Sailboats run the gamut in size, from the simplest dinghy to the most prestigious “tall ship.” Their common theme is harnessing the power of the wind, rather than an engine, to propel them through the water. At least most of the time. While the smallest sailing vessels rely purely on the wind, most sailboats beyond the 18’ range rely on small inboard or outboard engines to move them through the water when the wind doesn’t cooperate or tight confines prevent the “tacking” back and forth that a sailboat uses to work with wind direction. Small sailboats use a centreboard (a board sticking out the bottom the boat to reduce sideways motion) and a rudder to maintain course and steer. Larger sailboats opt for a fixed keel, though its depth may prevent the boat from accessing shallower waters. Mono, or single-hull boats are most common, but catamarans (two hulls) and even trimarans (three hulls) are found in a variety of sizes.

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… which activities you'll most enjoy
Sailing is an activity in and of itself. Plotting a course with ever-changing wind speed and direction is both art and science, and handling, or “trimming the sails”, requires constant attention. A sailboat, however, particularly a larger one, is much like any other vessel. You can cruise, anchor out, or spend the night aboard.
… which engine is right for your boat.
In addition to sheer wind power, small outboards are often utilized to provide motion. Outboards take up no room within the boat itself, are easily maintained, and can be tilted fully out of the water.

Larger sailboats may utilize inboard engines with a fixed propeller. These engines can be of higher horsepower, but require space within the bottom of the boat, or “hull”, both for the engine itself and the fuel tank.

Quick Stats

  • sailing
  • overnight cruising
  • day cruising
  • N/A Max
  • 2.1 - 21.3 m (7 - 70 ft)
  • sail power
  • trailerable