Best 2 Person Sailboats

Best 2 Person Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

December 28, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • 2-person sailboats are small sailboats like sailing dinghies but can be a larger boat too
  • Experienced sailors will likely not need much of nay training on these boats
  • Most of these boat types are trailerable sailboats since they are under 30 feet
  • 2-person sailboats are some of the best sailboats but it varies on your intended use
  • Consider joining a sailing club to get the most use out of 2-person sailboats

A 2-person sailboat can be a larger dinghy or a sailboat meant to be handled by two people. But what are some of the best 2-person sailboats?

The RS200, Hunter 15, and Hobie 16 are a few of the best 2-person sailboats. Other sailboats meant for two people include the Norseboat 17.5, Sunfish, and even a Laser SB3. These small sailboats are best geared as a beginner sailboat that compliments having two people on board.

In my experience, there are plenty of small sailboat brands that are perfect dinghy sailors or those that want to have an extra person on board their boat. Whether it is a big boat or small boat there are options to have at least two people on board while sailing.


Table of contents

Top 12 Best 2-Person Sailboat Brands

When people think about a two person sailboat they often refer to a small sailboat. Indeed a sailing dinghy is likely your best bet but there are other options to consider when looking for a fun cruising sailboat that can accommodate another person.



The RS200 is considered one of the most popular double handed dinghies in existence. Since 1995 it has become a staple for those that want to enjoy or get into dinghy sailing.

The use of two people makes it a great experience on the water and necessary to help navigate. If you have never sailed on one of these you are missing out on a thrilling experience.

Hunter 15


One of the more affordable small sailboats best for two people out there is the Hunter 15. It is perfect for sailors that are getting their feet wet or only go out every so often without worrying about messing with complicated features. While it can hold up to four people it is best suited for two in mind to help sail.

Hobie 16


The Hobie 16 is one of the most famous multihull sailboats for those that enjoy a sailing dinghy. The fact that it incorporates a second person to help steer makes it a fun and rewarding experience with a friend on board. In fact having another person on board will help unlock its true sailing potential.

Norseboat 17.5


For those that love a good daysailer it would be difficult to pass up a Norseboat 17.5 if you saw one for a good price. These are perfect for a couple to enjoy an evening out on the water or to gently explore shallow waters. In some cases you could enjoy fishing if the water is calmer.



The Sunfish is another classic small sailboat that is great for having two people on board. They are famous for being used in racing events across the world. They are easy to sail and are right around 14 feet in length which make them easy to transport.

Laser SB3


Laser sailboats are another iconic sailboat brand that features the ability to have two people on board. With the added weight of another person it increases the performance of this boat while racing. It is also great for building camaraderie among other sailing racers on a team.

West Wight Potter 19


West Wight Potter has made a few popular cruising sailboats over the years with most notably their 19 model. This boat is a brick house for around 19 feet and is easy to sail with another person on board. Even though these are not as fast as some of the other sailboats mentioned here it makes up for that with the added level of comfort to accommodate another guest.

Catalina 16.5


Catalina is known for their quality and craftsmanship of sailing yachts. There is plenty of room in the cockpit for two people to enjoy an afternoon together.

It is also a great option for a daysailer. Some of the larger models are considered a family boat but can also be used by just two people due to its ease of use while sailing.


The 420 is another edition of a sailing dinghy that is meant for two people. If you see a sailing dinghy that is not a Sunfish then this is usually the next option for sailors. It offers style and an endless opportunity to have excitement on the water.

Paine 14


The Paine 14 is considered a mini yacht and is a perfect trailerable sailboat. The boat’s design is great for accommodating another person on board. It is great for those new to sailing or want a smaller boat with a classic look.

Sage 17


For pocket cruisers you cannot ignore the Sage 17 as a great option for two people on board. This fractional sloop is perfect in shoal drafts and is ideal for those that want to have a relaxing environment. It is stable and offers a great experience on the water no matter where your adventures take you.

Islander 24


The Islander 24 is perfect for those that do not want a larger sailboat but also do not want a dinghy. It is a perfect blend for sailing and cruising but also providing many opportunities on the water. With its size you can easily navigate this boat with two people.

Why Are 2-Person Sailboats Great Boats?

No matter what your desired sailing adventure is there are plenty of sailboats that are geared towards an easy setup and sailing experience. For boats that are designed with two people in mind it makes it sound like it is more difficult to handle but that is not the case.

Boats that are capable for two people sailing can generally be handled by one person but the performance is improved with the addition of the second person. The type of boat will also make a difference and if it has anything equipped such as automation systems. Below are some reasons why these boats are best for beginners or those that want an easier time on the water.

Sailing is Easier

Dinghies usually are meant for racing but they offer you first hand experience on how a boat should move in the water. Do not be afraid of the occurrence of capsizing in these boats.

In fact it is an integral part of the experience that will give you real time feedback on what went wrong. As for pocket cruisers or daysailers you do not want to capsize these so make an effort to control the stability as best as you can.

Rigging Setup is Seamless

For smaller boats that you can move on a trailer they usually can be put together in pieces. This makes setting up and breaking down a simple process that is great for storage.

When you are sailing and are newer to the experience you want something that is simple while operating in real time. You will likely want to handle something that does not take rocket science to explain.

Compact Size

Bigger sailboats are a little harder to steer so that is why it is best to go for something less than 30 feet with two people. This gives you plenty of room without compromising comfort.

The most ideal size ranges for two people are between 14 and 24 feet but it largely depends on the type of boat you are using. Some sailors can even handle boats ranging 45 feet and up but it all depends on your experience and intended use.

Multiple Sails

The mainsail is all you need to learn the basics of sailing but some boats might be equipped with more sails. This might mean your boat is a sloop rig which has two sails.

If you have more sails it would not hurt to have a second person on board to help with the action of raising and lowering of them. An automation system would greatly help this situation.


Many boats have various options for steering. These include tiller and wheel steering which should be obvious when checking out the boat upon a potential purchase.

If your boat has tiller steering it is best to get a feel for how the boat is while you are sailing. However you should go for what is most comfortable to you when you are the one operating it the most.

Best for Getting Parts

Since some boats are generally smaller for two people that means it is easier to acquire boat parts for maintenance. There are more boat parts in stock for smaller boats since they are more common which means you will have less of a headache and downtime for sailing.

There might even be a good chance you can find them cheaper on a marketplace online. Some boats might be totaled at a shipyard and you can find parts cheaper than paying for new ones outright.

Best Prices

Since 2-person sailboats are generally smaller they are usually are less expensive than other larger boats. If you are able to find them used they are even better at fitting within your budget depending on that boat brand.

You can expect to pay less than $20,000 for many top quality 2-person sailboats. This all depends on the condition of the boat and how new it is upon you purchasing it. This could range much higher depending on additions to the boat and the brand.

Are 2-Person Sailboats Good for Families?

As the name suggests it would not really be ideal to have a boat that is meant to hold only two people. But some of the options mentioned above are large enough to hold roughly four people and are great for the family.

Depending on how you intend to use your sailboat can make a difference as well. Some boats can still be considered family boats if they are commonly used within the family.

What Size is Best for 2-Person Sailboats?

Depending on the activity you are going to experience on the water will affect what size boat you are needing. For sailing dinghies those are usually used for racing since speed is priority.

If you are wanting to cruise without having too much else going on then something around 25 feet would be great. Families that are wanting a little more room but still be able to handle the boat with two people can likely find sailboats ranging up to 45 feet that are easy to sail.

There is not really a science that points to the perfect length for 2-person sailing. This all comes down to how confident you are in your sailing abilities and how easy it is to operate the boat in comfortable conditions.

Features to Consider on 2-Person Sailboats

For most one or two person boats there are a handful of features that can make your life easier while sailing. The good news for most 2-person sailboats is that they can likely be operated by one person.

Any added features or design of the boat might make an impact if the other person on board is not used to the setup. Here are some added features that will make a difference but keep in mind that they might not accommodate a small sailboat like a racing dinghy.

System Automation

There are plenty of automatic conveniences to add to your boat. These include autopilot and an electric windlass. A roller furling or even a radar can also make a huge impact to your sailing adventure.

A lot of these features come in handy when the weather turns rough or the tide becomes fierce. It is also great to have these if the other person on board with you is new to sailing or is a small child.

Having a boat equipped with GPS is another option for automation even if you think you know your way around the area. Consider adding one to your boat if you plan on taking it out in moderate conditions that might take you off of the intended path.


Multihulls by default are some of the safest sailboats out there due to their stability. This is true but it also depends on the design of the boat and how it is being used.

Most 2-person sailboats are going to have great stability. If it is a small sailboat that is equipped with a lateen rig it will likely have slightly better stability than other racing dinghies. However pocket cruisers are designed to be more stable and are great for two people wanting to enjoy a cruise.

In the event that something happens you should have a safety tether or a life jacket while on board. Even with two people on board you might not be immune to falling off your boat if the conditions get rough. You should also consider having an emergency radio and a way to ping your location in case things to go bad.

Types of Sails

The sail area on a boat makes a big impact on the performance. This is also why getting the right sails are important.

You should aim to have a combination of a gaff sail and a bermuda sail to optimize performance. Both of these together if applicable are the perfect blend for many windy conditions.

Rigging Setup

There are numerous types of rigs to consider on your boat. A lateen rig has a different shape than a gaff rig and will affect the performance based on the wind.

A gaff rig is best for one or two people on board due to it being easier to sail with an easier set up. No matter what rig setup you have you should know how to properly set up the sails and safely operate while in motion.

Best 2 Person 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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