The Cruising Sailboat - and the Lifestyle That Goes With It

A cruising sailboat without a crew is almost as forlorn as a cruising sailor without a boat. One needs the other like a sail needs wind - or a gin and tonic needs ice and a slice...

But there's definitely something special about a cruising boat. Size isn't it - large or small - they all have it. Nor do they have to be stunningly beautiful or hugely expensive. It's not about what they are; it's more about what they can deliver - simple pleasure, high adventure or genuine white-knuckle challenge.

Perhaps just a day sail on the lake or a trip along the coast. A voyage across an ocean maybe, or even a circumnavigation of the world. And best of all, by utilising nature's free and sustainable energy resource - the wind. Pure freedom.

They are beguiling machines, sailing boats. Take this beauty for instance...

So whether you're a paid-up, certifiable sailboat fanatic or just curious about those of us who are, you're sure to find something of interest by cruising around in this website. Who knows where you'll fetch up?



The Three Most Popular Types of Cruising Sailboat Rigs...

Sketch of a sloop rigged sailboat

The Sloop

Just a headsail and a mainsail - simple and efficient. 

Read more...

Sketch of a cutter rigged sailboat

The Cutter

A smaller headsail and a staysail makes sail handling easier.

Read more...

Sketch of a ketch rigged sailboat

The Ketch

A second mast with a mizzen sail, for greater versatility.

Read more...

This, and all other artwork on this page by Andrew Simpson

A Sailboat for Offshore Cruising

Owning a sailboat, particularly one designed for offshore and ocean sailing, can change your life.


With a few gallons of fuel, adequate food and water aboard she'll take you thousands of miles leaving a carbon footprint in her wake that would delight the most ardent environmentalist.


Hey, you can catch your own fish, make your own drinking water from seawater (or collect nature's free offering with a raincatcher) and charge your batteries with a windcharger or solar panels - all without using a drop of fuel! 


And you don't need to be on the helm all day - a windvane self-steering gear will keep you on the straight and narrow without drawing a single precious amp from your 12volt battery bank.


With a bluewater sailboat equipped in this way you could go the whole nine yards, sell your shoreside assets, cast off the shorelines together with the tedium of life ashore and set off on a cruising life of freedom and adventure.


A surprising number of people do just this. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...



The Underwater Profile

Whilst it is of course the sails that provide the driving force, it's the sailboat's underwater shape that goes a long way to governing its inherent stability and performance in a seaway. Take keel and rudder configurations for instance...

Sketch of a sailboat with a long, or full, keel

Long, or Full Keel

Sketch of a sailboat with an encapsulated fin keel and a rudder on a full skeg

Fin Keel and Skeg-Hung Rudder

Sketch of a sailboat with a deep fin bulb keel and a spade rudder

Deep Fin Keel and Spade Rudder

Sketch of a sailboat with twin, or bilge keels

Twin, or Bilge Keels

Read about the benefits and disadvantages of these keel/rudder configurations...


Below Decks

It's here that the interior designer can recreate the appeal of a country cottage or splendor of a minor palace, often in the process making access to fixtures and fittings impossible without major surgery to the boat's interior. It's much better to follow the wise adage that 'form should follow function' and leave all the glitz and glamour to vehicles with wheels on.

The interior layout of a cruising sailboat is all important. Take a look at these two similar - but different - interior layout options...

Sketch showing the interior accommodation layout in a cruising sailboat
Sketch showing the interior accommodation layout in a cruising sailboat (2)

One of them is much more suitable for long-distance offshore sailing than the other.

But which one is it, and why?



Displacement, Performance and Stability

Displacement can be roughly translated as meaning a boat's all-up weight, and it will come as no surprise that - size for size - a heavy boat will need more wind energy to get her going than a lighter one. Compare the pic of the Hinckley Sou'wester 42 earlier on this page to that of the Vega 42 below...

A Vega 42 cruising sailboatA Fast Cruising Boat, the Vega 42

Both are 42 foot cruising boats, but the Hinckley displaces 24,000lbs and the Reva considerably less at 18,500. This puts the Hinckley firmly in the heavy displacement territory so you could expect it to be considerably slower than the Reva, but to provide a more comfortable ride when the going gets rough.

Whether the Reva actually will sail faster than the Hinckley depends on an number of other factors, particularly their individual Sail Area/Displacement Ratios.  

We can say without fear of argument that all cruising sailors will have a keen interest in their sailboat's resistance to capsize.

An indication of this is provided by their boat's GZ curve - at least from static considerations that is. To get a complete understanding of the stability element of seaworthiness, dynamic stability must be taken into account too.

But back to the curve - Just how does it reveal its secrets?

First we need to understand how a boat's Righting Moment is established.



Instrument Systems and Electronics

When I first ventured offshore, instruments were pretty basic. Navigation was something of a black art involving sextants, radio direction finding (RDF) equipment, position lines and cocked hats.

These days, my RDF set is probably in a museum somewhere and the sextant hasn't been out of its box in a number of years. 

Cockpit instruments were independent units; the log measured speed and distance run, the depth sounder told you how much water was under your hull, and the 'windex' at the top of the mast showed you where the wind was coming from - and that, together with a magnetic compass, was just about it as far as our instruments were concerned.

How things have changed!



Cruising Boats for Sale...

Just click on the images below to see the full details of these cruising boats that are advertised by their owners (not through a broker or other 3rd party) right here on sailboat-cruising.com...

Or check out the full list here!



A Photo Gallery of Cruising Yachts...

What's more, you can add your own! Take a look at what we've got so far...



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