How To Shop For A Sailboat

How to shop for a sail

Do you want to purchase your own sailboat? It's important to recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to boats. Sailing requires a significant investment of time and money, so it's important to determine exactly what you want from your on-the-water experience before starting your search for the ideal boat.



Your budget is important. Boats must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Coast Guard, and insurance is required. Maintenance will be divided into regular ongoing upkeep, upgrades and repairs. Premiums for extra equipment such as electronics or sails are added to new boats. Depending on whether you purchase new or used. Most people buy the smallest, most affordable boat that still meets their sailing needs.


What type of sailing do you plan to do? Will you be solo dinghy sailing on inland lakes, day sailing in coastal waters, racing offshore, weekend overnights, or cruising to distant lands for a couple of months? Plan realistically for what you'll do with your boat and who will accompany you.


Sailboat sizes can range from less than 15 feet to 60 feet or more. While you may feel more at ease living or spending time on a larger vessel, managing it may require additional skills and knowledge. Some boats are so large that extra hands on deck are required, and they may not be suitable for one person to navigate alone. Furthermore, larger vessels may be better suited to travel through the large and turbulent waves in open ocean waters, whereas smaller vessels may be better suited to lakes and rivers.


How accessible will your boat have to be for you to enjoy it actively? Do you live in an area where you can sail all year or where the water is deep enough for a sailing boat? A simple outboard-powered daysailer or a larger boat, depending on where you live, the location is an important option to consider.


An older boat may appear to be a good deal, but unless you're very handy and have plenty of time, you won't want to work on it. Select your building materials wisely. Choose your rigging carefully: a simple sloop with a self-tacking jib is ideal for beginners and single-handers. Choose the underbody: a keelboat is more stable and easier to handle, whereas a dinghy with a centerboard can sail in shallow waters and light winds. If your sailing partner gets uneasy or nervous when the boat heeled, a catamaran with more space and stability might be preferable.


If you're new to sailing, keep it simple and sturdy. If you want to race, start with an agile design that won't dunk you for every mistake. Allow yourself room to develop. Purchase a boat that is slightly larger than your capabilities and grow into it. And determine your current level of expertise and the goals you want to achieve.