What is a sailboat?

A sailboat is a vessel that uses wind as the main source of its energy to thrust through the water. By using the combination of sails (typically a mainsail and a headsail) and a keel, the fin below the water, a sailboat can generate speed from the wind acting against itself.

Sailboats come in all shapes and sizes; some very big - known as yachts, while others very small - known as sailing dinghies (dinghy). The traditional sailboat has one hull, known as a monohull. A Sailboat that has two hulls is known as a Catamaran. Catamarans provide more comfort as they are more spacious but are proven to be less safe.

How much does a sailboat cost?

When first becoming aquatinted with the sailboat market, one if often surprised by how expensive sailboats can cost. Even sailboats that are 10+ years old can be expensive. Not only are quality sailboats expensive but sailboats in general cost a lot of money to maintain, as equipment/rigging breaks or needs upgrades often.

Average Cost of a Sailboat

10+ year old 20-30 foot sailboat: $20,000 - $50,000
10+ year old 31-40 foot sailboat: $40,000 - $175,000
10+ year old 41+ foot sailboat: $200,000+

How do sailboats work?

Sailboats are at first complicated when learning how to work them. You have to have a complete understanding of the sails, sheets and rigging in order to sail a sailboat successfully.

Sailboats work by using a keel, which is a heavy fin below the boat that weighs almost half of what the entire boat displaces, and its sails to act as an airplane wing in order to provide "lift" through the water. The keel, due to its weight, also acts as a safety measure in the event the sailboat capsizes. Without a keel and a sail, a sailboat would not be able to work. Note that due to having two hulls, a catamaran does not need a keel in order to work.

How fast do sailboats go?

In general, most sailboats cruise at an average speed of about 5-6 knots or around 6 mph. Compared to anything else, like cars or speed boats, this can seem rather slow. Sailboats that are designed for speed, called racers, can be seen to go to speeds of 15 knots and higher. Sailboats deigned for speed (J Boats for example) tend to lack any type of comfort.

Typically, larger sailboats can reach faster speeds. But size isn't the only factor in regards to speed. Wind conditions and the type of rigging also plays a big part. The majority of sailboats are rigged as sloops, which are categorized as cruisers - built for comfort, not for speed. Cutters, rigged with two head sails for more speed, are built to encapsulate both speed and comfort into their design.

Do sailboats have motors?

Most sailboats have a motor. Sailboats larger than 25 feet typically have an inboard motor and sailboats 25 feet or smaller tend to have an outboard motor attached to their transom. Inboard motors are much more powerful and efficient, giving a sailboat more control when under motor power.

Only the smallest of sailboats like the Rhodes 19 or Cape Cod Keel Mercury don't have motors as they are solely intended to be sailed in safely confined areas.