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These are the 7 Different Types of Sailboats

These are the 7 Different Types of Sailboats

Sailing gives boaters an experience on the water that’s both relaxing and adventurous. Whether you’re using a new or used sailboat, for recreation or sport, these boats are designed for a multitude of purposes. To help you understand the differences between sailboats before you buy one, Boatline is sharing more on the seven different types of sailboats.

Factors that Influence Sailboat Type

Sailboat types are categorized based on numerous factors, including hull, keel, and rig type. Before diving into the different types of sailboats, it’s important to gain a better understanding of how each boat operates. It’s also a great idea to understand sailboat maintenance 101 before you buy, that way you know how much effort, time, and money it will take to keep your boat in top shape.


Monohulls contain one hull; however, they are not all the same. Some monohulls possess full keels, while others have cutaway keels. Monohulls can also have a swing keel, allowing for optimization during downwind or upwind environments. Catamarans have two hulls with a deck or trampoline. Larger catamarans are frequently used for boat charters as they offer spacious deck and interior space, while also minimizing motion to reduce seasickness. Since catamarans contain shallower keels, these types typically sail faster off the wind. Trimarans possess three hulls—one main hull and two peripheral hulls for stability, known as amas. Large trimarans are becoming more popular since they provide much stability and are also speedy.


Sailboat rigs typically include the masts, booms, and the stays that hold the mast. A sloop is a sailboat with one mast, one mainsail, and one headsail. A cutter, on the other hand, has one mast with two or more headsails. Ketches and yawls possess two masts—the secondary, smaller mast sits behind the main, larger mast. Lastly, schooners have multiple masts, in which the foremost mast is shorter than the main mast.

7 Types of Sailboats

1. Day cruisers/Daysailers

A great starting point for new sailors, day cruisers are the perfect sailboat to take out for a quick trip on the water. Typically these boats are shorter than 30 feet, with a smaller capacity to bring a few family members or friends to cruise the waterway.

2. Sailing Cruisers

Diverse in hull type, rigging, and boat length, sailing cruisers can be a great choice for different types of excursions. Sailing cruisers can be sloop, cutter, yawl, ketch, or schooner-rigged, and they vary in length from 25 to 85 feet. Many have at least one bedroom and a galley, and those that are equipped with extra amenities allow for long voyages on the waterways.

3. Racing Sailboats

Created for speed, racing sailboats are typically lighter than other sailboats and possess fin keels and laminate performance sails for top performance. Larger racing sailboats are used for offshore racing crewed by multiple people, whereas smaller racers can be manned by one or two people. And while it may not be the most comfortable boat for riding, these boats compensate with speed!

4. Racer-Cruiser

Racer-cruisers are hybrid sailboats, taking elements from both sailing cruisers and racing sailboats. Similar to sailing cruisers, racer-cruisers offer the advantage of allowing you to overnight cruise. However, they also contain the performance-style elements of racing sailboats when you’re looking to get competitive on the water.

5. Bluewater Cruising Sailboats

As its name implies, Bluewater cruising sailboats are intended to sail the blue seas, or across oceans, and are even ideal for reaching the top sailing destinations around the world. Due to the tumultuous nature of oceans, these sailboats are designed to withstand heavy storms and monstrous waves as they are equipped with a heavier build, stout rigging system, and accessories to maintain safety across the large waterways.

6. Motorsailers

Powered with inboard engines, motorsailers can travel long distances utilizing both power and wind. As these types of sailboats tend to be on the larger side, motorsailers are often equipped with numerous amenities, including bedrooms, a galley, and saloon. Due to the added weight of the engine, gas tanks, and water tanks, motorsailers tend to sail slower than other types. So, if you’re interested in slowly cruising the waterway in the life of luxury, motorsailers are a great option.

7. Sailing dinghies

These small sailboats are typically manned by one or two people and are frequently used to teach new sailors how to set out on waterways. Though these vessels may seem small and more basic, they are used for all skill levels. In fact, high performance sailing dinghies are used to compete in the Olympics.

Knowing more about the different types of sailboats will help you pick out the best boat for your lifestyle. Whether you’re looking to relax or enjoy recreation out on the water, day cruise or take a long journey, there’s a sailboat for every adventure. If you’re ready to purchase your next new or used boat, be sure to check out all the listings nationwide on


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Alex Hoyes
Alex Hoyes

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