Biggest Trailerable Sailboats

Biggest Trailerable Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Many sailboats up to about 27 feet in length can be trailered safely on American roads. These vessels are limited by weight, beam, and overall height.

In this article, we'll go over ten of the best large trailerable sailboats on the market. These vessels feature comfortable cabins, excellent sailing characteristics, and they all meet the requirements for towing on U.S. highways.

The best and largest trailerable sailboats are the Cal 20, the Catalina 22, the O'Day 240, The Islander 24, the Moore 24, the Cal 25, the Helms 25, the MacGregor 26, and the Nor'Sea 27. Most of these vessels can be towed behind a well-equipped truck or SUV.

We sourced information and vessel specifications for this article from sailboat manufacturers and record books. We also considered the opinions of sailors who own these vessels and sail them regularly.


Table of contents

What Makes a Sailboat Trailerable?

Trailerable sailboats must meet certain requirements in order to operate on American roads. The primary limitations are width (beam), as the vessel and its trailer must fit in regular traffic lanes and through tunnels. Another consideration is weight, as the vessel should be light enough to be towed by a 3/4 ton or 1-ton pickup truck.


Generally speaking, there's not a specific limit to boat weight in order to be towed. That said, most single and tandem-axle trailers can't exceed about 3,300 pounds per axle. With that in mind, the upper limit for a trailerable sailboat is around 7,000 to 8,000 pounds.

Keel Type

Keel type is an important factor to consider, as it determines how high off the ground the boat has to ride on the trailer. The majority of trailerable sailboats have a centerboard or swing keel that retracts for towing and beaching. Some vessels have shorter displacement keels or fin keels.


The maximum allowable for a trailerable sailboat is 8 ft 6 in. This is because these dimensions are the maximum limit for standard trailers on American roads. A larger boat can be transported on the road, but only as an oversize load.

In practice, very few trailerable sailboats have a beam of exactly 8 ft 6 in. The majority of large trailerable sailboats have a beam of between 7 1/2 ft and 8 ft 3 in. This makes it easier to negotiate tunnels and tighter traffic lanes.

Overall Length

The maximum trailer length for standard trailers is 65 ft, but it's nearly impossible for a trailerable sailboat of this length to meet the width requirements. In practice, the longest trailerable sailboats are around 30 ft in length or shorter. The average is about 20 to 25 ft.


In most states, the maximum height for a trailer load is 14 ft. This necessitates that the mast folds down and that the keel and vessel height combined doesn't exceed 14 ft. You must also take into account the height of the trailer, as a tall boat may not be able to clear highway overpasses.

10 Largest Trailerable Sailboats

Trailerable sailboats come in all shapes and sizes, including some large and roomy configurations. The vessels we chose range in length from 19 ft to 27 ft, and they offer the best accommodations on the market. Here are ten of the best large trailerable sailboats.

1. West Wight Potter 19

It's impossible to write an article about trailerable sailboats without mentioning the West Wight Potter 19. This vessel is perhaps the best and most capable in its class, and it offers surprisingly comfortable accommodations for a lightweight trailerable sailboat.

The West Wight Potter 19 is easy to sail fast and features a roomy cabin with a sink and space for a head. It's considered a pocket Cruiser, and it is very popular in coastal areas. Due to its lightweight construction, this fiberglass sailboat is trailerable behind an SUV or half-ton pickup.

The West Wight Potter 19 has positive buoyancy material throughout the whole, making it effectively unsinkable. Additionally, the mast and rigging collapse and set up in minutes. These vessels were produced up until recently, so they're common on the used market.


  • Unsinkable
  • Lightweight
  • Rigs up fast
  • Roomy cabin


  • Relatively slow
  • Expensive

2. Cal 20

The Cal 20 has been around for decades, and this capable racing boat is ideal the coastal cruising and sailing in semi-protected waters. That said, it's also quite seaworthy, as several have participated in TransPac races between San Francisco and Hawaii.

The Cal 20 is known for its low-profile cabin and easy trailering. At 20 ft in length overall, the Cal 20 is well within limits for trailering on American roads. While not the lightest trailerable sailboat on the list, a well-equipped pickup truck should tow it without issues.

The Cal 20 isn't the boat to choose if you're looking for the most spacious accommodations. That said, the cabin is functional, and the boat excels in handling. It's fast, safe, and agile, thanks to its long and thin profile. It's also a joy to sail in all kinds of weather conditions.


  • Fast
  • Compact
  • Easy to sail
  • Stable in high winds


  • Spartan cabin
  • Deep draft from the fixed keel

3. Catalina 22

The Catalina 22 is one of the most famous large trailerable sailboats ever built. It's one of Catalina's most popular models, and it was a big hit in the 1970s and 1980s. The Catalina 22 has a spacious and thoughtfully designed cabin with a wide companionway and a comfortable V-berth.

The Catalina 22 is a centerboard boat. This means that the keel retracts into the hull for trailering and lowers down easily using a system block-and-tackle or a crank. The vessel is 7.67 feet wide, making it easy to tow on typical American highways.

The vessel is still produced today, and over 15,000 have been built since 1969. This makes it one of the most popular sailboats ever, and hundreds are available on the used market for reasonable prices. Thanks to its superior handling and excellent design, the Catalina 22 is one of the best large trailerable sailboats available.


  • Fast
  • Well-designed cabin
  • Affordable iconic sailboat


  • Minimal headroom
  • Finicky companionway hatch

4. O'Day 240

The O'Day 240 is one of the more seagoing trailerable sailboats on our list. It's beamy and stable, and it handles well in rougher weather conditions. It has a surprisingly comfortable cabin for its size and measures just 24 feet in length overall.

The vessel's wide beam contributes to its stability. However, with a width of 8 ft 3 in, the O'Day 240 approaches the upper limit of trailerable dimensions. The vessel weighs more than comparably sized boats, so you'll need a more powerful vehicle to tow it.

The cabin of the O'Day 240 stands out. It features a V-berth, berthing aft, a galley, and space for a head. There's ample headroom throughout the cabin, which makes the O'Day 240 ideal for extended coastal cruising.


  • Beamy
  • Stable Spacious cabin


  • May be too wide for comfortable trailering
  • Unusual cabin design

5. Islander 24

Islander is known for its larger sailboats (28 feet and larger), though it has produced a few excellent trailerable models. We chose the trailerable Islander 24, as it's known in the sailing community for its speed, comfort, and easy handling.

The phrase "they don't build them like they used to" applies to the Islander 24. When this vessel was designed in the early 1960s, boat manufacturers used more fiberglass and produced thicker hulls. This practice is costlier and made the boat weigh more. But it produced stronger vessels that last much longer than their flimsier contemporaries.

This fiberglass sailboat is thoughtfully designed and is well-suited for coastal cruising in the 21st century. It features stronger construction than similar models, and its keel design encourages stable and comfortable sailing.


  • Strong hull and deck
  • Stiff sailing
  • Great windward performance


  • Small cabin
  • Heavy trailer weight

6. Moore 24

The Moore 24 was the first in a new class of vessels called the ultralight displacement sailboat. It has the handling characteristics have a large keelboat but the dimensions of a coastal cruising trailer-sailer.

From the outside, the flush deck of the Moore 24 looks like it couldn't possibly accommodate a cabin. Closer inspection reveals that the vessel has a roomy cabin that resembles that of much larger boats. It features a galley, a head, a V-berth upfront, and attractive paneling throughout.

The Moore 24 is a pocket cruiser by all definitions. It's

an excellent choice for those looking for a trailerable and seaworthy sailboat. Though a bit taller than some other models, the vessel is still well within limits for on-road transportation.


  • Excellent handling
  • Large cabin
  • Seaworthy


  • Deep draft
  • Heavier than many other 24-foot sailboats

7. Cal 25

The Cal 25 is essentially a stretched version of the Cal 20. It features the same basic hull design with the iconic flush deck and streamlined cabin. However, it's faster, offers superior accommodations, and it's more seaworthy.

The Cal 25 is known for its stiff handling characteristics in high winds. This is primarily due to its 1,700-pound lead keel, which keeps it upright and tracking straight. However, this does increase the overall weight of the vessel, which is an even 4,000 pounds dry. Thankfully, this is within the towing capacity of most standard pickup trucks.

The interior of the Cal 25 resembles the cabins of larger boats. In other words, it doesn't feel cramped. There's a large sitting area across from the galley and partitions separating the V-berth from the rest of the cabin. Overall, the Cal 25 is an excellent compact sailboat for racing or cruising.


  • Tough
  • Seaworthy
  • Good accommodations


  • Deep draft
  • Marginal headroom in some areas

8. Helms 25

The Helms 25 is a compact vessel with a true swing keel. Unlike a centerboard, which descends through the hull straight down, a swing keel swings down on the hinge and occupies less space inside of the vessel. With the removal of the centerboard trunk, the Helms 25 retains its trailerable properties while freeing up living space in the cabin.

The Helms 25 is long and fast but not particularly tall. It fits well on a trailer, and its rounded hull doesn't pound in choppy water. The cabin is comfortable and features a small but usable galley, a table with two seating areas, a V-berth, and additional berthing aft.

Some versions of the Helms 25 also feature a separate head area between the V-berth and the central living spaces. The Helms 25 strikes the perfect balance between comfort, seaworthiness, and trailerability. It's safe and fun to sail and sells on the used market for affordable prices.


  • Swing keel
  • Spacious cabin
  • Long, narrow, and shallow


  • Not ideal for offshore sailing
  • Too long for some trailers

9. MacGregor 26

The MacGregor 26 is larger and more modern than most of the sailboats on our list. As a result, it takes advantage of recent design developments that make it an excellent large trailer-sailer. At 26 ft overall, the MacGregor 26 is also one of the fastest vessels on our list.

At first glance, the dimensions of the MacGregor 26 seem unusual. The hull shape resembles a bathtub, and the vessel's high profile is notable. These characteristics make it stable and easy to handle, and they also give it exceptional headroom in the cabin.

The McGregor 26 came in numerous configurations, which are designated with letters such as '26D' and '26M.' These include various cabin window orientations, colors, accessories, and interior layouts. Some versions of the MacGregor 26 came with a dual rudder setup, which is uncommon in its size range.


  • Stable
  • Modern design
  • Excellent headroom


  • Unusual shape
  • Heavy

10. Nor'Sea 27

The final trailerable sailboat on our list is also the most capable. The Nor'Sea 27 is a true offshore sailboat with accommodations that rival any mid-size cruising sailboat. the Nor'Sea 27 is a full-keel displacement sailboat that's designed for stability and motion comfort. It's one of the beefiest sailboats that still fits on a trailer.

The Nor'Sea 27 features standing headroom throughout the cabin. It has a head, galley, and berthing area forward that converts into a table. The cabin is lined with attractive wood paneling, and the entire vessel has a very high level of fit and finish.

The Nor'Sea 27 is built for cruising, and it's ideal for longer voyages and offshore passages. If you're looking for a true cruising sailboat that stores well on a trailer, you can't go wrong with the NorSea 27. Due to its size and capabilities, you'll need a larger vehicle to trailer this vessel safely.


  • Biggest cabin
  • Full-size accommodations
  • Offshore capable


  • Too large for SUV towing
  • Slow to rig and disassemble
Biggest Trailerable Sailboats
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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