Best Liveaboard Bluewater Sailboats

Blue water sailing is a great way to explore the world's oceans, but it can be expensive and difficult. So, what are the best liveaboard bluewater sailboats?

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Blue water sailing is a great way to explore the world's oceans, but it can be expensive and difficult. So, what are the best liveaboard bluewater sailboats?

Some of us dream about blue water sailing, but we're afraid that it will cost too much or take too long to get ready for our first trip. Others have already taken the plunge and are looking for advice on how to make their next adventure even better than their last one.

The best liveaboards are cruising sailboats, because the slower speeds and fuel economy of a sailing yacht make long-distance voyaging easier on both man and machine. The Amel 54, Islander 36, Pearson 35, Hunter 33 and Nordic 40 are all bunk-worthy liveaboard blue water cruising sailboats.

If you are looking for a new adventure, then you should consider taking up sailing. There are many different types of boats to choose from and all sorts of places to explore. Whether your goal is to cross an ocean or just have some fun on the water, there are liveaboard blue water sailboats that will suit your needs. In this article we will discuss five different options for people who want to take their liveaboard experience offshore!

Our team of expert sailors has all of the research for you and has put together this list of some of the best liveaboard blue water sailboats available today. These boats offer comfort, safety and great amenities that will make every day spent at sea relaxing and enjoyable. Whether you're looking for a boat with an onboard Jacuzzi or one that has plenty of outdoor deck space, we've got everything covered.

Table of Contents

1. Amel 54

The Amel 54 was launched in 2006, and this bluewater sailboat has been making waves in the cruising world ever since. It is a great liveaboard vessel for serious cruisers who want plenty of space to accommodate their family or friends.

The Amel 54 has all the hallmarks of what you would expect from an ocean-going sailboat in terms of handling rough seas in comfort while still maintaining excellent performance when required.

The deep keel has plenty of ballast to help keep her steady in heavy seas, and you will find that even with over 11,000 pounds of lead ballast down there, she still manages to maintain a modest draft of 6'11". This makes it very easy to find shallow water anchorages when needed and ensures that your boat can handle plenty of rough weather without the risk of running aground or being pushed around by strong currents.

The interior layout on this liveaboard bluewater yacht features a master stateroom aft with private access to the head, a separate dedicated cabin for guests or crew, and a saloon that is perfect for entertaining. The galley is huge and includes a large deep double sink, plenty of counter space, and even a dishwasher.

The vast majority of the interior has been crafted from high-quality laminated woods that are long-lasting and easy to clean while still looking great. There are all sorts of storage throughout this liveaboard bluewater boat, including lockers, drawers, cabinets, and hanging lockers, so your gear will always be safe from harm no matter how rough things get out at sea.

The Amel 54 also features a teak cockpit with large comfortable seating for up to 8 people and a couple of tables that can be taken in when not needed or used as extra storage space. This liveaboard bluewater boat even has an integrated electric grill on the stern, so you don't have to mess around with charcoal BBQs anymore!

When it comes to performance, this liveaboard bluewater yacht manages to keep pace with much larger yachts in a breeze thanks to her well-balanced rig and huge rudders. The Amel 54 can cruise at up to 8 knots when required and has a top speed of 11 knots thanks to the Volvo Penta 110 HP Diesel engines.

However, it comes at a price. The Amel 54 is one of the more expensive bluewater yachts on the market, but her massive interior volume and long-range cruising capabilities should easily offset that for many people.

Overall, the Amel 54 is a phenomenal bluewater vessel that will accommodate many families in great comfort and help them explore the world without worrying too much about safety or reliability. If you're looking for an "easy-displacement" bluewater liveaboard sailboat, then this might just be the one for you.


  • Price: $400,000-$600,000
  • Rigging type: Staysail Ketch
  • Length Overall: 56 ft
  • Max Displacement: 38,580 lbs
  • Beam: 15.75 ft
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 238 gallons


  • Ideal for deep blue water excursions
  • Tons of storage space throughout
  • Can handle heavy weather thanks to the large rudders and wide beam
  • High fuel capacity will keep you moving for a long time
  • Accommodates plenty of friends or family members


  • Not the fastest bluewater yacht available
  • Quite expensive compared to other similar yachts

2. Islander 36

The Islander 36 is a liveaboard bluewater sailboat that has been designed for ease of handling and comfortable cruising. It's not big - it can easily be managed by two people (and you'll want some help to raise the main), but it will accommodate four, six, or eight adults in comfort.

The Islander 36 has a canoe body style with a low freeboard and no plumb bow or stern. It has a soft, slightly raked sheer line, and the deck is open to the hull at deck level for ease of passage and storage. It features modern styling but has traditional, tried-and-true hull construction with a hand-laid fiberglass hull and balsa coring.

The Islander 36 features a large master berth with plenty of room for storage underneath. Galley storage is generous, and you'll find lots of lockers and drawers around the berths to keep everything in its place.

The Islander 36's cockpit is large enough for a game of cards or to invite the whole crew over for cocktails. It has good all-around visibility thanks to its wide side decks and low coach roof coaming. There are lots of lockers with plenty of storage where you can keep fenders, warps, lines, wetsuits, etc., out of sight yet handy when needed.

The fuel tank capacity is 30 gallons which means you can cruise long distances without worrying about running dry. It has a reliable Yanmar diesel engine that will get you up on the plane in 6-8 knots of wind and provide a comfortable cruising speed of 6-7 knots with efficiency. It has a single lever control mounted conveniently just inside the companionway ladder for easy access when needed.

The Islander 36's deck layout was well thought out, making sail handling efficient and straightforward while providing enough lines to allow an energetic crew to easily manage all sail combinations without getting tangled up in each other or caught short when one line or another suddenly snaps taut while everyone else below is busy sorting gear or preparing dinner.

The Islander 36 is capable of being sailed short-handed or in an overnight watch system by two experienced sailors, but it's just as comfortable in short hops around the local area when you have family aboard for the weekend.

While the Islander 36 has been designed to liveaboard cruising standards, it will also provide many years of practical pleasure sailing when time on board is limited to weekends or weekdays alike.


  • Price: $20,000-$30,000
  • Rigging type: Masthead Sloop
  • Length Overall: 36 ft
  • Max Displacement: 13,450 lbs
  • Beam: 11 ft
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 32 gallons


  • Great value for money
  • Ideal for coastal cruising
  • Durable construction
  • Easy handling and comfortable cruising
  • Comfortable berths for four, six, or eight adults


  • Limited fuel capacity for deep ocean excursions
  • Bulky interior layout with few ergonomic features.  

3. Pearson 35

The Pearson 35 is an excellent bluewater sailboat that has been in production since the early '70s! It might be a couple of decades old, but it still has lots to offer and is even popular with charter boat companies due to the sheer amount of space onboard.

Her hull design is very capable, and she will perform well in most sea conditions and handle some pretty severe weather without complaint. The vast majority of the Pearson 35 is made from sheet plywood covered in fiberglass. This gives her a nice-looking finish and protects against water damage, but it does make the boat heavy in comparison to modern designs.

When it comes to handling, this bluewater sailboat performs brilliantly at sea thanks to her solid hull design and wide rudders. The stern is designed to offer good grip when getting underway but will behave nicely once you've picked up some speed, so it's perfect for families looking to relax without too much noise or fuss.

The interior layout on this bluewater yacht is well thought out and makes great use of space with multiple cabins, heads, and storage areas throughout the entire boat. The galley down below has all you need to cook up delicious meals when at sea or anchoring out for the night.

The deck area features an impressively large teak cockpit that can seat many people comfortably, while there's also enough room in the bow to work on larger projects if needed. There's plenty of flybridge seating, too, so you'll never be short of a place to sit when on watch.

The galley is on the smaller side; however, you'll find that everyone prefers to cook outside on the deck most days while cruising through crystal clear waters. Speaking of cruising through waters, this liveaboard bluewater yacht has a nice wide beam of 13 feet, making it very stable even in rough conditions.

When it comes time to set sail, you will notice that she is a bit slow to get up on a plane and doesn't have the fastest top speed in the world. However, this liveaboard bluewater sailboat has clearly been designed for comfort and not speed.

In terms of bluewater yachts, the Pearson 35 is pretty affordable, and you should have no trouble finding one if budget is your biggest concern. There are plenty of these cruising sailboats available for charter, making it an even more appealing choice for some people.

The Pearson 35 is a safe and reliable bluewater cruiser that has been in production for almost half a century! This liveaboard bluewater sailboat is one of the most popular options on this list as it has lots of excellent features and will definitely not disappoint. If you're looking for a solid and capable sailboat, then the Pearson 35 gets our vote.


  • Price: $15,000-$46,000
  • Rigging type: Masthead Sloop
  • Length Overall: 35 ft
  • Max Displacement: 13,000 lbs
  • Beam: 10 ft
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 42 gallons


  • Ideal for cruising the Caribbean and Bahamas
  • Plenty of comfortable space
  • One of the more affordable bluewater yachts on this list
  • Comfortable and spacious throughout
  • Solid engineering ensures a safe and reliable boat


  • Fuel tank capacity is a bit low
  • Below-average performance under sail
  • Lacks speed when cruising

4. Hunter 33 Sailboat

The Hunter 33 is a fantastic liveaboard bluewater sailboat that is well suited to long-term cruising! She was first launched back in late 2011 and has since been one of the most popular bluewater sailboats in the world.

This bluewater yacht has a sleek design and great sailing performance, making her a popular choice for families looking to explore some of the bluest waters with comfort and style.

The hull on this liveaboard sailboat is designed to be lightweight and offers very minimal resistance when moving through choppy seas, which makes for an exceptional ride even in rough conditions.

Her masthead sloop rig is easy to sail, but she won't perform as well as a modern racing boat when it comes down to pure speed under sail. However, this sailboat will reward you with excellent stability at sea, making her ideal for novice sailors who are looking for something practical without too much fuss.

The decking throughout the boat is also made from teak wood which adds a nice touch and gives it a classic look without too much upkeep required. There's plenty of room on deck and various storage spaces along with three spacious cabins below, each capable of housing up to 4 people comfortably.

When it comes to storing large loads such as freshwater, food, and other supplies, this bluewater yacht has 2 large storage areas located below deck.

In terms of bluewater sailing yachts, you'll have a tough time finding one as nice as the Hunter 33. Not only does she look fantastic from afar, but for a smaller vessel, she offers excellent performance under sail, making it ideal for cruising to remote locations.


  • Price: $60,000-$125,000
  • Rigging type: Masthead Sloop
  • Length Overall: 33 ft
  • Max Displacement: 10,600 lbs
  • Beam: 10.17 ft
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 25 gallons


  • Beautiful, sleek design
  • Exceptional performance under sail
  • Ideal for cruising the Caribbean and Bahamas
  • Grand interior space with three cabins
  • Easy to maintain wooden decking


  • Low fuel capacity
  • Not the fastest sailboat out there

5. Nordic 40

The "Nordic 40" was produced in 1982 by Nordic Yachts and designer Robert Perry. It's a fiberglass monohull with the masthead rigged sloop with a lifting keel for trailering.

It has proven itself to be capable of making long ocean passages but is equally at home cruising in local waters. The Nordic 40's owners report that this bluewater sailboat offers comfortable accommodations for two couples plus children with space for sleeping five if necessary.

Her hull design features a moderate beam with a fine entry forward, creating less drag when sailing upwind or broad-reaching while still providing great initial stability even when heeled over. This makes the "Nordic 40" a good bluewater boat that is still very convenient for coastal cruising and day sailing.

The large cockpit has lots of room for the crew to move around easily when the boat is under sail, and its low coaming, wide side decks, and high bulwarks provide excellent visibility all-around, giving you plenty of warning about what's happening around the boat.

The Nordic 40 also offers excellent visibility forward thanks to her tall mast, tall rig, and conventional rigging. The tall mast won't interfere with your view forward while sailing upwind or reaching at close-hauled angles, making it easy to find your way into crowded anchorages without running over boats.

The cockpit features two double berths set athwartships, making it easy to convert the Nordic 40 into a good liveaboard bluewater boat without sacrificing too much of your storage space below.

The interior layout of this bluewater sailboat was designed with the sailor in mind and features plenty of storage for your gear in drawers, lockers, and hanging lockers. Wet gear is kept in place in its own dedicated locker where it won't offend you when you go down below after an afternoon sailing or exploring coasts.

The only downside to this sailboat is that they are extremely hard to find used. When they do show up for sale, it is usually at higher prices than a comparable boat from another manufacturer.

Because of their rarity, it is difficult to compute the average price for a used "Nordic 40". Prices vary considerably as they are just as likely to be seen for sale at $100,000 as they are to sell at over $600,000.

A surveyor's inspection and sea trial is highly recommended before making an offer on this bluewater cruiser. The condition and maintenance history of these boats make a huge difference in how much money you'll end up spending once you own one, so don't neglect the pre-purchase survey!

While not exactly plentiful, the Nordic 40 is still a great bluewater cruiser that can also be used for coastal cruising and day sailing if need be. The only downside is the price tag, which is very high when you do happen to find a used one on sale.


  • Price: Varies considerably ($100,000-$600,000)
  • Rigging type: Masthead Sloop
  • Length Overall: 40 ft
  • Max Displacement: 18,000 lbs
  • Beam: 12.43 ft
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 gallons


  • Plenty of storage in drawers, lockers, and hanging locker
  • Tall rig for excellent visibility when sailing upwind or reaching close-hauled angles
  • Good liveaboard bluewater boat
  • Can handle deep ocean excursions
  • Durable construction


  • Extremely hard to find used
  • Very expensive when you do find one available for sale.

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