What Is A DaySailer Sailboat?

What Is A DaySailer Sailboat? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 2, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Day sailers are great recreational boats that are best for travels during the day
  • You do not need a large crew to handle these boats since they are small
  • It is not uncommon to see a race between other day sailer boats depending on brand
  • Day sailer boats are fairly inexpensive but you would need to factor in age and condition
  • These boats are composed of many different features and can affect your time at sea

There are many different types of smaller boats that you can cruise on the ocean. But what is a daysailer and is it a great option?

A daysailer, or day sailers, are small boats that are best used for day sailing as the name suggests. This small boat is mainly used for recreation and is a little larger than your average dinghy sailboat. These boats range between 15 and 25 feet in length with a handful of other varieties.

In my experience, a day sailer can take you on quite an adventure with plenty of good sailing performance. If you are in the market for a small sailboat, consider what options a day sailer could do for you and your sailing goals.


Table of contents

What is a Daysailer and How is it Different?

A day sailer is meant to be taken on day trips and means that they typically do not have anything extra on board to do long distance traveling. However there are plenty of sailboats that are characterized as a day sailer that have amenities on board.

Some will have one hull or two hulls and even a lifting keel. You can think of these strictly for pleasure at the ocean or even a lake. The best boat for day sailing will vary and will likely cater to your needs and budget.

Elaborateness of a Day Sailer

They say that the less amount of moving parts you have on board to get a sailboat moving the better. This mitigates the amount of maintenance you will have altogether and cost you a lot less over time. A day sailer excels in that regard since it typically only has a these:

  • Mast
  • Hull
  • Rudder
  • Sail

Some day sailer cruising sailboats have a lot more amenities on board or extras such as an electric trolling motor. This all depends on the person sailing the boat and what makes sense to your sailing goals.


Many day sailer boats are meant to handle a short destination for the day. But some like the Flicka 20 have sailed across the ocean. That is not the only boat, as the Norseboat 17.5 has also been used to cross the Northwest Passage.

The point is that you can handle slightly more than just the typical day sailing adventure depending on the type of vessel you choose. Just be sure that you are not going into rough conditions if the boat is not designed to handle that.

Speed on the Water

Have you ever thought about racing a day sailer? You will always have the option when another sailor has a similar one and the two of you are on the water together. There are plenty of one-design boats that are day sailer sailboats like the Harbor 20.

Day sailers typically hover around six knots and offer a comfortable sail in good weather conditions. Sailors might be interested in having auxiliary power to supplement with the wind in your sails to gain more speed while racing.


A day sailer can be built in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Some will have centerboards or just a rudder that are great for driving it onto a beach. Others utilize a keel but might make transportation interesting.

These boats are often trailerable due to their size so you do not have to worry about leaving them at a dock. The size may not be large enough to hold many friends but it might be enough to sleep or have enough space in the galley for a small family.

Price Point

A day sailer can vary in price depending on a variety of factors. Knowing how to find one in good shape without trying to break the bank is crucial. Some factors to keep in mind include:

  • Age of boat
  • Brand
  • Condition

According to Yachtworld prices for a day sailer start around $3,000 and can jump over $100,000. These prices will vary all over the world and might vary significantly based on supply and demand.

However it might vary what your take on a day sailer boat really is. This is why it is important to do your research and make sure it fits your sailing goals.

How to Find the Best Daysailer

Thes best day sailer is going to vary from one person to the next. Many factors separate your needs and someone else’s. Do not stress about finding the best per say but what is best for your desired sailing goals.

By taking the time to narrow down your options you will save yourself from rushing into a potentially bad position financially. You will also be doing the right amount of research to make sure it works for your situation.


Every sailor likely has a purpose as to why they need to have a particular boat. If you want little maintenance then a boat with less features will likely be your best bet. It also helps if you have some experience sailing already so you know what you are getting into.

If you have to transport it everywhere you go you will need to make sure you have the right trailer and not have to worry about mooring. You also need to make sure you have enough storage on board to accommodate other guests or for something like fishing.

Activities on the Water

Sailing during the day is considered a recreational activity but you might want a little more out of your boat than just cruising on the water. If you enjoy light fishing or water sports then you would need a day sailer that can accommodate those types of water activities.

Many boat dealers will try to convey a boat as a day sailer in order to make it more appealing to your buying process so make sure you do your research. No need to buy something under that category if you are wanting more from your boat.


Every beginning purchase typically involves how much you can afford. While there are plenty of used day sailer boats out there for a good price you need to be able to make sure it is in good condition.

You will either need to be an expert at looking over boats or hiring a professional to inspect it. Factoring in your budget and potentially saving up for the boat you want is important in this process too.

Check Local

If you are near a marina or boat yard then you should give them a visit. Sometimes you can find people selling boats for cheap depending on the reason.

This is a fun way to spend hours window shopping for your next potential day sailer. This also gives you a good idea as to what you are going to be using and the rig setup.

What Is A DaySailer Sailboat?
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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