The Gulfstar 50 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Gulfstar 50, a centre-cockpit ketch, was designed by Vincent Lazarra and built in the USA by Gulfstar Yachts.

A Gulfstar 50 ketch at anchorA Gulfstar 50 Ketch - also available as a sloop

Published Specification for the Gulfstar 50

Underwater Profile: Fin keel with skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 50'0" (15.2m)

Waterline Length: 39'8" (12.1m)

Beam: 13'8" (4.2m)

Draft: 5'6" (1.7m)

Rig Type: Ketch

Displacement: 35,000lb (15,876kg)

Designer: Vincent Lazarra

Builder: Gulfstar Yachts (USA)

Year First Built: 1975

Year Last Built: 1980

Number Built: 250

Published Design Ratios for the Gulfstar 50

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 13.5

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 30.0

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 250

4. Comfort Ratio: 38.9

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

read more about these Key Performance Indicators...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Gulfstar 50

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 13.5 suggests that the Gulfstar 50 will need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 30.0 means that a sailboat like the Gulfstar 50 is likely to benefit from being reefed early to keep her sailing upright in a moderate breeze.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 250, tells us the Gulfstar 50 is a moderate displacement cruiser, which means she'll carry all your cruising gear without it having a dramatic effect on her performance. Most of today's sailboats intended for offshore cruising fall into this displacement category.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 38.9 suggests that crew comfort of a Gulfstar 50 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate bluewater cruising boat - a predictable and acceptable motion for most seasoned sailors.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.7 tells us that a Gulfstar 50 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 

Any Questions?

What, if any, alternative versions of the Gulfstar 50 were built?

There were two alternative versions of the Gulfstar 50: the Gulfstar 50 Sailmaster and the Gulfstar 50 TM. The Sailmaster was introduced in 1982 and featured a modified underbody with a longer keel, a taller rig, and a larger sail area. It was also more luxurious and expensive than the original version. Only 27 Sailmasters were built until 1985. The TM (for trunk model) was a rare variant that had a shorter cabin trunk and a flush deck forward of the mast.

Is the Gulfstar 50 still in production and, if not, when did production end and how many of these sailboats were built?

The Gulfstar 50 is not in production anymore. Production ended in 1980 after six years of building. A total of 172 hulls were built.

How did the sailing press review the Gulfstar 50?

The sailing press generally gave positive reviews to the Gulfstar 50, praising its interior space, joinery, performance, and value. For example, Sail magazine wrote in 1977: "The Gulfstar 50 is an impressive yacht by any standards...She is roomy, comfortable, well-finished, and surprisingly fast...She represents one of the best values in today's market for those who want both luxury and performance in a large yacht."

What do owners of the Gulfstar 50 have to say about their boats?

Owners of the Gulfstar 50 tend to be very satisfied with their boats, especially after making some upgrades and repairs. They appreciate the boat's spaciousness, comfort, seaworthiness, and classic beauty. Some common issues that owners have faced include hull blisters, corrosion of the mast step, leaking deck fittings, and separation of the rudder skeg.

What is the history of the builders of the Gulfstar 50 and is the company still in business?

The builders of the Gulfstar 50 were Gulfstar Yachts, founded in 1970 by Vince Lazzara, an industry pioneer who had previously worked at Aeromarine and Columbia Yachts. Gulfstar Yachts started out by building low-cost boats with maximum interior space, but later shifted to producing higher-quality performance cruisers, such as the Gulfstar 50. In the mid-1980s, Gulfstar Yachts merged with Viking Yachts, a powerboat manufacturer, and eventually stopped making sailboats. The company is still in business today as Viking Sport Cruisers.

How many people can sleep on board a Gulfstar 50?

The Gulfstar 50 can sleep up to eight people on board. The more popular layout features three staterooms: a master stateroom aft with an en suite head and shower and a large U-shaped double berth; a forward stateroom with a V-berth and access to a shared head; and a midships stateroom with upper and lower single berths. There is also a convertible dinette in the main saloon that can sleep two more people.

What sailplan and rig options, if any, are available for the Gulfstar 50?

The Gulfstar 50 was available as either a sloop or a ketch. The sloop rig had a single mast with a foretriangle area of 45.2m² and a mainsail area of 38m², for a total sail area of 83.2m². The ketch rig had two masts with a foretriangle area of 45.2m², a mainsail area of 38m², a mizzen area of 14m², and an optional mizzen staysail area of 12m², for a total sail area of up to 109.2m². There was also a tall sloop option with a higher mast and larger sail area.

What is the difference between the standard (or owner's) version and the charter version of the Gulfstar 50?

The standard or owner's version of the Gulfstar 50 had a more spacious and luxurious interior, with teak veneer cabinetry, a large navigation station, a wet bar, and a walk-in engine room. The charter version had a more simple and practical interior, with Formica cabinetry, a smaller navigation station, no wet bar, and no walk-in engine room. The charter version also had more berths and heads to accommodate more guests.

What keel options, if any, are available for the Gulfstar 50?

The Gulfstar 50 had only one keel option: a long fin keel with an encapsulated ballast of lead chunks embedded in concrete slurry. The keel had a draft of 1.7m and a ballast-to-displacement ratio of 30%.

What is the Gulfstar 50 like to sail?

The Gulfstar 50 is a stable and comfortable boat to sail, with good performance in light to moderate winds. It can reach hull speed of 9.3 knots easily and point well to windward. It is also easy to handle, with a balanced helm and a powerful rudder. In heavy winds, however, the boat may become overpowered and need reefing or changing sails. The boat is also not very maneuverable in tight spaces and may require a bow thruster or careful use of prop wash.

What is the average cost of a secondhand Gulfstar 50?

The average cost of a secondhand Gulfstar 50 varies depending on the condition, equipment, and location of the boat. According to, as of December 2021, the asking prices for Gulfstar 50s ranged from $80,000 to $190,892, with an average of $118,560.

What other sailboats have been created by the designer of the Gulfstar 50?

The designer of the Gulfstar 50 was Vince Lazzara, who also designed many other sailboats for Gulfstar Yachts, such as the Gulfstar 37, the Gulfstar 43, the Gulfstar 44, the Gulfstar 60, and the Gulfstar Sailmaster series. He also designed some powerboats for Viking Yachts after the merger with Gulfstar Yachts.

What was Vince Lazzara's design philosophy?

Vince Lazzara was a pioneer in the yacht industry who started his career as a chemical engineer and built the largest fiberglass yacht ever in 1955. He founded Gulfstar Yachts in Florida and produced sailboats and trawlers with high quality and design. He also experimented with composite materials and low glass-resin ratios to improve the performance and durability of his boats.

His son Dick Lazzara followed his footsteps and launched Lazzara Yachts in the early 1990s, together with his brother Brad. Dick is the president of Lazzara Yachts and the main designer of its innovative products. He is known for creating yachts that combine luxury, style, and performance, with features such as split-level designs, open galleys, infinite sight lines, and advanced engineering. He also strives to provide more customization and personalization for his clients.

Vince Lazzara's design philosophy can be summarized as follows:

"I always wanted to build a boat that was better than anything else on the market. I wanted to build a boat that was faster, stronger, more comfortable, more seaworthy, and more beautiful than anything else out there."

The above answers were drafted by using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; to the best of our knowledge, we believe them to be accurate.

Other sailboats in the Gulfstar range include:

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