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Choosing the Best Small Sailboat

If you live anywhere near the ocean or another large body of water with some wind gusts, you have probably dreamed of owning a sailboat. If that dream is about to become reality for you, take the time to find the boat that best suits your needs. There is a tremendous amount of variety between the different types of sailboats, even if you have already decided on buying a small one, so educate yourself first before you purchase.

Ask Some Questions

The first thing you need to do is ask yourself a few questions. For instance, consider the size of the person or people who will use the sailboat the most. Make sure you choose a boat that can comfortably accommodate those individuals. Also, if you anticipate taking groups on the boat at any point, make sure it can handle the weight and the people will be able to sit comfortably on the boat. Many small sailboats are designed for just one or two people, and you may not be happy with your purchase if you get one of these and later wish to have a sailing party.

If you live on the water, consider the way you will dock your boat. Some boats are designed for beaching, while others should be moored. Choose a boat that you can dock the way you will find most convenient.

Finally, if you are going to transport the boat, consider how this will work. Will you need to buy a trailer? Doest the boat require a truck to haul safely, or can it be car topped or towed with a car? If you intend to sail solo, will you be able to unload the boat and get it in the water by yourself?

The answers to these questions will help you pick out the right sailboat and any gear you may potentially need. Once you have these answers in mind, it is time to learn about the four main types of small sailboats, and the benefits and downsides of each one.


Dinghies are one of the smallest options. In fact, these boats are so small and lightweight, that a child can probably move and launch one. They are quite versatile, and can be powered by sails, a motor, or ores. They can be car-topped, which means you will not need to buy a trailer. Of course, three-person dinghies will be difficult to mount on top of your car, so they might require a trailer.

In spite of the small size and lightweight design, dinghies are usually quite stable once you are settled inside. Stepping in is challenging, as they tend to tip and sway, but once you are in the right position inside the boat and on your way, you will find it quite stable.

Keep in mind that these are small rigs. If you are a large person or have long legs, you might not fit well. You also may find that there is not enough headroom for you if you are particularly tall.

Dinghies are also easy to capsize if you cannot respond quickly and carefully to changes when needed. Make sure you are a capable swimmer and wear a lifejacket when in a dinghy. Also, be sure to attach a bucket or scoop to your boat with a line so you can bail it if it does capsize, because these boats will fill with water.

Board Boats

Board boats are created for a single person, although a large one can hold an additional sailor or passenger. They are perfect for those learning to sail, because they have few bells-and-whistles. You will be rewarded instantly when you do the right thing on one of these boats, and you will know quickly when you make the wrong move. They can be a handful on a windy day, so be prepared for this. They also respond quite visibly to weight shifts, so you will learn how to sit correctly in the boat.

Board boats are easily beach when you are done. They do sometimes capsize, but they do not fill with water the way a dinghy will. Trailering the boat is the easiest way to move it, but it can be car topped if necessary.


Daysailers are ideal for those who want to have the flexibility to transport passengers from time to time. They can also house a motor, if needed. The high sides keep passengers dry, and they have interior seats for comfort. They have a wide, heavy hull, making them more stable and less susceptible to weight shifts than the two smaller options. Capsizing one of these boats is more difficult than a dinghy or board boat.

Daysailers are easily transported on a small trailer, and it takes about two people to rig, launch, and sail one of these boats. You do not have to have a truck to transport most daysailers. If you choose to moor them uncovered, the self-bail feature will keep them from filling with water. Keep in mind that most daysailers require two people to rig and operate.


Catamarans have large sails and tall masts, which means they are powerful and fast. They can be sailed right onto the beach and have pretty good initial stability. They can capsize easily on windy days if being handled by an inexperienced sailor. The large mast makes them difficult to right if they do capsize, so new sailors should learn some skill before trying one of these.

For seating, catamarans may have wings, which allow people to sit in a fairly natural position, or trapeze seating, which suspends your body slightly from a wire with your feet on the hull. The design you choose is largely based on personal preference.

Each of these four sailboat types has its unique benefits and drawbacks. The best way to determine the one you are most comfortable with is to try a few. If you can rent a boat from time to time and gain some experience, you will find the one that best suits your style.

If you are in the market for sailboats for sale, BoatLeeg has you covered. For the best deals, visit the site and explore the listings. You will find equipment, used and new boats, and fishing gear on this boat classifieds site.

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