One Hundred Choices for the Best Small Cruiser

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Fifteen Cruisers

Fifteen Cruisers for

Fourteen Cruisers for Easy

Thirteen Single-Masted

for a Family of Four

Around-the-Buoys Racing

Ramp-Launching and Trailering Character Boats

Montgomery 17* (46)

Capri 18 (25)

Peep Hen 14 (51)

Marshall Sanderling 18 (40)

Com-Pac 19 (27)

Cal 20 (89)

West Wight Potter 15* (64)

Blue Water Blackwatch 19 (21)

Jeanneau Bahia 23 (20)* (106)

Santana 20 (131)

Com-Pac Legacy 17 (69)

Menger 19 (43)

O'Day 22 (21) (118)

Ranger 22 (21) (124)

Montgomery 17* (46)

Skipper 20 (18) (57)

Jeanneau Tonic 23 (22) (180)

J/22 (179)

Precision 18 (17) (55)

Bay Hen 21 (85)

Precision 23 (245)

Catalina 22 Mk I (157)

West Wight Potter 19* (65)

Falmouth Cutter 22 (170)

Dolphin 24 (O'Day) (285)

Santana 22 (198)

Alerion Express Cat 19* (20)

Bluejacket Motorsailer 23 (222)

Freedom 25 (24) (291)

Tanzer 22 (23) (259)

ETAP 20 (98)

Stone Horse 23 (258)

Seaward 25 (24) (310)

Blazer 23 (221)

Jeanneau Bahia 23 (20)* (106)

Eastward Ho 24 (288)

Irwin 10/4 (25) (347)

J/24 (294)

Santana 21 (132)

Nimble 24/25 (361)

Cal 25 Mk I (327)

Olson 25 (24) (301)

S2 6.9 (21) (128)

La Paz 25 (353)

Catalina 25 (332)

Shark 24 (312)

Dehler 22* (167)

Newman Friendship Sloop 25 (360)

Beneteau First 26 (25) (323)

Morgan 24 (25) (358)

Sirius 22* (139)

Parker Dawson 26 (25) (364)

Ericson 25 Mk I (341)

Montego 25 (357)

Terrapin 24 (371)

O'Day 26 (25) (362)

Capri 25 (331)

Thirteen Cruisers for a

Twelve Bluewater

Thirteen High-End

Twelve Two-Masted Character





Corinthian 19 (20) (95)

West Wight Potter 15* (64)

Cornish Crabber 17 (31)

Nimble 20 (21) (116)

Sirius 22* (139)

Cape Dory Typhoon 18 (19) (23)

Alerion Express Cat 19* (20)

Parker Dawson Poacher 21 (121)

Beneteau First 235 (22) (152)

West Wight Potter 19* (65)

Cornish Shrimper 19 (32)

Sea Pearl 21 (136)

Ranger 23 (22) (193)

Golif 21 (99)

Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20 (120)

Menger Oysterman 23 (237)

Nonsuch 22 (185)

Freedom 21 (22) (171)

Cornish Crabber 22 (164)

Rob Roy 23 (246)

Bayfield 23/25 (23) (220)

Allegra 24 (267)

Dehler 22* (167)

South Coast Seacraft 23 (368)

Capri 26 (24) (282)

Blue Water 24 (274)

ETAP 23 (22) (169)

Bahama Sandpiper 24 (272)

Pearson Lark 24 (305)

Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 (303)

Herreshoff Prudence 23 (233)

Sand Hen 24 (308)

Quickstep 24 (306)

Vancouver 25 (372)

Dehler 25 (23) (227)

Beachcomber 25 (322)

Elite 25 (24) (289)

Vertue II 25 (373)

Bridges Point 24 (275)

Nimble 24/25 (361)

C&C 25 (326)

Contessa 26 (25) (337)

Cornish Crabber 24 (284)

Fisher 25 (343)

Cape Dory 25D (330)

Cheoy Lee Flyer III (25) (334)

Eastsail 25 (340)

South Coast Marine 25 (380)

Com-Pac 25 (336)

New Moon 25 (379)

* = Seven boats appear in above lists twice.

* = Seven boats appear in above lists twice.

Listed on the opposite page are one hundred choices for the "Best Small Cruiser." There are, of course, many more than one hundred choices for the "best" small cruising sailboat. In fact, there are 360 choices reported in this guide alone, and at least a few boats beyond those, on which we failed to find sufficient data to include here. In any case, as the saying goes, one man's meat is another man's poison. That is, a sailboat that one person does not like at all can be one that someone else likes very much.

One of the main reasons for this is that different boats are designed for different purposes: boats best for cruising in shallow bay waters versus deep ocean waters, for example. Styles vary to suit different tastes: traditional versus modern design, for example. Boats that do well in around-the-buoy racing may not be so well suited to cruising. A boat built to the highest standards of quality may not suit the pocketbook of the casual weekend trailer-sailor. And the range of choices goes on and on.

To help narrow the field of choices for the reader who is eager to find the right boat to buy, and doesn't have the patience to wade through all the facts and figures on all 360 boats presented in this guide, we have (somewhat arbitrarily)

devised a hundred choices, broken into groups of a dozen or so. Are you looking for a single-masted character boat? We list thirteen of them here, from 18 to 25 feet on deck. Do you yen for a two-masted yawl or ketch? We list every one of the dozen covered in this guide. Do you prefer a custom-built boat or at least very high quality construction? We show thirteen "high-end" choices, though you could find others in these pages. We also list fifteen good cruising boats for a family of four, and another thirteen for a cruising couple without children or guests aboard. We choose fifteen round-the-buoys racers for your consideration, and a dozen blue water cruisers, including a 15-footer that has sailed from California to Hawaii (though some may not agree that such a feat qualifies such a boat for offshore work).

Although there isn't space to include photos of every boat in this book, or even the one-hundred choices listed as "best," we have dug up representative sample photos from our vast collection of boat sales brochures to include on the following pages. They are arranged in roughly alphabetical order. If you don't find a picture of the boat you're interested in, try searching Google. There's a huge cache of photos there.

Alerion Express Cat

Alerion Express Cat 19 (details on page 20) is a high-end cruiser designed, among other things, for easy trailering and ramp launching.

Sailboat Bay Cruiser

Bay Hen 21 (page 85) is a character boat that's easy to launch and trailer.

Alerion Express Cat

Beneteau First 26 (25) (page 323) will nicely accommodate a family of four for cruising.

Best Small Cruiser Sailboats

Bluejacket Motorsailer 23 (page 222) is a character boat with great comfort for cruising two.

Best Small Sailboats For Cruising

Beneteau First 235 (22) (page 152) is a good boat for a cruising couple.

Best Small Cruiser Sailboats

Blazer 23 (page 221) is a competitive racer. The author (trimming jib) is sailing here with other writers John Rousmaniere (steering) and Freeman Pittman, tech editor at Sail magazine.

Small Motorsailer Boats

Bluejacket Motorsailer 23 interior (also see to left) is particularly comfortable when cruising in rainy weather.

Bridges Point

Bridges Point 24 (page 275) is available either as a finished boat or a kit.

Cape Dory 25d

Cape Dory Typhoon 18 (19) (page 23) has enough ballast to stand up well in a blow.

1961 Sailboat1961 Sailboat

Cal 20 (page 89), produced from 1961 to 1977, is still raced in several fleets around the country.

Cape Dory 25d

Cape Dory 25D (page 330) comes close to being the ideal trailerable cruising boat.

Cape Dory 25d

Capri 26 (24) (page 282) features a cabin big enough to "drink ten."

Capri 18 (page 25) was introduced in 1985 and is still being sold today.

Cape Dory 25dCape Dory 25dCape Dory 25d

Cheoy Lee Flyer III (25) (page 334) has a Folkboat style hull.

Catalina 22 Mk I (page 157) wins the all-time popularity prize for cruising boats.

Catalina 25 (page 332) came in a great variety of configurations.

Catalina Gaff

Com-Pac 19 (page 27) was drawn by Island Packet designer Bob Johnson.

Island Packet SailboatFolkboat Cruising Pictures

Com-Pac 25 (page 336) has an unusual volume of interior space for her length.

Cornish Shrimper Sailboat

Cornish Crabber 17 (page 31) is elegantly finished on deck and below. Cornish Crabber 22 (page 164) sports a gaff cutter rig.

Oday InteriorsSailboat Day Interior

Cornish Crabber 24 (page 284) is a well-built gaff-rigged character boat.

Cornish Shrimper 19 (page 32), a character boat, has an elegant finish, but is short on headroom.

Interior Cornish ShrimperDehler Sailboat

Dehler 22 (page 167) has a number of high quality features.

Day Sailboat Interior Headroom
Dehler 22 (page 167) has a dolly, a.k.a. "floating slipway trolley," that is an unusual aid for launching from ramps and tidal flats.
Interior Cornish Shrimper

Dolphin 24 (O'Day) (page 285) was available either as a kit or as a finished boat.

Dehler 25 (23) (page 227) also uses a "slipway trolley."

Dolphin 24 (O'Day) (page 285) was available either as a kit or as a finished boat.

Golif SailboatDolphin Sailboat Interior

Elite 25 (24) (page 289) is fitted out in France, and features the French style of careful interior design.

Eastsail 25 (page 340) is generally built to a customer's specifications with extended offshore cruising in mind.

Golif Sailboat

ETAP 20 (page 98) is built to a high standard of quality and is unsinkable.

Golif Sailboat

ETAP 23 (22) (page 169) like other ETAP boats, she is double-skinned in a foam sandwich for flotation.

Day Sailboat SpecificationsFreedom Arrangement Plan Sailboat
Freedom 21 (22) (page 171) has a patented "gunmount" for handling a spinnaker.
Oday Interiors

Golif 21 (page 99) from France has an unusual cabin ventilation system.

Oysterman Sailboat
J/22 (page 179) has many active one-design fleets.
Oysterman SailboatOysterman Sailboat

Irwin 10/4 (25) (page 347), as the saying goes, can drink ten, eat six, and sleep four.

J/24 (page 294) is said to be the world's most popular one-design keelboat.

Oysterman Sailboat
J/24 (page 294) a second view.
Montgomery Sailboat

La Paz 25 (page 353) features an open cockpit for deck chairs and berths for six below.

Jeanneau Bahia 23 (20) (page 106) features a clever cabin table design.

Jeanneau Bahia 23 (20) (page 106) features a clever cabin table design.

Oysterman Sailboat

Menger Oysterman 23 (page 237) Montgomery 15 (page 71) and is a character boat based on the Montgomery 17 (page 46) both have molded

Chesapeake Bay Skipjack. lapstrake hulls.

Montgomery Sailboat

Marshall Sanderling 18 (page 40) has been in production for almost fifty years, and continues to be popular.

Oysterman Sailboat

Morgan 24/25 (25) (page 358) is fast and weatherly, especially in light air.

Montgomery Sailboat

Newman Friendship Sloop 25 (page 360) conjures romantic memories of Maine fishermen.

Oysterman SailboatNimble Pilothouse Yawl

Nimble 24/25 (25) (page 361) was produced in several configurations, including both a sloop and a yawl rig.

New Moon 25 (page 379) can be fitted out to the customer's specifications.

Nimble Pilothouse Yawl

Nimble 24/25 (25) (page 361) is available as a pilothouse with six feet of headroom, great for cold weather cruising.

Morgan SailboatFeet Flicka Sailboat

Nimble 20 (21) (page 116) features a yawl rig, rare in a boat so small.

Nonsuch 22 (page 185) was designed with the idea of elegant simplicity.

Flicka Rig

O'Day 26 (25) (page 362) is a near sistership to the O'Day 25.

Flicka Rig

Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20 (page 120) is generally considered a very high quality product, commanding a premium price in the used boat market.

Pacific Seacraft Dana

Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 (page 303) is solidly built to cruise in a bay or an ocean.

Parker Dawson Sailboat

Parker Dawson 26 (page 364) has two separate cabins, and a center cockpit enclosed in canvas can be a third.

Seacraft Enclosed

Quickstep 24 (page 306) was built by several firms, giving a choice of several accommodations plans.

Rob Roy Sailboat

Rob Roy 23 (page 246) has the makings of a classic small yacht.

Santana Sailboat

Sand Hen 24 (page 308), with lightweight spars and no shrouds, should be easy to trailer and launch.

Santana Sail Pic

Santana 20 (page 131) was a very early entry in the "sport boat" market and is still popular.

Parker Dawson Sailboat

Santana 21 (page 132), with a D/L ratio of only 86, is classified as an ultralight.

Southcoast Sailboat

Santana 22 (page 198), an ageless design, is still popular after over 40 years.

Sea Pearl 21 (page 136) is simple, light, and shallow draft, perfect for casual beach cruising.

Southcoast Sailboat

Seaward 25 (24) (page 310) has a sleek and salty look and is well built.

Plan Sailboat Sirius
Sirius 22 (21) (page 139) is roomy for her length.
Sirius Cruising Sailboat

Shark 24 (page 312) has done well in racing over the years.

Southcoast Sailboat

South Coast 23 (page 255) was converted to a yawl from a sloop (see photo bottom left).

Stone Horse Pictures

South Coast 23 (page 255) Stone Horse 23 (page 258) is a classic shown here was built from a kit. designed over 75 years ago.

Tanzer 22 (23) (page 259) has a strong class association that promotes both one-design racing and cruising get-togethers (two views, left and right).

Terrapin Sailboat

Terrapin 24 (25) (page 371) ^ |ike her Vancouver 25 (page 372) is well namesake, slow but comfortable. equipped for extended cruising.

Tanzer 22 (23) (page 259) has a strong class association that promotes both one-design racing and cruising get-togethers (two views, left and right).

Terrapin SailboatsTerrapin Sailboats

Terrapin 24 (25) (page 371) ^ |ike her Vancouver 25 (page 372) is well namesake, slow but comfortable. equipped for extended cruising.

Vertue II 25 (page 373) is a no-nonsense heavy cruiser made for ocean passages.

Potter SailboatMicro Cruisers Sailboats

West Wight Potter 15 (page 64) has made some long distance cruises, including one from California to Hawaii.

West Wight Potter 19 (page 65) is still selling well after over thirty years of production.

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How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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  • gerardino
    How to rig sirius 21 sailboat?
    7 years ago
  • freddy
    Are compac 19 good boats?
    7 years ago
  • sigismond
    Is beneteau 235 unsinkable?
    7 years ago
  • Jan
    Is the rob roy 23 a bluewater boat?
    7 years ago
  • Adonay
    Has any one done any blue water sailing on an Eastward Ho 24' sailboat ?
    4 years ago
  • madihah
    Is the Sirius 21 sailboat really Unsinkable?
    3 years ago
    How many sirius 21 sailboats are still sailing?
    3 years ago
  • mary
    Are etap sailing boats still made?
    1 year ago
  • medhane
    What is the headroom in a dehler 25 sailboat?
    1 year ago
  • gualtiero
    Is the Com Pac sailboat considered a high end production?
    12 months ago
  • goytiom
    How is beneteau and jenneau related?
    11 months ago

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