Best Sailing Forums

Best Sailing Forums | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 30, 2022

Forums are the internet equivalent of a library or the local boatyard, and they’re an absolute necessity to keep the sailing community going strong.

The best internet sailing forums are the Cruisers Forum, the SailNet Community, the Sailing Anarchy Forums, the Sailing Forums, and the WoodenBoat Forum. These forums cover everything from cruising destinations to repair tips.

In this article, we’ll review five of the biggest and best online sailing forums and communities. We’ll cover the layout of each forum, its user experience, and the level of interaction members have with guests. Additionally, we’ll specify each forum’s niche and help you find the best forum for your boat and specific interests.

We examined each forum thoroughly and fairly for these reviews, and we also considered our personal experience as members interacting on these forums.


Table of contents

What Makes a Great Sailing Forum?

The best sailing forums are easy to distinguish from all the rest. A good sailing forum has a sizable community of sailors and sailboat enthusiasts who are both knowledgeable and passionate about sailing.

Sailing forums don’t have to focus on a single topic, but niche forums can be very helpful. For example, a forum dedicated only to Catalina sailboats can be a fantastic resource, as can a general sailing forum that covers a multitude of topics.

Additionally, the best sailing forums are categorized logically, easy to navigate, and effectively moderated. The experience on a sailing forum shouldn’t be too saturated with ads or irrelevant content, and membership should be free (at least for a basic view/post membership).

Types of Sailing Forums

There are a few distinct types of sailing forums online today, and they cover a wide range of topics. The most popular are general sailing forums, which are a great place for sailors of all backgrounds and experience levels to congregate and discuss virtually any sailing-related topic.

Other forums focus on more specific aspects of the sport, such as racing and long-range cruising. These forums are an excellent place to get tips, meet like-minded sailors, explore cruising plans, and find low-key anchorages in remote destinations. People also share their cruising experiences and photos on these forums.

Some sailing forums focus more on the boats themselves. These include brand and boat type forums, boat building forums, and repair forums.

Best Forums for Sailing

We scoured the online sailing community to find the best forums for sailboats, racing, restoration, and sailboat companies. Based on our requirements listed above, here are the top five sailing forums online today.

1. Cruisers Forum

The Cruisers Forum is one of the most popular sailing forums on the internet. The forum has hundreds of members and thousands of guest users, plus a very consistent and dedicated member base. Topics vary widely on the forum and include everything from cruising logs to GPS reviews.

The Cruisers Forum is what we’d consider a general sailing forum. It covers a broad range of topics, and members are free to post virtually anything sailing and cruising-related as long as it’s in the right category.

Forum Categories

The Cruisers Forum has numerous categories. These include an introduction section for new members, news, and cruising subcategories for each major sailing region. There are also separate regional forums for general topics.

The Cruisers Forum dedicates sections for off-topic discussion and storytelling, among other things. They also have a resources section for books, information, guides, and links related to sailing and cruising.

The forum has an extensive section dedicated to sailboats. It includes categories for monohull sailboats, multihull sailboats, powerboats, general sailing discussion, and a manufacturer forum broken down by popular boat brands.

The forum hosts an extensive ‘Life Aboard a Boat’ section, which focuses on everything from provisioning to earning a living aboard a floating home. The Liveaboard Forum is a popular section with over 127,000 individual posts.

There is a lot to learn on the Cruisers Forum, especially for beginners and those looking to gain experience. There’s an entire forum dedicated to seamanship and boat handling, navigation, training, safety, and more. Additionally, you can learn how to monitor the weather and stay safe on the water.

Overall Experience

The overall experience on the Cruisers Forum is excellent. Members are friendly and responsive, and the forum has an incalculable amount of valuable information already on it. You can find an answer to almost any question relating to cruising, travel plans, boat repair, living aboard, and sailing lifestyle—and if you can’t, you can just ask the forum’s large member base.

2. SailNet Community

The SailNet Community is another extremely popular general sailing forum with a great member base and a vast array of topics. This sleek, modern forum features a user-friendly design and an amicable member base that’s quick to respond to guest questions.

On the homepage, you’ll find the most recent posts as well as their parent categories. This is useful, as it gives guests and members a constant feed of recent activity without burying posts based on their category.

So, what can you find on the SailNet forum? The forum hosts virtually everything related to sailing, and the posts are well moderated to dispense with spam and miscategorized posts. And as a general sailing forum, you can find a category for most sailing and boating-related topics to post in.

Forum Categories

One of the most popular categories on SailNet is the General Discussion forum, as it provides a great platform for all kinds of sailing-related questions. People discuss boats, cruising plans, fiberglass repair, and much more on the General Discussion forum.

There’s also an introduction forum for new members, which helps people get acquainted with the platform and feel welcome. This is an important part of building an online community, rather than a simple information dump like Wikipedia.

As you might expect, SailNet has a large general discussion forum with over 400,000 individual posts. There’s also a large liveaboard and cruising forum with around 100,000 posts and 25 million views. This classifies SailNet as a large forum, especially by sailing forum standards.

There are additional forum categories for chartering, racing, photos, lost vessels, and sailing destinations. There’s even a section for crew requests and job postings. SailNet also includes a large equipment and maintenance forum, which is helpful for repairs. There’s a skills category for learning and instruction, plus a videos category.

SailNet includes a manufacturer forum known as “Boat Builders Row.” Here, there are individual categories for every major sailboat manufacturer (current and historical) in alphabetical order.

SailNet includes a classifieds forum where members and guests can post boats for sale and wanted ads.

Overall Experience

The overall experience on the SailNet Forum is clean and pleasant. There’s a ton of useful information on the site, and it’s an excellent place to make friends and learn more about sailing. The forum is free for members, and the ad experience is pretty light.

3. Sailing Anarchy Forums

Sailing Anarchy is a popular general sailing forum with a huge variety of discussion topics. The theme of the site is ‘anarchy’ in the sense that sailing brings true freedom. Each category has the word incorporated into it for forums like “Cruising Anarchy” and “Dinghy Anarchy.”

Sailing Anarchy has a large and loyal member base. They post regularly and seem very welcoming to newcomers. Like SailNet, Sailing Anarchy uses a newer-style layout that is intuitive and easy to read. These newer forums follow the basic post structure of traditional forums like Cruisers Forum but include a little more flashiness.

Readers can view posts as guests or members, though signing up allows you to post and maintain relationships with other cruisers. The forum hosts numerous categories on everything from general discussion to repairs.

Forum Categories

Sailing Anarchy is a general sailing forum that covers just about every topic out there. There’s a general section and a forum for shorthand discussion—which is a category often missed by other sailing forums. Additionally, there’s a set of forums for specific types of sailing, such as racing, dinghy sailing, ocean racing, cruising, and more.

Sailing Anarchy has a photo section where users can post pictures of their boats and cruising expeditions, along with an “On the Water” forum for sailing-related news and events. As you’d expect, Sailing Anarchy also covers multihull sailboats, J/Boats, and sport boats.

Gear and repair discussion is popular on the Sailing Anarchy forum. There’s a “Fix It” section, along with a forum dedicated entirely to sailing gear and equipment. These categories cover gear reviews, repair guides, boat-building tips, and modifications.

The forum also includes an extensive area for non-sailing discussion, where members chat about everything from politics to food. This section has over a million posts in all, as it’s extremely popular with members and guests.

Overall Experience

The overall experience on Sailing Anarchy is quite good, and the forum feels like a true community. Members are friendly and helpful, and there’s a wealth of knowledge on all sailing topics available. If you’re a sailing enthusiast, you’ll certainly feel at home on the Sailing Anarchy forums.

4. Sailing Forums

Sailing Forums is a popular general sailboat forum that primarily covers racing boats and has an engaged member community. Sailboats of all kinds are discussed on this forum, and members are knowledgeable and friendly.

The design of the Sailing Forums is closely related to Sailing Anarchy and other modern online communities. It’s easy to navigate, clean, and free from burdensome ads that interfere with user experience. It’s free to register and also free to post.

The homepage of the Sailing Forums features a feed of the latest posts. And due to the size of the member community, almost every post (that hasn’t been covered a thousand times already) gets multiple replies in a relatively short amount of time. Additionally, the members who reply often include excellent information and tips due to their experience and passion for sailing.

Repair is a popular topic of discussion on the forum, and the majority of the discussion centers around popular small racing boats. These include dinghies and one to two-person trailerable sailboats. This is great for beginners and budget sailors, as most of these vessels can be acquired and maintained for a minimal expense.

Forum Categories

The forum has several categories which mostly cover common open sailboats. These include the Capri and Catalina 14.2, the J/24, and the 470 North America. The forum has the internet’s most extensive discussions on the popular Sunfish and Laser sailboats, which have now become somewhat of a cult classic in the sailing world.

The Sailing Forums have dedicated forums for the Sunfish and the Laser due to their popularity. Here, you can find tips on repair, restoration, pricing, and sailing techniques for these popular racing boats. You can completely restore one of these classic dinghies with the advice and recommendations of forum members.

The forum also covers larger boats, maintenance, and sailing trips for a wide range of vessels. You can find information on diesel repair, boat insurance, fun sailing destinations, serial numbers, fiberglass repair, and virtually anything else under the general forum. There’s also a great database of sailboat resources on the forum.

Overall Experience

The user experience of the Sailing Forums is very pleasant and intuitive. The forum itself is a massive knowledge depository and probably the best resource for small sailboats on the entire internet. Joining the Sailing Forums is free, and it’s an absolute must for anyone who sails small racing boats like the Sunfish, Laser, and Capri.

5. WoodenBoat Forum

The WoodenBoat Forum is one of the most knowledgeable boat forums on the internet, and sailing is a huge part of it. Although the forum also focuses on powerboats, sailboat topics are common and cover everything from new boat construction to repair and sailing tips.

The WoodenBoat Forum is filled with information that’s not available anywhere else online. Shipwright skills and tips, which are often passed down generationally, have been preserved on the forum and would have otherwise been lost. There’s also a lot of troubleshooting and discussion of ideas amongst members, which can be invaluable for solving problems onboard.

The WoodenBoat Forum is the ideal destination for anyone restoring a classic boat or looking into building a boat. Owners of sailboats that have wooden interior furnishings can learn an enormous amount about repair, maintenance, and custom work on the WoodenBoat forum as well.

Forum Categories

The WoodenBoat Forum isn’t divided specifically by boat type. Instead, the primary categories cover main topics and project types. Sailing is most often found in the People and Places category, Building and Repair, Design and Plans, and the miscellaneous boat category.

The most extensive category on the WoodenBoat forum is called The Bilge. Here, boat enthusiasts talk about virtually anything they want. The Bilge helps increase the sense of community on the forum, as like-minded people get to share life events and generally interesting topics with other members. There are over three million posts in The Bilge.

Other popular categories include Building and Repair, where wooden boat builders discuss their projects, share information, and help each other with skill-intensive jobs. Additionally, the Boat Designs category is an excellent place for prospective sailboat builders and buyers to discuss boat plans, projects, and future ambitions.

Overall Experience

The WoodenBoat Forum itself is a classic web forum with a simple interface and logical organization. Anyone who has used a forum in the last two decades will be able to navigate it easily. The community is large and friendly, and they welcome newcomers into the discussion. Overall, the WoodenBoat Forum is one of the best online resources for sailboat owners, boat builders, and boat enthusiasts of all kinds.

Best Sailing Forums
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

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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