Small Sailing Boats: Exploring the Best Types for Beginners

If you're a sailing enthusiast or a beginner looking to embrace the joys of sailing, you may be interested in exploring the world of small sailing boats. These compact and agile vessels are perfect for leisurely cruises, day sailing, and learning the ropes of sailing. In this article, we'll dive into various types of small sailboats and highlight the best options for beginners, ensuring you find the ideal vessel to set sail on your nautical adventures.


Sailing is an ancient and time-honored practice that continues to captivate individuals with its unique blend of adventure, skill, and tranquility. For those seeking a more intimate and hands-on experience with the water, small sailing boats offer an ideal platform to explore lakes, rivers, and coastal waters. Whether you're a seasoned sailor or someone looking to embark on their first sailing journey, there's a small sailboat out there perfectly suited to your needs.

Daysailers: Your Gateway to Sailing

For many beginners, daysailers represent an excellent entry point into the world of sailing. Daysailers are small sailboats designed for day trips, offering simplicity and ease of handling. They are usually single-masted and have a large cockpit, making them ideal for short excursions and learning the basics of sailing. Daysailers provide a wonderful opportunity to get acquainted with the wind, water, and sails, instilling confidence and a deeper appreciation for the art of sailing.

The Allure of Small Sailing Boats

Small sailboats possess a unique charm that sets them apart from their larger counterparts. Their nimbleness allows for maneuverability in tight spaces and enables sailors to access secluded coves and shallow waters. Additionally, the smaller size often means more affordable maintenance and mooring costs. For those seeking a close connection with the sea, small sailing boats offer an intimate and immersive experience that larger vessels can't replicate.

Understanding Different Sailboat Types

Before delving into specific small sailboat models, it's essential to understand the various sail rigging configurations commonly used in sailboats. Each rigging type offers distinct advantages and is suited to different sailing conditions.

4.1. Sloop Rigged Sailboats

The sloop rig is one of the most common and versatile sail configurations. It features a single mast with a mainsail and a headsail (jib or genoa). The simplicity of the sloop rig makes it easy to handle and an excellent choice for beginners.

4.2. Cat Rigged Sailboats

Cat rigging consists of a single mast located forward in the bow of the boat, with the mainsail attached directly to it. This setup minimizes the number of lines and makes cat rigged boats straightforward to sail.

4.3. Ketch Rigged Sailboats

Ketch rigging features two masts: a taller main mast and a shorter mizzen mast located forward of the rudderpost. The addition of a mizzen sail provides more sail area and allows for greater sail balance.

4.4. Schooner Rigged Sailboats

The schooner rig comprises two or more masts, with the forward mast being shorter than the aft mast(s). Schooners offer ample sail area, enabling impressive speed and performance.

4.5. Cutter Rigged Sailboats

Cutter rigs feature multiple headsails, including a staysail located between the mainmast and the foremast. This configuration provides versatility in sail combinations and enhances upwind performance.

4.6. Gaff Rigged Sailboats

Gaff rigs feature a four-sided mainsail with a gaff and a boom. This traditional rigging is still beloved by many sailors for its classic appearance and nostalgic appeal.

4.7. Yawl Rigged Sailboats

Similar to ketch rigging, yawl rigs have two masts, but the mizzen mast is positioned aft of the rudderpost. The smaller mizzen sail improves balance and control.

Exploring Popular Small Sailboat Types

Now that we have a good understanding of sail rigging types, let's explore some popular small sailboat models that have won the hearts of sailors worldwide.

5.1. J/70 Sailboat

The J/70 is a popular one-design keelboat renowned for its exhilarating performance and competitive racing. It accommodates a small crew and is perfect for both day sailing and club racing.

5.2. Dragon Drascombe

The Dragon Drascombe is a charming and traditional small sailboat known for its stability and versatility. It is an excellent choice for leisurely cruising and exploring sheltered waters.

5.3. Cornish Diva 36

The Cornish Diva 36 is a stunning sailing yacht designed for comfort and performance. It combines modern amenities with classic styling, making it an ideal choice for those seeking luxury in a small package.

Read our top notch articles on topics such as sailing, sailing tips and destinations in our Magazine.

Check out our latest sailing content:

A port full of different types of vessels: a cruise ship, sailing yacht, ferry, cruiser and others

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Small Sailboat

Selecting the right small sailboat requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure it aligns with your sailing goals and preferences.

6.1. Skill Level

Consider your level of sailing experience and skill when choosing a small sailboat. While some models are beginner-friendly, others may demand more expertise to handle effectively.

6.2. Intended Use

Think about how you plan to use the sailboat. Are you interested in day sailing, weekend getaways, or extended cruises? Different boats cater to various sailing styles.

6.3. Size and Accommodation

Evaluate the boat's size and accommodation features. Ensure it comfortably accommodates your sailing companions and provides essential amenities for a pleasant sailing experience.

6.4. Budget

Establish a budget for your sailboat purchase. While small sailboats generally cost less than larger vessels, prices can vary significantly based on the model, condition, and features.

Best Small Sailboats for Beginners

For those new to sailing, here are two small sailboat options well-suited to beginners.

7.1. American Sail

American Sail offers a range of small sailboat models, including the Aqua Finn and the American 14.6. These boats are designed with simplicity and stability in mind, making them great options for novices.

7.2. 2-Man Sailboat

A 2-man sailboat, such as the Laser 2 or the 420, provides a wonderful opportunity for learning to sail in tandem. With two people working together, beginners can build their skills and confidence.

Small Sailing Yachts: Combining Luxury and Performance

For those who desire a touch of luxury in their sailing adventures, small sailing yachts offer an enticing option. These vessels boast elegant designs, spacious interiors, and excellent performance capabilities. Though they may require more extensive sailing experience, the rewards of sailing a small yacht are well worth the effort.

Day Sailors: Unleashing the Adventurer Within

Day sailors cater to individuals seeking thrill and adventure on the water. With their efficient rigging and lightweight construction, day sailors are designed for speed and maneuverability. These boats offer an adrenaline-filled sailing experience and are perfect for those looking to break free from the shore and explore the vastness of the open water.

The Joy of Daily Sailing

Daily sailing offers an escape from the mundane and a chance to connect with nature on a deeper level. Whether you're navigating a serene lake or exploring the coastline, sailing provides a unique perspective and a profound sense of freedom.


In conclusion, small sailing boats offer a myriad of opportunities for beginners and seasoned sailors alike. From daysailers perfect for introductory experiences to luxury small sailing yachts that provide comfort and style, there is a sailboat to suit every sailor's dreams. So, whether you yearn for the thrill of speed or the tranquility of a leisurely cruise, take the plunge into the world of small sailing boats and discover the wonders that await you on the water.

So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our range of charter boats and head to some of our favourite sailing destinations.

FAQs about sailing

I am ready to help you with booking a boat for your dream vacation. Contact me.