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4 best bluewater cruisers of 2022

  • Toby Hodges
  • March 28, 2022

Thinking of heading off on a world-girdling cruise or just want to cross oceans in style? Here's the best bluewater cruisers of 2022 that will help you se off on a new life at sea

aluminium blue water cruising yacht

The results are in from the European Yacht of the Year Awards as the judges have announced their top four bluewater cruisers of 2022.

The European Yacht of the Year awards are well regarded as the definitive yacht awards in the world a variety of categories are judged by the panel from best luxury cruisers , to best family cruisers to performance yachts .

But for those looking to liveaboard their yacht, making plans to do some ocean crossings, or looking to undertake some long distance passage making, the best bluewater cruisers will likely be the category that draws the eye.

There were a brilliantly diverse and interesting collection of new designs for this category – a celebration of French ingenuity. For those planning long term cruising, would you choose a robust aluminium build for higher latitudes sailing, shoal draught to tuck into the shallows (a mix of both?), sustainable living or reliable comfort, or the ability to log sustained high speeds to outrun weather systems? This selection gives you all those choices and more.

Best bluewater cruisers of 2022

The new flagship Allures 51.9, for example, is a no-nonsense adventure cruising design built and finished to a high standard. It retains Allures’ niche of using aluminium hulls with glassfibre decks and superstructures, which, the yard maintains, gives the optimum combination of least maintenance and less weight higher up. Priorities for this design were a full beam aft cabin and a spacious, long cockpit. Both are excellent, with the latter, at 6m long, offering formidable social, sailing and aft deck zones.

It likes some breeze to come to life on the wheel, but I appreciate that it’s designed to take up to five tonnes payload. And I like the ease with which you can change gears using the furling headsails and the positioning of the powerful Andersen winches inboard. The arch is standard and comes with a textile sprayhood or hard bimini.

Below decks you’ll find abundant headroom and natural light, a deep U-shape galley and cavernous stowage. For those who like the layout of the Amel 50 but would prefer aluminium or shoal draught, look no further.

Allures 51.9 price: €766,000

The Ovni 370 is another cunning new aluminum centreboard offering, a true deck saloon cruiser for two. The designers say the biggest challenge was to create a Category A ocean going yacht at this size with a lifting keel, hence the hull had to be very stable.

Enjoyable to helm, it has a practical, deep cockpit behind a large sprayhood, which can link to the bimini on the arch. Many of its most appealing features lie in the bright, light, contemporary, clever, voluminous interior, which has good stowage and tankage allocation. There’s also a practical navstation, a large workroom and a vast separate shower. I particularly like the convertible saloom, which can double as a large secure daybed or pilot berth.

Potentially the least expensive Category A lift keel boat available, the Ovni will get you dreaming of remote places again.

Ovni 370 price: €282,080

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There’s no shortage of spirit in the Windelo 50. We gave this a sustainability award after it’s founders spent two years researching environmentally-friendly composite materials, developing an eco-composite of basalt fibre and recycled PET foam so it could build boats that halve the environmental impact of standard glassfibre yachts.

The Windelo 50 is an intriguing package – from the styling, modular interior and novel layout to the solar field on the roof and the standard electric propulsion, it is completely fresh.

Windelo 50 price: €795,000

Best bluewater cruiser of 2022 – Outremer 55

I would argue that this is the most successful new production yacht on the market. Well over 50 have already sold (an equipped model typically costs €1.6m) – and I can understand why. After all, were money no object, I had this design earmarked as the new yacht I would most likely choose for a world trip.

Indeed 55 number one Sanya, was fully equipped for a family’s world cruise, and left during our stay for the Grand Large Odyssey tour. Whereas we sailed Magic Kili, which was tricked up with performance options, including foam-cored deckheads and supports, carbon crossbeam and bulkheads, and synthetic rigging.

At rest, these are enticing space ships. Taking one out to sea is another matter though. These are speed machines with the size, scale and loads to be rightly weary of. Last month Nikki Henderson wrote a feature for us about how to manage a new breed of performance cruising cats just like this and how she coaches new owners. I could not think of wiser money spent for those who do not have ample multihull sailing experience.

Under sail, the most fun was obviously reserved for the reaching leg under asymmetric, where we clocked between 11-16 knots in 15-16 knots wind. But it was the stability and of those sustained low teen speeds which really hit home  – passagemaking where you really cover miles.

Key features include the swing helms, which give you views from outboard, over the coachroof or from a protected position in the cockpit through the coachroof windows, and the vast island in the galley, which is key to an open plan main living area. It helps provide cavernous stowage and acts as the heart of the entertaining space as it would in a modern home. As Danish judge Morten Brandt-Rasmussen comments: “Apart from being the TGV of ocean passages the boat offers the most spacious, open and best integration of the cockpit and salon areas in the market.”

Outremer has done a top job in packing in the creature comforts, stowage space and payload capacity, while keeping it light enough to eat miles. Although a lot to absorb and handle, the 55 offers a formidable blend of speed and luxury cruising.

Outremer 55 price: €1.35m

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Alubat Ovni 370 Test Sail with S/V Tonic

“It should be called the Alubat sub 40ft ULTIMATE short-handed Aluminium blue-water cruiser. We were blown away by this Ovni 370.”

Sailing under Solent aboard the Ovni 430 aluminum expedition sailboat

Ovni 430 – A New Generation of Aluminum Sailboats

The OVNI 430 aluminum sailboat is part of the new generation of sailing yachts combining innovation, ergonomics, comfort and performance.

The numerous windows, opening portlights and overhead hatches provide plenty of light and ventilation aboard the open concept interior aboard the Ovni 430 aluminum sailboat

New Deck Salon Interior Aboard the Ovni 430 Aluminum Sailboat

An upgraded raised interior features panoramic view for active watchkeeping, great light and ventilation. An offset salon on the port side also creates an ideal layout for ease of movement.

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Aluminum Sailboat Building at its Best

Where’s the best place to see a new Aluminum sailboat? The Alubat boatyard in France, of course! See highlights of what to expect on your visit to Alubat.

Roberta from Odd Life Crafting review of Ovni 430 aluminum sailboat

Amazing 43-ft Aluminum Sailboat

Full-time cruisers Roberta and Duca stopped by to visit us during the La Rochelle Boat Show for a tour of the NEW Ovni 430 aluminum sailboat.

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The ‘Small’ Huge Sailboat

Tour of the new Ovni 370 with Duca and Roberta on their YouTube channel Odd Life Crafting.

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50 years of sailing excellence!

FIGARO nautisme | by François Tregouet

Half a century old and still thriving, Alubat, the Vendée-based shipyard, is not content with just being one of the world’s benchmarks in ocean cruising with its iconic Ovni yachts. Instead, with the enthusiasm of youth, it is preparing to launch three new monohulls over the next two years.

Link to read article [PDF]

Discover THE FULL RANGE OF ALUBAT Aluminum SAILBOATS

The new generation OVNI 370 with an inverted bow for improved performance and expanded the interior volume.

The new generation OVNI 370 with an inverted bow for improved performance and expanded the interior volume.

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The new generation OVNI 430 with an inverted bow for improved performance and expanded the interior volume.

The New OVNI 490 aluminum sailing yacht with twin engines and a pilot house

What sets the OVNI 490 apart are the protected pilot house and twin engines. 

The OVNI 450 stands out from the OVNI range and maintains a traditional cabin top styling.

The OVNI 450 stands out from the OVNI range and maintains a traditional cabin top styling.

Designing and building aluminum boats for blue water sailing. ​

The  Alubat shipyard  has been designing and building aluminum boats for blue water sailing since 1973. With more than 1,600 yachts built and with 50 years of expertise in metal work and carpentry, Alubat has unparalleled experience in the aluminum sailboat market.

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aluminum built hulls are 100% recyclable

Aluminum is green

By having the ability to beach your boat, inspecting and servicing your yacht becomes less daunting than having to haul out.

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Go places where other sailboats can't.

Centerboard advantages, navigate shallow water.

From the turquoise waters of the Bahamas to the Alaskan ice fields, a lifting keel gives you the peace of mind to navigate in shallow water. 

The centerboard doesn’t sacrifice performance or safety, in fact, it can enhance performance when it comes to downwind sailing. 

Alubat aluminum sailboat in Alaska

Another advantage of a centerboard is the expanded possibilities to find docking in marinas that would otherwise be too shallow for a fixed keel sailboat.

Without the limitations of fixed keel boats, your cruising opportunities can take you through the maze of Europe’s ancient canals and the historic North American waterways.

The centerboard can be lifted manually or by using a hydraulic system.

Alubat aluminum sailboat in the French canals

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FUTUNA cruisers speed, style and comfort

Whether your plans incorporate ocean passages, joining race events with friends or crew, or just cruising around the Mediterranean there is nothing that beats the pleasure and satisfaction of speed, which remains a safety factor for weather routing. And as the British say: "speed makes a great tactician". With a Futuna sail yacht, you get speed with no compromise on comfort, high standard, and just style. 

The Futuna's are high performance ocean-going blue water cruisers from the design office of Marc Lombard . Our aluminum composite sail yachts incorporate an exceptionally efficient hull on modern lines derived from the 60’ Open round the world racing. The result is a fine entry, maximum beam carried aft, a wide stern section and maximum length at the waterline. The Futuna design brings the state of the art to the cruising world, optimized for small crew handling. 

Built with an aluminum hull and partial deck for strength and safety and vacuum-bagged composite sandwich of GRP/closed-cell marine grade polymer foam core for the roof and cockpit for weight savings and performance, the result of this construction technique used in high end luxury yachts is an exceptional cruiser with an excellent weight ratio and the strength to withstand any test. 

The interior is finished to the highest joinery standards, with either honeycomb or marine grade closed cell polymer foam sandwich allowing luxurious accommodations with minimum weights, exceptional rigidity, and durability.

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'Qilak' an Owen Clarke 66' aluminium lifting keel, sailing expedition yacht - launched in 2018 at KM Yacht-Builders Holland is available for sale and handover at the end of this seasons' charter commitments. Designed and built specifically for commercial charter, expeditions for scientists, adventurers, as well as a 'go anywhere' explorer yacht for groups and private use especially in the high latitudes of the Arctic and Antarctic.  'Qilak' can transit the North-West Passage, over-wintering in high latitudes and able to enter shallow bays/harbours with her lifting keel and, combined with twin rudders enables her to layup safely in boatyards in remote parts of the world. 

Water, fuel, storage, heating and power generation can be a matter of survival, not just comfort when over-wintering and so a good deal of thought and design work went into these aspects. The main engine and generators do not rely on a raw sea water supply that can be blocked by ice but are instead cooled using an internal Glycol filled heat exchanger. The diesel tanks are built into the structure of the yacht and separated from the outside hull plating, effectively, a double bottom.




'Qilak' has two showers, two heads in self contained compartments and is surely one of the few yachts of this size with a separate urinal and a sauna for two. There is dedicated tender stowage in the stern garage for a 2.85m Williams inflatable jet tender (not included in inventory) and further stowage in the cavernous fitted out forepeak for a second large rollaway Zodiac military spec inflatable and all the essential equipment needed for sailing and exploring remote locations around the world.

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Since 1973, ALUBAT have been designing, building and commercializing 100% aluminium boats for blue water sailing. 

100% aluminium means that the hull, the deck, the coachroof and the cockpit are all made in aluminium. Everything is welded together with an inside and outside weld, because your safety is priceless. 

Lifting keels, ALUBAT have unparalleled experience in the aluminium boat market with more than 1,600 units built in over 49 years of expertise carried out by our metal workers, carpenters and shipwrights.

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OVNI 28 from 1985

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OVNI 28 from 1985

Designed by Philippe Briand, the OVNI 28 is a success in terms of habitability and efficiency under sails.

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BLUEWATER SAILING YACHTS QUALITY CRUISING SAILBOATS FROM THE WORLD’S TOP BUILDERS.

BLUEWATER CRUISING SAILBOATS FOR SALE

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2017 Passport 545 CC

Passport Yachts have long been recognized as “the standard of excellence” for bluewater cruising sailboats. Continued refinements under the direction of Thom Wagner, state-of-the-art hull layup, selection of some of the best marine hardware and systems available, and listening to their buyers, have all contributed to the Passport Vista Series’ tremendous success. The Passport 545 CC was awarded Cruising World’s prestigious “Boat of the Year” award in 2012. “ASA”, a 2017 Passport 545 CC is a prime example of why the Vista Series has remained so popular over the years. The ease of sailing her with the solent rig and in-mast furling has made her the “go-to choice” for sailing couples. With her large and roomy interior, there is adequate room for family or friends. You will be challenged to find the quality of the interior woodwork and finishes (found aboard the Passport 545) in much more expensive yachts.

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2019 Outbound 56

Specifying and building Outbound 56 BAREFOOT was a labour of love for her owners. They wanted to build the best quality and most practical cruising yacht that they could sail easily, as a couple, and that would carry them and their young children in safety and comfort, even to remote areas. The yacht is a very highly specified and much improved version of the well-known Hylas 56. Even after delivery the owner continued to improve and upgrade the yacht – including changing out the main engine. No cost has been spared to produce this wonderful yacht. With her hydraulic in-mast furling main, hydraulic furler to both of the headstays, electric furling gennaker, electric sheet winches - all controlled at the cockpit – she may be sailed single-handed (and has been). The interior provides a delightful aft “stateroom”, a double cabin forward and a versatile third cabin that may be used as a single or double and serves as a stowage area and workbench.

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1988 Sparkman & Stephens Custom 50

The Stephen Custom 50 was conceived by the renowned yacht designers Sparkman & Stephens who have designed and built some of the worlds leading cruising and racing sailboats. They did not miss the mark with this 1988 classy cruiser. This stable yacht is designed and optimized for long term cruising and is a true blue-water sailboat. A solid glass hull and full skeg make Brizo a smooth ride even in rough seaways and give assurance. Built at the Queen Long yard in Taiwan, a precursor to the fabled Hylas yachts, her build quality is unquestioned. The quality craftsmanship and fine joinery is apparent throughout the interior of this well-conceived design. A deck saloon and a three-cabin layout make this yacht perfect for cruising couples or families. If you are seeking a boat that can carry you far and wide with speed, safety, and comfort, Brizo is a must see.

All Bluewater Cruising Sailboats For Sale

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2020 Outbound 56

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2009 Outbound 46

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2009 Outbound 44

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1993 Robert Perry Custom 63

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1989 Windship 60 Cutter

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1989 Little Harbor 54

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HYLAS COLLECTION

The premier collection of pre-owned Hylas bluewater sailing yachts that are currently available on the market. Collection Yacht brokers have sold more Hylas sailboats in the last decade than all other yacht brokerages combined.

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OYSTER COLLECTION

Oyster is one of the world’s top bluewater cruising sailboat brands. Built in the UK, Oysters are finely crafted seaworthy yachts that capable of ocean passages and circumnavigation, with their most popular models being in the 50-70ft range. The Oyster Collection features current Oyster yachts for sale as well as videos, reviews, and guides.

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PASSPORT COLLECTION

Built to meet the style and taste of the American sailing market, Passport yachts are admired worldwide for their hand-crafted quality, proven passage making abilities, and well-thought out designs. While the award winning Passport 545 is perhaps the most popular model, the entire line is built to the same standards and respected for its sailing performance, fine interior woodwork, and beautiful detailing inside and out.

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Bluewater Cruising Sailboat Reviews, Guides, & News

Passport 545 Aft Cockpit Walkthrough Video

Passport yachts gives us a closer look at the interior and exterior of the Passport 545 Aft Cockpit sailboat.

Promo Video of the All New Oyster 565

A great promo video that Oyster has released highlighting features of the all new Oyster 565.

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Oyster 725 Review

The 725 was built, as many Oysters are, to sail anywhere her owners wish to go. She is the first boat in the range to have exceptional and dedicated crew quarters.

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Oyster 625 Review

The Oyster 625 is a powerful sailboat that can be handled by an experienced couple but also has ample space for a captain and crew if that is the desired cruising mode.

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OYSTER YACHT SALES EXPERTS

Collection Yachts, based in the yachting capital of the world, Fort Lauderdale, is proud to represent buyers and sellers of Oyster Yachts. Traveling with clients across the globe to find the best Oyster Yacht has resulted in long lasting relationships and many sales. Like Oyster, Collection Yachts provides top quality service for as long as a client owns their Oyster.

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Better Sailing

What Makes a Good Blue Water Cruising Sailboat

What Makes a Good Blue Water Cruising Sailboat

Before we get started, to analyze the features that make a good sailboat, I’d like to have you all take a seat please— and stop sharpening those knives! That includes you, sir, with the calloused hands and wood shavings in your beard! 

For some reason, boat talk can bring out the ogre in some people, which is too bad. One of the great things about sailing is the incredible diversity of sailboats to do it in: big sailboats, little sailboats, wide sailboats, skinny sailboats, monohulls, multihulls, wood sailboats, fiberglass sailboats, steel sailboats, aluminum sailboats—even sailboats made of cement! The number of sailboat types that continue to be built and sailed, even today, is truly incredible.

My own “breakthrough” in appreciating boat diversity came a few years ago on a bareboat charter cruise on Lake Erie with my wife. As I’ve intimated elsewhere, there was a time when I wanted nothing to do with any boat that wasn’t either a racer or an old classic with heartbreaking overhangs. Then along came this charter aboard a 34-footer of the type I had always dismissed as being the epitome of a soulless “plastic” cruiser.

In fact, I had barely set foot aboard that little trim vessel before I realized how wrong and even downright ignorant I’d been. The marina was as crowded as a shopping mall on the day after Thanksgiving, but we backed that handy little sloop out of her slip and turned toward the channel pretty as you please. A couple of hours later, a line of thunderheads rumbled in from the northwest, and we had to reef down for a bit of a squall, but again, there was no problem—despite some hail and about 35 knots of wind.

That night we relaxed in the comfortable cockpit, slowly working our way through a bottle of wine. Then we went below for a good night’s rest in the boat’s spacious aft stateroom. The next morning we awoke refreshed, had breakfast, and then headed back out onto the lake, ready and eager to do it all over again. In short, we had an absolutely fantastic time, and the boat performed splendidly in every way. It really was a revelation, both the quality of the boat and the realization of my own pig-headedness. 

This is not to say that all boats are good for all purposes. Deepwater cruisers need to meet certain criteria that make them markedly different from top-flight racers. The same goes for daysailers and coastal cruisers. The point is, each design has to be judged on its merits and in the context of the boat’s intended purpose. Assuming the builder has successfully executed the design, whether or not the boat is a good one ultimately depends on the sailor.

What Makes a Blue Water Sailboat

>>Also Read: Sailing Pre-Departure Checklist

What Makes a Good Blue Water Sailboat?

When it comes to crossing oceans with a sailboat, you obviously need a sturdy, reliable boat in the event you meet serious winds. The ideal bluewater cruiser, however, can’t be simply a waterborne tank—otherwise, it will take forever and a day to get anywhere, and you’ll be sitting duck for any storm heading your direction. In addition, the ideal cruising boat needs to take care of its crew on days when it isn’t blowing stink—days that far outnumber the stormy ones. It also needs to provide a comfortable place to rest and relax at the end of a day’s sail—not a trivial consideration, as even the most dedicated cruiser spends substantially more time at anchor or tied to the dock than out on the briny. Even an aggressive circumnavigation schedule will generally allow the crew two days in port for every day of sailing.

Finally, a bluewater cruiser needs to be both seaworthy and sea-kindly in its design and construction—that is, it must be able to both stand up to the rigors of heavy weather and spare the crew undue fatigue in the course of a typical passage. This is a boat that sails well but doesn’t require tremendous effort to keep it in trim. It’s a boat that tracks well—i.e., it’s steady on its helm—and has easy motion, so the crew doesn’t get banged up every time the weather starts kicking up some waves.

Here Is A Short List of Characteristics That Make a Good Offshore Sailboat

Structure and equipment installation.

To be truly seaworthy, a boat must be structurally sound and its equipment correctly installed. The hull-to-deck joint must be well made, and all bulkheads and other interior structural elements should be securely bonded to the underside of the deck and inside of the hull. Equally important, items like hatches, rudder bearings, and steering gear need to be robustly constructed and robustly installed, so they can withstand the force of a crashing sea.

On deck, a deepwater cruiser should have tall stanchions set in sturdy bases. It will often have bulwarks—or at the very least, toerails—to brace your feet against if you ever find yourself sliding down the deck when the boat is on its ear. There should be plenty of sturdy handrails along the cabintop so that you never have to make any kind of “leap of faith,” lunging from one handhold to the next when moving forward to the mast or foredeck. There should also be adequate side deck space between the cabin trunk and the bulwarks or toerail so that going forward isn’t a struggle. And, of course, the side decks and foredeck should be surfaced with aggressive nonskid. Beware of stylishly molded cabin trunks—their gracefully curved surfaces can be treacherous in rough weather.

What Makes a Good Offshore Sailboat

>>Also Read: Cruising Sailboats – Parts and Features

Hull Design

The hull of a good cruising sailboat should have relatively low freeboard (distance from the waterline to the upper edge of the deck) to minimize the impact of windage in extreme weather. It should also have a moderate beam, a bit of forefoot beneath the waterline, and a full keel or a moderately proportioned fin keel to help with heaving. The cockpit should be large enough to be comfortable in normal conditions but not overly large. If you’re ever pooped, a too-large cockpit will hold that much more water, the weight of which can depress your stern and make you vulnerable to being pooped again.

All deepwater boats should have a bridgedeck “step” of sorts between the front of the cockpit and the companionway leading below, so water from a flooded cockpit won’t slop into the cabin. The cockpit should also be equipped with large drains to allow water that comes aboard to leave as quickly as possible.

Finally, a blue water cruiser must have a safe limit of positive stability (LPS)—at least 120 degrees, although higher is better—to prevent it from capsizing in heavy seas. LPS is the heel angle at which the hull and keel stop resisting the capsizing forces of the wind and waves and actually abet them until the boat is completely inverted. In addition, the LPS dictates how stable a boat will be when it’s upside down—in other words, how easily the boat will re-right itself. As Calder explains, a sailboat with an LPS of 100 degrees will, in theory, remain inverted for about 5 minutes before it’s righted again by wave action.

A sailboat with an LPS of 120, on the other hand, should right itself in about 2 minutes. A sailboat with an LPS of 140 will theoretically pop right back up almost as soon as it goes over. Think about how long you can hold your breath—and about how long your hatches, hatchboards, vents, and portlights will hold when the boat is upside down in surging conditions. A couple of minutes could make all the difference in the world. For the record, many sailors believe that an LPS of 115 degrees is acceptable on an offshore boat.

What Makes a Good Cruising Sailboat - Cruising Sailboats Hull Type

>>Also Read: Full Vs Fin Keel On Sailboats

Comfort and Ease of Sailing

Many of the features that make for a seaworthy boat also make for a seakindly one. A sailboat with a moderate length-to-beam ratio, a bit of forefoot, and a full keel or moderately proportioned fi n, for example, not only heaves-to well but also tends to track better. Granted, the boat might not be the fastest thing on the water, but what cruising sailor wants to continually tweak and trim to eke out that last fraction of a knot of boat speed anyway? Likewise, a solid masthead rig with a moderate sail area will get you where you want to go without springing any nasty little surprises.

In Nigel Calder’s (sailing writer) words, “On a cruising boat, it is a fundamental mistake to gear the concept of fast passage making to maximizing the absolute speed potential of a boat at the expense of ease of handling, comfortable motion, stability, security, and other highly desirable attributes. Exhilarating performance can be fun in the short term but extremely fatiguing in the long term. Instead, the goal should be to achieve good sustained performance in all kinds of conditions in an environment that is as relaxing and as much fun as it can be.”

A deepwater boat should have V-shaped sections in the bow that will allow the hull to slice through the waves on a beat or close reach, instead of slapping and pounding. It should also be stiff enough to carry sail, but not so stiff that it has a “snappy” motion when coming off a swell—which calls for a moderate L/B to ensure adequate but not too much form stability. In this same vein, a boat with a moderate to heavy displacement-to-length ratio—unlike a featherweight speedster—tends to pass smoothly through the waves instead of bouncing over them or simply bobbing on top of them like an oversized cork.

Offshore Cruising Sailboat Example

>>Also Read: Must-Have Boat Safety Equipment For Sailing

Accommodations

The list in this category is pretty exhaustive. An ocean is a big place, but for the crew of a sailboat on passage, it’s essentially no bigger than the boat’s LOA (Length Overall). Nonetheless, the shortlist includes adequate sea berths, a galley that can be safely used in a seaway, plenty of storage, and a cockpit that’s comfortable and safe for watchkeeping.

When it comes to sea berths, simpler is better. Each berth needs to be a little more than 6 feet long and located no farther forward than around amidships. The motion in a forepeak berth in any kind of seaway will make sleeping impossible. Berths should also be parallel with the boat’s centerline, not angled dramatically inward. Otherwise, either your head or feet will be higher whenever the boat heels while you’re trying to sleep. Finally, sea berths should be straight to avoid cramped shoulders or feet. This consideration may seem obvious, but many modern cruising boats are equipped with curved or angled settees—those seats in the saloon that double as sea berths underway— which look great at boat shows but can be absolutely miserable for sleeping.

In the galley, you need a cooking area that not only includes the necessary equipment for preparing meals—stove, microwave, oven, cutting board, and the like—but a layout that will make cooking safe and as easy as possible when the boat is sailing on its ear. The key is a wraparound layout, in which the counters form a U or G shape, so you can brace yourself against an opposing counter or in a corner and free your hands for cooking.

Sinks should be deep and as close to the centerline as possible, where the motion is less severe. Fiddles—the little walls or barriers surrounding the countertops to stop things from sliding off —need to be tall and perpendicular, not low and artistically rounded. The galley should be located as close to the companionway as possible for ventilation and ease of passing snacks or coffee to crewmembers on deck. A location near the companionway also puts the galley well aft, where hull motion is easier.

Bluewater Sailboat

>>Also Read: What To Wear When Sailing

You can never have too much storage. Extended cruising requires a tremendous amount of storage space—for everything from charts to food to spare engine parts and toothpaste—and unless your boat is 50 feet or longer, there’s barely enough room for everything. Not only that, storage space can be surprisingly scarce even in larger cruisers, as designers struggle to shoehorn in more and more accommodations per foot of LOA. The double-size quarter berths tucked under the cockpits of many newer boats may look great. Still, the only way to fit them in is to eliminate a voluminous amount of storage that is otherwise available under the cockpit seats.

Large staterooms in the bow take away hull volume that could otherwise house wet lockers for storing damp foul-weather gear, and “sugar scoop” transoms with those oh-so-convenient swim steps leave no room for lazarettes—those wonderfully spacious lockers located aft of the cockpit. Next time you’re at a boat show, do a quick inventory of that 45-foot beauty with the multiple heads and staterooms. See what’s behind some of those lovely cherry-finished doors, and tally up the total storage area—including those “cabinets” that are so tiny they’re essentially useless. You may be surprised that a “big” boat can actually have remarkably little room for putting things away.

The cockpit should be the right size to “enclose” the on-watch crew—usually one person unless the boat and crew are very large—so they don’t have to worry about being washed around in heavy weather conditions. A cockpit’s width and length are key; there are few things in this life more reassuring than tucking yourself in where the cockpit seat meets the cabin trunk and having your feet braced against the cockpit seat or seat back to leeward— an unrealized comfort if the cockpit is too wide. In addition, all the necessary control lines should be close at hand. The helmsman shouldn’t have to let go of the wheel or tiller when trimming either the main or the jib sheets. The cockpit should also have several strong points where you can secure a safety harness and easy access to jacklines without having to expose yourself to the waves.

What a Good Sailboat Cockpit Looks Like

What Makes a Good Offshore Blue Water Sailboat? – Summary

To reiterate, these are just a few features of a good cruising sailboat—albeit critical ones.  The real key that makes a good offshore sailboat is to find one that’s functional and moderate in the areas of sailing and accommodations; fast but not too fast; roomy but not too roomy; and in which everything has a purpose.  After all, crossing an ocean in a tiny sailboat is serious business—tremendously satisfying, but serious nonetheless.

Peter

Peter is the editor of Better Sailing. He has sailed for countless hours and has maintained his own boats and sailboats for years. After years of trial and error, he decided to start this website to share the knowledge.

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20 Blue Water Cruising Catamarans Under $100k

October 13, 2021 by Martin Parker 1 Comment

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The debate between single-hull sailboats and blue water catamarans has raged since the beginning of time, and it’s unlikely ever to end! Both types of yachts have dedicated followers who are unlikely to ever be swayed by the benefits of the other. A lot of this is based on misconceptions and the influences of the people around them, though. We recommend that if you’re considering a blue water catamaran, get in a few good hours of sailing through varied conditions before making a decision. 

What Makes Blue Water Catamarans Great for Cruising?

Stable platform s.

Bluewater catamarans offer fantastic stability, despite what you may hear from single-hull yacht owners. There’s no high lean angle when sailing into the wind and no need to strap everything down to prevent it from moving. Add to this little or no rolling when moored, and a catamaran is a lovely place to be.

Additional Space 

An excellent beam to length ratio is essential on bluewater catamarans, and a 40-foot yacht will usually have a 20-foot beam. That gives you a 20-foot bridge deck, plenty of space on the hulls, and even more space forward on the netting.

Cruising Speed

The amount of wet surface area on a catamaran is significantly reduced compared to a monohull yacht. Without the need for a prominent, heavy keel for ballast, the catamaran can easily outperform a single hull yacht.

Shallow Draft s

Shallow draft boats allow easy navigation through shallow waters and exceptional stability for maximum comfort. You are far less likely to make mistakes with tide height predictions when sailing on a cat. 

Enclosed Cockpit s

Bluewater catamarans virtually always have an enclosed cockpit. Not only does this shield you from the sun in winter, but the elements in winter making cruising far more comfortable.

Safety 

The enclosed cockpit makes sailing safer, plus of course, when you need to get out on the deck, the stable catamaran is not pitching and rolling.

Our Top Choices For Blue Water Catamarans Under $100,000

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Designed and built by Rajen Naidu, the Rayvin 30 is a 29.5-foot cruising catamaran built for comfort. With a draft of just one meter, there are few places you can’t go on the Rayvin. The hull is constructed of epoxy glass fiber, but carbon-kevlar has been used for added strength below the waterline.

Inside, you’ll find three cabins, plenty of space, and even a bath! These are great value blue water catamarans with excellent performance.

Prout Snowgoose 37

Photo Provided by: Gideon Fielding (Katamarans.com)

Probably one of the most well-known blue water catamarans available, the Snowgoose 37 was designed and built by Prout and Sons in the United Kingdom. With a displacement of 6 tons, this is not a light boat, but the 600 square feet sail area gives a healthy hull speed of up to 10 knots. Many people have completed a circumnavigation in a Snowgoose.

It has a cutter design, but the overhang is substantial, leaving it susceptible to bridge slam, particularly on a close reach.

Over 500 examples were built, with plenty available under the $100,000 mark.

Prout Quasar 50

Sticking with Prout, the Quasar 50 was the largest catamaran designed and built by the company. The company was still making the Quasar until its closure in 2020, so you can find plenty of examples.

Constructed with fiberglass, the cutter design has a displacement of 10 tons and a sail area of almost 1185 square feet, giving a maximum hull speed of around 14 knots.

It has to be said the Quasar is not a pretty boat, but it makes a perfect large cruiser.

Catalac 12M

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Catalac was a British boat building company owned by Tom Lack, hence the Catalac name. Over 600 examples of Catalac’s (9M, 10M, 11M, and 12M) were built. All around, they’re known as solid boats that handle well.

Designed as a sloop, the 12M displaces almost 9.3 tons. With a sail area of just 700 square feet, this cat offers a relatively slow hull speed of 9.5 knots.

An interesting point is the double thickness hulls, designed to withstand the North Sea weather.

Maldives 32

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The Maldives 32 is a more modern design by Joubert-Nivelt. It features a short overhang with a netting deck to avoid bridge slam, initially built by Fountaine Pajot in 1988. The Maldives has a light displacement of 3.3 tons thanks to the fiberglass and foam sandwich construction. Add in a sail area of 592 square feet, and the Maldives can cruise at up to 11 knots.

The Maldives 32 is an excellent basic boat readily available well under our $100,000 price point.

Edel Cat 33

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Thanks to the fiberglass construction, the Edel Cat 33 is another light boat, at just 3.6 tons and with a shallow draft of just 2.6 feet.

The Edel was designed by Yvonne Faulconnier and built by the Edel company in France, with the first bots being produced in 1985.

The 635 square feet of sail is enough for a good turn of speed for such a light boat without over-powering the hull.

A notable feature is the very short bridge hull, avoiding almost any bridge slam problems.

Endeavourcat 30

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Designed by Cortland Steck and built in America by the Endeavour Catamaran Corp, the Endeavourcat 30 is a lightweight 30-foot catamaran constructed using fiberglass with a foam core.

It has to be said; the Endeavourcat is not pretty, but you get a lot of space for your money. Another issue is the enclosed bridge deck, making this suitable for gentle cruising only.

The sloop-rigged catamaran is a good, reasonably priced starter boat for taking the first dip into blue water catamarans.

Island Packet Packet Cat 35

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If you are looking for comfort with a bit of style, then the Island Packet Cat 35 could be it. Designed by Robert K. Johnson and built in the USA by Island Packet, the Cat 35 makes the perfect boat for cruising the Keys.

The displacement of 6.25 tons gives the boat a solid, dependable feel, while the 2.6-foot draft allows you to explore water-restricted areas.

Inside there’re acres of room, but the fully enclosed bridge deck will cause issues in heavy weather.

Gemini 105MC

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The Gemini 105MC is a sloop-rigged boat designed by Tony Smith and built by Performance Cruising in the United States. It was in production for over 27 years, and they delivered over 1000 boats, so there are plenty available to suit most budgets.

An interesting design feature is a lifting centerboard, giving excellent stability when down but a draft of just 1.65 feet when lifted.

A displacement of 4 tons combined with 690 square feet of sail area gives the 105MC outstanding performance characteristics.

lagoon 380

With 760 examples of the Lagoon 380 produced, there are plenty on the market at reasonable prices. Built by Jeanneau, it is one of the most popular bluewater catamarans ever made.

The distinctive vertical windows offer maximum internal space, and it has a spacious interior, but the tradeoff is a displacement of 8 tons, so performance suffers a little. You can cruise comfortably at 7 knots, and with the short bridge deck, you won’t suffer too much bridge slam.

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If you can track down a Dean 365, it’s well worth a look. You can find these solidly built boats for $50,000 upwards. Designed by Peter Dean and built by his company, Dean Catamarans, they have an excellent reputation.

For a 36 foot boat, the 6-ton displacement is not light, but it does benefit from twin engines, and with the sloop rigging, it can sail downwind at up to 11 or 12 knots. With the genoa providing the main sailing power, sailing into the wind is not great.

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Sold as a self-build design, the Tiki 38 is a solid cruising catamaran designed by James Wharram. There are plenty available, but all will be different depending on the builder. With a displacement of around 6 tons, it’s not the lightest, and the cruising speed is about 5 or 6 knots.

With a ketch rig, using two 30-foot masts, the sail area is around 730 square feet, but you can also use a 530 spinnaker. The draft is shallow at 2.5 feet.

The Tiki makes an interesting – perhaps quirky choice.

Crowther Spindrift 40

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If you are more interested in performance than interior space, the Crowther Spindrift 40 could be an excellent choice. Designed by Lock Crowther, the Spindrift features narrow hulls, reducing the wet surface area and increasing your sailing speeds. The downside is a lack of space.

The sloop rigging gives you a total sail area of 791 square feet combined with a light 4-ton displacement, making the Spindrift excellent in light winds.

MacGregor 36

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Three hundred of the Roger Macgregor designed 36-foot boats were built, so there are plenty available. It’s built as a racing catamaran, so space is at a premium. There is only a trampoline between the two hulls, but the weight saving makes the displacement just 1.4 tons, and with the 534 square feet of sail, you can achieve speeds touching 28 knots.

Accommodation is restricted to the two hulls, but there are bunks for four people and a galley in the starboard hull.

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The Flica 36 was designed by Richard Wood is a proven design capable of crossing oceans. A displacement of 5 tons gives a good balance between speed and stability, and the cutter rigging allows for a main and two foresails.

The hulls have been made from ply and fiberglass, which accounts for the slightly heavier weight and strength. The bridge deck offers plenty of space with a small overhang but will suffer from bridge slam in heavier weather.

Mirage Yachts 37

Only a few of the open deck Mirage 37’s were produced, but consider them in your search. Designed by David Feltham and built by Thames Marine, the ketch-rigged boats are sturdy and safe.

At 7.3 tons, it’s heavy for a 36-foot cat, and the small sail area of just 548 square feet makes it slow, with a hull speed of only 7.4 knots. As a coastal cruiser, it certainly makes sense to give you a comfortable base for exploring.

Simpson 35 Wildside

The Simpson 35 Wildside is an excellent cruiser, with three double cabins, two of which are across the bridge deck. Roger Simpson is the designer, and he’s well known for his sturdy, reliable boats.

The Bermuda rigged sloop design features a fully covered bridge deck, so expect bridge slam if you sail in anything more than slight to moderate conditions. With a displacement of 5

tons, and a small sail area, the performance will never be exciting, but it’s okay for coastal cruising.

Gemini 3400

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The Gemini 3400 is the predecessor to the Gemini 105 mentioned earlier. If you can’t find a 105 at your price, then a 3400 is a good alternative. Although weighing the same as the 105, at four tons, the sail area is smaller at just 490 square feet, giving a reduced performance.

As with all Geminis, the 3400 features retractable centerboards for better tracking when on a close reach, without increasing the draft.

The 3400 was designed by Tony Smith and built by Performance Cruising in the US, who still produce catamarans now.

Seawind 850

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Originally built in Australia by Seawind Catamarans and designed by Scott Jutson, the 850 is a 28-foot cat featuring fractional sloop rigging. At a relatively light displacement of 2.4 tons, the 350 square feet of sail gives good performance and comfortable cruising.

The short bridge deck overhang is filled with a trampoline, allowing the 850 to sail in rougher weather without too much bridge slam. The Seawind makes an excellent cruiser despite its 28-foot LOA.

Aventura 23.5

Our last catamaran is the smallest in the review. The Aventura 235 is just 23 feet long, has a light displacement of only 0.77 tons, and a sail area of 312 square feet. Two cabins offer four berths despite its diminutive size, making it a comfortable cruiser for a small family.

There are, of course, compromises, with just a single outboard engine on the centerline, and internal space is limited. But with its lightweight design, easy handling, and shallow draft of 1.8 feet, it is a perfect first step into catamaran ownership.

Blue Water Catamarans Are a Fantastic Budget Option

Remember: When buying a bluewater cruising yacht for less than $100,000, compromise is inevitable. 

The best advice for buying a boat is to be truly honest with yourself by defining your needs and separating them from your desires. 

Need more advice on buying great blue water catamarans? Get a conversation started on our community forum by leaving a question or comment!

If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment below, share it on social media, and subscribe to our email list., for direct questions and comments, shoot me an email at [email protected].

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July 2, 2022 at 2:52 pm

Surprised you don’t list the PDQ 32.

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