Best Single-Handed Bluewater Sailboats

Best Single-Handed Bluewater Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

December 28, 2023

Sailing alone in racing or time on the water is a great experience. Finding the best single-handed blue water sailboat for those needs can be a tough task.

Regardless if you have a cruiser or racing sailboat, a single-handed one can offer many opportunities versus larger boats. So what are some of the best ones on the market?

The Hunter Channel 31, J/109, and West Wight Potter 19 are great budget-friendly, single-handed sailboats. Moving up in price, you can look at Hanse 371, Jeanneau Sunfast 3200, and even a Dehler 29. Depending on the size and the amount of features it has will determine what they are worth.

While the budget will play a role in finding the right single-handed boat for you, there are plenty of other factors to consider. These range between comfort, stability, and useful features.

According to experts in sailing, most prefer comfort over price as long as it is justifiable with the amount you are paying. As long as it is not too far over your budget, you could consider a slightly higher-priced boat if it has a few more bells and whistles to make your life easier.


Table of contents

12 Single-Handed Sailboats to Consider

Whether you are planning to cruise around or going out for the day sailing, there are a handful of sailboats to consider. You want to choose one that is best operated alone and would not need additional hands to make it work.

1. RS Aero


For a fun day out at sea, it is hard to pass up on a quality dinghy. This one, in comparison to other dinghies, is fairly light and takes hardly any time to set up.

The RS Aero is one of the more technologically advanced dinghies for one individual to use. This one in particular has amassed a handful of awards for the best performance overall.

Due to its popularity and quality, these range between $10,000 to $15,000. If you find it any cheaper than that, it could be worth the investment.

2. Beneteau Oceanis 62


If you are feeling a bit adventurous or feel confident in your ability to handle a large boat by yourself, then try out the Beneteau Oceanis 62. This boat is slightly over 60 feet, so it is recommended that you have all your ducks in a row before setting sail.

Thankfully, the boat was designed with ease of use in mind. So this could easily be operated by one person if they have some experience with it.

If you purchased this one for the family, then you can still have the added benefits of taking people with you. But if you decide you want to be by yourself, that is an option too.

This boat is valued around $600,000, so it is arguably one of the more expensive options for just a single handed sailboat. But if you are looking for a family boat, you are killing two birds with one stone.

3. Hunter Channel 31


This British made sailboat debuted in 2001 with a twin keel, making it a great choice for solo sailing. While it has a rich history in racing, the design has gone through slight adjustments over the years to make it a solid cruiser.

With its incredible handling and quick turns, this sailboat has excellent handling. The hull structure allows it to have a low center of gravity and provide it with increased stability compared to other racing boats.

The deck layout, in combination of the self-tacking jib and tiller steering, allow this boat to be one of the best on the market if you can find it.

You can usually sail these fractionally rigged and reef with ease from the cockpit. For around $35,000, you are getting a great deal on a boat that has everything you need.

4. J/109


If you are not quite ready to venture out alone or want the availability to take people out with you, then the J/109 is a great sailboat to look into. These were first built in 2004, so you should be able to still find them today.

If you decide that you want to take it out by yourself, you could look into going offshore and into areas where other boats have difficulty reaching. You might be able to get it to plane on open water, but it is a little heavy.

With its asymmetric spinnaker, you should be able to jib from the cockpit with light wind. Even in heavier winds, this boat offers great stability.

Due to its high standards of construction and long term stability, these boats are still valued around $60,000. If you can find one a little less for that, it could be a steal.

5. West Wight Potter 19


This boat design has been around since 1979, which prioritized safety and handling. Those factors alone make it a quality solo handling boat.

This sailboat has grown on many over the last three decades. People have probably overlooked it due to its name, but you should definitely check it out if you find one.

The slight design changes over the years have turned this into a tough little boat. It has a Bermuda rigged sloop and can handle various conditions.

With its lifting keel, it allows it to navigate shallow waters. This boat might be one of the more versatile options out there if you plan on sailing in shoal drafts.

For the price, it is hard to beat something less than $10,000. If you are wanting a newer version with upgraded features, you could be spending around $25,000.

6. Hanse 371


For a mid-sized cruiser, it will be hard to pass up a Hanse 371 if you come across it. This boat design is geared towards single handed sailing, with a perfect mix of older and newer technology.

It has a furlong and self-tacking jib, along with an autopilot feature making it easy to use for one person. For a boat that was built around 2000, it was well ahead of its time.

Even though the boat is a bit larger than some others for solo sailing, you will have plenty of space to move around. With the large galley and quite a bit of cabin room, you will feel like you are in a mansion.

The look and handle of this boat is favored by many, which is why it still holds its value. You can potentially find ones for sale around $60,000.

7. Jeanneau Sunfast 3200


From the first glance at this boat, you can see that it has a traditional look compared to other sailboats. Since it is smaller and lighter, it makes it easy to handle through many conditions.

The boat was originally designed to be a racer, so you have stability and strength in addition to speed. These were built around 2008, but still offer some of the best technology you will find today.

For space, you will have plenty of room just for yourself. There are two double cabins, galley, and a head compartment.

This fractional sloop, along with the keel, can provide easy sailing in either direction of the wind. You can comfortably have the mast around 60 percent to reach a comfortable speed.

This boat is still modern, so you will see these a little bit more often than some others. You will likely find them for about $160,000 but you get all of the latest technology and a boat that is built to last.

8. Tartan 3700


The Tartan 3700 is another quality boat that you can live on and comfortably cross the sea with. Thanks to the self-tacking jib, it allows the boat to be used easily by one person.

This boat was originally designed in the 1970’s, but still has value today. It has been proven to be a great boat to cover long distances and with multiple people on board.

Even though this one might be a little bit older in comparison to other single handed boats, the price still ranges close to $150,000. Rest assured, there is still quality and reliability with this sailboat.

9. Dehler 29

While this boat is not as popular in America, the Dehler 29 is a popular German sailboat. This boat is starting to become popular as more sailors look for single handed boats.

In 1998, this boat earned the honors for boat of the year and sailing boat of the year in the Cruising World Magazine. Since then, it still performs with quality since day one.

Since it is equipped with a tiller, you can steer this boat with ease. This offers one of the best opportunities to steer a boat without having to have an extra set of hands.

For the price, you can still find these on the market for slightly under $60,000. This is what you will pay for top quality German sailboats.

10. Rhodes 19


The Rhodes 19 is another classic style sailboat that many will gravitate to when they see it. Not only is it perfect for solo sailing, but you can have a few people on board if you enjoy family time.

The hull design is meant to be forgiving on the water, allowing it to easily handle heavier conditions. Since day one, this boat’s design has stood the test of time whether you are experienced or a newbie when it comes to sailing.

You can sprit rig this boat or simply use a Bermuda rig to help push you along with the wind. Since it has a low center of gravity, you do not have to worry about stability with this one.

Depending on your location, you can still find these for about $20,000. Assuming it is in good condition, you might find them slightly higher priced.

11. Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20


This boat has a strong history of solo sailing, simply because having more than one or two people would be uncomfortable. These were very common around the 1980’s and there were roughly 400 of these built. If you can find one that was built in the late 90’s, that would be your best bet.

The reason this boat deserves some attention is that you can potentially find it for a great price and live on it. This boat is also towable, making it easy to take with you no matter where you go. For just under $20,000, you can find plenty in good condition.

12. Laser


The Laser is a specific boat that you have probably seen in the Olympics. This small boat is simple and ready to go exploring for solo sailing.

This is arguably one of the most popular single handed boats out there. If you want the simplest option for sailing by yourself, look no further than a Laser.

This boat can use various rig types, so whichever method you prefer. Most use cat rigging since there is no headsail and just one mainsail. It also helps that this boat is easy to set up, making it desirable for solo handlers.

For the price point, you cannot beat $7,000 compared to other single handed boats. Due to its popularity and quality, you might have to pay a little more.

Why You Should Solo Sail

Solo sailing is an experience like no other and even replicates similar adrenaline rushes in other sports. If you are not seeking the thrill, there are boats drained to take it a little bit slower on the water.

Regardless of your skill level, you should consider the experience at least once in your life. The beautiful thing about this is, it does not have to be the perfect boat to get it done.

There are even plenty of sailors that have sailed on much larger boats or ones that were designed for more people. It all depends on the adventure you are trying to seek, but there is clearly not another like it when sailing on your own.

Features to Look for in Single-Handed Boats

When solo sailing, there are plenty of features that can separate one boat from another. These can make a big difference in how your adventure goes for the day.


The conditions at sea are often unavoidable and something that everyone has to deal with. Whether you are solo saling or with a crew, everyone has to be aware of tough conditions.

If you sail alone, you are required to do everything in order to make it back safely. Having something with an automation system will be huge for solo sailors.

If you have a quality boat, the next best thing would be automation systems on board to help your life sailing much easier. Some of these systems include autopilot, electric windlass, roller furling, and even a radar.

Other sailors might want lines that run to the aft, a wind vane, or a hydraulic system for the bow or stern. Basically anything that you can do with a click of a button to reduce manual labor.


While this is an obvious option, you do not want to forget about stability. No matter how fast the boat is or how many cool features it has, those will be useless if you have issues with handling.

You want a boat that has wide beams and shorter waterlines. While this limits some speed, that is a much better trade off than having nothing at all.

Easy to Use

When picking out your single handed sailboat, you want one that is easy to use. If there are too many features that are required to get it going, you either need more experience or that boat is not right for you.

Try finding one that only requires a few steps in comparison to other ones. You might have to pick one that is a bit smaller in order to get used to it all, which is all you really need since your are by yourself.


Many sailors will have their preferred sails when going out on the water. A unique sail design that you could look for is the Bermuda sail with a gaff sail.

This allows you to have more sail area on a shorter mast. It also allows you to have better control and less heeling force that is common for longer sails.

It does make sense to choose the one that is right for your boat and what is most comfortable to you. After you find the right boat for you, you should strongly consider the sails it has.

Rigging Type

When it comes to solo sailing, the gaff rig is one of the best rig types. Even though the Bermuda is the most common, you lose some windward capabilities since it is lower.

The gaff rig makes the most sense because it is easier to use and has the best downwind performance. Each sailor will have their preferred rig type, but in solo sailing, the gaff stands out the best.

Price Point Makes a Difference

You do not have to break the bank when deciding what boat is best for solo sailing. There are boats that can fit within any budget, and you just have to know what you are looking for.

Just because a boat is priced over $100,000, does not guarantee that it is the best on the market. Depending on the brand, how many features it has, and how big the boat is will determine the price.

Some of the best single handed sailboats are priced less than $20,000. It all depends on the type of adventure you are seeking and how much money you are willing to spend.

Best Single-Handed Bluewater 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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