Are you new to the whole naval industry and the marine world? Are you utterly confused right now? It does sound like the beginning of a very random ad, however do not panic! If you are looking to buy a boat and are not sure where to start, know that this is something common for many people. The boating industry is a very interesting and complex one, offering a variety of models and makes with different characteristics that could or could not be appropriate for you. As a result, before buying a boat or settling on a model, make sure to do your research properly . A good first step is to learn the terminology and what different sailboats have to offer.

Let’s start with what a shoal draft sailboat is and what the best shoal draft sailboats can offer you.

A shoal-draft sailboat has a non-centerboard fin keel. They offer the ability to enter very shallow waters and even sail in those waters. That is the main advantage shoal draft sailboats display compared to center-line keels. They are easier to maneuver in complicated situations and their fins take up less interior space. Also, they require less maintenance overall. 

The 3 best shoal draft sailboats

Shoal draft sailboats have become quite popular in the last few years due to their undeniable advantages. Here are the three best shoal draft sailboats that you should have a look at before making a purchase.


The Beneteau First 435 is a 1980s construction that became popular quite fast. It features a big hull that allows for ample accommodation space. It includes a three-cabin/three-head layout as well as an aft cabin with a peninsula bed. As a result, during the 80s and 90s this yacht was considered a large one. It also came with the opportunity to choose between a shallow or deep keel, or even three keels, a 2.3-meter draught fin, a 1.9-meter shallow fin and a centerboard, however this model was not much in demand. 

The Bavaria 40 Cruiser is a big boat featuring a large space at a convenient price due to its design and engineering. It was first built in 2000, with two types of keels, the deep iron, a 1.95-meter draught, and a shallow iron, a 1.65-meter draught. It has a three-cabin and a two-heads layout. In addition, the interior space is well lit and aerated. 


The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 36.2 is a shallow fin sailboat with a 1.37-meter fin. The boat still remains stable when on water due to an increased ballast. The hull of this model is well proportioned and allows for comfortable accommodation space. It also features a big fore-cabin, aft cabin, and a large aft heads compartment area. All in all, this is a good model for those looking for a comfortable cruise boat rather than a race boat. 

You can compare these three boats with other models on TheBoatDB and decide for yourself which one is the most appropriate for you!

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Better Sailing

How Shallow Can a Sailboat Go?

How Shallow Can a Sailboat Go?

Running through the shallows will open up new and exciting waterways, whether you want to go saltwater fishing where no one else has thrown a line, discover secluded coves and bays, or simply explore some cool new coastline. Which boats, though, are better for the shallows? And what do you need to know about sailing in shallow waters? The most important thing for boating in shallow water is that when you’re not sure of the depth and think you may run aground, you have to slow down. In this article, I will give you information and tips about how shallow can a sailboat go so as to be certain and safe about your routes and your boat. Follow me!

First Things First: What is a Sailboat’s Draft?

For those unfamiliar with the phrase, draft (or draught) refers to the distance between the water’s surface and the boat’s deepest point underwater. In practice, the draft value is equal to the minimum water depth required for smooth floating. Because if you go any deeper, your boat’s bottom will scrape. And, that’s why you must be aware of the draft of any boat you are operating. Because in case your boat’s bottom (keel, rudder, hull, etc) touches the seabed this will cause severe damages to your vessel.

However, depending on whether the seabed is made up of sand, seaweed, or rocks, you may become beached and immobile. Or, your propellers may become tangled in whatever is below, or you may even create holes in your boat. Even if you got lucky and only skimmed the surface, these kinds of boat repairs are expensive. Having your sailboat hauled to a safe depth can be both costly and dangerous. As a result, you always have to be aware of the draft. You can check the number of your draft in the cockpit. If not, at the very least, check the boat’s manual or the internet. Furthermore, it’s advisable to double that figure and never enter areas where the plotter displays a lower figure. Especially if you don’t have a depth measuring gadget and rely solely on a map, you have to be even more cautious.

Engine and Draft Considerations

Note that the greatest shallow-water boats are ones that are specifically constructed for it. However, before you can comprehend why a certain boat might or might not be suitable in the shallows, there are a few details that everyone should be aware of.

As aforementioned, the draft of a boat refers to how much water it requires to float. And, in the case of boats with outboards or lower units that tilt up and down, the draft is frequently referred to as “engine up” or “engine down.” Most boats have a draft that ranges from six inches or so with the engine running to several feet for inboard boats. When it comes to tilting drives, add around nine inches to the engine-up draft. This will help you to get a sense of how much depth the boat needs with the engine tilted down far enough to safely put it in gear and get the boat moving forward. Keep in mind that in rare circumstances, totally tilting an engine down can increase draft by more than a foot.

But there’s something more. The draft measurements you’ll generally see mentioned for a boat are what’s known as “static draft,” which is calculated when the boat is stationary. Modern powerboats also include a feature known as “running draft “. This refers to the amount of draft required while the boat is traveling up on plane. When a boat gets onto plane, it rises significantly out of the water, which can minimize draft by several inches or even more. Even more running draft can be reduced by tilting the engine up a little. As a result, a boat with a two-foot static engine-down draft may be able to sail in just a foot or so of water without ever running aground.

Which Boats are the Best For Shallow Waters?

So, there are some specialized boats on the market that are solely designed to run as shallow as possible. The majority are tailored to certain fisheries. Some examples include “scooters” and related tunnel boats. These are flat-bottomed boats with a hull tunnel that feeds water upwards to the raised propeller. Scooters are generally built by semi-custom builders for anglers who wish to be able to run through just a few inches of water. Tunnel boats are becoming increasingly popular, and several manufacturers now produce models with tunnels.

Because so much of the boat comes up out of the water when on plane, bass boats have a shallow draft and especially shallow running draft. Aluminum fishing boats are small and light, so they don’t take up a lot of space and don’t displace a lot of water. Because of their flat bottoms, Jon boats have an incredibly small draft. Also, since jet boats do not have propellers that run lower than the hull, they require less draft. Jet boats, however, aren’t usually favored by those who frequently travel through the grassy seabed. This is because it’s possible to get tangled with it.

Sailboats with Draft from 4 to 7 Feet

If you go on a standard cruise, you will most certainly find yourself on a boat with this draft. This draft refers to standard sailboats measuring 30 to 50 feet in length. They will most likely have a draft of 4 to 7 feet. Because of the keel, this type of boat has a somewhat deep draft. The keel is an important part of a sailboat that makes your life easier and your boat more stable. But, it comes at the cost of a long piece of steel beneath the boat’s bottom. So, when you go close to the shore, be aware of this piece of steel.

For instance, the Beneteau Oceanis 281, which is 28.5 feet long and has a 4-foot draft, is a good example of this. The Beneteau Oceanis 45 is a larger version of the Oceanis 45, with a draft of 5.9 feet. Depending on the year’s model, you may reduce or increase few inches. And, of course, don’t be certain about these numbers. Use this as a suggestion only, and double-check the draft of the boat you’re on.

Powerboats and Catamarans

Because motorboats do not have keels, you will see an even lower figure here; 1 to 4 feet. So, you have to be extremely cautious with these when sailing in shallow waters. It’s safer to scrape paint off your keel than to pierce a hole in your hull. The Jeanneau Prestige 46, for example, is about 48 feet long and has a draft of slightly over 3 feet. A Beneteau Oceanis 45 of comparable dimensions has a draft of 5.9 feet.

As for catamarans, their draft ranges from 2 to 4 feet. Because cats are more stable by nature and have two keels, they can have a smaller draft than cruisers. They also tend to cut into the water less due to their two hulls thus resulting in higher buoyancy. This allows them to travel in shallower waters than a monohull of the same size. However, as previously stated, before untying the ropes that secure your boat to the pier, make sure you know the particular draft of your boat.

Weight of the Boat

To be honest, you’ll need to know a lot about your boat’s depth at its deepest point. This is normally in the middle. You must know the boat’s dimensions from the edge of the side of the boat straight down to where the bottom-most edge sits in the water. If the distance between the side edge of the boat and the very bottom is fourteen inches, about four inches of the boat will protrude out of and above the water. The rest will extend down into the water. Bear in mind that the amount of boat bottom you have until it grazes the mud or sand bars in shallow water is determined by how far it extends into the water.

When it comes to boat weight, it’s also a big issue in whether or not you’ll be able to make it through a shallow channel. A boat carrying a lesser cargo rises above the waterline. Also, it’s not as near to the muddy or sandy bottom as one carrying several hundred to several thousand pounds. To lighten the boat as much as possible, place heavy objects from the boat into a fishing net. Then tow the net behind the boat. You can travel across the lower water sections as long as the weight of the towed net of objects does not drag on the boat.

How to Measure the Depth

There are poles that are used to determine the depth of the shallow water. These also measure the boat’s capacity to pass through safely without getting stuck. You can use a pole to test the depths of the water before entering shallow waters. Immerse the pole in the water until it reaches the bottom. Pull it up to observe where the water has left its mark on the pole. If the pole is wet at two feet or less, you must rely on your knowledge of your boat. Like this, you will be able to determine whether it can go any further. Most boats and watercraft can get through here if the depth is four feet or less. But, you’ll need to keep monitoring depths as you go to avoid becoming stuck on mud or sandbar.

Tips for Shallow Water Sailing

  • Trim the outdrive up as far as possible when idling through very shallow water. If you do so, you’ll be out of choices if you run aground. If you leave it a couple of inches down, however, you’ll be able to tilt it up that final little bit if you run aground. And, you will still be able to back off and seek a deeper way.
  • One of the most enjoyable aspects of boating in the shallows is discovering places where few people go. It is also tempting to anchor your boat on a secluded beach. Just make sure you don’t do it when the tide is going out and you’re paying attention to the water level. More than one boater has been stuck for hours after discovering the shore while their boat was high and dry.
  • When you don’t know the depths it’s advisable to slow down and change course. However, this will increase the quantity of water you need. This is because you’ll be limited to static draft rather than running draft once the boat gets off the plane. Running aground at fast speeds, on the other hand, is dangerous, can badly damage your boat, and can leave you stuck with no way to get it off the bottom. The danger is minor if you run aground slowly, and you have a far better chance of getting back off. And, it’s fine to sometimes keep the boat on plane to get across the shallows if you’re familiar with the waters and know you have enough depth to support your running draft—but not your static draft.
  • Of course, you’ll want to know how the actual water depth compares to the charted depths. These are expressed as “mean lower low water,” which is an average of low tide levels. However, knowing tidal cycles is also vital so that you know what to do if you run aground and become stuck. You could be able to take a step back, or you might want to go out and push. However, if you are aware that the tide is rising, you can remain calm until the water level rises sufficiently to lift you free. If, on the other hand, you are aware that the tide is falling, you have to get off it quickly before the situation worsens. In addition, make sure you don’t go in marginal waters because you might not be able to get back out again in case the water level falls.
  • Keep in mind that a high cargo on a smaller boat might increase the draft. Weight can alter the draft of any boat, but for boats under 20 feet, a few extra people can alter the draft by an inch or more. A full load of gasoline and gear can also increase draft.
  • Sandy shoals are apparent in the sea, whereas channels and deeper waters appear dark. Color differences, on the other hand, might be deceiving; dark-looking weedbeds, for example, maybe shallower than the surrounding waters. So, it’s usually best to avoid any significant color changes, in order to stay in the same depth range. Keep a lookout for waves that consistently break in the same area, indicating bars that are shallower than their surroundings.
  • Make sure you know your draft before you set sail, as previously advised. The value is normally written down somewhere in the cockpit where you can see it while driving. To provide some safety cushion, add a value that you are comfortable with, and then compare it to what your depth meter says. Remember that the depth is normally measured from the hull’s bottom, not the keel’s deepest point. If you’re aboard a sailboat, don’t forget to include the keel size. Consult your maps if you don’t have a depth meter. They will most likely be less thorough, but they will provide you with the information you require. And when you have done all these you should continue to be careful and check the depths and the ability of your boat to go there.

The Bottom Line

Some people have to learn the hard way in order to acquire better skills. But, that is not something you want to do in shallow water with boats. You could become extremely trapped, possibly destroying your boat and/or the motor if it has one. Instead, you should pay attention to all aforementioned when sailing in shallow waters. If you feel the water is really shallow, know your boat, know the water, test the depths, keep an eye on the weight in the boat, and consider removing the motor out of the water and paddling instead. It will not only improve the quality of your time on the water, but it will also save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in boat repairs in the long term. If you don’t need to go into shallow water, staying away from those locations is a better option.

I hope that this article has helped you understand how important draft is and has provided all necessary information about sailing in the shallows. Wish you all safe & pleasant voyages!


Peter is the editor of Better Sailing. He has sailed for countless hours and has maintained his own boats and sailboats for years. After years of trial and error, he decided to start this website to share the knowledge.

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Salt Water Sportsman

Best Flats Boats for Fishing

  • By SWS Staff
  • Updated: June 22, 2022

Poling the flats for fish

If you intend to stalk bonefish, redfish, permit, snook, striped bass, tarpon or any other inshore game fish on the flats, salt marshes, or other shallow water areas, flats boats and flats skiffs — designed precisely for that style of saltwater angling — offer the greatest advantages to successfully sneak up on your favorite target species, including the shallow draft necessary to venture onto skinny water.

Naturally most of us start our boat search with trying to find the best flats boat for the money, but maybe your budget is a bit higher than most and you can look beyond the category of an affordable flats boat. If that’s the case, you’ll find plenty of those options here as well. Smaller flats skiffs are included too.

To help you find the one that best suits your specific needs and budget, the Salt Water Sportsman staff has compiled and updated a guide to the best flats boats for sale today, comprising timeless classics and the latest designs from numerous manufacturers. Scroll down to check out our list of top 16- to 19-foot options (in no particular order) for serious shallow water fishing.

The Complete List of Flats Boats

Maverick 17 hpx-v ii, yellowfin 17ce, hewes redfisher 18, east cape evo, floyd skiff 10 weight, dolphin 17 superskiff pro, action craft 1820 ace flatsmaster, bonefish bohemian 17, dragonfly emerger, maverick mirage 18 hpx-v, beavertail 17 strike, ankona advent, islamorada morada 18, hewes redfisher 16, east cape fury, spyder fx17 flicker, hell’s bay eldora, action craft 1720 gen3 flyfisher, sterling 180, mitzi 17 tournament, maverick 17 hpx-s, hell’s bay professional, chittum islamorada 18 legacy, action craft 19 ace flatsmaster, bay craft bone skiff 162, yellowfin 17 cc, east cape vantage, dolphin 18 back country pro, beavertail 18 air, dragonfly grand slam 17, hell’s bay biscayne, sterling tr7, spyder fx19 vapor, mako 18 lts, skull island 16, bluewater 180 pro, dragonfly classic 17, hell’s bay marquesa, action craft 1600 flatspro.

Maverick 17 HPX-V II poling

With its surprising open-water running capability, and quiet and precise poling proficiency, the Maverick 17 HPX-V II has been the bench mark for top-notch technical poling skiffs since its introduction. This skiff is designed for anglers who want top performance in the toughest and most technically challenging poling situations. This next generation of the 17 HPX-V now offers more easy-to-access dry storage, plus a lighter hull, better balanced to match with smaller outboards like a Yamaha F70.

Yellowfin 17CE skimming across the bay

Yellowfin has a new and improved version of its 17 Skiff, the 17 CE (Carbon Elite), features the same simple, but functional and ergonomically designed deck layout as the original 17 Skiff, but with a new hull design and cutting-edge construction techniques and materials. It incorporates a deeper deadrise and sharper entry for long runs across choppy water, new molded-in spray rails, a single step in the boat’s running surface for greater speed and efficiency.

Hewes Redfisher 18 from the bow

This versatile, mid-sized skiff has been a prime choice of many backcountry anglers for decades. Recently redesigned, the Redfisher 18 now has a dedicated anchor locker, a new console that accommodates flush-mounted electronic displays up to 12 inches, and a clever cushion setup. The boat is now built using vacuum infusion (VARIS) for an even lighter, faster and stronger hull that is well balanced with either a 115 or 150 hp outboard. An optional backrest/step integrated into the poling tower provide added comfort and safety.

Xplor X7 running wide open

Xplor Boatworks’ newest skiff, the X7, combines a functional design topside and a smooth- and dry-running hull with performance pad and 7-degree deadrise at the transom. The X7 features numerous storage and livewell options, and boasts the newest design in integrated spray rails that channel water down and away from the boat while underway.

East Cape EVO on the flats

According to the folks at East Cape Skiffs, this flats boat was built to dominate South Florida’s flats fishing scene, much of which centers around the wide-open oceanside shallows of Biscayne Bay and the Keys, where stiff winds and a moderate chop are commonplace. Built to take sizeable waves while still providing a soft, comfortable ride, with its massive built-in spray rails keeping spray to an absolute minimum, the EVO is also fast, extremely maneuverable, and it floats and poles shallow enough to chase tailers pushing up the skinniest of waters. Dry storage is extensive, and the massive round livewell, conveniently located in the middle of the aft deck, enables anglers to carry a substantial supply of baitfish for live-baiting mangrove shorelines or inlets and passes. As with all East Cape Skiff models, every EVO is a custom build, and the layout may include anything from a side console to a tower with elevated helm, to the classic center console with bench-style seating or a removable leaning post.

Floyd Skiff 10 Weight beached

A collaboration between industry legend Chris Morejohn and Brian Floyd, the 10 Weight from Floyd Skiff Company reflects an original technical poling skiff design that will travers open water with ease and comfort, draft just 7 inches, and pole silently when stalking prey on the flats. It features a center console with seat, 30-gallon livewell, hydraulic steering, electric trim tabs, under-gunwale rod racks, and more.

Dolphin 17 Superskiff Pro docked

The hull, inner liner and deck are all made completely of composite materials and fused together for maximum strength and durability. The hull shape is a modified version of the high-performance deep-V from the 16-foot Super Skiff Pro, making the 17 a quick and nimble technical poling skiff that slices through a 2-foot chop and still poles in 8 inches of water. The oversize forward deck makes a perfect casting platform, while the in-floor cast-net and dry-storage compartments accommodate enough gear for 4 anglers. Fore- and aft-facing under-gunwale rod racks hold up to 10 rods. And the ergonomically designed helm seat behind the center console folds down to extend the aft deck for additional casting room. In addition, the 17 Superskiff Pro comes loaded with features like hydraulic steering, trim tabs, gas shocks on all hatches, a 32-gallon oval livewell with high-speed pick up and push-pole holders that increase comfort and make the boat a truly versatile fishing platform.

Action Craft 1820 ACE FlatsMaster idling

Featuring a high-performance, modified deep-V hull design, the midsize Action Craft 1820 ACE FlatsMaster promises a smooth, dry ride. Built with state-of-the-art construction techniques, and boasting Action Craft’s Pocket Drive, it navigates the shallows — powered by either outboard or push pole — extremely well. Anglers looking for a full-featured, high-quality, shallow-draft boat for coastal fishing will appreciate the 1820′s self-draining cockpit, wide gunwales, and long list of standard features, as well as enough room for the family to spend a day on the water.

Bonefish Bohemian 17 at the ramp

Built out of fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber, with integrated structural foam coring and three-piece construction bonded together, the Bohemian from Bonefish Boatworks is light and strong. It sports a stepped V-pad hull that allows the skiff to plane quicker, run faster and ride comfortably without the need for trim tabs, while its submerged reverse chines eliminate unwanted spray. Features include a giant forward storage compartment, plus two large ones on the rear deck, 6 under-gunwale rod tubes, and innovative in-floor storage in the cockpit to stash wet items.

Dragonfly Emerger heading out to fish

The Emerger from Dragonfly Boatworks is designed to be a light skiff for one or two anglers that provides a smooth, comfortable ride, plus access to the skinniest water. Available in either tiller or center-console versions, this 16-foot flats boat features a unique bottom configuration that lets anglers venture easily and stealthily into the whisper zone. It draws just 5 inches, hence the name Emerger.

Maverick Mirage 18 HPX-V cruising across the bay

Maverick’s top selling skiff, the Mirage 18 HPX-V is a stable, easy-to-pole skiff that tracks well, is quick out of the hole, and responsive and nimble on the turns, and remains pretty dry even in windy weather. The popular model includes walk-around gunwales with rod racks underneath, a taller console to house sizable electronics, vertical rod racks, and a removable cooler that doubles as a forward console seat. Twin compartments provide ample aft storage and bookend a 30-gallon livewell with dual in-flow system and raw-water, high-speed pickup.

Beavertail 17 Strike on the trailer

Beavertail considers this the Swiss Army Knife of its boat lineup. The builder claims it can take the rough oceanside conditions often encountered when targeting tarpon in Florida during the annual migration, and also run and pole easily on shallow, backcountry flats to stalk tailing redfish and bonefish. Stealth is a major virtue of the Strike, which Beavertail built to enable anglers to pole silently into position and cast to wary game fish with two to three anglers aboard. This third generation Beavertail was designed to deliver tons of storage and a truly dry ride, thanks to the huge flared bow inspired by Carolina sport fishing yachts. With a unique semi-tunnel hull, and rated for up to 90hp, the builder promises this boat will jump up and race across the skinniest flats without leaving you high-and-dry. Rod racks under both gunwales, trim tabs, jack plate with 4-inch setback, custom poling platform, and an 8-gallon crustacean well with clear lid to keep tabs on the bait are among the boat’s many features.

Ankona Advent cruising on glassy water

Built combining carbon fiber, Kevlar and vinylester resin, the lightweight Ankona Advent draws just 6 inches with two anglers and gear on board. Engineered with a variable-radius transom to enhance shallow-water performance, the hull incorporates sharp spray rails, inset tabs, and a stern pad for added dead rise and a more comfortable ride in a chop. The large, front casting deck with a molded hatch includes ample dry storage, while the specious aft deck includes two 10-gallon wells with angled hatches allows for easy access while in or out of the boat.

Islamorada Morada 18 rendering

With Carbon Innegra and resin-infusion construction, the Morada 18 poling skiff from Islamorada Boatworks offers a lightweight hull designed with 12 degrees of transom deadrise for a soft ride, and a side-hull feature to knock down spray. The outer chine is soft and sits below the waterline to avoid hull slap. The trim tabs are completely recessed to reduce line snags, and a crowned transom makes spinning the boat while poling easier and quieter.

Hewes Redfisher 16 running across the river

The completely redesigned, vacuum infused (VARIS) Redfisher 16 features Hewes’ famous ride. With outboards from 70 to 115 hp, this boat can cover lots of ground comfortably and safely, even in bigger water. The Redfisher 16 floats in 11 inches of water, can be effortlessly poled or fished with a trolling motor, and it easily fits in the garage. Its wide beam and walkaround gunwales offer an exceptionally stable fishing platform.

East Cape Fury ready for fishing

Much like the Vantage, East Cape’s largest skiff, the Fury sports a considerable bow flare and large spray rails incorporated into the hull to knock down any spray and keep anglers dry. The flare, which gradually lessens toward midship, enables a wide forward deck with sizeable storage despite the skiff’s small footprint. It also floats very shallow for an 18-footer. And lightweight and narrow at the waterline, the Fury glides and spins readily with little effort when poling, and it requires only a 60 hp motor to run in the mid 30s. A large livewell, rod tubes below the gunwales and additional dry storage in back are among the boat’s key features. As with all other East Cape models, all Fury skiffs are custom built, and a variety of configurations, with different consoles, seating, rod racks, poling and casting platforms, and even towers are available.

Spyder FX17 Flicker running to the flats

Like Spyder’s larger FX model, the 17-foot Flicker is built with biaxial fiberglass, premium resins, pressure-foamed stringer construction, Baltek foam coring and Nida-Core decks for superb strength without added weight. That lighter weight enables the skiff to achieve top performance with a smaller motor, it makes poling easy and rewards flats anglers with a 7-inch draft. The boat features in-deck storage fore and aft, including twin 70-quart outboard compartments and a livewell with high-speed pick up between them. Standard equipment includes under-gunwale racks for 4 rods, vertical racks for 4 rods on the console (2 on each side), 4-switch panel and trolling motor harness. The Redfish and Pro Flats packages offer a number of upgrades, including finished fiberglass hatches, hydraulic steering, hydraulic jack plate, trim tabs, LED cockpit lighting, a poling platform and more.

Hell's Bay Eldora poling the flats

The Eldora by Hell’s Bay Boatworks boats offers a durable build with a simple interior layout, spacious front deck, and wide-open cockpit. The patented hull design — derived from over 20 years of on-the-water experience — and advanced composites and Carbon Innegra construction were combined to afford flats anglers extremely shallow draft as well as whisper-quiet, easy-to-pole performance.

Action Craft 1720 Gen3 FlyFisher at speed

The 1720 FlyFisher offers flexibility and versatility for the light-tackle and fly fishing specialist. A radical, racy chine line, the signature of Action Craft’s exclusive Qui-Dry Hull, reduces fish-spooking hull slap when poling in the shallows, and ensures a remarkably dry ride when running in a heavy chop. A narrow console affords plenty of cockpit room, and wide, 13-inch gunwales provide for easy walk-around and loads of rod storage underneath. A bench-style seat with flip-down back rest is standard, and includes dry storage underneath for two trolling motor batteries. The livewell has recessed fittings to ensure bait remains alive and frisky.

Sterling 180 around grass flats

Sterling’s 180 flats boat is built with an exclusive HPIF process that provides high-pressure foam core, double-hull construction for outstanding strength and rigidity. The 180 is designed to cruise shallow water at speed, yet is silent when poling. Ultra-wide beam offers exceptional stability. Standard features include a self-bailing cockpit, multiple dry storage lockers, specially-made rod holders, angled to protect reels, and more.

Mitzi 17 Tournament at the dock

The top model in Mitzi’s family of skiffs, the 17 Tournament is built around the brand’s successful modified V-hull with a transom pocket and 11 degrees of deadrise at the transom, resulting in a zippy and agile shallow-drafting skiff that is easy pole. It features wide walk-around gunwales, three dry storage compartments (one fore and two aft), rod racks under both gunwales, vertical rack (for three rods) in the console, release well in the aft deck, console baitwell, and poling platform.

Maverick 17 HPX-S flying in the bay

The 17 HPX-S is touted by Maverick Boats as a skiff that floats in less than 6 inches of water, drives like a sports car while keeping its occupants dry and comfortable, and poles with precision and stealth. Its one-of-a-kind VARIS constructed Kevlar hull was designed by one of the most experienced teams in the business, with the latest in CAD-designed naval architecture, and advanced aeronautic technologies, to blend a smooth-running surface with poling performance for fishing in super-shallow water.

Hell’s Bay Professional running to the fishing grounds

Built for maximum versatility in a wide range of conditions and fishing situations, the Professional from Hell’s Bay Boatworks combines shallow draft, a dry and comfortable ride, and cutting-edge design. Developed for guides, tournament professionals, and hardcore enthusiasts, this Carbon Innegra-constructed skiff is one of the leading choices for anglers looking for no-holds-barred, performance in a shallow-water fishing machine.

Chittum Islamorada 18 Legacy launching at the ramp

Stealth and shallow draft are the cornerstones of this full size skiff, built on a patented hull that weighs a mere 400 pounds before rigging and incorporates massive built-in spray rails for a super dry ride, a staggered split chine below the waterline for silent poling, and a radius transom (with no sponsons) to prevent rebound waves that may spook fish. The 18 Legacy is offered in two hull forms: the S with 12-degree deadrise and the SS with 2-degree deadrise, both loaded with features like a “floating” center console with 360-degree toe kick and forward seat with a large insulated ice chest, hydraulic steering, trim tabs, two large aft dry storage lockers, aft anchor/dry storage compartment, 14-rod racks under the gunnels with rod tubes fore and aft, 30-gallon baitwell/release well, carbon-fiber poling platform with with SeaDek, LED lighting in all compartments, wells, console and under gunnels, custom stainless steel and aluminum trailer with walk boards, and more.

Action Craft 19 ACE FlatsMaster at anchor

The bow deck of the Action Craft’s 19 ACE FlatsMaster features a built-in, removable cooler and storage compartment, plus a round livewell and an anchor locker. The aft deck includes a large, oval livewell and two large storage compartments, one of which can be plumbed to serve as a release well. A full-width dry storage compartment is located below the cushioned bench seat, and features a backrest that folds down flat to extend the aft casting deck.

Bay Craft Bone Skiff 162 in the shallows

Designed for anglers who want ample storage and fishing room in an easy-store, shallow-water boat, Bay Craft’s Bone Skiff measures only 18.6 feet in length on a trailer with a swing-away tongue to fit easily in most garages. The boat’s 6-foot, 7.9-inch beam makes it one of the most stable fishing platforms in the industry, and its features include diamond nonskid throughout, all-composite construction, under-gunwale rod storage, self-bailing cockpit, and more.

Yellowfin 17 CC running under a bridge

The workmanship and attention to detail that go into Yellowfin’s offshore center consoles and bay boats is also evident in the 17 CC, the company’s technical poling skiff model. Weighing just 600 pounds, the boat is light and responsive on the pole and it tracks well. Aggressive pebble-style nonskid finish provides good traction even in wet conditions, and the integrated spray rails keep anglers dry during open-water crossings, so this is the kind of technical poling skiff that makes fishing on rough days easier. The boat features a low-profile side console, a cavernous 35-gallon livewell and under-gunwale storage for up to six fully rigged 9-foot fly rods. The cockpit drain system, a unique design feature, allows the boat to self-bail while underway and remain bone-dry at rest with the simple quick turn of the seacocks.

East Cape Vantage fishing the flats

At just over 19 feet, the Vantage has the length to reach the next wave without stuffing the bow when running in choppy, open water, which the V and the deadrise make quite comfortable. The bow flare and large spray rails smartly incorporated in the hull’s design allow the builder to tout the boat as the driest skiff in existence. Despite the 79-inch beam, relatively narrow for a 19-footer, the hull’s footprint is even smaller, helping the skiff attain high speeds, remain nimble and negotiate rough water with ease. When poling, the Vantage exhibits a smaller boat attitude. It tracks very well and spins readily without much effort. On top, the fore and aft casting decks are massive. A cavernous compartment in the front and two generous ones in the rear afford ample storage, and the deep gutters and thick gaskets ensure the contents stay dry. A huge livewell in the aft deck easily accommodates a pair of tournament winning fish or more than enough live bait to chum with. As is the case with other premium skiffs, every Vantage is custom built in a variety of configurations, with different consoles, seating, rod racks, poling and casting platforms, and even towers available, along with a wealth of options, like a hydraulic jack plate, shallow-water anchoring system and more.

Dolphin 18 Backcountry Pro on a glassy bay

Tarpon and backcountry guides from Jupiter to Key West have been fishing aboard the 18 Back Country Pro for over twenty years and brag about its stability in open bays and inlets, the way the deep-V hull cuts through a chop, and the 10-inches of water it only requires to float. With a maximum horsepower rating of 150, this boat tops at around 55 mph, so it’s easy to reach hot spots deep in the backcountry in time for the morning bite, and pick up the family to water ski or dive the patch reefs in the afternoon. Extensive standard features include waterproof switches with circuit breakers, hydraulic steering, trim tabs, cockpit lighting under gunnels and inside livewell and aft storage compartment, in-floor cast net compartment, large dry storage compartments fore and aft, 2 oval livewells (39 gallons combined) with high-speed pickup, storage racks with tubes for 10 rods under the gunnels, poling Platform, recessed push-pole holders, and more.

Beavertail 18 Air running fast

The Beavertail Air was designed to handle the big water of open bays, yet still access the shallow flats where trophy fish live. Built with tournament anglers at heart, the Air sports 360 degrees of fishability, loads of dry storage, and offers an optional 25-gallon release well. Constructed with the most advanced coring & carbon kevlar materials, the hull is infused to create a solid, yet lightweight structure able to take on the toughest of conditions and still float skinny. And with a full stepped hull and a maximum power rating of 115 horses, Beavertail says the 18-foot Air will get you to the fishing grounds and back fast, dry and in comfort. Key standard features include a large forward casting deck with anchor locker, forward large dry-storage compartment, 30-gallon insulated livewell, two large aft storage compartments which can be plumbed as release wells, trim tabs, jack plate, center console with insulated cooler under forward jump seat, hydraulic steering, under-gunnel rod racks for rods up to 10 feet long, and custom poling platform.

Egret 167 poling flats

The smaller sibling to Egret’s signature 189 model is still a sizable platform for inshore anglers to navigate in comfort and fish shallow flats unencumbered. Like the larger 189, this boat reaches considerable speeds and takes on big, open water with gusto. Thanks to the 167′s design, materials and construction, every one that leaves the factory is as light and strong as possible. The hull was design to provide a soft, dry ride, and still float and pole surprisingly skinny. Dry storage at the bow and the rear is both generous and easy to access. Rod lockers along both gunwales include racks that cradle rods pointing fore and aft and prevent tangles. A Ritchie compass, an aluminum poling platform with welded rod holders, trim tabs, hydraulic steering, push-pole holders, cockpit lighting and engine gauges are part of the many standard features.

Dragonfly Grand Slam 17 in the bay

The combination of classic lines and innovative features really sets the Grand Slam 17 apart. The design incorporates many of yesteryear’s eye-pleasing lines in a skiff built with the latest technology to offer comfort and versatility, performing at the level professional guides and serious flats anglers demand. Whether poling in skinny water or storming across an open bay to the next fishing spot, this Dragonfly is sure to please. The skiff is finely tuned and balanced for easy and quiet poling. There’s ample storage, and a recessed shelf keeps batteries secure and out of the way while affording complete access to the front locker and the trolling motor connections. The Sportfishing Console, a popular option, includes 6 integrated upright rod holders and a slide-out drawer to keep essentials at arms length but out of the elements. Recessed grab handles, oversize cockpit drains plumbed directly to the bilge, a Simpson bracket that makes servicing the bilge pump a cinch, recessed push-pole holders that flip up and retract in unison, and a 22-gallon oval livewell with clear lid and LED underwater lights are among the many other smart appointments available.

Hell's Bay Biscayne running through shallows

Designed to provide a comfortable ride while crossing rough water oceanside or across open bays and still pole over shallow flats with ease, the Biscayne may be Hell Bay’s most versatile flats skiff. Its Kevlar hull is designed with a small footprint and a sharp entry to cut through a chop, with spray rails incorporated to ensure the ride is always dry, even in open water. Vacuum-bagged Core-Cell construction throughout make the skiff strong and tough while keeping the weight down. The flat transom allows the poler to spin the skiff quickly and sharply, while a large hatch up front and a pair of smaller shotgun-style hatches in the rear provide access to generous dry storage compartments. All hatches include a slam-latch design, which locks down the hatch as you close it for extra security and peace of mind. Under-gunwale rod racks accommodate seven fly rods, and the top surface of the standard poling platform comes covered in SeaDek for added comfort.

Sterling TR7 in profile

This unique skiff incorporates a non-slap hull design that makes it a stealthy fishing platform, with a tunnel that runs the entire length of the boat, allowing the motor to be set higher and run at high speed in ankle-deep water. The tunnel also acts as a keel during high-speed turns and helps the boat track straight while poling. Like all Sterling models, the TR7 is built using a proprietary, three-piece construction process whereby the outer hull and inner liner are bonded together, injected with foam flotation under high pressure and then chemically bonded together with the cap to form one solid piece. The boat is made entirely of carbon fiber and Kevlar, delivering a hull weight of just over 500 pounds. Standard features include the poling platform, trim tabs, hydraulic jack plate, a 10-gallon baitwell and 25-gallon release well, removable backrest, LED courtesy lights and a custom Ameritrail aluminum trailer.

Spyder FX19 Vapor heading out for fishing

With a length of 19 feet and a narrow beam of 6 feet, 11 inches, the FX19 Vapor requires less power to achieve top performance. The long planing pad and transom pocket increase its shallow-water capability. The boat is responsive on the run and takes tight turns as if it were on rails. It also glides and spins easily with the push pole, with hull slap negligible at worst. There’s a 100-quart insulated fish box in the forward deck to ice down the day’s catch and three 70-quart storage compartments, two of them located aft, bookending a release well with high-speed pickup. The Vapor also comes pre-wired for a trolling motor, with a molded pad on the bow to accommodate a quick-release mount, and rod racks — carpeted and recessed — under the gunwales. Finished fiberglass hatches, upgraded vertical console racks for 6 rods, cockpit and baitwell lighting, and a removable folding backrest are included with the Redfish or Pro Flats packages. The latter also includes a poling platform with hinged legs so it lies forward when servicing the motor.

Mako 18 LTS in a glassy bay

The 18 LTS is a clean, simple and well-executed boat that excels at many things. The foredeck is accented with a nice toe rail and incorporates a large casting platform with a sizeable dry-storage compartment underneath. There is a place for an optional trolling motor on the foredeck and a large anchor locker forward with a double-sided hatch and a gasket to keep water out. There are three vertical rod holders on each side of the console, and the cushioned forward console seat houses an 18-gallon aerated livewell. The business side of the console has a panel for flush-mounting electronics, a side-mount binnacle control to save dash space, and a gauge cluster that’s easily read in front of the helm. The console seat is a 72-quart cushioned cooler with a flip-flop backrest, so you can sit facing aft when drifting and lean back. Along with a long list of standard features, every 18 LTS comes with a trailer, and Mako also offers a wealth of options to rig out the boat for any situation.

Skull Island 16 off a small cay

Made from 100 percent vinylester resin and a combination of aerospace-grade closed-cell foam, woven fiberglass and Kevlar cloth, and the builder’s proprietary laminate schedule, the Skull Island 16 achieve an impressive strength-to-weight ration. The sharp forward entry with the wide flare of large Carolina-style game boats and integrated spray rails results in smooth, dry runs. A unique transom feature allows the engine to be mounted higher for increased shallow-water performance, while the lightweight, non-slap hull design makes poling truly effortless. The boat spins on a dime, and its 60-inch beam enables anglers to explore narrow creeks inaccessible to larger skiffs. The Skull Island offers spacious, double-gasketed storage compartments fore and aft, a large self-draining cockpit, under-gunwale racks for six 9-foot rods and a variety of cockpit configurations, including center-console and tiller setups. A powder-coated 12-gallon aluminum fuel tank and trim tabs are also standard, with an extensive list of options available.

Egret 189 carving turns

There’s no doubt this is a premier flats boat. The builder’s quality construction, superb fit and finish and great attention to detail are evident. The hull design provides a soft, dry ride, and surprisingly shallow draft. It’s also capable of considerable speeds and safe, comfortable runs in big, open water. Dry storage fore and aft is extensive and easily accessible. Rod lockers along both gunwales are impressive, designed to prevent tangles while safely cradling rods pointing in both directions. The tinned wiring and electrical connections are clean, well-organized and finished with heat shrink to prevent corrosion. Standard features include a Ritchie compass, hydraulic steering, trim tabs, push-pole holders and a poling platform. An extensive list of options include a casting platform, console vertical rod racks, flush-mount rod holders on the gunwales, on-board battery charger, bow-mount trolling motor and more.

Bluewater 180 Pro overhead

A semi-custom boat designed to bridge the gap between a flats boat and a bay boat . Aided by lifting pads amidships, a unique design feature in the boat’s hull, the Bluewater 180 offers top performance and excellent range. Generous dry storage compartments are fully finished, and deep gutters keep water from seeping in. Walk-around gunnels are complemented with rod racks underneath, and the 30-gallon livewell with rounded corners comes plumbed to circulate water from the bottom up to ensure good flow of raw water and keep live bait nice and frisky. And a wealth of additional fishing features, both standard and optional, meet the demands of even the most hardcore shallow water angler.

Dragonfly Classic 17 nearshore

The Dragonfly’s sensuous curves evoke memories of classic yacht design, like the mahogany sportfishers of yesteryear. Only this flats skiff is constructed of tough, modern materials in a perfect blend of tradition and the latest technology. The long list of standard features includes safe-tee steering, Lenco trim tabs, plumbed livewell with quick change pump, poling platform, recessed push-pole holders and hand holds, and rod storage below the gunwales.

Hell's Bay Marquesas in shallow water

The Marquesa from Hell’s Bay Boatworks is designed to float in only 7 inches, and comfortably handle bigger water and more anglers, with a running pad that increases the hull’s running speed and improves tracking and spinning while poling. The front deck is designed free of snags, with plenty of room for a casting platform and substantial dry storage underneath. In the rear, a large livewell fills the needs of live-bait and release tournament anglers, and twin storage compartments hide under hatches that allow easy access from every direction.

Action Craft 1600 FlatsPro idling

The 1600 FlatsPro is yet another model from Action Craft to rank among today’s best flats skiffs. While designed for shallow water use, this 16-footer is US Coast Guard-rated to carry up to five people—more than many larger flats boat models, with storage capacity also substantial. Stability is a key feature of top flats boats and, thanks to its 14-degree transom deadrise and 7-foot beam, the 1600 FlatsPro is super stable. Action Craft also offers multiple seating options to increase the comfort level onboard, including a bench-style helm seat with flip-up backrest that folds flats with the aft deck for fishing, and a raised console with leaning-post seating for better visibility when cruising or scouting for fish. Under-gunwale rod racks and spacious fore and aft casting decks, both boasting a livewell topping 20 gallons, are among the many fishing amenities.

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20 Best Small Sailboats for the Weekender

  • By Mark Pillsbury
  • Updated: August 4, 2021

In order to go cruising, most of us require a sailboat with a head, a galley, and bunks. The boat, likely a 30-footer and more often a 40-footer, will have electronics for navigation and entertainment, refrigeration if the trip is longer than a coastal hop, an engine for light wind, and, depending on our appetites for food and fun, perhaps a genset to power our toys and appliances.

To go sailing , however, all we really need is a hull, mast, rudder, and sail. To experience the pure joy of sheeting in and scooting off across a lake, bay, or even the open ocean, there’s nothing better than a small sailboat – we’re talking sailboats under 25 feet. You can literally reach out and touch the water as it flows past. You instantly feel every puff of breeze and sense every change in trim.

Some of the boats in this list are new designs, others are time-tested models from small sailboat manufacturers, but every one is easy to rig, simple to sail, and looks like a whole lot of fun either for a solo outing on a breezy afternoon or to keep family and friends entertained throughout your entire sailing season. This list is made up of all types of sailboats , and if you’re looking for a list of some of the best small sailboats for beginners, you’ll find exactly that here.

Any one of these popular boats could be labeled as a trailerable sailboat, daysailer, or even a weekender sailboat. And while most would be labeled as a one or two person sailboat, some could comfortably fit three or even four people.

Marblehead 22 Daysailer

Marblehead 22 Daysailer

If you have an eye for elegant lines and your heart goes pitter-patter over just the right amount of overhang beneath a counter transom, the Marblehead 22 daysailer, designed by Doug Zurn and built by Samoset Boatworks in Boothbay, Maine, will definitely raise your pulse. Traditional-looking above the waterline and modern beneath, the cold-molded hull sports a deep bulb keel and a Hall Spars carbon-fiber mast with a wishbone rig and square-top main. The 11-foot-9-inch cockpit can seat a crowd, and a small cuddy forward will let you stow your friends’ gear for the day.

Catalina 22 Sport

Catalina 22 Sport

Many a harbor plays host to an active fleet of Catalina 22s, one of the most popular small sailboats over the years, given its basic amenities and retractable keel, which allows it to be easily trailered. Recently, the company introduced the Catalina 22 Sport, an updated design that can compete with the older 22s. The boat features a retractable lead keel; a cabin that can sleep four, with a forward hatch for ventilation; and a fractional rig with a mainsail and a roller-furling jib. Lifelines, a swim ladder, and an engine are options, as are cloth cushions; vinyl cushions are standard. The large cockpit will seat a crowd or let a mom-and-pop crew stretch out and enjoy their sail. It’s clear why the Catalina 22 is one of the best sailboats under 25 feet.

Hunter 22

With its large, open-transom cockpit and sloop rig, the Hunter 22 makes a comfortable daysailer for family and friends. But with its cuddy cabin, twin bunks, optional electrical system, opening screened ports, and portable toilet, a parent and child or a couple could comfortably slip away for an overnight or weekend. Add in the optional performance package, which includes an asymmetric spinnaker, a pole, and a mainsheet traveler, and you could be off to the races. The boat features a laminated fiberglass hull and deck, molded-in nonskid, and a hydraulic lifting centerboard. Mount a small outboard on the stern bracket, and you’re set to go.

the Daysailer

Not sure whether you want to race, cruise or just go out for an afternoon sail? Since 1958, sailors have been having a ball aboard the Uffa Fox/George O’Day-designed Daysailer. Fox, who in the 1950s was on the cutting edge of planning-dinghy design, collaborated with Fall River, Massachusetts boatbuilder O’Day Corp. to build the 16-foot Daysailer, a boat that features a slippery hull and a small cuddy cabin that covers the boat roughly from the mast forward. Thousands of Daysailers were built by various builders, and they can be found used for quite affordable prices. There are active racing fleets around the US, and new Daysailers are still in production today, built by Cape Cod Ship Building.

BayRaider from Swallow Boats

BayRaider from Swallow Boats

Easy to rig and trailer, the BayRaider from England’s Swallow Yachts is a relative newcomer to the small-boat market in the United States. Nearly all of its 19 feet 9 inches is open cockpit, though a spray hood can be added to keep the forward sections dry. The BayRaider is ketch-rigged with a gunter-style mainmast. The topmast and mizzen are both carbon-fiber, which is an option for the mainmast as well. The BayRaider can be sailed with a dry hull in lighter conditions or with 300 pounds of water ballast to increase its stability. With the centerboard and hinged rudder raised, the boat can maneuver in even the thinnest water.

$28,900, (904) 234-8779,

12 1/2 foot Beetle Cat

Big fun can come in small packages, especially if your vessel of choice happens to be the 12 ½-foot Beetle Cat. Designed by John Beetle and first built in 1921, the wooden shallow draft sailboat is still in production today in Wareham, Massachusetts at the Beetle Boat Shop. With a draft of just 2 feet, the boat is well-suited for shallow bays, but equally at home in open coastal waters. The single gaff-rigged sail provides plenty of power in light air and can be quickly reefed down to handle a blow. In a word, sailing a Beetle Cat is fun.

West Wight Potter P 19

West Wight Potter P 19

With berths for four and a workable galley featuring a cooler, a sink, and a stove, West Wight Potter has packed a lot into its 19-foot-long P 19. First launched in 1971, this is a line of boats that’s attracted a true following among trailer-sailors. The P 19′s fully retractable keel means that you can pull up just about anywhere and go exploring. Closed-cell foam fore and aft makes the boat unsinkable, and thanks to its hard chine, the boat is reportedly quite stable under way.

NorseBoat 17.5

NorseBoat 17.5

Designed for rowing and sailing (a motor mount is optional), the Canadian-built NorseBoat 17.5—one of which was spotted by a CW editor making its way through the Northwest Passage with a two-man crew—features an open cockpit, a carbon-fiber mast, and a curved-gaff rig, with an optional furling headsail set on a sprit. The lapstrake hull is fiberglass; the interior is ply and epoxy. The boat comes standard with two rowing stations and one set of 9-foot oars. The boat is designed with positive flotation and offers good load-carrying capacity, which you could put to use if you added the available canvas work and camping tent. NorseBoats offers a smaller sibling, the 12.5, as well; both are available in kit form.

$19,000, (902) 659-2790,

Montgomery 17

Montgomery 17

Billed as a trailerable pocket cruiser, the Montgomery 17 is a stout-looking sloop designed by Lyle Hess and built out of fiberglass in Ontario, California, by Montgomery Boats. With a keel and centerboard, the boat draws just under 2 feet with the board up and can be easily beached when you’re gunkholing. In the cuddy cabin you’ll find sitting headroom, a pair of bunks, a portable toilet, optional shore and DC power, and an impressive amount of storage space. The deck-stepped mast can be easily raised using a four-part tackle. The builder reports taking his own boat on trips across the Golfo de California and on visits to California’s coastal islands. Montgomery makes 15-foot and 23-foot models, as well. If you’re in search of a small sailboat with a cabin, the Montgomery 17 has to be on your wish list.

CW Hood 32 Daysailer small sailboat

With long overhangs and shiny brightwork, the CW Hood 32 is on the larger end of the daysailer spectrum. Designers Chris Hood and Ben Stoddard made a conscious decision to forego a cabin and head in favor of an open cockpit big enough to bring 4 or 5 friends or family out for an afternoon on the water. The CW Hood 32 is sleek and graceful through the water and quick enough to do some racing, but keeps things simple with a self-tacking jib and controls that can be lead back to a single-handed skipper. A top-furling asymmetrical, electric sail drive and Torqeedo outboard are all optional. The CW Hood 32 makes for a great small family sailboat.

Sun Cat from Com-Pac

Sun Cat from Com-Pac

Shallow U.S. East Coast bays and rock-strewn coasts have long been graced by cat boats, whose large, gaff-rigged mainsails proved simple and powerful both on the wind and, better yet, when reaching and running. The 17-foot-4-inch Sun Cat, built by Com-Pac Yachts, updates the classic wooden cat with its fiberglass hull and deck and the easy-to-step Mastender Rigging System, which incorporates a hinged tabernacle to make stepping the mast a one-person job. If you want a personal sailboat ideal for solo sailing, the Sun Can is a great choice. Belowdecks, the twin 6-foot-5-inch berths and many other features and amenities make this cat a willing weekender.

$19,800, (727) 443-4408,

Catalina 16.5

Catalina 16.5

The Catalina 16.5 sits right in the middle of Catalina Yachts’ line of small sailboats, which range from the 12.5 to the 22 Capri and Sport, and it comes in both an easy-to-trailer centerboard model and a shoal-draft fixed-keel configuration. With the fiberglass board up, the 17-foot-2-inch boat draws just 5 inches of water; with the board down, the 4-foot-5-inch draft suggests good windward performance. Hull and deck are hand-laminated fiberglass. The roomy cockpit is self-bailing, and the bow harbors a good-sized storage area with a waterproof hatch.

Hobie 16

No roundup of best small sailboats (trailerable and fun too) would be complete without a mention of the venerable Hobie 16, which made its debut in Southern California way back in 1969. The company has introduced many other multihulls since, but more than 100,000 of the 16s have been launched, a remarkable figure. The Hobie’s asymmetric fiberglass-and-foam hulls eliminate the need for daggerboards, and with its kick-up rudders, the 16 can be sailed right up to the beach. Its large trampoline offers lots of space to move about or a good place to plant one’s feet when hanging off the double trapezes with a hull flying. The boat comes with a main and a jib; a spinnaker, douse kit, trailer, and beach dolly are optional features.

Hunter 15

Novice sailors or old salts looking for simplicity could both enjoy sailing the Hunter 15. With a fiberglass hull and deck and foam flotation, the boat is sturdily built. The ample freeboard and wide beam provide stability under way, and the heavy-duty rubrail and kick-up rudder mean that you won’t have to worry when the dock looms or the going grows shallow. Both the 15 and its slightly larger 18-foot sibling come standard with roller-furling jibs.

$6,900/$9,500 (boat-show prices for the 15 and 18 includes trailers), (386) 462-3077,

Super Snark

Super Snark

Under various owners, the Snark brand of sailboats, now built by Meyers Boat Co., has been around since the early 1970s. The Super Snark, at 11 feet, is a simple, easily car-topped daysailer that’s fit out with a lateen rig and sail. Billed as unsinkable, the five boats in the company’s line are built with E.P.S. foam, with the external hull and deck vacuum-formed to the core using an A.B.S. polymer. The Super Snark weighs in at 50 pounds, and with a payload capacity of 310 pounds, the boat can carry two.

$970, (800) 247-6275,

Norseboat 21.5

Norseboat 21.5

Built in Canada, the NorseBoat 21.5 is a rugged looking craft that comes in a couple of configurations: one with an open cockpit and small doghouse, and another with a smaller cockpit and cabin that houses a double berth for two adults and optional quarter berths for the kids. Both carry NorseBoat’s distinctive looking carbon fiber gaff-rigged mast with main and jib (a sprit-set drifter is optional), and come with a ballasted stub keel and centerboard. Because of its lightweight design, the boat can be rowed and is easily trailered.

$36,000 (starting), 902-659-2790,

Flying Scot

Flying Scot

Talk about time-tested, the 19-foot Flying Scot has been in production since 1957 and remains a popular design today. Sloop rigged, with a conventional spinnaker for downwind work, the boat is an easily sailed family boat as well as a competitive racer, with over 130 racing fleets across the U.S. Its roomy cockpit can seat six to eight, though the boat is often sailed by a pair or solo. Hull and deck are a fiberglass and balsa core sandwich. With the centerboard up, the boat draws only eight inches. Though intended to be a daysailer, owners have rigged boom tents and berths for overnight trips, and one adventurous Scot sailor cruised his along inland waterways from Philadelphia to New Orleans.

RS Venture

Known primarily for its line of racing dinghys, RS Sailing also builds the 16-foot, 4-inch Venture, which it describes as a cruising and training dinghy. The Venture features a large, self-draining cockpit that will accommodate a family or pack of kids. A furling jib and mainsail with slab reefing come standard with the boat; a gennaker and trapeze kit are options, as is an outboard motor mount and transom swim ladder. The deck and hull are laid up in a fiberglass and Coremat sandwich. The Venture’s designed to be both a good performer under sail, but also stable, making it a good boat for those learning the sport.

$14,900, 203-259-7808,

Topaz Taz

Topper makes a range of mono- and multihull rotomolded boats, but the model that caught one editor’s eye at Strictly Sail Chicago was the Topaz Taz. At 9 feet, 8 inches LOA and weighing in at 88 pounds, the Taz is not going to take the whole crowd out for the day. But, with the optional mainsail and jib package (main alone is for a single child), the Taz can carry two or three kids or an adult and one child, and would make a fun escape pod when tied behind the big boat and towed to some scenic harbor. The hull features Topper’s Trilam construction, a plastic and foam sandwich that creates a boat that’s stiff, light, and durable, and shouldn’t mind being dragged up on the beach when it’s time for a break.

$2,900 (includes main and jib), 410-286-1960,

WindRider WRTango

WindRider WRTango

WRTango, a fast, sturdy, 10-foot trimaran that’s easy to sail, is the newest portable craft from WindRider International. It joins a line that includes the WR16 and WR17 trimarans. The Tango features forward-facing seating, foot-pedal steering, and a low center of gravity that mimics the sensation of sitting in a kayak. It weighs 125 pounds (including the outriggers and carbon-fiber mast), is extremely stable, and has single-sheet sail control. The six-inch draft and kick-up rudder make it great for beaching, while the hull and outriggers are made of rotomolded polyethylene, so it can withstand running into docks and being dragged over rocks.

$3,000, 612-338-2170,

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best shoal draft blue water boats 26 to 30

  • Thread starter anchorclanker
  • Start date Jun 6, 2012
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  • Ask All Sailors



I know the question has been asked a 100 times before, but I dont know if it was ever asked in this particular way. There are so many boat makes and models in that size range you get delirious wading through them. Dream would be to one day go out into the gulf and work my way down into the islands. Shallow draft via swing keel would be optimum. But strength is at least second to draft, but really its first. Trailerable is also a requirement, so beam has to remain within legal limits.  


anchorclanker said: I know the question has been asked a 100 times before, but I dont know if it was ever asked in this particular way. There are so many boat makes and models in that size range you get delirious wading through them. Dream would be to one day go out into the gulf and work my way down into the islands. Shallow draft via swing keel would be optimum. But strength is at least second to draft, but really its first. Trailerable is also a requirement, so beam has to remain within legal limits. Click to expand

Watkins 23 footer (which is trailerable) would work...retractable keel to 18 inches, down it's almost 6 feet. Also, Watkins seem bigger on the inside than they actually are.  


or the macgregor X or M. its not really strong, but it can motor fast (around 12-15knts). that speed can make up for its lack of strength since you can motor in a smaller weather window. One problem with the small boat is storage in the islands. -you'll need water and fuel down island. Have you also considered a trimaran ? corsair makes some nice boats that just fly, and are trailer-able.  


I know Matt Layden (builder of Paradox, pictured by Sumner), he is the perfect example of the old adage that it isn't the boat, it is the sailor. He is known as "Wizard" and his exploits /accomplishments are legendary.  

Stu Jackson

Stu Jackson

Robert M.

Introduced in 1974 from the board of Bruce King and designed to be trailered and easily rigged and launched. LOA = 24' 8" LWL = 20' 10" Beam = 8.0 feet (legal to trailer without permits) Draft = 2.0 feet (w/ board up) Displacement = 5,400 lbs. Ballast = 2,500 lbs + 150 lb. centerboard Sail Area = 265 sq. ft. (100% foretriangle) Head Room = 5' 6" Rating = 18.0 IOR (Quarter Ton)  

Robert, were you talking about the Ericson 25? That's one nice small yacht, and legally trailerable as well. L  


This is a very interesting boat that I saw at the Annapolis boat show  

RAD said: This is a very interesting boat that I saw at the Annapolis boat show Click to expand


How about a Nor'sea 27?  



anchorclanker said: Now thats what im talking about. But what do ya do if the electric winch for the keel fails? Would this be blue water capable? I do realize the guy at the helm has a lot more to do with survival than the boats integrity, but having a good strong ship is always a plus. Click to expand

Check out the Seaward Yachts as they come in 26' and 32'. You did not mention affordable in your requirements so these boats may fill your needs. Don't forget saving some for the heavy duty tow vehicle which is required.  

FastOlson said: Robert, were you talking about the Ericson 25? That's one nice small yacht, and legally trailerable as well. L Click to expand
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My Cruiser Life Magazine

7 Best Trailerable Sailboats for Cruising

Many sailors balk at the idea of leaving their boat in the water at a marina. Slip fees are expensive, and maintenance bills get bigger the longer you leave a boat in the water. However, if you want a boat under 30 feet long, there are trailerable sailboats that will fit the bill.

Like any boat purchase, you’ll need to analyze precisely what kind of trailer sailer you want. Will a simple weekend sailboat suffice, or do you really need the best trailerable cruising sailboat you can find? 

Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of the best trailerable sailboat. Plus, we’ll look at how to compare them for your purposes.

trailerable sailboat

Table of Contents

Best trailerable sailboats, easy to launch trailerable sailboats, quick setup time, towing weight, catalina 22/25 “pop-top”, com-pac horizon cat for classic coastal cruising, marshall sanderling — small, portable, classy, west wight potter 19 — the tiny go-anywhere sailboat, seaward 26rk with retractable lead keel, corsair f-24 trimaran – sporty sailing, macgregor 26m — maximum speed meets maximum living space, long-range cruising boats, 7 best trailerable boats – a recap, what’s the best trailerable sailboat for a cruise, trailerable sailboats faqs.

  • Catalina 22/25
  • Com-Pac Horizon Cat
  • Marshall Sanderling
  • West Wight Potter 19
  • Seaward 26RK
  • Corsair F-24 Trimaran
  • MacGregor 26M

We’ll get into more detail about each brand in my post today, so hang tight!

What Is a Trailerable Sailboat, Exactly?

For this article, the priorities for a trailerable sailboat are:

  • Easy to launch
  • Require minimum setup to launch and store
  • Lightweight enough to be towed by the average vehicle

Before you can really classify a sailboat as trailerable, you need to evaluate and narrow your search criteria. Truthfully, 50-plus-foot ocean-going sailboats are regularly put on trailers. But that’s done commercially, on a big rig, with special permits for oversized loads, and even led cars.  

That probably isn’t what most people mean when they think of a trailerable sailboat. But what is the priority here, the trailerable part or the sailboat part? Compromises are going to have to be made somewhere. 

If you’re looking at the 20-foot-and-under sailboat crowd, finding a trailerable example should not be hard. Most sailboats this size are designed for trailers anyway since they aren’t the sort of boats people want to pay to leave in a slip year-round.

Things get more interesting when you look at the 20 to 30-foot boats. In this class, there are stout ocean-going cruisers with deep keels and lightweight centerboard trailer sailboats designed from the get-go to be trailered by the average car or SUV. The differences between these boats are night and day.

Sailboats often have a hard time at boat ramps. First, deep keels mean that the trailer must extend farther into the water than the average boat ramp allows. This means the ramp needs to go back far enough, and the trailer tongue needs to be long enough not to swamp the car. 

If you have a boat like this, you’ll need to find the right boat ramps. Unfortunately, not all ramps are created equally. If your boat draws more than two or three feet on the trailer, you’re going to be limited to steep, paved, and high-quality boat ramps. Unfortunately, those aren’t standard features, so your cruising grounds are going to be limited.

Usually, ramps aren’t built steeply because they are often slippery. Your tow vehicle will need excellent traction and torque to pull your fully loaded boat out of a steep ramp. The steeper the ramp, the more trouble you’ll have. 

The alternative to finding steep ramps is to use a trailer tongue extender. This lets you get the trailer into deeper water without swamping the tow vehicle. But it also means that the ramp needs to extend deep enough. Many ramps end abruptly. Allowing your trailer to sink off the edge is an excellent way to get stuck or pop a tire.

Pick a boat as easy to launch and retrieve as a similarly sized powerboat to remove all of these boat ramp problems. The soft chines of most sailboats will always require a little more water, but a swing keel and the hinged rudder raised mean that the boat can sit low on the trailer bunks. That way, you only need one or two feet of water to launch, an easy feat at nearly every boat ramp you can find.

The next consideration for a sailboat to be portable enough to call it “trailerable” is the amount of time it takes to step the mast and get it ready to cruise. 

To accomplish this, you need a mast that can be stepped by a two-person team–maximum. Ideally, it will have some tabernacle hardware to enable one person to do the task for solo sailing.

There is an entire family of pocket cruisers that could ideally fit on trailers. But you won’t find the Fickas or the Falmouth cutters on my list, simply because they aren’t easy to launch or easy to rig. But, of course, they’re also too heavy for most vehicles to tow, which leads us to the final point of excluding them this trailable pocket cruiser’s list.

One of the most significant financial burdens the trailer sailer faces is their tow vehicle. You are all set if you already drive a two-ton dually diesel pickup truck. But if your daily driver is an SUV or light pickup, you need to think long and hard about the math of the towing equation. 

Whatever boat you buy cannot exceed the towing rating limits of your tow vehicle. If you don’t have a tow vehicle, you’ll need to buy one. This will double or triple the cost of getting a trailer sailer in most cases. For the same money, you may want to look at a boat that stays in the water at a traditional boat slip. For the cost of a trailer sailer and a tow vehicle, you can probably step into a nice boat that is larger and more comfortable than any towable.

If you have a tow vehicle, you need a light enough vessel for it to tow. Most modern SUVs tow less than 2,500 pounds. Anything more than 5,000 will require a full-size pickup. Remember that the tow weight isn’t just the boat’s displacement—it’s the empty hull weight, plus the weight of the trailer and any extra gear you need to pack into the boat. 

Finding a vessel that fits these limitations on weight isn’t easy. If the manufacturer’s goal is to make it towable, immediate limits are placed on the materials they can use. This means less seaworthiness since boats are built light and thin. As far as stability goes, lead keels are generally out, and water ballast systems or centerboards might be used instead. It doesn’t mean these boats aren’t safe and fun, but they aren’t designed for rough conditions, crossing oceans, or living on in the water full-time .

Trailerable sailboats are usually limited to the best paved ramps

7 Best Trailerable Cruising Sailboats

There are more trailerable sailboats out there than you might imagine. Here’s a look at seven popular options of all shapes and sizes to give you a taste of what you might want to take to sea.

The boats here are selected for their storage and living space. With these boats and a little outfitting, you can spend weeks gunk-holing in the Chesapeake Bay or island hopping the Bahamas. If you broaden your scope to include daysailers with no cabin space, there are countless more options.

One of the worst parts of a small trailerable sailboat or pocket cruiser is the lack of stand-up headroom. One clever solution that you’ll find on some weekend sailboat types is the pop-top. 

The pop-top is simply an area around the companionway hatch that extends upward on struts. So when you’re at the dock or anchor, you get standing headroom down below—at least right inside the pop-top.

You can build a canvas enclosure for your pop-top to use it in all weather. A pop-top makes your boat feel much larger than it is and allows you to move freely to cook or get changed down below or even do a nice boat bed area. 

Later models of the Catalina Sport 22 and Capri 22s lacked this cool pop-top feature, so if you want it, you’ll need to seek out an older model on the used market.

Com-Pac has been building small sailboats since the early 1970s. They currently sell two lines, each with various-sized boats. All are well built, and a majority of their boats are trailerable. 

Most interesting at the Com-Pac traditional catboats . The rigging is more straightforward than modern sloops, with only one large mainsail. Com-Pac boats come with a unique quick-rig system to make getting on the water fast and simple.

The Horizon Cat Coastal Cruising has a displacement of 2,500 pounds with a 2’2″ draft when the board is up. She has a separate head forward and space to lounge either topside or down below. The smaller Sun Cat has slightly few amenities but shaves off a few feet and pounds, making it easier to tow and it is one of these amazing small sailboats. Com-Pacs features stub keels, so their centerboard and hinged rudder do not take up space in the cabin.

On the sloop rig side, the Com-Pac 23 comes in a 3,000-pound traditional sailboat or a very interesting pilothouse. Both are incredibly livable for their size , with shallow two-foot-long fixed keels and high-quality construction.

Another option if you like catboats is the Marshall Sanderling. This salty 18-footer oozes traditional charm , all while being easy to sail and easier to tow. And while she has wooden boat lines, she has a modern laminated fiberglass hull.

The Sanderling has a 2,200-pound displacement, so tow weights will be around 3,000 pounds. At only 18-feet, she’s on the small side for cruising. The cuddy cabin has no galley, and the portable toilet is not enclosed. But that small size means a simple boat that’s easy to maintain and take anywhere. 

An electric motor package is an exciting option on this weekend sailboat!

View this post on Instagram A post shared by @marshallmarinecat

You can’t mention tiny trailer sailers without touching on the famous West Wight Potter . These 15 and 19-foot pocket cruisers have earned a worldwide reputation as the ultimate go-anywhere coastal cruiser.

The West Wight Potter 19 offers the most living space for staying aboard and cruising. So even though its dimensions are diminutive, this little boat packs a lot in. There’s a single burner hotplate and sink and a porta-potty tucked under a cushion. Yes, it’s tight—but the company claims the little boat can sleep five people. Any more than two will feel pretty crowded, however.

The boat comes standard with a mast-raising system that a single person can manage alone. It has a daggerboard for a shallow draft of a half-foot when the board is up. The total towing weight is around 1,500 pounds, which means nearly any car can tow a West Wight Potter.

This little-known trailer sailer is produced at the same Florida factory that makes Island Packet Yachts. That should give you a little bit of an idea of what sort of boat it is—trailerable, yes, but also high-quality, beautiful, and built for cruising. In other words, it’s one of the nicest all round pocket cruisers and it feels like a much larger boat.

The Seaward is easily the saltiest boat on this list . It’s beefy and seaworthy. Instead of a lightweight centerboard, Seaward fits the RK with a bulb-shaped retracting keel. Other big-boat items include a Yanmar diesel inboard motor and an enclosed head. The spacious cabin of the boat features a double berth and is ready for salt water cruising.

According to , the tow weight of the 26RK is 6,000 pounds. With the keel up, the draft is 1.25 feet.

Multihull sailors need not feel left out from the trailer sailer club and the pocket cruiser. Beyond the ubiquitous beach Hobie Cat, there are not many options for catamarans. But trimarans are uniquely suited to be towed.

Why? For one thing, performance oriented boats like trimarans are based on it being built light. There is no ballast—a trimaran’s stability comes from its two outer hulls. Additionally, the living space is entirely housed in the central hull–the outer floats are small and sometimes foldable. Finally, there are no keels on tris, so they are extremely shallow draft and perfect for trailering.

If you’re looking for adrenaline-pumping sporty and fun sailing, it’s impossible to beat what a trimaran will offer. Let’s not beat around the bush—most of the trailer sailers on this list have hull speeds around five knots. The Corsair has no such limits, routinely sailing at 15 knots or more .

The new Corsair 880 trimaran has an unloaded weight of 3,659 pounds. It is trailerable behind a big SUV or small pickup and is probably the most fun sailing option that is trailerable at all.

An even more portable option is the older Corsair F-24. It has a light displacement of under 2,000 pounds—so nearly any SUV can tow it.

MacGregor owns the market on trailerable motor sailers since they more or less created the product to fit the bill. The MacGregor 26 is not like other boats. The design combines a planing powerboat with a centerboard sailboat. Imagine scooting along at 20 knots or more when the wind is down or enjoying a sporty sail on a breezy day–in the same boat.

The entire boat is built from the ground up for towing and long-range sailing. So if you want a big sailboat that you can tow behind pretty much any SUV, the MacGregor has to be on your list. 

Depending on the model, the 26-foot-long boats have incredibly light dry weights of between 1,650 and 2,350 pounds. Considering the massive volume of the roomy cabin, the ability to tow such a large vessel opens up an entire world of opportunities for owners. 

It’s not all good news, of course. MacGregor owners love their boats, but they are built light and are not ideally suited for offshore cruising or rough weather. But in bays and for coastal sailing on nice days, few boats can get as much use as a MacGregor. 

The motorboat capability of the 26M and 26X might not appeal to hardcore sailors, but for those looking to maximize their use of the boat depending on the weather, their mood, or location, it makes a lot of sense. 

MacGregor shut down in 2015, but the daughter and son-in-law of the original owners took over production and renamed the boat the Tattoo 26 . The company will soon release a smaller version, the Tattoo 22 .

If the 26 is a bit big to make your list of best trailerable small sailboats, consider the smaller Powersailer 19. It’s nearly identical to the 26, just smaller and lighter.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dale Roddick (@droddick33)

What Do You Want Your Trailer Sailer To Do?

After you’ve settled on how you will tow and launch your trailer sailer, now it’s time to dream about what you want it to do. Where will it take you? 

The beauty of a towable boat is that you can travel anywhere. A boat in the water might take weeks or months to move a few hundred miles. But if you can attach it to your car and do 65 mph on the interstate, you could sail on the Pacific on Monday, the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, and the Atlantic on Friday.

We can divide our trailerable sailboats into three groups – daysailers, weekenders, and cruisers.

These are designed with open cockpits and no space to sleep. This is a majority of the sub-22-foot boats on the market. They are designed to be launched, play for the day, and return to the ramp or dock.

A weekender will have rudimentary sleeping facilities. Think of it as a floating tent—it’s not a five-star hotel, but you can sleep under the stars or get out of the rain. Conceivably you could stay aboard indefinitely, but it doesn’t have much room for gear. So most people are ready to get off after a day or two. 

A cruising boat has sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities built-in. These might be small and simple, but in any quantity, they mean you can disconnect from shore for a long time. Unfortunately, squeezing all of this into a tow-friendly package isn’t easy, and very few boats do it well. 

Trailer sailer adventures

The best trailer sailor for your adventures will depend on many factors. Like any boat, whatever you decide on will be a compromise – boats always are. But there are plenty of choices out there, no matter what size your tow vehicle is and no matter what sailing adventures you have in mind.

What size sailboat is trailerable?

Even large yachts are routinely transported by towing across land, so the question is more of how big a sailboat can you tow? Your tow vehicle will be the limiting factor. The upper limit for most large SUVs and trucks is usually a sailboat around 26 feet long.

Sailboats are generally very heavily built, with ballast and lead keels. Sailboats specifically made to be trailer sailers are lighter. They may use drainable water ballast tanks instead of fixed ballast and have fewer fixtures and amenities.

To find the best trailer sailer, you need to balance the total tow weight, the ease of rig setup at the boat ramp, and the boat’s draft. Shallow draft boats with centerboards are the easiest to launch and retrieve.

Is a Hunter 27 trailerable?

No. The Hunter 27 is a one of those fixed-keel larger boats built from 1974 to 1984. The boat’s displacement is 7,000 pounds, not including trailer and gear. That alone makes it too heavy to tow by all but the beefiest diesel trucks. 

Furthermore, the fixed keels had drafts between 3.25 and 5 feet, all of which are too much for most boat ramps. In short, the standard Hunter Marine 27 is too big to tow for most people.

On the other hand, Hunter has made several good trailer sailers over the years. For example, the Hunter 240 and 260 were explicitly designed for trailering. They have drainable water ballast and shallow keel/centerboard drafts less than two feet. 

Is a Catalina 22 trailerable?

Yes, the Catalina 22 is easily trailerable and makes a wonderful weekend sailboat. In fact, there were over 15,000 Catalina 22s made and sold over the years. 

The boat’s displacement is 2,250 pounds, which means your total tow weight with trailer and gear will be under 3,000 pounds. This is within the capabilities of most mid to full-size SUVs and light trucks. Be sure to check your vehicle’s towing capacity, of course.

The centerboard on the Catalina 22 is another factor in its easy towing. With the board up, the boat draws only two feet. This makes it easy to float off the trailer at nearly any boat ramp. You should avoid fixed keel versions of the 22 for towing unless you have access to extra deep ramps. 

shallow draft sailboats

Matt has been boating around Florida for over 25 years in everything from small powerboats to large cruising catamarans. He currently lives aboard a 38-foot Cabo Rico sailboat with his wife Lucy and adventure dog Chelsea. Together, they cruise between winters in The Bahamas and summers in the Chesapeake Bay.

Can someone tell me why no other manufacturer makes pop tops? Those who have them, love them. Makes sense for head space with a trailerable boat too. Catalina stopped making them decades ago, yet people still swear by them. So, why isn’t there any newer models?

MacGregor put pop tops on many of its trailerables

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Shallow vs Deep vs Shoal Draft. Boat Draft Explained

shallow draft vs deep draft

When it comes to buying a boat there are lots of different types to choose from, with what seems like an overwhelming number of different design characteristics. Arguably the most important thing to consider though is whether the boat has a shallow draft or a deep draft.

But what on earth do these terms mean and which one is best for you?

Boat draft – shallow vs deep vs shoal

Advantages of a shallow draft boat, disadvantages of a shallow draft boat, advantages of a deep draft boat, disadvantages of a deep draft boat, advantages of shoal draft, disadvantages of shoal draft, shallow draft hull designs, deep draft hull designs, how to decide between a shallow draft, deep draft boat or shoal draft boat.

Shallow draft and deep draft refer to the depth of the lowest part of a boat.

A shallow draft boat has a bottom that lies not far below the waterline and is usually flat with no keel.

Deep draft refers to a boat with a bottom that lies much further below the waterline. However, a deep draft boat’s lowest point may be a keel that lies even lower in the water.

Shoal draft can be considered a hybrid design of shallow and deep draft boats.

Each draft type has advantages and disadvantages which I cover below.

Shallow draft vs deep draft vs shoal draft

For people new to boating the vast amount of features in boat design that are available can overwhelming and making a choice between those designs can be a daunting task.

Although there are an array of different features available on different boat types by far the most important choice you will make as a new boat owner is deciding between a boat with a shallow draft or one with a deep draft.

Because the choice you make will determine where you can use your boat.

Not all boats can navigate the same waters! The draft of a boat determines where it can be used.

The draft of a boat is usually determined by how deep in the water the bottom of the boat sits.

Although it is usually the bottom of the boat that determines its draft sometimes additional things need to be considered.

For example, if a boat has a fin keel that extends much lower than the boat’s bottom then this will determine the boat’s draft rather than the bottom of the hull. Don’t worry, this will all make more sense as you progress through this article.

To understand the difference between deep draft and shallow draft I will give a brief explanation of what each one is, along with its advantages and disadvantages.

shallow draft boat in shallow water

Shallow draft explained

I’ve already mentioned that draft refers the depth of the lowest point of a boat. So, what is shallow draft?

On a shallow draft boat this is almost always the boat’s bottom as a shallow draft boat will usually have a flat bottom with no keel. There are exceptions, such as a keel on a shallow draft canoe , but these are not important for understanding the basic principles.

If we take a Jon boat as an example of a shallow draft vessel we can see that its hull design has a flat bottom .

This flat bottom sits just a few inches below the waterline.

In other words, there is only a few inches depth of water between where the boat meets the water and the bottom of the boat which means the boat has a very shallow draft.

The depth of the bottom of the boat is also uniform across the width of the boat and most of its length  – thus forming a solid flat surface that basically sits on the water. This means a shallow draft boat can navigate very shallow waters. Very shallow draft boats, like a Jon boat, can navigate waters that are only a few inches deep.

If you haven’t realized already there are some key advantages to having a boat with a shallow draft.

The 2 major advantages of having a shallow draft boat are:

  • In calm water the flat bottom hull makes the boat exceptionally stable and comfortable to ride in.
  • The shallow draft allows the boat to navigate very shallow waters without the worry of snagging the boat on rocks or debris.

But as with everything in life there are cons as well as pros to having a boat with a shallow draft.

The 2 major disadvantages of having a shallow draft boat are:

  • In choppy water and windy conditions the boat can become unstable.
  • The boat is not seaworthy. It can only be used in the ocean close to the shoreline and in optimal weather conditions. A shallow draft boat cannot handle waves. In strong winds and choppy ocean water it will almost definitely capsize. There are exceptions such as a catamaran and some Jon boat owners take their vessels on the ocean but for the most part shallow draft vessels are not seaworthy.

eep draft v-shape hull

Deep draft explained

What is deep draft?

Deep draft refers to a boat that sits much deeper in the water.

Although a boat with a deep draft will have a hull bottom that sits lower in the water than a shallow draft boat, the bottom of the vessel may not always be the boat’s lowest point. A keel may extend much deeper into the water to offer a seaworthy vessel more stability in very turbulent water thus creating an even deeper draft.

Just like a shallow draft boat has advantages and disadvantages so too does a deep draft boat.

Deep draft vessels have some key advantages over a shallow draft vessel.

The 2 major advantages of having a deep draft boat are:

  • The boat very stable in choppy waters.
  • The boat is seaworthy and can easily handle waves, thus allowing you to go in the ocean regardless of the conditions.

Of course there are disadvantages to owning a deep draft boat as well.

The 2 major disadvantages of having a deep draft boat are:

  • A deep draft boat is not as comfortable to ride in.
  • A deep draft boat is restricted to deep waters such as the ocean or very deep lakes and therefore is not suitable for most inland waterways.

Shoal draft explained

There is also something known as shoal draft.

Boats with shoal draft are much less common than the other two types.

A shoal draft boat is one which has a shallower draft than other boats of comparable size.

To read more about shoal draft read my article on the topic here .

When you want the best of both shallow and deep draft worlds then a shoal draft boat is what you need.

The 2 major advantages of having a shoal draft boat are:

  • The boat can be used to navigate through shallower bodies of water than a standard deep draft ocean-going vessel.  This allows the boat access to the shoals or shoreline.
  • The keel is long enough to provide a safe trip across deep open waters such as the ocean.

Of course there are also disadvantages to owning a shoal draft boat.

The 2 major disadvantages of having a shoal draft boat are:

  • The boat does not have as much stability, especially in very choppy water, as a deep draft vessel. Ocean sailing is not as safe or comfortable as it would be in a deep draft boat.
  • Access to the shallows is limited. although a shoal draft boat can gain access to shallower areas than a deep draft boat, most inland waterways are too shallow for this craft.

How draft is determined by hull design

It is the lowest point of a boat, as it sits in the water, which determines whether a boat has a shallow draft or deep draft. But, although it may be the lowest point of the boat that determines its draft but this is not the only difference between shallow draft and deep draft boats.

Shallow draft boats and deep draft boats also have different hull designs.

Although you will come across variations to the hull designs shown in the image below, the five basic designs I have given will give you an idea of how the bottom of boats are constructed. The catamaran shown in the image is a special type of pontoon boat .

typical hull designs

The main contributing factor to the draft of a shallow draft boat is its hull design, specifically the bottom of the boat. This is because a shallow draft boat will almost never have a keel. A keel is designed to give a boat more stability in turbulent water and as a shallow draft boat is designed to be used on calm water a keel is unnecessary.

So, the lowest point of a shallow draft boat is almost always the bottom of the hull.

However, if you fit an outboard engine onto your boat then you must take into consideration the depth of the propeller when attempting to navigate shallow waters. Many Jon boat owners will keep some form of manual propulsion onboard, such as a paddle or pole , for use in very shallow waters or when approaching river banks etc.

A boat with the shallowest draft will always have a flat bottom.

A flat bottom gives a boat great stability in calm water and creates its shallow draft as the large surface area at the bottom of the boat forces the boat to “sit on” the water rather than to “sit in” the water.

However, not all shallow draft boats have a flat bottom. A pontoon boat has a fairly shallow draft which means it can access much shallower water than a deep draft boat like a v-hull for example. A semi-v hull boat, likewise, can access fairly shallow waters and navigate waters where a deep draft boat could not go. Its semi-v bottom gives it more stability in choppy waters than a flat-bottomed boat though.

However, neither a pontoon boat nor a semi-v boat can access the type of very shallow waters that a flat bottom boat can.

shallow draft hull designs

A seafaring boat, or one that regularly navigates choppy turbulent waters, needs much more stability for handling rougher waters. Obviously this means a flat bottom hull design would be unsuitable.

A deep draft boat will therefore have either a deep round bottom or a deep “V” shaped bottom so it sits deeper in the water.

Ocean going vessels will also usually be equipped with a deep keel to offer even more stability in very turbulent water.

deep draft hull designs

If you are unsure about which draft type best suits your needs simply ask yourself this question:

Where will I use my boat?

Answering this question will let you decide which draft type is the best fit for you.

As you have already seen, navigating shallow rivers, streams and lakes requires a shallow draft boat while navigating open choppy water, like the ocean, requires a boat with a much deeper draft.

So, if you intend to stick to inland waterways for freshwater fishing, hunting or you just want to enjoy leisurely trips up and down rivers and streams then it is best to get a shallow draft flat bottom boat.

Inland waterways tend to be calm and have at least a few stretches of water, if not the entire waterway, that is too shallow for a deep draft boat.

On the other hand, if you plan to take to the ocean then a shallow draft boat is not a good idea. You will need a deep draft boat with a keel for more stability in turbulent waters.

If you want to have the option of deep open sea access but would also like to navigate the shoals or wish to hug the coastline tightly then a shoal draft boat is your best choice.

Mick McGrath

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shallow draft sailboats

Shallow Draft Sailboat Boats for sale

46' Motorsailer Yacht: FISHER 46 - Powerboat / Sailboat - Estate sale

46' Motorsailer Yacht: FISHER 46 - Powerboat / Sailboat - Estate sale

Bellingham, Washington

Make 46' Motorsailer Yacht Powerboat Sailboat

Model FISHER 46

Length 46.0

Posted Over 1 Month

46' Motorsailer Yacht: FISHER 46 - Powerboat / Sailboat - Estate sale Due to unique circumstances, and the passing of her longtime owner (31 years), we are offering this beautiful Fisher 46 motorsailer yacht for immediate auction sale. This situation offers a great opportunity for a new owner to acquire this very rare, and desirable vessel, and pilot her on many more happy voyages into the future. PLEASE NOTE: We are not mariners, or boat experts, but we have tried to describe this yacht to the best of our ability. Read on to, discover more about legendary Fisher yachts, and the fascinating story behind The Meretune! The Meretune: This beautiful yacht features a distinctive design large displacement hull that offers ample room down below, with 2 cabins, and 2 washrooms. It also offers a neat galley, and large saloon with couches, and ample storage. The over-sized Pilot house with large sunroof that makes a warm enclosed area above deck, that can comfortably seat the whole crew, which is very much appreciated in the evening, or in cooler or windy weather. It is equipped with an inline 6 cylinder 6.2 liter Ford Diesel engine, located directly below the pilothouse, and accessible from both a hatch in the pilothouse floor, and from alongside in the passageway down below. It has a front and rear private cabin, 2 heads (full washrooms), and a well equipped galley. The saloon area with couches on each side can be used as a lounge, for dining, or additional sleeping area. Ceiling height is a very comfortable 6' 6". Pictures of the Meretune - Fisher 46 HULL: DECK: PILOT HOUSE: BELOW DECK: SALOON: FORWARD PRIVATE CABIN: GALLEY: FRONT WASHROOM: PASSAGEWAY TO AFT: ENGINE ROOM: REAR PRIVATE CABIN: REAR BATHROOM: The Fisher legend: Considered to be one of the best designed Motor-Sailers ever built, the Fisher Sailing Yachts strength is renowned for being able to deliver her crew safely to any destination in the world. The Fisher Sailing Yacht line is easy recognizable: The professional looking wheelhouse and a hull resembling a North Atlantic fishing boat with rounded stern and high freeboard. The double masts with Ketch sailplan is another distinctive feature of the larger yachts in the Fisher line. They have always revered for their seaworthiness and the ability to remain unflustered in extreme weather. Fishers were built in a number of different sizes, with only about a dozen built in the largest size: The Fisher 46 The Meretune Story: The Meretune started life in 1977 in a boatyard, in Chichester England. The heavy solid fibreglass hull was built around a long shallow 10 ton cast iron keel. After the major construction work was completed she was christened "The Meretune of Chichester" before being moved to Sri Lanka for woodwork finishing in exotic hardwoods there by Neil Marine. The early part of her life just after being built is a bit unclear, but at some point she was sold to her first owner in 1978 at at some point made it across the Atlantic and ended up in Florida where she was purchased by her second owner in 1984. She was brought through the Panama canal in the early 1990's, and has explored the coastlines, and islands of the Pacific Northwest ever since. Specifications: Length: 46 Feet Beam: 15 Feet Draft Minimum: 6' 6" Displacement: 49.999 Lbs Headroom between decks: 6' 6" Fuel Capacity: 400 Gallons (2 stainless steel tanks) Fresh water Capacity Capacity: 300 Gallons (2 tanks) Engine: Ford 6.2 Liter inline 6 Cylinder diesel - 140 HP Engine cooled: Fresh water Steering: Wheel Drive: Shaft Prop: Bronze 3 Blade Rigging: ketch rigged with aluminum spars, and stainless steel rigging. Fuel consumption (approx): 1.3 Gallons/ Hr. at cruising speed (according to sales brochure) Cruising Speed: 9 Knots Batteries: 3 x 12 Volt Deck Gear: 3 halyard winches, 3 sheet winches, Electric Francis Marine 400 Windlass Anchors: Danforth and Plow - 328 feet of chain Safety gear included: Life jackets, Search Light, Danbouy, Horn, Emergency rudder steering. Bilge pumps: 3 electric Heads: 2 manual, with handbasin and shower. Cabin: Heating and dual A/C Fresh Water: Pressurized. Hot Water. Galley / Kitchen: Sink, Oven, Icebox Disclaimer?: The particulars detailed herein are intended to give a fair description of the vessel but their accuracy cannot be guaranteed, these particulars are not a part of any contract or offer and are supplied to give the best general description of the vessel possible, as basic reference only. Recent Restoration & Refurbishing (completed a year and a half ago): About 3 years ago the Meretune was brought ashore for some extensive restoration work that included all new windows throughout, all exterior finishes were redone, with considerable reworking of the scuppers. The interior has had considerable refinishing too including most of the woodwork, and paneling. Sadly the long time owner passed away before the work was completed. The work went on and was finished, and took over a year to complete. She has been sitting for about a year and a half in a boatyard ever since. She has not returned to the water, but is looking for a new owner now to take charge of her, and pilot her onto future adventures. Approximately $90,000.00 was spent on this extensive exterior, and interior restoration work. See photos below: A partial Marine Survey was done around a year and a half ago focusing mainly on electrical systems, with some minor look at mechanical points too. It was determined that some of the electrical systems should be brought up to date, as most of them are original. We will leave this up to next owner to decide how to proceed with this. Update to your specifications, or continue to use her as-is. This survey is available as a PDF file by email for your reference. We will cooperate fully with any current complete Marine Surveys that you wish to have done (at your expense). Pricing and Terms: Although offered by broker recently at 249,000USD we are offering it direct for $199,999.00. A non-refundable $2,000.00 deposit is due immediately, payable by Paypal. Balance must be paid in full within 7 days of sale. The boat is sold as-is, where-is, and it will be the new owners responsibility to do any final fitting and adjustments, and pay to have it moved back into the water at the boatyard, and any applicable taxes etc. Replacement cost on a yacht like this is $800,000.00, and possibly much more, depending on fittings, and accessories. This is a superb vessel. In the right hands, with minor finishing, it can deliver many more years of faithful service and enjoyment. With the reputation Fisher yachts have, and with only about a dozen made in this largest size, these are not available often. The new owner of this beautiful yacht won't be disappointed! Inspection arrangements and reimbursement: We recommend you visit the Meretune firsthand located in a boatyard in Bellingham WA. I am available to show prospective bidder/buyers this beautiful Yacht, and can meet them in the area, or pick them up at the Bellingham airport if they are flying in to see it. Reimbursement of travel expenses (regular air & hotel) will be deducted from purchase price on a completed transaction. Contact Info: Click here - if you have any questions you would like answered by email Or, call or text Paul at cellular: 604-377-3225 if I can give you any support, or to arrange an inspection or purchase of this beautiful yacht. Links: Fisher Yachts International Fisher Owners Association - UK based Fisher Owners Group (FOG) - North America

1983 Macgregor 25 Sailboat

1983 Macgregor 25 Sailboat

Safety Harbor, Florida

Make Macgregor

Model 25 Sailboat

Category Sailboats

1983 Macgregor 25 Sailboat,The Macgregor 25 sailboat is sought after for its shallow draft, fast sailing and ability to be easily trailered. With a cast iron swing keel this sail boat floats in only 22 inches of water. - Perfect for day sailing in the bay and island hopping.This sailboat has been well maintained and comes with lots of newer parts. Includes: trailer, 2 main sails, genoa, jib, 9.9 Johnson outboard, canvas poptop, nice interior cushions, new teak, new windows, deep cell battery, fish finder and much more.Everything that you need to go sailing today.The boat is located in Safety Harbor close to Tampa Bay and Clearwater Beach Florida. Call now to schedule a showing. (727)902-8165 $3500, 7279028165

Com-Pac 19 Sailboat

Com-Pac 19 Sailboat

Regency, Virginia

Make Com-Pac

Model Com-Pac 19

Category Cruiser Motorcycles

Length 19.0

1984 Com-Pac 19 Sloop. Great family pocket cruiser sailboat. Shallow draft NACA foil draft keel. Very stable with 800 lbs. concrete fiberglass encased keel. You can gunk hole just about anywhere under sail or under power. 6 hp long shaft 2006 Nissan 4 strike outboard with low hours. Well- equipped sailboat with self- furling genoa. Jib also included (never used). Fresh bottom paint. Recently replace interior cabin cushions. Custom cockpit cushions. Trailer included: Magic Tilt trailer with recently replaced tires. Trailer has been "overhauled/refurbished" Summer 2015. Trailered only a few times. Easy to launch. Price offered includes boat, sails, cushions (cabin and cockpit), motor and trailer. Does not include certain items pictured. Do your research and find out about this great pocket cruiser. Boat currently in water and docked in Norfolk, VA.

1984 Renkin Tangerine Sailboat

1984 Renkin Tangerine Sailboat

Sterling, Colorado

Model Tangerine

Category Daysailer Sailboats

Length 18.0

The Renkin 18 was a hugely popular sailboat. It is a shallow keel making it easy to maneuver on smaller lakes etc. This boat was also made with an orange hull and was called a Tangerine. If you are familiar with the Tangerine this is probably the nicest one you'll find available! Why? Because this boat has been in storage in a dry garage since 1994 with the sails were tucked away in a nylon sail bag. When we pulled it out of storage this year the only issue was the tires on the trailer. We bought brand new tires and rims and its ready to go.For me the look and feel of the tiller is something important. I've included a picture for all you skippers. We also have a custom made boat cover. It was torn in a storm but could be used as a pattern or possibly repaired.Technical InformationBoat name: Renken 18 Sailboat (R18)LOA: 17'6"LWL: 15'3"Draft: 24"Beam: 6'4"Keel: fixed shoalDisplacement: 1220 lbsBallast: 450 lbsSleeps: 2 adults, 2 childrenSail area: main = 91 sq ft, jib = 59 sq ft, (total = 150 sq ft)Portsmouth # (for regattas): 112.4

21' Macgregor venture sailboat

21' Macgregor venture sailboat

Opelousas, Louisiana

Model Venture 21

Length 21.0

68' Venture 21 sailboat with trailer and outboard motor. This is a swing keel trailer sail boat with a shallow draft. 18" with keel up and 5' 6" down. Hull is in good shape and was painted 2yrs. ago. All fittings, mast, boom, rigging , and sails in good shape. A main, working jib , and 150% genoa are included. A mast raising rig is included. Its not original to the boat. I have raised the mast several times alone with it so it works. Though it is much easier with 2 people. Kick-up rudder with 2 tillers are in good shape. A new aux. engine mount was installed 2yrs. ago. Trailer is in excellent shape. New tires,lights, bearings,spare, all in good condition. The coupler extends to help keep your vehicle dry when at the launch. The little cabin stays dry and the door and hatch are fiberglass. Not wood. The keel winch looks almost new. I also have some of the original documents the boat came with. Including a 12 volt Motor Guide trolling motor and marine battery.

Roomy, comfortable sailboat. Diesel powered.

Roomy, comfortable sailboat. Diesel powered.

Marina Del Rey, California

Make Challenger

Length 35.0

Soft Parade is a 1975 Challenger Ketch, American built of heavy duty fiberglass construction. Her long keel with internal lead ballast, wide beam and shallow draft (4.5') make her a seakindly, solid cruising boat, capable of crossing oceans or taking her crew to Catalina for the weekend. Her spacious cabin feels like a much larger boat, and can accommodate six adults comfortably. With a well-appointed galley, the cook will keep the crew happy as well. Equipped with radar, depth, GPS, and autopilot, she is capable of sailing in all weather. Deck improvements include custom stainless steel grab rails and a full stainless steel pushpit surrounding the cockpit. Replacing the cockpit lifelines with stainless tubing increases safety while providing a secure platform should larger solar panels ever be desired. With a large diesel engine, 3 bladed prop, and plenty of fuel tankage, she can motor sail at 6.5-7 knots burning less than a gallon of fuel per hour. The windvane steering is removable for coastal cruising and can be replaced with stainless steel davits to carry a dinghy and outboard. When heading offshore again, just stow the dinghy and davits, replace the steering gear, then set off across the ocean! Dodger in photos is included, but currently not installed because the canvas needs to be updated. I have the old canvas for use as a pattern. Dinghy and outboard are not included in the sale. She is for sale locally so I may end listing early. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE



Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

I'm selling my 1988 Catalina Capri 14.2. It has very good sails and all running and standing rigging is in the great shape. It includes 3 sails - main, jib, and genoa. The trailer is in great shape as well, it has a mast crutch built in for easy trailering, and it has new tires. This is an extremely popular, fun, and diverse boat. It is great boat to learn on as well as to have fun sailing. There are scores of information online about this boat. One person can easily rig and launch the boat in 15 minutes, the mast comes up and down very easily. The centerboard comes up when in shallow water. The draft is only 4 inches with the keel up so it will go thru very shallow areas without a fear of grounding. When the centerboard is down the draft is 3.5ft for great stability and pointing ability. It has a kick up rudder, and the tiller has an extension for healing and hiking. It has a positive flotation and it will not sink. It will stay on top of the waves even in the choppy water. It goes very good in light breeze with bigger genoa sail and it also has a jib for a moderate winds. The boat is still in production and it is very easy to obtain all the original parts from the manufacturer website. It is very easy to trailer even with a small car.

Sailboat Pocket Cruiser Bayfield 25

Sailboat Pocket Cruiser Bayfield 25

Lake Worth, Florida

"Grace" is set up for ease of sailing and single handing and is capable of extended trips in a small package. Shallow draft allows sailing almost anywhere. Main is in excellent condition with full battens, jiffy reefing, Mack Pack and lazy jacks. 6 year old 120% Genoa is on roller furling. 20-pound plow anchor with spare 15-pound Danforth anchor. Galley has 2-burner alcohol stove, ice box, and foot pump fresh water in 12-gallon water tank. Diesel is a well maintained and reliable Yanmar 1YGM with 15-gallon diesel fuel in new aluminum tank. Engine burns approximately .3 gallons/hour for 5 knots under power. #12 stainless steel self-tailing Anderson jib sheet winches, 6 metal opening port lights and one forward hatch. All through-hull fittings are either Marelon or Bronze. Cockpit cushions, settee, and V-berth cushions all matching Sunbrella and recent. Sheaves and standing rigging all replaced within 5 years. Life lines and swim ladder offer safety and easy access for swimming and snorkeling. New marine head with holding tank as required by USCG. This is a good old boat with new parts.



St Pete Beach, Florida

HAVE A 1979/80 36' ALLIED PRINCESS KETCH FOR SALE, WITH MANY, MANY UPGRADES TO TAKE YOU OFFSHORE IN COMFORT AND SAFETY. FOR THOSE THAT ARE LOOKING FOR A SOLID OFFSHORE VESSEL THIS IS WORTH CONSIDERING. I HAVE A 9 PAGE DETAILED SPEC SHEET AND 24+ PHOTO'S AVAILABLE. FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME VIA EMAIL AND I WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO SEND THEM.   About the Allied Princess: She is a robust character ketch that does not pretend to be anything other than a simple, comfortable cruising boat. In truth, it is a boat only a cruiser could love. Designed by Arthur Edmunds and first introduced in 1972, the Princess enjoyed a 10-year production run during which about 140 hulls were built, which likely makes it the most successful boat produced by Allied during its 22 years of existence (1962-84). Of all the boats Allied built–including the Luders 33, sailed by the famous boy-cruiser Robin Lee Graham; the Seawind 30, first fiberglass boat to circumnavigate; and the Princess is the one that still commands the most loyal following among modern cruising sailors. Though the Princess is undeniably a chunky craft, it is not unattractive. Its somewhat exaggerated sheer line leads up to a high bow, but blends nicely with its moderate overhangs and shoal-draft cutaway full keel. The boat’s performance under sail, though is smooth and steady. The Princess is a bit beamy for a vessel of its vintage, and this combined with the shallow keel and modestly sized ketch rig makes it slow to windward but when the seas kick-up and other light weight boats seek shelter the Princess comes into her own. A ketch-rigged Princess is very versitle and will sail best on a reach. The long keel tracks well, the ketch rig is easy to balance, and together with the non-reversing worm-gear steering found on most Princesses, makes it very easy to leave the helm unattended for long periods. The boat rarely buries its rail, and otherwise has a comfortable motion in a seaway. As with all boats built by Allied, construction is very strong and simple. The Princess hull is solid hand-laid fiberglass–24-ounce woven roving and mat with a surface layer of cloth under the gel-coat–with thicker laminate at the turn of the bilge and down low around the keel. The ballast is lead, glassed over and encapsulated within the keel. The deck is balsa-cored. All bulkheads are tabbed directly to the hull. The rudder stock, impressively, is bronze. For coastal or offshore cruising the Princess is certainly one that deserves a look, she will take you anywhere you want to go in comfort and safety. It will serve admirably, too, as a coastal cruiser in any deep-water locale, as long as you aren’t too worried about getting places in a hurry. With its stout construction and easy motion it is also a good candidate for blue-water cruising. I am the third owner of the Princess, owner #1 was a doctor whom kept the boat in Va. On the hard 6mos out of the year, owner #2 bought the boat in 98 and cruised until 2000 when I purchase the boat and have had her since doing most of the up-grades.

Morgan out island 41' cutter sailboat

Morgan out island 41' cutter sailboat

Venice, California

1974 Morgan out island 41 sloop/cutter. Designed for Bahamas charter, this full keel, heavy displacement, shallow draft boat is perfect for liveaboard cruising. Very roomy, stable, and sea kind, the Morgan OI41 is a joy to sail - both coastal and offshore. She points comparatively well with her cutter rig, and is extremely stable - tracking like a train. Come take her for a sea-trail, you'll see... I am the third owner of this beautiful yacht. It was ordered custom from the factory for the original owner with every available option. Walk-through. Teak cockpit accents, toe-rail, and handholds. Solid cruiser. She has been across the Pacific twice, and through the Panama Canal three times. 320gal water and 140gal diesel capacity. Recent refit to prepare for another extended cruise, but owner's plans have changed. Everything comes with the boat; spares, 100's of feet of extra line, blocks, rigging, nuts, bolts, filters, 2 spare alternators, gusher manual pump, hoses, fuel filters, oil filters, racor filters, perkins parts, bosun's chair, ditch bag, life raft, fishing poles, propane, 140gal diesel, tools, laser thermometer, galley foot pump, fiberglass repair tools, batteries, anchor balls, bimini, MOB strobe, more, too much to list. Everything I've done to this boat has been done to the highest standard, no short-cuts or shoddy workmanship. I spared no expense to do it correctly. That's something you won't find on 90% of boats you'll look at. Come see for yourself. email for full specs

NEW Bavaria B/One Sailboat - Ready to Sail

NEW Bavaria B/One Sailboat - Ready to Sail

Annapolis, Maryland

Make Bavaria

Model B/One

Length 23.2

A brand new Bavaria B/One, built by Bavaria Yachtbau. The package includes an entirely assembled, commissioned boat, Hyde cruising main and jib, and Triad trailer. The B/One is a perfect boat for daysailing and club racing, featuring simple controls, an asymmetrical spinnaker and lifting keel. Designed by Farr Yacht Design and built by Bavaria Yachtbau in Germany. Hull/Deck Construction Details The hull shape clearly shows the influence and direct descent of the Farr 400 and Volvo Open 70 in its full bow shape, broad and powerful stern sections, and chined aft topsides. These features combine to provide exceptional speed, optimal balance, and solid, dependable handling in all conditions. The maximum beam limit for trailering (2.5m) is seamlessly integrated into the hull and deck detailing to conceal fittings, provide a smooth, rounded deck edge, and maximize crew weight stability. Inspired by the sleek look of larger, modern high-performance one designs such as the Farr 400, the deck is flush with only a slightly raised cabin top to create the necessary headroom down below and contain the required sailing functions on deck. The cockpit is wide and open providing plenty of room for crew maneuvers during racing or seating for friends and family on a weekend harbor cruise. Sail handling is performed without winches or excessive hardware, but while still providing all the necessary sail controls demanded by advanced one-design sailors, including adjustable jib tracks and a powerful boomvang. The large, round foredeck hatch provides ample light and ventilation to the interior, and serves as the opening for launching and retrieving the spinnaker via a string takedown system. The waterproof companionway cover hinges completely forward providing a large opening to the interior. The cover can also be partially opened to cover the horizontal surface of the companionway while still providing ventilation to the interior via the open vertical surface. The hull shell is hand laminated using E-glass chopped strand mat and multi-axial fabrics over Coremat with additional uni-directional reinforcements used in high stress areas. The deck shell also is hand laminated using E-glass chopped strand mat and multi-axial fabrics over a PVC foam core with additional uni-directional and multi-axial reinforcements used in high stress areas. The hull shell support is provided by a simple one-piece structural liner composed of transverse floors and a centerline longitudinal. The keel trunk is integrated into the structural liner allowing for easy movement through the interior. Interior Layout For cruising oriented customers the interior features accommodation for 4. There is a generous V-berth forward and 2 pipe berths with seated headroom on either side of the keel trunk. Space forward of the mast allows for a chemical toilet, while volume below the companionway accommodates a removable cooler. To keep racing weight low, all of the aforementioned interior items, including the joinery for the V berth, are easily removable. The acrylic companionway and keel opening cover both provide ample light to the interior. Spars & Standing Rigging The single spreader, tapered aluminum rig has swept spreaders and does not require a backstay. Calibrated shroud turnbuckles allow for easy and quick tuning changes. The mast is deck stepped for quick and easy rigging. Mast bend is controlled with a powerful 16:1 boomvang. The jib is set on a furler for ease of handling. The square-headed mainsail features a generous roach profile for maximum sailplan efficiency. The bowsprit retracts into an external recess in the foredeck, thereby eliminating the possibility of water ingress into the boat which commonly occurs on other boats of this size. Additional Comments The keel/bulb arrangement on the B/One is a T-keel style configuration, as featured on most of today’s high tech racing yachts. The keel’s down draft is 1.65m (5.41ft) and may be raised to an up draft of only 0.4m (1.31ft) for docking, anchoring, or trailering. In its raised position the keel passes through a separate opening in the deck, forward of the main companionway, making it possible to completely lock the companionway cover closed, thereby securing the boat with the keel raised. The retractable rudder is supported inside a transom mounted cassette and may be raised for docking or anchoring in shallow waters.

Rebel 16 Mark II Sailboat with Aluminum Trailer

Rebel 16 Mark II Sailboat with Aluminum Trailer

Angola, Indiana

Length 16.6'

Stable fiberglass sailing boat carries six people (or 1170 pounds). Includes trailer, full rigging, and TWO suits of sails. One suit of sails is in like new condition, the other set is in very good condition. Serial number 1929 (built in late sixties to early seventies I believe). The centerboard swings up into the cockpit, so you can change the depth to dock in shallow water. The rudder also swivels up if it hits an obstruction. The trolling motor in the photos is not included. There is, however a permanent motor mount on the stern. The boat will take up to a 5hp motor, but my 30lb. thrust trolling motor drives it around just fine. The boat is located on West Otter Lake, Angola, IN. Buyer with the selling price in cash or Pay Pal payment can drive it away. (Trailer takes an 1 7/8" ball hitch.) The following article from Sailing Magazine gives a great description of Rebel sailboats. You can access the original on Rebel 16 2008 January 8 By Staff This nimble and tough classic is perfect for a daysail or a day of racing This year the boat that holds claim to being America's first production fiberglass one-design will celebrate its 60th birthday. That the boat is still in production makes this milestone that much more remarkable. In 1948, fresh out of the Navy, Ray Greene began building a 16-foot family daysailer out of his Toledo, Ohio, shop using a revolutionary new material called fiberglass. The design of the boat was based on lines drawn by a local high school drawing instructor by the name of Alvin Younquist. With its wide, 6-foot, 7-inch beam and 110-pound steel centerboard the stable little boat known as the Rebel soon became a hit on the Midwest's inland lakes. And while Greene said he never intended to create a racer, thanks to the boat's performance-courtesy of a large 120-square-foot main and 46-square-foot jib on a fractional rig-it wasn't long before a competitive structure was built around the boat. By 1952 a class association had been firmly established and by 1963 the class boasted 138 active members. Not bad. Fleets started popping up across the Midwest, south into Kentucky and all the way down to Texas. Meanwhile, class members could be found sailing the inland lakes of the Eastern Seaboard from New York to Florida. After 25 years of building the Rebel, with more than 3,000 hulls produced, Greene was ready to call it quits and sold the works to a group of Chicago investors. Production of the Rebel continued at a steady pace during the 1970s, and was done under a number of names: Melling Tool Co., Rebel Industries and finally Spindrift One Designs. After Spindrift folded, the Rebel moved to Michigan in 1988 when Nickels Boat Works of Fenton took over with the production of the Mark V model. Nickels continues to build the Rebel, offering buyers a choice of a daysailer version for $9,860 or the optimum racing version for $11,872 less sails and trailer. A stainless steel centerboard now comes standard with the Rebel. Nickels also continues to be a great source for parts and accessories, as well as information, on the Rebel. One tough Rebel While there have been reports of problems with the foam flotation on older boats becoming waterlogged, that has been less of a problem on boats from the 1970s and later. Other than that, a buyer of a used Rebel should find few issues with the condition of this durable little boat. Indeed, boats 25 years and older will still top regatta leaderboards. "They're well made, very rugged boats that will last forever," said Al Vorel, National Rebel Association Commodore, who has been racing the same boat, No. 3914, for almost 20 years. "You don't have to run out every 5 to 10 years to buy a new boat." This is one of the reasons for the longevity of the class. Boats tend to stay in the family, passed down from parent to child, with the younger generations wanting to keep the racing going. "My mother races, and my daughter sometimes races, so there are times we'll have three generations on the course," Vorel said. This also, of course, keeps a lot of boats off the market, and finding a used Rebel can be a bit of a challenge. But thanks to the Internet, it's possible to locate a few sellers. Prices can vary from just under $1,000 for an older boat in need of some work to $3,000 or more for a later model. Buyers can typically expect to pay in the neighborhood of $1,500 for a pre-Nickels-era boat in good shape. We were fortunate enough to find a late 1970s Rebel listed for sale on Better yet, the seller was within trailering distance. The offer on the boat was $1,400, so we drove out to take a look. The boat was well cared for, kept under a roof winters, and showed no structural damage. Other than some algae stains and scuff marks the finish looked good, and all the gear was there, including the main and jib, which the owner said he bought new about seven years ago. We did see some possible issues, including a rusty, pitted centerboard and a wooden rudder that looked to have some rotting. So we offered to pay the full $1,400 if the owner threw in the trailer, which he originally wanted an extra $200 for. The deal was closed and we drove off with the Rebel in tow. Rebel with a cause With the boat parked in our yard the first item of business we wanted to take care of was the rusty centerboard. Nickels offers a stainless steel replacement board, and we could picture how sweet the boat would look with a shiny new stainless fin. Unfortunately, these centerboards run close to $1,000; more than two-thirds the cost of the entire boat. So such an extravagant purchase didn't make much sense. Instead we set about rehabilitating the old board. We removed, with a bit of difficulty, the 110-pound board and set in on sawhorses. The first step was to remove the old paint using paint stripper, then power sanding. We then slathered on some Duro Naval Jelly to remove the rust, wiping down everything with paper towels then finishing up with a clean, acetone-soaked rag. Next, we filled in the pits and hollows with West Marine Surfacing Putty, and sanded everything smooth. We made certain the blade was fair by running a straight edge along the board. We also further faired the rounded leading edge of the board to within the class rule limits, which prohibit tapering less than 1/16th of an inch and more than one inch in from the leading edge. We then primed the board with several coats of Interlux Primocon primer, which when dried we wet sanded with 400-grit paper, and finished with a couple coats of Interlux VC-17m Extra bottom paint. With the centerboard done, we then turned to the rudder. An ice pick determined the wood was beginning to rot near the lower trailing edge. We probably could have rehabilitated the rudder as well, but since we had saved some money by not replacing the centerboard we decided to spring for a new rudder. We opted for a fiberglass blade, supplied by Nickels for $375. This cost covered just the blade, as the original aluminum rudder cheeks and hardware were still in good shape. While we were on the phone with Nickels, we decided to order all new running rigging to replace the weathered lines the boat came with. This included lines for the cunningham, boom vang, centerboard system, as well as sheets and halyards for both main and jib. The total for 112 feet of ¼-inch line and 105 feet of 5/16-inch line came to $100. Next we took a closer look at the standing rigging. The spars showed no defects, and with a bit of metal polish and elbow grease the rotating mast, boom and aluminum whisker pole looked good as new. The 1-by-9 stainless steel shrouds and forestay also showed no visible defects. We did, however, find the diamond stays on the mast to be tuned rather tight. According to the North Sail's One-Design tuning guide for the Rebel, an overly tight diamond can limit fore and aft mast bend, and can even cause negative pre-bend, where the mast bends forward at the tip. Since we want to have a competitive boat, we loosened the diamond tension and will readjust after doing some sea trials. As we said, we ultimately wanted to race our Rebel and didn't want a slow boat. So obviously the 7-year-old suit of sails had to go. This would be our biggest expense, and a new suit of sails would alone exceed the original cost of the boat. A new main and standard jib (a light air jib is also available) from North Sails set us back $1,615, which included $20 for class royalties but not shipping. Certainly this was a blow to our budget, but we rationalized it by thinking about the fun we would be having with some close racing come summer. Our last order of business was getting our bottom clean and smooth. We first scrubbed the hull down with a detergent then wet sanded everything below the rails to a slick surface with 1,200-grit paper. After a rinse and wipe down with the hose and clean towels we were satisfied we had a slick bottom. We finished off by treating all our hardware and moving bits to a little McLube Sailkote spray. We now have what we feel will be a contender on the course for our racing crew of two. Yet, with the roomy Rebel cockpit that can seat six, we're also looking forward to some lazy summer daysailing when friends and family show up. Either way, we'll certainly get our money's worth from this tough but nimble little classic. LOA 16' 1.5" LWL 15' 10" Beam 6' 7.5" Draft 3' 4" Weight 700 lbs, Sail area 166 sq. ft.

Herreshoff Eagle 22' Sailboat. Catboat 1974 fiberglass day sailer. beautiful!

Herreshoff Eagle 22' Sailboat. Catboat 1974 fiberglass day sailer. beautiful!

Middletown, New Jersey

Make Herreshoff

Model Herreshoff

Length 22.0

Herreshoff Eagle, 22 ft., 1974 My father owns this boat and questions can be directed to him via: 732.671.2477 Stately daysailer and elegant weekend cruiser designed by famed naval architect Halsey Herreshoff. You either know about the Eagle or you dont. For those who do and have had the pleasure of sailing one, it is considered of of the best designed day sailers ever built. Easy to handle alone, but with room for 4-6. It is stable and very manuverable. With the centerboard up you can bring it into very shallow water. This 22 footer, with classic lines, is for those not satisfied with the ordinary. Gaff rigged sloop, club footed self tending working jib, and topsail. The Eagle sails smartly; shallow draft and retractable center board makes the Eagle easily trailable; all haylards go directly to the cockpit; rigging blocks of wooden or bronze; Spacious cockpit, roomy 6'-6" berths , comfortable handling are worthy of 'big boat' features. Boom tent permits ready, roomy cockpit sleeping. Bowsprit with Eagle figurehead; extraordinary amount of handcrafted teak. There are two small rotten spots of teak that will need fixing. Fiberglass construction, 5 bronze portholes (4 fixed, 1 opening) It also comes with opening portholes and screens. All sails, tent, and cushions in extremely good condition. The included trailer has not moved in over 20 years and we cannot vouch for its roadworthy ability. Buyer must inspect trailer and pay in full before attempting to move the boat. At the very least new tires will be needed. Specifications: LOA 22' Beam 8'-0" Draft 1'10" with centerboard upDisplacement 2,700# Ballast 700# Sail area 320sf Mast height 32'-6" Main 185 sf (1 set of reef points); Jib 68sf; topsail 49sf <

1989 Catalina 27 Wing Keel Sailboat, Excellent Condition!

1989 Catalina 27 Wing Keel Sailboat, Excellent Condition!

New York, New York

I have a 1989 Catalina 27 wing keel with a 2000 Westerbeke Fresh Water cooled, 3 cylinder diesel engine (FWC M3-20B) with only 350 hours, excellent running condition. All new sails in 2011 and all are in excellent condition; North Dacron Main with Dutchman Flaking System, North Dacron Genoa on Harken Roller Furler, North .75 Oz. Asymmetrical Spinnaker with Sock. Edson wheel steering with new steering cable and chain in 2012. Matching main sail cover, Dodger, and wheel cover in 2012 all in excellent condition. Nuteak on cockpit seats and sole. Raymarine autopilot 2012, Autohelm Bidata knotmeter, and depthfinder, VHF, Ritchie magnetic compass, Foot and and hand pump in galley and head, Sanipottie. All new lexan ports/hatches-No Crazing. Screens for all opening ports/hatch/companionway. Two Danforth anchors with rode, fenders, docklines, lifejactets, cockpit cushions. Thanks for looking. That Catalina 27 offers standing headroom, shallow draft, ease of sailing, and makes a great low maintenance coastal cruiser. Also listed on sailboatlistings dot com and craigslist NYC.

1973 21” Marine Clipper Sailboat w/ Folding Keel, Trailer, and almost new Sails

1973 21” Marine Clipper Sailboat w/ Folding Keel, Trailer, and almost new Sails

Berrien Springs, Michigan

Make Marine Clipper

Model Clipper 21

Do you want to go sailing? Where here's your chance. All you need to provide is a motor, hoist the sail, and sit back and enjoy the lake. It's that easy! Here is a 21' Clipper that sails perfectly in almost any weather. The folding keel is really great for towing and when entering shallow water. You can go where most sail boats can't go with only 11" draft. Two years ago I purchased new sails ($1,200), a new sand anchor and chain, new cabin and marker lights (all LED), a wind vane, and I just added a nice compass. Not only do you get all the required stuff to go sailing, it also includes a fully functional trailer. Bring your tow vehicle with a 2" ball and pull this boat to the dock. It's ready to sail, are you? I really must be firm with the price as you can see I have a lot more money into this boat then my sale price of $900 (cash only please). You'll love sailing this boat. Here what you get for $900: 1. 21' Clipper Marine Sailboat, which includes: · Main and sail bag (< 2 years old) · Jib (110%) and sail bag (<2 years old) · Electronic control box for interior/exterior lighting and bilge pump · Aluminum ladder · Sand anchor and chain · 3 life jackets · Air horn and whistle · Flares and flare gun · 3 fenders · Extra line · Davis Windex Vane · Removable solid wood rudder · Running rigging · Almost new compass · Bilge pump · LED Sailing lights and cabinet lights 2. Low-set trailer, which includes: · All trailer lights are LED · Almost new trailer jack · Old tires (new tires are needed for long trips) ** No motor included (a long shaft motor is recommended but a standard shaft will work too)

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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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.    


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.


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.


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.


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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    To find the best trailer sailer, you need to balance the total tow weight, the ease of rig setup at the boat ramp, and the boat's draft. Shallow draft boats with centerboards are the easiest to launch and retrieve. Is a Hunter 27 trailerable? No. The Hunter 27 is a one of those fixed-keel larger boats built from 1974 to 1984.

  20. Shallow vs Deep vs Shoal Draft. Boat Draft Explained

    The shallow draft allows the boat to navigate very shallow waters without the worry of snagging the boat on rocks or debris. Disadvantages of a shallow draft boat. But as with everything in life there are cons as well as pros to having a boat with a shallow draft. The 2 major disadvantages of having a shallow draft boat are: In choppy water and ...

  21. Shallow Draft Sailboat Boats for sale

    68' Venture 21 sailboat with trailer and outboard motor. This is a swing keel trailer sail boat with a shallow draft. 18" with keel up and 5' 6" down. Hull is in good shape and was painted 2yrs. ago. All fittings, mast, boom, rigging , and sails in good shape. A main, working jib , and 150% genoa are included.

  22. 10 Best Small Sailboats (Under 20 Feet)

    Catalina 16.5. jlodrummer. 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.

  23. Shallow Draft Sailboats are the Best!!!

    Shallow draft Sailing opens up new cruising when boat camping! Shelter from storms is easier to find, of course but there is extra joy when boating into the ...