Fastest Cruising Sailboats

Fastest Cruising Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

August 30, 2022

If you're looking to buy a sailboat, getting a cruising sailboat may have crossed your mind. So, what are the fastest cruising sailboats out there?

Like everything else in life, not all sailboats are created equal. Cruising sailboats have a lot to offer if you are looking for a reliable boat that allows you to take a long getaway and is easy to navigate.

Some of the fastest cruising sailboats include the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1, which can travel at 20 knots; the Grand Soleil 34, which touches 20 knots; and the Italia 9.98, which can reach up to 40 knots. Of course, there are many other high-speed cruising sailboats that you can choose from.

If you love to cruise but still want to reach your destination fast, then a fast cruising sailboat will be your best option. After asking many sailing experts and cruising sailboat owners, we finally have the skinny on the fastest cruising sailboats.

As avid watersports enthusiasts and sailboat owners, we can help guide you through the process of choosing between some of the fastest cruising sailboats in the world.


Table of contents

Fastest Cruising Sailboats

The boat you buy should be influenced by your local waters or where you plan to travel. Because many portions of the coastline are exposed to the ocean, if our coastal cruising grounds were in New England, we’d want our boat to be able to manage offshore conditions Due to the logs and debris floating about in the Pacific Northwest, we’d want a sturdy rudderpost and a shielded prop; a tall rig would be a godsend in the light airs that are common during summer. It would be pointless to buy a boat without a centerboard if I lived near the Florida Keys.

Because her cruising gear makes up lesser of the overall displacement than a bluewater liveaboard yacht, a coastal boat can be a relatively light design. However, going offshore does not require sacrificing sailing performance. The classic Valiant 40 by Bob Perry is a wonderful example. Its low displacement, strong sailing ability, and comfortable layout make it an excellent candidate for long-distance cruising; many other recent designs are the same.

Italia 9.98

Italia Yachts created the Italia 9.98 Fuoriserie, which won the ORC - C - 2015 World Championship. She is a racing yacht that may also be used for cruising. However, the design is intended to race and win, and the mast and boom are composed of carbon fiber. The interior features include two double bedrooms, two sleepers in the saloon, a kitchen, and a chart table.

The 34-foot Italia 9.98 was clearly the most striking of the five boats that made up the Performance Cruiser class in terms of pure look. The boat comes in two versions: the 34 Club, designed for cruising and is distinguished by its twin wheels, and the 34 Fuoriserie, designed for racing.

Both versions have the same interior, which is extremely welcoming and modern for cruising. A wide trimmed in a teak cutaway that can also be used as a ring frame lead to the spacious double-berth forward, which virtually beckons you to climb in and kick far back. The drop-leaf table, crossed by the keel-stepped spar, is flanked by two huge center settees.

The galley and the navigation station, located to port and starboard, are welcome surprises. The galley contains a huge fridge and a two-burner stove gimballed, while the navigation station is bigger than you could anticipate for a boat this size.

Innovative, detachable cloth lockers may be offloaded while in race mode. Cabin doors encased in metal for durability are among the many appealing touches to this vessel. There's a large double stateroom to port and a tiny double cabin to starboard. Except for some teak trim, all furnishings and fixtures are sleek, white composite constructions that appear more aeronautical than nautical. Overall, the entire design and aesthetics are very nice and contemporary.

The cockpit is roomy on the inside; the molded-in bench seats may be enlarged with specialized storage bins, which can be left at the dock for racing and reinstalled when cruising. A large lazarette locker is located aft of the beam-width traveler, which is located aft of the tiller.

The open transom gives the impression of being aboard a larger boat. The German-style double-ended mainsheet is led below deck, adding to the modern motif; sheet leads are, of course, changeable. The genuinely exceptional nonskid is molded into the deck.

The boat has an optional sprit that could be used to fly, reaching, and off-wind sails. Another version of the sprit incorporates an anchor roller; the boat we were on did not have a windlass, but one is available. It would be simple to adapt this boat from racing to cruising mode.

The Grand Soleil 34

When the Italian boatyard Grand Soleil was established in the 1970s, its first model was a 34-footer designed by Finot. It was an instant success, with over 300 units sold. It set the firm on the path to success that lasted decades, mainly with a succession of considerably bigger, more complicated racer/cruisers. The maker opted to go back to its origins with the Grand Soleil 34 for 2020, and it's a fantastic boat.

There are a few key rating criteria that racing boats compete under these days, plus a rising movement of doublehanded classes in several major regattas. Since conditions vary dramatically depending on where you plan to sail, the Grand Soleil 34 doubles as a cruiser. The need for a versatile vessel has been taken into account by Grand Soleil and is evident in its exquisite design. The Grand Soleil 34 does this by offering a variety of keel, rig, and deck options, allowing owners to tailor their boat to their specific location or events.

The shallower of the two keel choices, which is also the ideal cruising configuration, draws under 6 feet and is equipped with a lead bulb; a deeper 7-foot-2-inch foil is also available. A conventional aluminum stick or one of two alternative carbon spars are available as rig options. The boat has dual rudders and wheels, but you can alternatively have a single rudder with a tiller. The power unit on our variant was a 20 hp diesel with saildrive, which was an option. The boat design has the optional 30 hp diesel with saildrive, with a 20 hp auxiliary as standard.

The accommodations are essentially the same regardless of the performance package you choose. You still have options, though. In cruising mode, the open layout features a wide double berth in the bow, but while racing, you can remove the cushions and their base to transform the area into massive sail stowage. For competitive sailors concerned with keeping weight to a minimum, most of the oak furnishings and floors may be replaced with composite materials or even carbon.

A pair of settees flank a drop-leaf table in the middle of the boat, and there's a wide double cabin aft, to port, and a capacious head on the opposite starboard side, via which you can reach a large storage compartment beneath the cockpit seat. The great news is that there is also plenty of storage space for sailing.

Impression 45.1

The Elan Impression 45.1 now features a longer and broader cockpit, defined by dual wheels, a split cockpit table, and a folding sunbed, as inspired by the Elan GT5. A contemporary vertical transom was built, and two big cockpit storage boxes that may be furnished with a grill, sink, or refrigerator. Because of its hull design and recognizable deck saloon windows, the Impression 45.1 is light and airy. The saloon has a big settee that completely surrounds the table without blocking the path.

The galley has been moved forward to provide greater space for living and navigation. You also get solid iroko wood for the interior furniture material after months of testing because it was discovered to have the best endurance characteristics, a lovely traditional aesthetic, and an acceptable pricing point. The Elan Impression 45.1 will be offered with two cabin configurations, one for friends and family and the other for demanding charter parties.

Customers may now select between an open transom for a sportier look and a closed transom with a wide swim platform for safety and comfort. One of the more noticeable improvements is a new window, which illuminates the back cabins and adds to her instantly identifiable appearance.

Hylas 54

It's no wonder that many would-be bluewater cruisers have this German Frers design on their wish list. The hull is well-built, featuring a sturdy masthead sloop sail plan—200-mile days are not out of the question—and the deck arrangement is ergonomically efficient. Belowdecks, no two boats are alike, thanks to the builders' willingness to experiment with layout and finish. The RS (Raised saloon) model expands on the already spacious interior. The new Hylas 56 has a similar streamlined hull. It is no wonder that its owners praise the boat's seakeeping and maneuverability.

Lagoon 440

With the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, more Lagoons than any other brand of a catamaran have crossed

the Atlantic and more 440s have participated than any other Lagoon. It's simple to understand why

this yacht is so popular among visitors visiting the tropics. The saloon, the spacious cockpit, the broad trampoline forward, and the flybridge provide plenty of opportunities for the crew to have quiet time on passage or assemble for meals and socialize in port. The 440 is not a Sportster when it comes to

sailing, but it is capable of decent trip times while keeping its crew safe and comfortable.

Meta 50'

The Meta 50' is a strong and comfortable long-distance cruising sailing yacht. This beachable twin-keel offshore sailing yacht has a 1.80m draught, lovely sunbathing places, and a garage big enough to fit the semi-rigid tender with an outboard motor.

This enormous sailing boat has two double bedrooms in the back, a spacious saloon with an open kitchen and panoramic views, a chart table, a bathroom, and a large owner's stateroom with a dressing room and separate bathroom. In the forepeak, a skipper's cabin with an attached bathroom is also available, which is just one of the many comforts on the Meta.

The Meta 50' is constructed of ultra-resistant prestressed Strongall aluminum and may be customized to meet your exact requirements. Thanks to the ballastable dual keel system, the TurboKeels version will have performance comparable to a 3.50m draught keelboat while simultaneously reducing the list by 15-20°.

Domani S50

Domani introduces the S30, a one-of-a-kind sailing experience that combines sportiness, elegance, and design in a single exquisite sports boat. Less is more, and free time is valuable; that is what you get with this cruiser. The design also uses a back-to-basics approach, with fewer components and less upkeep. It's all about disconnecting from shore power and sailing away in minutes. With electronic sail propulsion, it's light and green, and its manageable size makes it easy to carry or store.

Summer in the Fjords is unlike any other, as is summer in St Tropez. Explore new beaches and seas, meet new people, and expand your sailing horizons beyond the neighborhood harbor. Isn't it true that the goal of every journey is to learn something new? It is easy to see what the brand is all about. The Domani is about Gran Turismo-style sailing: quick, exciting, and elegant.

The Beneteau Oceanis 30.1

The Beneteau Oceanis 30.1, a 31-foot-3-inch tiny yacht that was best-equipped and spec'd out as a specialized cruising boat, was also given the title of Best Performance Cruiser for 2020. But don't be fooled by her modest internal amenities; she is a lively small ship.

The sail layout emphasizes power aloft with a single-spreader fractional number rig with a square-top main. Our test boat has an optional bowsprit and a lap-streak genoa; the normal version features a self-tacking 100 percent headsail. Although dual wheels make handling straightforward, old-school men (like me) can choose a tiller.

A boarding ladder and a small fold-down boarding step are included on the transom. Also, a Facnor headsail furler is stationed alongside the Lewmar windlass on the opposite end. The overall level of attention to detail is outstanding.

The adaptability of the 30.1 was a strong selling point for the judging panel. There are four keel variations, as well as a centerboard. A tabernacle may be added to the deck-stepped mast for simple lowering and trailering to a new location or navigating waterways. It was also the most affordable option in the category, at $160,000. The benefits just kept on coming.

The forward V-berth is undoubtedly spectacular, and the deck-stepped spar described before freed up the space below, especially in the center saloon and eating area. The entire galley is to port at the foot of the companionway, and the enclosed head is to starboard, where there is also a practical tiny navigation station. A large aft double cabin may also be found to starboard. This is an ideal solution for a small family or a couple of couples.

There's plenty of natural light below deck thanks to the coachroof windows, and overhead hatches, which are supplemented by energy-efficient LED lighting. The eye-catching hull decorations grab attention, and the well-executed dodger is an excellent spot to get out of the rain.

Fastest Cruising Sailboats
Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

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