What Are The Fastest Sailboats? (Complete List)

What Are The Fastest Sailboats? (Complete List) | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 30, 2022

Whenever you are looking into buying a sailboat, they often tell you how fast it can go. So naturally, customers want to know, what are the fastest sailboats?

Depending on the model and brand of a sailboat, in addition to the right conditions out on the water, this answer can vary. But which sailboats are known to be the fastest?

Each style of sailboat has its advantages that make it fast. The V.O 60, X-Yachts X4.0, and Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 are great examples of fast monohull boats. For multihull boats, Rapido 60 (Trimaran), Dragonfly 40 (Trimaran), and ICE Cat 61 (Catamaran) are some of the fastest in that category.

The list can go on when you are talking about specialized performance boats, foiling boats, and even windsurfers. However, the most common sailboats that people can relate to are either monohulls or multihulls.

According to sailing experts, fast can mean 12 knots if you are only used to going about half that speed. But when you speak about the fastest sailboats, they usually top around 30 knots or more out on the water.


Table of contents

What Makes a Sailboat Fast?

A lot of variables come into play to help a sailboat reach its maximum potential for going fast. While the person running the boat is the one responsible for making it go fast, the weather conditions and type of boat have to be good in order to reach top speeds.

If a boat is not designed to handle rougher conditions, you will struggle with performance in those situations. If you have a boat that is built for anything nature throws at it, you might have better stability but considerably less speed even in good conditions.

Weight and Power of Boat

If you were to have two objects with different weights and put the same amount of force on them, the lighter object moves faster. This is why lighter boats move quicker than heavier boats.

So if you were to put two boats at one end of a race head to head with the same conditions of wind and sailing area, the lighter boat wins. This is because the lighter boat is able to gain speed quickly due to the less weight it holds.

The weight of the hull is only one part of the equation, as the mast can hold a lot of weight too. If there is a way to reduce the weight on the boat, you will have a better chance at going faster.

This is why fast boats typically are made out of materials such as carbon fiber or fiberglass. If the boat is a multi-hull without a keel, this also cuts down on weight.

Friction and Wetted Surface

Water adds a ton of friction to the boat, so a fast boat needs to be able to cut through it efficiently. In addition, some boats have finely polished exteriors to help glide through the water and reduce drag.

Depending on the shape of the hull and how much wetter surface it has can greatly affect the amount of drag it has. For example, displacement hulls change as the boat heels in the water.

For multihulls, these lift the hull out of the water slightly to reduce drag. Hydrofoils are another example that lifts the entire boat out of the water to greatly reduce the wetted surface.

Sail Area and Wind

The bigger the sails are on a boat does not necessarily mean the boat will be the fastest. While the sailing area is critical for speed, it has to match the sailing area to displacement ratio.

The sail area needs to be more about the lift of the sails rather than the size of them. If the proper sails are there, then the boat should be able to reach its maximum potential if the wind conditions are right.

Fastest Sailboat Types

The type of sailboat makes a big difference in speed since it has different characteristics. These include HP monohulls, catamarans, and trimarans.

Each boat type will have a unique position in the water, making it potentially faster than another type. If you want to compare boats in perfect conditions, you can see how one stacks up to another.

HP Monohulls

HP monohulls gain a lot of their speed by being powered by a motor. While they have the capability to sail using the wind, they have the convenience of a motor to help push them along.

So the outboard motor needs to be able to handle the weight of the boat efficiently in order to help reach top speeds. A lot of larger boats need to be pushed along by multiple motors.

Monohulls in general are favored by many sailors since they have that traditional look to them. They also happen to be very common, but multi-hulls are making things competitive in the market.


Catamarans do not have a keel and it helps reduce the weight of the boat. They also displace less water compared to a monohull. However, not all catamarans go fast.

Depending on the catamaran and its capabilities, there is some that glide effortlessly on the water. These ideally work best in good conditions but will be a bumpy ride if the water is a little choppy.

They offer one of the safest rides on the water and are essentially unsinkable due to their design. They spread out their weight over a larger area on the water, making them more stable than a monohull.

In addition, the living space on a monohull is huge compared to a monohull. With about a 40-foot catamaran, it has around the same living space as a 60-foot monohull.


Trimarans are another unique style of sailboat similar to a catamaran. They have three hulls side by side instead of two, making it very stable.

They also have a wide sail area and make for quick spurts out on the water. However, they also need good conditions to operate their best to move fast.

These displace water similar to a catamaran and are more stable. They also tend to go faster in the right conditions than a catamaran.

Both catamarans and trimarans generally have shallow drafts and can be beached. In coastal waters, monohulls have to watch out for their draft since they have a keel.

Fastest Monohull Sailboats

Some of the fastest monohull sailboats have unique characteristics that set it apart from other monohulls. These include sail area, weight, and wetted surface.

The beauty about monohulls is the keel, which has its advantages in tougher conditions. If you were to race a monohull against a multihull in moderate conditions, the monohull has a better chance at navigating through the water due to the keel and potentially going faster. The keel allows the boat to heel from one side to the other and come back to the center.

1. V.O. 60

The Volvo Ocean 60 is one of the fastest monohull sailboats you can find. It is a perfect example of an offshore sailboat that is usually handled by four professional sailors and eight mates on deck.

This boat is roughly 64 feet long and sits about 12 feet in the water. The fastest that these boats go ranges around 35 to 40 knots, but it takes the right conditions and a little bit of patience for that large of a boat.

2. X-Yachts X4.0

The X4.0 yacht was a winner of the European Yacht of the Year award in 2020. It is a fairly new boat design, as it debuted in 2019.

This 40 foot luxury yacht is a top-of-the-line performance cruiser that is built for speed and is lightweight. Sitting about eight feet in the water, this boat can reach up to 10 knots or potentially more with the right conditions. You can quickly reach these speeds due to its size and weight.

3. Beneteau Oceanis 30.1

The Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 is another great example of a power cruising yacht that is new to the scene in 2019. At around 31 feet, it is one of the smaller yachts on the list but packs a powerful punch in performance and speed.

The max draft of this one is just shy of 6.5 feet and it received the Best Performance Cruiser in 2020. While this one, in particular, is built more for luxury and comfort, you can easily see top speeds ranging from 7.5 to 10 knots.

4. Santa Cruz 52

The Santa Cruz 52 is a perfect combination of a lightweight sloop and a blue water racer. At 53 feet long and a draft of nine feet, this boat is a beauty to see go fast.

These are often compared to the original Swan sailboats around the same length, as far as the class and style of the boat. In good conditions, they top around eight knots on a good day.

5. Amel 60

The Amel 60 is another beauty of a luxury yacht cruiser spanning almost 60 feet in length and nearly an eight-foot draft. This boat began production in 2019 and received the 2020 European Yacht of the Year Luxury Cruiser award.

With a reliance on the engine, you can push the boat a little harder in good conditions to gain more speed. While topping out the engine, you are looking at anywhere between eight and 10 knots.

Fastest Multihull Sailboats

Multihull sailboats are generally faster than monohull sailboats due to their lack of extra weight. These are up to 30 percent faster in that situation.

The only downside is that if you want to reach those maximum speeds, you cannot add a lot of extra weight to the vessel. So for sailors that want to utilize a multihull’s full potential, they need to consider what they bring on board and how many people they have.

1. Rapido 60 (Trimaran)

The Rapido 60 is one of the fastest multihulls out there for its size. At nearly 60 feet in length and almost 11 feet in draft, this unsinkable trimaran can speed up to 25 knots.

These were first built in 2015 and are a popular trimaran to look at if you are wanting the space. In the right conditions, the manufacturer says you can easily reach 30 knots if not more.

2. Dragonfly 40 (Trimaran)

The Dragonfly 40 is one of the few 40-footers out there that you can operate shorthanded. While it typically accommodates six to eight people, the boat’s design allows it to be easily handled.

According to the manufacturer, they claim it can reach 24 knots. Assuming the conditions are perfect, it could potentially reach more.

3. ICE Cat 61 (Catamaran)

The ICE Cat 61 is just a tad over 61 feet long and is one of the more beautiful catamarans you will ever see. For its size and design, it is impressive to see it reach top speeds.

With just the motors alone, you can easily reach 13.5 knots. If all the right conditions are in play, you can expect to reach up to 25 knots.

4. SIG45 (Catamaran)

The SIG 45 is a 45-foot racing cruiser that can comfortably hold about six people. With features like low dragging bows, carbon fiber material found in spars and bulkheads, and around 1,400 square feet of sailing area to play with, you can expect top performance all the way around.

It is estimated that this boat can safely top out around 20 knots. However, there is room for more knots in the best conditions.

5. Lagoon 67 S (Catamaran)

The Lagoon 67S is one of the rarest catamarans you will ever see. There were only four built from 1993 to 1995 by Jeanneau Technologies Avancées and are a gorgeous sight to see.

Regardless of the age of this boat, it still flies in the right conditions like the newer catamarans you see today. You can expect to reach a little over 20 knots for this 67 footer and about five feet of draft.

What Are The Fastest Sailboats? (Complete List)
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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