Popular Cruising Yachts from
50 to 55 Feet Long Overall

Welcome to this ever-growing gallery of some of the most popular cruising yachts between 50 and 55 feet (15.2m to 16.8m) long overall.

Large, well-equipped production cruising boats of this size can cross oceans in relative comfort and speed, but you'll need deep pockets to operate and maintain them.

Not only will their systems be powerful, complex and power-hungry but they'll need equally powerful and complex charging regimes to keep everything up and running. Regular maintenance and upkeep will be even more essential than it is on smaller vessels.

Irwin 54

The Irwin 54 centre-cockpit cutter is known for being easy to sail short-handed with more space above and below deck than you will find on most other yachts of the same size. 

Published Specification for the Irwin 54:

Underwater Configuration: Stub keel with centreboard and semi-balanced rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 54'0" (16.5m)

Waterline Length: 44'0" (13.4m)

Beam: 15'4" (4.7m)

Draft (max): 5'6" (1.7m)

Rig Type: Cutter

Displacement: 46,000lb / 20,865kg;

Designer: Ted Irwin

Builder: Irwin Yachts (USA)

Year First Built: 1988

Looking to buy an Irwin 54?

'Lazy Bones' is for sale...

Published Design Ratios for the Irwin 54:

  • Sail Area/Displacement: 15.7
  • Ballast/Displacement: 34.8
  • Displacement/Length: 241
  • Comfort Ratio: 39.9
  • Capsize Screening Formula: 1.7

Sailboat-Cruising.com asks; "Need some guidance with all aspects (including those mysterious but all-revealing Design Ratios) of buying a secondhand boat?"


Nautor Swan 51

Hull Type:~ Fin keel & spade rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 51'3" / 15.6m

Waterline Length:~ 42'4" / 12.9m

Beam:~ 14'8" / 4.5m

Draft:~ 8'11" / 2.7m

Rig Type:~ Masthead sloop

Displacement:~ 39,600lb / 17,962kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 18

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 233

Designer:~ German Frers

Builder:~ Nautor Swan (Finland)

Year First Built:~ 1980

Year Last Built:~ 1985

Number Built:~ 36


Flying Dutchman 12

Hull Type:~ Fin keel & skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 50'4" / 15.3m

Waterline Length:~ 42'0" / 12.8m

Beam:~ 14'3" / 4.3m

Draft:~ 6'6" / 2.0m

Rig Type:~ Cutter

Displacement:~ 35,175lb / 15,955kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 16

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 212

Designer:~ Eva Hollman

Builder:~ Ta Yang (Taiwan)

Year First Built:~ 1973

Year Last Built:~ 1985

Number Built:~ 23

Owners Association:~ ?


Oceanis 50 (Fractional Sloop)

A Beneteau OceanisAn Oceanis 50

Hull Type:~ Fin keel & spade rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 49'6" / 15.1m

Waterline Length:~ 43'8" / 13.3m

Beam:~ 14'9" / 4.5m

Draft:~ 6'7" / 1.7m

Rig Type:~ Fractional Sloop

Displacement:~ 27,454lb / 12,453kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 21

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 148

Designer:~ Berret Racoupeau

Builder:~ Beneteau (France)

Year First Built:~ 2010

Year Last Built:~ ?

Number Built:~ ?

Owners Association:~ ?


Amel 54

Amel 54 Staysail KetchAmel 54 Staysail Ketch

Hull Type:~ Fin keel & skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 56'5" / 17.2m

Waterline Length:~ 50'4" / 15.4m

Beam:~ 15'9" / 4.8m

Draft:~ 6'10" / 2.1m

Rig Type:~ Staysail Ketch

Displacement:~ 38,580lb / 17,500kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 21

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 135

Designer:~ Amel

Builder:~ Amel (France)

Year First Built:~ 2005

Year Last Built:~ ?

Number Built:~ ?

Owners Association:~ ?

more about the Amel 54...


Oyster 53

A Holman & Pye Oyster 53A Holman & Pye designed Oyster 53 Cutter

Hull Type:~ Fin keel & skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 53'0" / 16.2m

Waterline Length:~ 44'8" / 13.6m

Beam:~ 15'9" / 4.8m

Draft:~ 7'0" / 2.1m

Rig Type:~ Cutter

Displacement:~ 40,800lb / 18,507kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 17

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 204

Designer:~ Holman & Pye

Builder:~ Oyster Marine Ltd (UK)

Year First Built:~ 1985

Year Last Built:~ ?

Number Built:~ ?

Owners Association:~ Oyster Owners


Alden 54

A ketch-rigged Alden 54An Alden 54 - this one's a staysail ketch, but they were also build as a cutter.

Hull Type:~ Centreboard keel & skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 54'1" / 16.5m

Waterline Length:~ 40'0" / 12.2m

Beam:~ 14'4" / 4.4m

Draft:~ 10'6" / 3.2m (centreboard down), 5'6" / 1.7m (centreboard up)

Rig Type:~ Staysail Ketch

Displacement:~ 36,500lb / 16,556kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 18

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 255

Designer:~ Niels Christian Helleberg

Builder:~ Alden Yachts (USA)

Year First Built:~ 1985

Year Last Built:~ 2002

Number Built:~ ?

Owners Association:~ ?


Amel Super Maramu 2000

An Amel Super Maramu 2000 cruising yacht'Aletes', an Amel Super Maramu 2000 moored off Falmouth Harbour Marina, Antigua

Hull Type:~ Wing keel & skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 52'6" / 16.0m

Waterline Length:~ 41'4" / 12.6m

Beam:~ 15'1" / 4.6m

Draft:~ 6'8" / 2.0m

Rig Type:~ Ketch

Displacement:~ 35,274lb / 16,000kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 20

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 235

Designer:~ Henri Amel

Builder:~  Amel (France)

Year First Built:~ 1999

Year Last Built:~ 2007

Number Built:~ 245

Owners Association:~ ?


Shearwater 45

A Shearwater 45 cruising boat'Maggy May', a Shearwater 45 long-distance cruising boat

Hull Type:~ Fin keel & spade rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 51'5" / 15.7m

Waterline Length:~ 37'5" / 11.4m

Beam:~ 13'1" / 4.0m

Draft:~ 6'3" / 1.9m

Rig Type:~ Cutter

Displacement:~ 27,550lb / 12,497kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 20

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 235

Designer:~ Dudley Dix

Builder:~  Acheson Yachts (South Africa)

Year First Built:~ 1990

Year Last Built:~ ?

Number Built:~ ?

Owners Association:~ ?

more about the Shearwater 45...


Bavaria 55

A Bavaria 55 Cruising Yacht'Anna Maria', a Bavaria 55 cruises north along the western coast of Dominica

Hull Type:~ Bulb keel & spade rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 54'11" / 16.8m

Waterline Length:~ 53'0" / 16.2m

Beam:~ 16'0" / 4.9m

Draft:~ 7'9" / 2.4m

Rig Type:~ Fractional sloop

Displacement:~ 37,919lb / 17,200kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 9

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 102

Designer:~ Farr Yacht Design

Builder:~  Bavaria Yachts (Germany)

Year First Built:~ ?

Year Last Built:~ ?

Number Built:~ ?

Owners Association:~ Bavaria Owners Association


Beneteau 50

A Beneteau 50 sailboatA Beneteau 50 sailboat at anchor in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

Hull Type:~ Bulb keel & spade rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 50'9" / 15.5m

Waterline Length:~ 45'5" / 13.8m

Beam:~ 14'8" / 4.5m

Draft:~ 7'6" / 2.3m

Rig Type:~ Masthead sloop

Displacement:~ 28,660lb / 13,000kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 18

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 137

Designer:~ Farr Yacht Design with Armel Briand

Builder:~  Beneteau (France)

Year First Built:~ 1995

Year Last Built:~ 2004

Number Built:~ 200

Owners Association:~ Beneteau Owners Club


Discovery 55

A Discovery 55 luxury cruiser'Eupraxia', a Discovery 55 motors north off the coast of Guadeloupe, West Indies

Hull Type:~ Fin keel & skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 54'10" / 16.7m

Waterline Length:~ ?

Beam:~ 15'8" / 4.8m

Draft:~ 7'4" / 2.2m

Rig Type:~ Masthead sloop

Displacement:~ 49,604lb / 22,500kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 17

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ ?

Designer:~ Ron Holland

Builder:~  Discovery Yachts (UK)

Year First Built:~ 2000

Year Last Built:~ ?

Number Built:~ 20

Owners Association:~ Discovery Yacht Owners


Little Harbor 54

Little Harbor 54 at anchor off Nevis, West IndiesThe Ted Hood designed Little Harbor 54

Hull Type:~ Centreboard & skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 54'0" / 16.5m

Waterline Length:~ 43'2" / 13.2m

Beam:~ 15'0" / 4.7m

Draft (centreboard up):~ 6'4" / 1.9m

Draft (centreboard down):~ 12'1" / 3.7m

Rig Type:~ Masthead sloop

Displacement:~ 62,359lb / 28,286kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 13

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 346

Designer:~ Ted Hood

Builder:~  Little Harbor Yachts (USA)

Year First Built:~ 1989

Year Last Built:~ ?

Number Built:~ ?

Owners Association:~ ?


Irwin 52

An Irwin 52 cruising yacht at anchortAt anchor in Gorda Sound, Virgin Gorda in the BVIs

Looking to Buy an Irwin 52? 'Lady Rebel' is for sale...

Hull Type:~ Fin keel & skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 52'0" / 15.9m

Waterline Length:~ 44'0" / 13.4m

Beam:~ 15'4" / 4.7m

Draft:~ 7'0" / 2.1m

Rig Type:~ Cutter-rigged Ketch

Displacement:~ 55,000lb / 24,948kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 15.2

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 288

Designer:~ Ted Irwin

Builder:~  Irwin Yachts (USA)

Year First Built:~ 1976

Year Last Built:~ 1985

Number Built:~ 250

Owners Association:~ ?

More about the Irwin 52...


Boothbay Explorer

The 58 fooot Boothbay Explorer Cruising Yacht

Hull Type:~ Long Keel

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 58'7" / 17.7m

Waterline Length:~ 41'0" / 12.8m

Beam:~ 19'8" / 4.8m

Draft:~ 6'2" / 1.9m

Rig Type:~ Masthead Ketch

Displacement:~ 53,300lb / 24,177kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ ?

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ ?

Designer:~ Clifford Swain/John G Alden

Builder:~  Hodgdon Bros. (USA)

Year First Built:~ 1968

Year Last Built:~ 1974

Number Built:~ 5

Owners Association:~ ?

There were 12 Boothbay Challengers (a centreboard version of the Explorer) built during the same period, all but one by Hodgdon. One was by Palmer-Johnson.


Gulfstar 50

A Gulfstar 50 ketch rigged motorsailer at anchor

Hull Type:~ 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

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 13.5

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 250

Designer:~ Vincent Lazarra

Builder:~ Gulfstar Yachts (USA)

Year First Built:~ 1975

Year Last Built:~ 1980

Number Built:~ 250

Owners Association:~ ?

More about the Gulfstar 50...


Nautor Swan 53

Nautor Swans are famed for producing beautiful cruising yachts and this Swan 53-2 proves the point.

This 53 footer is just one of Nautor Swan's range of cruising yachts

Hull Type:~ Bulb fin keel with spade rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 54'1" / 16.5m

Waterline Length:~ 47'3" / 14.4m

Beam:~ 15'7" / 4.8m

Draft:~ 8'1" / 2.4m

Rig Type:~ Masthead sloop

Displacement:~ 48,501lb / 22,000kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 17.2

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 205

Designer:~ German Frers

Builder:~ Nautor Swan (Finland)

Year First Built:~ 2005

Year Last Built:~ 2009

Number Built:~ 20

Owners Association:~ ?


Valiant 50

A Valiant 50 cutter rigged cruiser

Hull Type:~ Fin keel with skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material:~ GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall:~ 50'8" / 15.4m

Waterline Length:~ 40'3" / 12.3m

Beam:~ 13'10" / 4.2m

Draft:~ 6'3" / 1.9m

Rig Type:~ Cutter-rigged sloop

Displacement:~ 35,550lb / 16,125kg

Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:~ 14.2

Displacement/Length Ratio:~ 243

Designer:~ Robert Perry

Builder:~ Valiant Yachts (US)

Year First Built:~ 1997

Year Last Built:~ 2011 (Production of all Valiant Yachts ceased in January 2011)

Number Built:~ ?

Owners Association:~ Valiant Yacht Owners Association

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