Best Small Sailboats Under 20 Feet

The ideal size boat for beginners is anything under 20 feet. So, what are the best small sailboats under 20 feet? Let’s find out.

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The ideal size boat for beginners is anything under 20 feet. So, what are the best small sailboats under 20 feet? Let’s find out.

Smaller boats are easy to navigate and not a hassle to maintain compared to larger yachts, which is why many choose sailboats under 20 feet as the ideal starter boat.

From the Catalina 16.5 to the Beneteau First 20 or the Marlow Hunter 15, there are many smaller sailboats under 20 feet that offer beginner or expert sailors great value for money. Many sailing enthusiasts prefer smaller sailboats because they are easy to handle and are cheaper to own.

No two 20 feet sailboats are made equal, which is why you need to do your research and find the best fit for you. We have gone through many blogs, articles, and videos on the sailing yachts below 20 feet and are here to share with you the best options available in the market today.

As sailing enthusiasts who have owned multiple sailing boats below 20 feet, we are in the ideal position to help guide you through the process so that you are able to make a more informed decision when it comes to investing in a small yacht.

Table of Contents

Best Small Sailboats Under 20 Feet

Small sailboats are the way to go sailing RIGHT NOW, not after you retire or discover the "ideal" bluewater cruising boat. "Go tiny, go simple, go now," is the first premise of cruising philosophy.

Small yachts may be inexpensive, straightforward, and seaworthy. However, they are uncommon in today's cruising grounds. We could count the number of under 30-foot sailboats we've seen after three years and 13,000 nautical miles of bluewater traveling. They were all skippered by persons in their 20s and 30s. Today's anchorages are brimming with 40, 50, and 60-foot ocean sailboats, but that doesn't mean a tiny sailboat can't sail around the world.

The Saffier SE 33 UD

If you're looking for a high-performance daysailer, the Saffier Se 33 UD is a great option. The designers, the Hennevanger brothers, put a lot of effort and money into making this dream boat a reality. The vacuum-infused construction and high-quality polish of the boat demonstrate the production facilities.

Saffier offers a variety of models ranging in size from 21 to 37 feet, all of which have been fully tested for seaworthiness. Given the size of these boats, it's logical to expect that they'll be tough to sail. This is not the case with these boats, though. One person may sail even the largest versions with ease.

In 2014, the Se 33 UD was released with a sporty style. Thanks to its strong sprayhood, it sails effortlessly in all weather. The sailboat has a handy self-draining cockpit that allows any water to drain off. A folding transform and two-meter benches are included in the cockpit. The boat has ample room for a four-person crew, and you can even take a brief snooze below deck.

This high-end yacht is a good choice if you have a large budget. For new boats, the starting price is around $150,000. If you're looking for something really entertaining, check out the new Se 27 model. The latest versions have a top speed of 20 knots.

The Norseboat 17.5

Looking for a one-of-a-kind daysailer that will stand out in a crowd? The Norseboat 17.5 might be exactly what you're looking for. This one-of-a-kind sailboat dubbed the "Swiss Army Knife of Boats," can be sailed or rowed.

But wouldn't row this boat takes a lot of effort? No. With the boat's sheer, no way! The fiberglass hull has a lot of sheers, which is an intentional and effective design for effortless rowing. So, even if there's no wind, you can still have a good time rowing while getting some workout. With strong enough winds, you may sit back and relax while the jib and mainsail take care of the rest.

The Norseboat 17.5 is ideal for daysailers looking for a high-performance boat with classic styling. But whether you're a beginner sea kayaker or a cruising sailor wishing to downsize, you'll find its famous pedigree to be a terrific fit for you.

A small draught, furling headsail, a full battened mainsail, and a trademark curving headboard are just a few of the features. The lightweight boat has two rowing stations and works admirably, whether rowed or driven by the wind. It also offers lots of storage space. The boat's modest weight makes it simple to move. All you need is a mid-sized automobile to haul it.

The Paine 14

This sailboat is modeled after the well-known Herreshoff 12 1/2 e. The Paine 14 is essentially a smaller version of the latter. This daysailer will attract a lot of attention whether sailing or just parked at the marina because of its classic appearance.

However, this yacht is more than just a pretty face. The Paine 14 is lighter than its predecessor due to its smaller size. On the water, it is thus quicker and more agile. Despite this, changes to the keel and rudder design have helped it maintain its stability in the water. Other benefits of its size include ease of trailering, low maintenance, and simple storage and transportation. This sailboat is great if you're seeking a basic sailboat.

The Laser 13”

This is probably one of the smallest boats on this list and is an excellent option for beginners who are not ready to take on the responsibility of maintaining or paying for larger boats just yet. If you are just testing the waters, then this is a smart option if you find that sailing isn’t your cup of tea.

The 13' 10" Laser dinghy is an excellent alternative for one or two persons looking for a workout and adrenaline rush in a breeze or simply plain pleasant sailing in lighter breezes. That is if you don't mind the fiberglass boat's small weight and strong sail making it simple to capsize—and recover from.

The Laser is an international sailing class that competes in everything from Olympic sailing competitions to club races. Most of the 200,000 boats manufactured over the years are just sailed for enjoyment, thanks to the 1969 design's single sail, two-part mast, daggerboard, and kick-up rudder, all of which make it very easy to store, and carry, and launch.

LaserPerformance sells new boats for less money, which is why they are one of the favorites for first-timers and those sailing enthusiasts who are on a budget. LaserPerformance sells yachts for around $7,500, as well as a variety of rigs and sails as well as replacement components. Used boats, as you might expect, are also easily available.

The Hobie 16

It is easy to see why the historic Hobie 16, which made its debut in Southern California way back in 1969, made it on this list. Since then, the business has produced a number of additional multihulls, but the 16s have sold over 100,000 times, which is an incredible number.

The Hobie 16's fiberglass-and-foam hull takes away the requirement of traditional daggerboards, thanks to its kick-up rudders. Its huge trampoline provides enough room for movement or a suitable spot to put one's feet when hanging from the two trapezes with a hull flying. A main and jib sail are included, and a douse kit and trailer with a beach dolly option.

The West Wight Potter 19

This type is popular because of its excellent performance, cutting it close to 20 feet. This miniature cruiser was initially shown in 1971. It has since gained a devoted following, particularly among trailer sailors. While it isn't the cheapest tiny sailboat (it costs about $26,000), you will surely get your money's worth.

The Potter 19 is compact and light in terms of capability. Its performance in the water, however, is unaffected. In fact, it has a lot of punch for its tiny. People remark about this yacht’s stability and ease of handling in particular.

It also features a retractable keel that allows it to be beached completely. Alternatively, you will be astonished at how big and comfortable the interiors are, along with the fact that it is easy to rank the Potter 19 among luxury yachts for its many features and amenities.

The Montgomery 17

The Montgomery 17 is designed and made out of fiberglass by Montgomery Boats in Ontario, California. The boat boasts its way onto this list as a trailerable pocket cruiser. You get a keel and centerboard that takes the guesswork out of preparing the boat to be readily beached when gunkholing and draws slightly under 2 feet with the board up.

There's sitting headroom, a couple of bunks, a portable toilet, optional shore, and DC power, and a lot of storage space in the cuddy cabin. A four-part tackle makes it easy to raise the mast with relative ease. The builder claims to have taken his boat on journeys across the Gulf of California and to the state's coastline islands. In case you were wondering, Montgomery also offers 15-foot and 23-foot variants. The Montgomery 17 must be on your wish list if you're looking for a small sailboat with a cabin.

The Bluewater Cygnet 20

The Cygnet 20 is a great trailer sailer and pocket cruiser, and it has the potential to revitalize the sub-20-foot segment. The Cygnet has everything you want in a pocket cruiser: it's easy to transport, sail anywhere, and it's economical. It also happens to look gorgeous. Beaching the boat is simple because of its flat bottom and hand-laid fiberglass hull.

The Cygnet 20 is a fun weekend sailboat; as a result, while the cockpit can accommodate four to six people, it leaves less space below decks, but there is still enough space to sleep a crew of four. There are also several choices for customizing the cabin to your liking.

There are also several choices for customizing the cabin, but the typical form includes a V-berth, a portable toilet stored beneath the V-berth, a sink to starboard, two beds, and a portable stove beneath the cockpit. Apart from the swing keel box, the saloon table pulls out to seat four people, which is ideal for sailing solo or taking friends along for a weekend trip.

The Beneteau First 20

This is often ranked as one of the best trail-able pocket cruisers and for good reason. It's beautiful, tiny, has a retractable keel, and is speedy, but because of its big cabin, it can also accommodate a small family for a weekend on the lake.

The hull of the First 20 is one of those that, although quite stable in windy conditions, allows you to have as much fun as possible. Unfortunately, Beneteau has stopped producing boats under 20 feet in order to focus on larger sailboats, but you may still find these boats for approximately $25,000 secondhand.

The Catalina 16.5

Catalina Yachts are known for their larger boats, but they also offer some fantastic smaller boats, such as the Catalina 16.5. Because it features a huge and airy cockpit and a large storage box, this is one of the best small sailboats for family vacations. The Catalina 16.5 is a versatile boat with a hand-laminated fiberglass sloop that comes in two styles: centerboard and keel.

Because of the fiberglass centerboard, the stable hull form, and the rudder, the centerboard model has a strong sailplane that remains balanced. It also includes a tiller extension, adjustable trekking straps, and an overhaul that can be adjusted. It's vital to remember that these are both standard features.

It's worth noting that these features come standard on both variants. When it comes to the keel model, it's constructed with a high aspect keel as the cast lead and stainless steel keel bolts, making it ideal for mooring or docking when not in use.

In essence, the centerboard form is ideal for trailer storage, whilst the keel model may be left at the dock. Overall, the Catalina 16.5 is one of the greatest small sailboats available for around $10,000. This is undoubtedly an excellent example of what a daysailer is.

The Fareast 18

Fareast is a Chinese boat builder that has only been in business for around two decades. Despite this, the Fareast 18 is a competent cruiser-racer that will elevate your sailing to new heights. This boat has a retractable keel along with a nifty ballast bulb, a strong rig, and an enclosed cabin, in addition to its attractive appearance.

The Fareast 18's narrow shape with closed stern is unusual in this size, but the good news is that's not an issue in the Fareast 18. This design stresses speed while also making the boat easier to maintain. This boat is ideal for roughly six passengers and punches above its weight. It is, however, intended for one person to rig and launch.

Lido 14

Most sailors start to sail on a daysailer, and the author of this piece has a special place for the Lido 14, which is where she began to sail. The little boat offers seats for six people, but it may be operated alone and even raced.

The first year the type was introduced, 200 boats were purchased, and 40 years later, roughly 6,300 Lido 14s had been produced. Although new boats are no longer available, old boats are still readily accessible. Although new boats are no longer produced, secondhand boats are readily available; there is an active owner's group and plenty of one-design racing in various regions of the nation.

In a pocket cruiser, don't expect to be sailing at great speeds. Monohulls with a lesser displacement will always be slower than monohulls with a bigger displacement. As a result, a smaller cruiser will take longer to complete a journey, leaving them more exposed to weather variations.

Michael Moris

I'm Michael Moris. I've been sailing my whole life, and it has taken me to places I never imagined. From the Caribbean to Europe, from New Zealand to South America - there's nowhere that hasn't felt like home when you're on a boat!

Read more about Michael Moris

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