Must-Have Features for Your Sailboat
Before highlighting the best sailboat brands, it would be appropriate to jog your mind a little with some of the features that must be available in your sailboat.
Choosing a sailboat can sometimes be a matter of compromises. In other words, it's sometimes sensible to accept that a sailboat cannot have all the features that you desire.
As such, it's all about going with a sailboat that has the features that matter to you most.
For this reason, let's look at the most basic features that can make the difference in both safety and comfort while improving your sailing experience.
A Safe and Comfortable Sailing Cockpit
You'll most definitely be spending a huge amount of time in the cockpit. Whether you're keeping watch, trimming sails, helming, or just enjoying the scenery, there's no better place to do all these than from the cockpit. That being said, a good cockpit should have the following.
- Have a good depth for safety reasons and adequate drainage
- Should give you a quick and easy access to jammers, cleats, and other important parts of the winch system
- Should have a seat or seats that are about 35 cm high, 50 to 55 cm wide to provide ideal support
- The seats should be adjustable to offer maximum comfort and allow you to change your position
Use a GPS Chartplotter once and your sailing will never be the same without it. It not only allows you to map a course but is also a great way of ensuring that your sailboat exactly follows that course. It also gives you constant updates on ocean conditions, weather conditions, and potential hazards such as deadly currents and sandbars.
A GPS Chartplotter is also an important safety device that can help you in some very critical situations while out there on the water.
For instance, it has a man-overboard button that is essentially meant to allow you to receive coordinates of the exact location should someone fall off your boat.
Electric Winch System
This is an amazing addition to any sailboat. It allows you to sheet a jib even in high and strong winds with a simple press of a button. It also gives you the chance of trimming a mainsail easily while still carry out other essential tasks in the sailboat.
An electric winch system can be of great importance, especially if you're short on crew. This is because it can free up some crew members to carry other important tasks. In other words, it can make duties that would otherwise require more crew members a lot easier.
More importantly, an electric winch system can maintain safety even in the roughest of conditions, thereby preventing you and your crew from getting injured. In essence, an electric winch system will make your sailing a lot safer, less stressful, and more enjoyable.
Reverse Osmosis Watermaker
This is a very valuable accessory, especially if you're going on long sea voyages. You can spend days on end without drinking clean and safe water.
As the name suggests, you can use this accessory to turn seawater into purified drinking water. It uses the reverse osmosis method that's essential not only in removing bacteria and parasites from the water but also in turning the water into purified and safe drinking water.
Even though this device is pricey, it's a great way to mitigate the over-reliance on huge water tanks. All you have to do is to ensure that it's properly maintained and you'll have an endless streak of safe drinking water no matter where you are.
Wide and Clutter-free Deck
While the deck is often an overlooked feature of a sailboat, it can be the difference between a great sailing experience and a stressful one. In essence, the deck of a sailboat should be wide enough and clutter-free.
This is significant as it can enable you to quickly access different parts of your sailboat with hindrance or getting tangled. As you can see, this is particularly important in improving safety and reducing stress.
With that in mind, make sure that the deck is organized in such a way that you can have easy access to sails, masts, and winches.
You should, therefore, avoid sailboats with decks that are designed in such a way that you have to climb on top of the cabin just to access these features. Needless to say, this can be quite unstable and very dangerous especially when conditions are rough.
The Best Sailboat Brands and Why
Hallberg-Rassy is a Swedish yacht maker that's very well-known in the blue water cruising circles for making some of the highest quality and sturdiest sailboats. For many sailors, this is the number one sailboat brand as it offers absolute comfort, utmost safety, and good and easy handling.
This brand is not only synonymous with sturdy construction but you won't worry getting soaking wet while out there on the water. This is because it has a well-protected deck and cockpit, finished with nice woodwork, and has a powerful engine with a big tankage just to ensure that you can go on long voyages.
When designing its sailboats, this brand has made it a norm to add some features that stand out from the rest. For instance, the bowsprit is an integral feature that makes sailing a Hallberg-Rassy quite easy and much enjoyable. This is because it grants easy access to and from the deck. Its electric anchor winches facilitate smooth maneuvering. Even more, its large steering wheels makes it much easier to control the boat even in the roughest of conditions. In essence, this brand has features that provide good control and an extra sense of safety.
Although this brand has evolved over the years, you'll easily recognize it even from a distance. And why is this? A Hallberg-Rassy never goes out of style. This is a unique sailboat brand that has always stayed true to its principles and concept. No matter which part of the world you go, Hallberg-Rassy will remain the undisputed king of blue water cruising.
2. Nautor's Swan
For over 50 years, Nautor's Swan has endlessly raised the sailing levels by designing and manufacturing new sailboat models that not only push the boundaries but also meet that many requirements and demands of sailors across the world. Thanks to its wide range of seaworthy, timeless, elegant, and highly-performing sailboats, the Nautor's Swan remains one of the best if not the best sailboat makers in the world.
Based in Jakobstad, Finland, this brand has severally set the industry standard with its speedy and sleek models such as the Swan 48, Swan 65, Swan 98, Swan 78, and Swan 120. These models have one thing in common: they never compromise on safety. As a brand that puts safety first, it ensures that its models are made of foam-cored glass fiber and reinforced both with carbon-fiber and epoxy. In essence, Nautor's Swan is widely revered for its unmatched seafaring and safety records.
Additionally, Nautor's Swan models are incredibly responsive. You can easily tell this just by the feel of the wheel. This brand has models that will gracefully slice through the biggest of waves with ease. That's not all; the interior of these models that are very comfortable even when the going gets tough. This is, without a doubt, a brand that strives to create self-contained worlds with each model.
This is perhaps the most selling sailboat brand in the world. For over a century now, this brand has based its models in a combination of simplicity and performance. This is a brand that will serve you just right across all latitudes and in all circumstances. Whether you prefer the Oceanis Yacht 62 or the Figaro Beneteau 3, this brand will never let you down on all fronts.
This brand revolves around a simple concept of creating a link around the world. From the deck space to its design and light, this brand does everything possible not just to uniformly transform life at sea but also to open doors to new horizons in a very luxurious yet practical way. Its models are designed with clear deck plans, stable hulls, simplified maneuvering and interior materials and equipment that can be easily personalized.
Whether you're looking for a racing sailboat or something that's designed to explore and enjoy the world in the company of friends and family, Beneteau is a true combination of sensations and simplicity. This is a brand that brings to the seas fun, simplicity, smartness, toughness, safety, intuitiveness, as well as dazzling reinvention.
4. Amel Yachts
Based on the ethos of designing and manufacturing comfortable, robust, and easy-to-handle boats, this French brand has, for over five decades, offered sailors and other sailing enthusiasts the perfect opportunity to explore the seas with the utmost quality, comfort, and more importantly, safety.
Using 100% French know-how, this brand has brought to the sailing world some of the best boats such as the Santorini, the Mango, the Super Maramu, and the Maramu. We would be doing this brand total injustice if we said that they're distinctive. Truth be told, there's nothing comparable to an Amel model. Well Amel was and still is, the ultimate standard by which other sailboat models are measured.
From items such as electric winches and furling, to generators, Watermaker, and washing machine down to the simplest of items such as towels. Spare filters, bathrobes, deck brush, and a boat safe, the Amel is in reality with what the real life of a sailor is and should be.
Although some may say that Amel still has room for improvement in terms of specifications and personalization, it cannot be denied that the Amel is a serious brand that designs and manufactures complete boats. With this brand, you'll be guaranteed of a higher degree of reliability, safety, and an edge of fun while out there on the water.
5. Hinckley Yachts
Based in Maine, United States, Hinckley Yachts is a brand that has been building robust, luxury, and safe sailboats for more than 90 years now. In its sailboat class, you'll find several sailboats that have classic shapes, inner strength, dramatic lines, and features that are absolutely essential in dealing with the challenges of the North Atlantic.
This brand has been successful in integrating impeccable craftsmanship with new technologies to ensure that their models always stand out while articulating advanced sailing practices, timeless aesthetic, robust construction, and the utmost safety. Whether you choose the Bermuda 50, the Sou'wester 53 or any model for that matter, you'll never be short of advanced performance based on the best design and technology.
In terms of features, this brand provides sailboat models with modern performance hulls. These hulls are constructed with inner layers of carbon, outer layers of Kevlar, and are aligned with computer-designed load paths. Every feature is designed without compromising comfort.
To this end, this brand offers you a perfect combination of both fun and sail. This brand offers more than just sailing. Instead, it offers a unique sailing experience that's combined with the pure joys of sailing in the blue waters with an ease of ownership and maneuverability.
6. Oyster Yachts
If you've been looking for luxury more than anything else, Oyster Yachts provides you with numerous solutions. This British brand is widely known for manufacturing a wide range of luxury cruising sailing yachts. Its sailboats are among the finest in the world and are immensely capable of taking you to some of the far-flung places in the world without having to worry about high winds and hellish waves.
Whether you choose the iconic Oyster 565 or the immense Oyster 595 you never fall short of experiencing the new world like never before. These are models that will enable you to own your adventure, choose your destination, set your courses, pick your anchorage, and stay safe at all times. If you want to hold the wheel and pull the sail while feeling the tang of salt spray on your face, Oyster Yachts is the way to go.
This is, unquestionably, a brand that's meant for you if you want to explore the seas in comfort, luxury and utmost safety. From craftsmanship, sailboat design, to hull, deck, and keel configurations, everything is designed to allow you to circumnavigate the world in comfort, elegance, and style.
7. Tartan Yachts
Based in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, there's arguably no better to begin your sailing adventures than with a sailboat designed and manufactured by Tartan Yachts. With several award-winning designs and construction, this brand is widely known for providing easy handling, great performance, and an ultimately stable platform.
This brand always strives to deliver a unique and the best possible experience to every sailor. As a brand, Tartan fully understands that every sailor has his/her unique sailing needs. As such every component of their models is designed with engineering levels that guarantee optimum performance, excellent on-deck visibility, and luxurious interior.
From the Tartan 5300, the Tartan 4300, the Tartan 345 to the New 365 and the Fantail, this brand makes it a priority to ensure that its models are among the strongest, lightest, and more importantly, the safest in the sailing industry. In essence, this brand can be ideal if you appreciate performance. It has rewarding sailing features both in narrow water lines and wider passages. Add this to its easy handling and you'll have a top-notch performer in virtually every condition.
8. Catalina Yachts
As one of the most popular boat manufacturers in the world, this American brand is widely revered for building the sturdiest boats that can hold up perfectly well in real-world conditions. These are generally family-oriented boats that are intelligently designed to ensure that your entire family can have fun out there on the water.
Some of the models include the cruiser series such as the Catalina 315, the Catalina 385, the Catalina 425 while the sport series include the Catalina 12.5 Expo, the Catalina 16.5, and the Catalina 14.2 Expo. As the current winner of the "Boat of the Year" Cruising World, you'll rarely go wrong with a Catalina model.
It offers a wide range of sailboat sizes that suits your lifestyle. This brand makes it a priority to ensure that all their models are not only safe but offer the best ownership and sailing experience. If anything, this brand is widely known to have one of the most excellent resale values in the sailing industry.
9. Island Packet Yachts
From the IP 525, the IP 439 to the IP 379, the Island Packet Yachts is a brand that encourages its customers not to keep the world waiting. This brand is meant for sailors who want to explore the world in utmost comfort and safety.
The first thing you'll notice in an IP sailboat is its large aft deck. This is not only perfect for sunbathing but can also serve you well if you want an impromptu dinner with friends and family while out there on the water. The living space is also large enough to carry most of your belongings, which is an added advantage especially if you've been planning to spend longer periods in the seas.
With modern evolution and refinement, as well as proven features, this brand is known to offer sailors maximum comfort, luxury, and safety. You'll have better access to the cockpit, have enough space, and are excellently designed to provide superior seafaring and the best features to enable you to spend extended periods when cruising.
10. Sparkman & Stephens
For more than 90 years, Sparkman & Stephens has been at the forefront of the belief that sailboat excellence goes beyond hull lines and deck plans. Instead, this brand believes in excellent naval architecture, innovation, sophistication, and beauty. This is a brand that has laid the foundation of sailboat as a sport not just in America but all over the world.
These models have graced the world for decades and bring immense pleasure to their owners in terms of innovation, performance, and excellence. Though rooted in tradition, the brand has pushed sophistication, technology, and sailing experience to a whole new level. You'll be a proud owner of the Sparkman & Stephens model.
There you have it; these are the best sailboat brands in the world. Although there are several other sailboat brands to choose from, the-above described brands stand shoulder above others in terms of quality, safety, performances and luxury.
Hopefully, you're at a much better place when it comes to choosing a sailboat that suits your lifestyle, needs, and budget.