Best Sailboats Under 30 Feet - Better Sailing (2023)

Small sailboats are attractive for many reasons, one of them being is that they are not as expensive and out of your budget. They are also great for learning how to sail as they are easily maneuverable. However, sailboats around the 30 feet mark provide the best of both worlds as they are both great and easy for sailing but are also big enough for you to spend a few days onboard for a weekend sailing trip, for example. If you are looking to buy a sailboat that will fit this bill, this list of the best sailboats under 30 feet with the amenities available in a large vessel.

Here are the best sailboats under 30 feet in no particular order.

Hunter 27

The Hunter 27 is one of the most popular sailboats under 30 feet and has the numbers to prove it with over 2000 of these boats sold. The Hunter 27 is a series of sailboats, built by Marlow Hunter in Florida, USA, since 1974. Variations of the Hunter 27 are still being produced today. This sailboat is great under sail but is also powered by a 14 HP Yanmar engine. If you are looking for a small, affordable sailboat that can accommodate a couple or a small family for a few days out on the water, then look no further than a Hunter 27. Finally, you can find used Hunter 27 in good condition from the early ’80s for around 10k and newer models from the 2010s’ for up to 50k.

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Andrews 28

It is a comfortable and speedy sailboat with ample space below the deck. It is open and airy. Named after its designer, Alan Andrews, he is known for creating fast race boats and lights. This is a 28-footer sailboat that is definitely suited for club racing. It has a galley, 6 berths, head, and nav area. This boat is so spacious that you would forget that this is a sailboat under 30 feet. It has a retractable keel, which makes it easy to launch and haul. This ensures it to be a racer as well as a daysailer. Finally, a used Andrews 28 in good condition is going for around $25,000-40,000.

(Video) Top 5 Sailboats 30 feet - Episode 167 - Lady K Sailing

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Ranger 26

This is a multi-aspect sailboat that tries to bridge a gap between a family, comfortable, safe, and competitive racer. It is done quite well in doing so. This sailboat was able to win the 1970 IOR North America Half-Ton Cup, which proves that it not only has the looks but speed too. Speed is not the only strength of the ranger 26 as it also has a spacious cockpit which is over 7 feet. It has a good balance of cabin height and freeboard, giving it a great profile that hasn’t been sacrificed for standing headroom. Also, the Ranger 26 is one of the largest trailable sailboats. Finally, a used Ranger 26 from the 70s’ in good condition is going for around $10,000-15,000.

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>>Also Read: Best Sailboats Under 100k

Etap 28s

This sailboat is one of the most innovative and unusual boats in the whole bunch. It has a contemporary profile topside and also an inviting floor plan below the deck; this boat is both comfortable and stylish. The Etap uses a double hull construction method that makes the ship almost unsinkable. This sailboat has 6 berths, a nav area, and a galley, but you will not feel crowded in the back. The back area is equipped with many hatches and ports that make extend the space. Finally, a used Etap 28s in good condition is going for around $20,000-60,000 depending on the age of the boat.

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>>Also Read: Etap 24i Review

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Newport 27

This boat came started its production in the year 1971, and it was an instant success in the local racing scenes. As this is a modest 27-footer, the Newport 27 has a great spacious interior and has over 6 feet of standing headroom. It has 4 berths, nav station, galley, and head. It has all the amenities that you will find in a bigger boat but in a compact package. This boat is quick in light air; however, the tiller steering starts to get out of control once the breeze increases and the weather leads to end your sail early. Finally, a used Newport 27 from the 70s’ or 80s’ in good condition is going for around $6,000-11,000.

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Catalina 275 Sport

The Catalina is known for their large cruising boats, but they also have small boats too. The Catalina 275 offers both great performance and an enjoyable sailing experience packed on a 27’6 trailable sailboat. This boat has a hand-laminated fiberglass hull and is extremely versatile. Like most boats that are built by Catalina, this boat has a huge self-bailing cockpit. It also a nice saloon below deck, which transforms into a comfortable v berth. Also, it has a nice galley with a big cooler drawer to pack your essentials for your sailing trip. The standard equipment has a tiller extension and hiking straps. This boat will convince you that you do not need a sailboat over 300 feet to enjoy a nice weekend sailing adventure. A new Catalina 275 starts at around $75,000, and a recent-year used one for around $60,000.

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>>Also Read: Best Sailboats to Live On

Catalina 22 Capri and Catalina 22 Sport

The Catalina 22 is extremely comfortable, safe at sea, and easier to handle and maintain than any boat in its class. The beautiful deck profile is flat across the stern. It has wider cockpit curves for optimum sailing comfort during and after sailing. These are very popular trailer sailers that are widely used in both ocean sailing and lake sailing, and daysailors swear by both models. The Catalina 22 was first built in 1969, and it is still being produced in the US. The Catalina 22 is one of the most produced boats in its size range and has achieved huge commercial success. Finally, you can purchase a new Catalina 22 starts at around $25,000, but since this model has been around since the 60s’ you can still pick an early-year model up from the 70s’ for as low as $3,000.

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Island Packet 27

This is an American-made sailboat first built in the 1980s’. TheIsland Packet 27is a recreational keelboat made out of fiberglass, with beautiful teak trim and holly cabin sole plywood. It is a Cutter-rigged sloop, with a spooned raked stem, a vertical transom, a keel-mounted rudder, and a full keel. It has a displacement of 8,000 lb and carries 3,000 lb of ballast. Keep in mind that the Packet 27 is a cruiser and not suitable for racing. The broad beam gives an unusually spacious interior for a sailboat under 30 feet. This boat sails very well, it has a big boat feel to it, it is very solid, and you won’t get thrown around in it; what else do you need? Finally, a used Island Packet 27 in good condition is going for around $30,000-45,000 depending on the age of the boat.

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>>Also Read: Best Pocket Cruisers Under 20 Feet

Balboa 26

This boat was first introduced in the year 1969; the Balboa 26 continues to dominate in the budget-friendly cruisers. This boat is heavy and sturdy; the boat’s stress points are reinforced. The cockpit can take 4 adults at a time. It is self-bailing, making sure that the sailors remain dry. This beautiful sailboat is only 26 feet. Still, the balboa 26 still has room for a double berth, a freshwater pump, galley with a stove, and an optional V-berth or marine head. It can adjust five people for sleeping, but the ideal number would be two or three. When the Balboa is under sail, it is maneuverable and fast. It will also prove handy in the heavy breeze when the weather helm increases. Finally, a used Balboa 26 from the 70s’ is going for around $3,000-6,000.

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Cape Dory 28

The teak accents and sleek lines of the Cape Dory 28 is an eye-catcher; the performance of this boat is also remarkable. This boat comes with almost all the amenities a bigger boat is equipped with. It comes with 2 settees, V-berth, and ahead. This boat is sound, safe, and comfortable while being capable of speed. The Cape Dory 28 is quick in light wind and capable and sturdy in heavy air. This boat deserves its praise when it comes in off the wind. It has a balanced helm and also the ability to cut through chop and still be able to tack easily. Finally, a used Cape Dory 28 in good condition is going for around $20,000 depending on the age of the boat.

(Video) What a blast! A test sail of the Pogo 30

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Islander Bahama 28

While this remains an eye-catcher, along with the 5-foot-6inch draft and with the 3,300 pounds of ballet, this boat sails swiftly and beautifully while responding quickly to the helm. This boat is inspired by the International Offshore Rule; this boat is unusually wide and offers stability in the breeze without sacrificing the lines and sheer, which makes it attractive. The Bahamas below its deck has plenty of berth and storage space with a galley complete with stove, sink, and icebox. Finally, a used Cape Dory 28 in good condition is going for around $9,000-15,000 depending on the age of the boat.

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Contessa 26

This boat was released in the year 1965, and it then and there proved to be a strong, lightweight cruise boat. This boat has been proving itself since its first sail and a great choice for two people. Even though the boat is sturdy, the upwind came sometimes disturbs the direction. This boat does have much standing headroom, but it performs well as a daysailer. Finally, a used Contessa 26 in good condition is going for around $10,000 depending on the age of the boat.

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Final Thoughts

Sailboats under 30 feet are great because they are affordable and provide the best of everything. Almost all of them handle great, they are easy to maintain and provide all the necessary amenities for trips up to a few days long. Sailboats under 30 feet are not ideal for passages but make if you are willing to increase your budget and go a little bigger then these are the best small sailboats for circumvention.

Remember, if you are looking for a small sailboat under 30 feet for your summer or weekend sailing expeditions, then any of the above mentioned will do the trick.

(Video) Meet The Best 30-foot Sailboat Performance Cruiser: BENETEAU Oceanis 30.1

FAQs

Can a 30 foot sailboat cross the Atlantic? ›

With that in mind, the best sailboat to cross the Atlantic should measure at least 30 or 40 feet long to be able to withstand the stormy weather and the rough waves and winds. Here's a list of the best cruising sailboats, all of which would do just fine crossing the Atlantic.

Do smaller sailboats go faster? ›

Since the sails require lots of power to get over the hump in the resistance curve, the longer the sailboat is, the better it is said to be at reaching those higher speeds compared to the shorter sailboats. This is mainly because the longer sailboat will create longer waves across the hull, enabling it to move faster.

What is the most efficient sail? ›

The square rig is aerodynamically most efficient when running (sailing downwind). A fore-and-aft rig consists of sails that are set along the line of the keel rather than perpendicular to it. Vessels so rigged are described as fore-and-aft rigged.

What is the safest small sailboat? ›

Sprint 15 Catamaran

They are typically cheap, sturdy, and easy to use. They are also especially safe. The biggest safety feature of a catamaran, as mentioned above, is their two hulls. This increased stability makes them perfect for even the most inexperienced sailors.

What is the safest boat for the ocean? ›

The Kraken 50, billed as the 'safest blue water yacht in build today,' has been launched. Unlike all her contemporaries, the K50 has the unique 'Zero Keel' construction: An all-in-one hull and keel with scantlings to match.

What is the minimum size sailboat for open ocean sailing? ›

The average sailor needs a boat that is at least 30 to 40 ft long to sail in the ocean. Transatlantic sails have been made on boats under 10 feet long, but the smaller the boat, the more dangerous the journey, and the more skilled the sailor must be.

How fast can a 30 ft sailboat go? ›

8.4 mph

Is 20 knots fast for a boat? ›

If your ship is traveling at 20 knots, that means it is going 23 miles per hour. The standard symbol for knots speed is kn. Related: How Fast Do Cruise Ships Go? Most cruise ships can cruise at a speed around 21 to 23 knots, or 24 to 26 mph.

Does the length of a boat affect its speed? ›

The longer the boat, the longer the wave it generates at higher speeds, and longer waves move faster than shorter waves,” he says. “It's very difficult for a boat to move faster than the speed of a wave that is as long as a boat.”

What angle is fastest for sailing? ›

A broader angle to the true wind allows them to go faster before their sails are sheeted all the way in, so a broad reach is the fastest. 90 degrees to the true wind is not usually the fastest. As for why some angles are faster than others, that's a bit complicated and beyond the scope of this answer.

What is a code zero sail? ›

The Code Zero is a cross between a genoa and an asymmetrical spinnaker that is used for sailing close to the wind in light air. Code Zero was initially an attempt to circumvent a rating rule by making a large genoa for close reaching on boats that were measured with non-overlapping genaos.

Can you sail with just the mainsail? ›

Can you sail with just the mainsail? Any sailboat can be sailed with the mainsail alone. Using only the mainsail will reduce your speed, but it can make your boat easier to handle, especially by yourself. Furthermore, using a mainsail alone is safer in some circumstances and can increase your visibility.

What is the smallest sailboat for coastal cruising? ›

Just look at Alessandro di Benedetto who in 2010 broke the record for the smallest boat to sail around the world non-stop in his 21-foot Mini 6.5. So long as you don't mind forgoing a few comforts, you can sail around the world on a small budget.

What type of hull is most stable? ›

Generally, multihulls and deep-V hulls are considered the most stable hull designs in most situations. In practice, the most stable hull design depends on the specific conditions in which the boat will be used. With large waves, deep hulls tend to be better than multihulls.

What size waves can a sailboat handle? ›

A wave 12 feet high could knock down a boat 40 feet long if the boat is caught somewhere near beam onto the wave as it breaks. Following the Rule of 7 or Less, you know that a 12-foot wave could break only if the wave length is less than 84 feet (12 x 7).

What type of boat is best for rough water? ›

The displacement hull is definitely the go-to hull for rough water sailing. It's superior in handling rough water. And it has proven to be over many centuries of ocean travel. That's why it's the most popular hull design for sailboats, canoes, and many trawlers and motorboats.

What is a good size boat for the ocean? ›

What size boat do you need for ocean crossing? If you are planning on traversing the oceans and seas where the waves and waters can get fairly rough, you should consider looking at boats 30ft and up. A boat this size will better handle the choppy and unpredictable water and currents, as well as longer trips offshore.

What type of hull is best for rough water? ›

V-Bottom Hulls

V-shaped hulls are also planing hulls. They are typical among powerboats, as they allow the boat to reach high speeds and plane on the water while remaining steady in choppy conditions. The deeper the V shape, the better the boat can handle rough water.

How big of a sailboat do you need to sail across the Atlantic? ›

Whether you're motoring or sailing, you need a boat at least 30 ft long to cross the Atlantic. Ideally, your boat will be at least 40 feet long for safety and comfort. The experience of motoring or sailing across the Atlantic are very different, but both require a boat of at least this size.

What is the smallest sailboat to cross Atlantic? ›

The smallest boat to cross the Atlantic was 5ft 4inches, sailed by American sailor, Hugo Vihlen in 1993.

What size sailboat is needed to sail around the world? ›

The ideal sailboat size to sail around the world is between 35 and 45 feet long. This length will ensure a high enough maximum hull speed, good handling in high waves, and enough cargo capacity to carry multiple weeks of food and water. Longer boats will perform as well, but are more expensive too.

Is sailing across the Atlantic safe? ›

Well, crossing the Atlantic can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. There is relatively little danger if you are an experienced sailor with the correct equipment and a sturdy boat. Smaller boats than 30 feet have also made the journey. And, only you will be able to tell if it is safe for you.

How long does it take to sail from Florida to the Bahamas? ›

A boat that's able to notch up to 25 knots can take a couple of hours to sail from your departure point is South Florida to the western islands of the Bahamas. Such a boat can take just about a day to sail from Florida to Nassau or Marsh Harbor (the Boating Capital of The Bahamas).

How much fuel do you need to cross the Atlantic? ›

How Much Fuel Is Needed To Cross The Atlantic & Pacific ocean? For a medium-sized yacht, you should expect to have at least 500 gallons of fuel (2000 liters), unless you have sails. If you are motoring in a big yacht, you will need more than that. You should bring 1.5 times the amount you expect to burn.

How much does it cost to sail for a year? ›

As we noted earlier, you can spend just about $8,700 if you sail around the world for an entire year and on a budget. In your budget or your plan, you have to consider food and drinks, boat maintenance, insurance, mooring fees, visa costs, fuel, excursions, communication, and other miscellaneous expenses.

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