• Newsletters
  • Sailboat Reviews
  • Boating Safety
  • Sailing Totem
  • Charter Resources
  • Destinations
  • Galley Recipes
  • Living Aboard
  • Sails and Rigging
  • Maintenance
  • Best Marine Electronics & Technology

20 Best Small Sailboats for the Weekender

  • By Mark Pillsbury
  • Updated: August 4, 2021

In order to go cruising, most of us require a sailboat with a head, a galley, and bunks. The boat, likely a 30-footer and more often a 40-footer, will have electronics for navigation and entertainment, refrigeration if the trip is longer than a coastal hop, an engine for light wind, and, depending on our appetites for food and fun, perhaps a genset to power our toys and appliances.

To go sailing , however, all we really need is a hull, mast, rudder, and sail. To experience the pure joy of sheeting in and scooting off across a lake, bay, or even the open ocean, there’s nothing better than a small sailboat – we’re talking sailboats under 25 feet. You can literally reach out and touch the water as it flows past. You instantly feel every puff of breeze and sense every change in trim.

Some of the boats in this list are new designs, others are time-tested models from small sailboat manufacturers, but every one is easy to rig, simple to sail, and looks like a whole lot of fun either for a solo outing on a breezy afternoon or to keep family and friends entertained throughout your entire sailing season. This list is made up of all types of sailboats , and if you’re looking for a list of some of the best small sailboats for beginners, you’ll find exactly that here.

Any one of these popular boats could be labeled as a trailerable sailboat, daysailer, or even a weekender sailboat. And while most would be labeled as a one or two person sailboat, some could comfortably fit three or even four people.

Marblehead 22 Daysailer

If you have an eye for elegant lines and your heart goes pitter-patter over just the right amount of overhang beneath a counter transom, the Marblehead 22 daysailer, designed by Doug Zurn and built by Samoset Boatworks in Boothbay, Maine, will definitely raise your pulse. Traditional-looking above the waterline and modern beneath, the cold-molded hull sports a deep bulb keel and a Hall Spars carbon-fiber mast with a wishbone rig and square-top main. The 11-foot-9-inch cockpit can seat a crowd, and a small cuddy forward will let you stow your friends’ gear for the day. samosetboatworks.com

Catalina 22 Sport

Many a harbor plays host to an active fleet of Catalina 22s, one of the most popular small sailboats over the years, given its basic amenities and retractable keel, which allows it to be easily trailered. Recently, the company introduced the Catalina 22 Sport, an updated design that can compete with the older 22s. The boat features a retractable lead keel; a cabin that can sleep four, with a forward hatch for ventilation; and a fractional rig with a mainsail and a roller-furling jib. Lifelines, a swim ladder, and an engine are options, as are cloth cushions; vinyl cushions are standard. The large cockpit will seat a crowd or let a mom-and-pop crew stretch out and enjoy their sail. It’s clear why the Catalina 22 is one of the best sailboats under 25 feet. catalinayachts.com

With its large, open-transom cockpit and sloop rig, the Hunter 22 makes a comfortable daysailer for family and friends. But with its cuddy cabin, twin bunks, optional electrical system, opening screened ports, and portable toilet, a parent and child or a couple could comfortably slip away for an overnight or weekend. Add in the optional performance package, which includes an asymmetric spinnaker, a pole, and a mainsheet traveler, and you could be off to the races. The boat features a laminated fiberglass hull and deck, molded-in nonskid, and a hydraulic lifting centerboard. Mount a small outboard on the stern bracket, and you’re set to go. marlow-hunter.com

Not sure whether you want to race, cruise or just go out for an afternoon sail? Since 1958, sailors have been having a ball aboard the Uffa Fox/George O’Day-designed Daysailer. Fox, who in the 1950s was on the cutting edge of planning-dinghy design, collaborated with Fall River, Massachusetts boatbuilder O’Day Corp. to build the 16-foot Daysailer, a boat that features a slippery hull and a small cuddy cabin that covers the boat roughly from the mast forward. Thousands of Daysailers were built by various builders, and they can be found used for quite affordable prices. There are active racing fleets around the US, and new Daysailers are still in production today, built by Cape Cod Ship Building. capecodshipbuilding.com

BayRaider from Swallow Boats

Easy to rig and trailer, the BayRaider from England’s Swallow Yachts is a relative newcomer to the small-boat market in the United States. Nearly all of its 19 feet 9 inches is open cockpit, though a spray hood can be added to keep the forward sections dry. The BayRaider is ketch-rigged with a gunter-style mainmast. The topmast and mizzen are both carbon-fiber, which is an option for the mainmast as well. The BayRaider can be sailed with a dry hull in lighter conditions or with 300 pounds of water ballast to increase its stability. With the centerboard and hinged rudder raised, the boat can maneuver in even the thinnest water.

$28,900, (904) 234-8779, swallowyachts.com

Big fun can come in small packages, especially if your vessel of choice happens to be the 12 ½-foot Beetle Cat. Designed by John Beetle and first built in 1921, the wooden shallow draft sailboat is still in production today in Wareham, Massachusetts at the Beetle Boat Shop. With a draft of just 2 feet, the boat is well-suited for shallow bays, but equally at home in open coastal waters. The single gaff-rigged sail provides plenty of power in light air and can be quickly reefed down to handle a blow. In a word, sailing a Beetle Cat is fun. beetlecat.com

West Wight Potter P 19

With berths for four and a workable galley featuring a cooler, a sink, and a stove, West Wight Potter has packed a lot into its 19-foot-long P 19. First launched in 1971, this is a line of boats that’s attracted a true following among trailer-sailors. The P 19′s fully retractable keel means that you can pull up just about anywhere and go exploring. Closed-cell foam fore and aft makes the boat unsinkable, and thanks to its hard chine, the boat is reportedly quite stable under way. westwightpotter.com

NorseBoat 17.5

Designed for rowing and sailing (a motor mount is optional), the Canadian-built NorseBoat 17.5—one of which was spotted by a CW editor making its way through the Northwest Passage with a two-man crew—features an open cockpit, a carbon-fiber mast, and a curved-gaff rig, with an optional furling headsail set on a sprit. The lapstrake hull is fiberglass; the interior is ply and epoxy. The boat comes standard with two rowing stations and one set of 9-foot oars. The boat is designed with positive flotation and offers good load-carrying capacity, which you could put to use if you added the available canvas work and camping tent. NorseBoats offers a smaller sibling, the 12.5, as well; both are available in kit form.

$19,000, (902) 659-2790, norseboat.com

Montgomery 17

Billed as a trailerable pocket cruiser, the Montgomery 17 is a stout-looking sloop designed by Lyle Hess and built out of fiberglass in Ontario, California, by Montgomery Boats. With a keel and centerboard, the boat draws just under 2 feet with the board up and can be easily beached when you’re gunkholing. In the cuddy cabin you’ll find sitting headroom, a pair of bunks, a portable toilet, optional shore and DC power, and an impressive amount of storage space. The deck-stepped mast can be easily raised using a four-part tackle. The builder reports taking his own boat on trips across the Golfo de California and on visits to California’s coastal islands. Montgomery makes 15-foot and 23-foot models, as well. If you’re in search of a small sailboat with a cabin, the Montgomery 17 has to be on your wish list.

With long overhangs and shiny brightwork, the CW Hood 32 is on the larger end of the daysailer spectrum. Designers Chris Hood and Ben Stoddard made a conscious decision to forego a cabin and head in favor of an open cockpit big enough to bring 4 or 5 friends or family out for an afternoon on the water. The CW Hood 32 is sleek and graceful through the water and quick enough to do some racing, but keeps things simple with a self-tacking jib and controls that can be lead back to a single-handed skipper. A top-furling asymmetrical, electric sail drive and Torqeedo outboard are all optional. The CW Hood 32 makes for a great small family sailboat.  cwhoodyachts.com

Sun Cat from Com-Pac

Shallow U.S. East Coast bays and rock-strewn coasts have long been graced by cat boats, whose large, gaff-rigged mainsails proved simple and powerful both on the wind and, better yet, when reaching and running. The 17-foot-4-inch Sun Cat, built by Com-Pac Yachts, updates the classic wooden cat with its fiberglass hull and deck and the easy-to-step Mastender Rigging System, which incorporates a hinged tabernacle to make stepping the mast a one-person job. If you want a personal sailboat ideal for solo sailing, the Sun Can is a great choice. Belowdecks, the twin 6-foot-5-inch berths and many other features and amenities make this cat a willing weekender.

$19,800, (727) 443-4408, com-pacyachts.com

Catalina 16.5

The Catalina 16.5 sits right in the middle of Catalina Yachts’ line of small sailboats, which range from the 12.5 to the 22 Capri and Sport, and it comes in both an easy-to-trailer centerboard model and a shoal-draft fixed-keel configuration. With the fiberglass board up, the 17-foot-2-inch boat draws just 5 inches of water; with the board down, the 4-foot-5-inch draft suggests good windward performance. Hull and deck are hand-laminated fiberglass. The roomy cockpit is self-bailing, and the bow harbors a good-sized storage area with a waterproof hatch. catalinayachts.com

No roundup of best small sailboats (trailerable and fun too) would be complete without a mention of the venerable Hobie 16, which made its debut in Southern California way back in 1969. The company has introduced many other multihulls since, but more than 100,000 of the 16s have been launched, a remarkable figure. The Hobie’s asymmetric fiberglass-and-foam hulls eliminate the need for daggerboards, and with its kick-up rudders, the 16 can be sailed right up to the beach. Its large trampoline offers lots of space to move about or a good place to plant one’s feet when hanging off the double trapezes with a hull flying. The boat comes with a main and a jib; a spinnaker, douse kit, trailer, and beach dolly are optional features. hobiecat.com

Novice sailors or old salts looking for simplicity could both enjoy sailing the Hunter 15. With a fiberglass hull and deck and foam flotation, the boat is sturdily built. The ample freeboard and wide beam provide stability under way, and the heavy-duty rubrail and kick-up rudder mean that you won’t have to worry when the dock looms or the going grows shallow. Both the 15 and its slightly larger 18-foot sibling come standard with roller-furling jibs.

$6,900/$9,500 (boat-show prices for the 15 and 18 includes trailers), (386) 462-3077, marlow-hunter.com

Super Snark

Under various owners, the Snark brand of sailboats, now built by Meyers Boat Co., has been around since the early 1970s. The Super Snark, at 11 feet, is a simple, easily car-topped daysailer that’s fit out with a lateen rig and sail. Billed as unsinkable, the five boats in the company’s line are built with E.P.S. foam, with the external hull and deck vacuum-formed to the core using an A.B.S. polymer. The Super Snark weighs in at 50 pounds, and with a payload capacity of 310 pounds, the boat can carry two.

$970, (800) 247-6275, meyersboat.com

Norseboat 21.5

Built in Canada, the NorseBoat 21.5 is a rugged looking craft that comes in a couple of configurations: one with an open cockpit and small doghouse, and another with a smaller cockpit and cabin that houses a double berth for two adults and optional quarter berths for the kids. Both carry NorseBoat’s distinctive looking carbon fiber gaff-rigged mast with main and jib (a sprit-set drifter is optional), and come with a ballasted stub keel and centerboard. Because of its lightweight design, the boat can be rowed and is easily trailered.

$36,000 (starting), 902-659-2790, norseboat.com

Flying Scot

Talk about time-tested, the 19-foot Flying Scot has been in production since 1957 and remains a popular design today. Sloop rigged, with a conventional spinnaker for downwind work, the boat is an easily sailed family boat as well as a competitive racer, with over 130 racing fleets across the U.S. Its roomy cockpit can seat six to eight, though the boat is often sailed by a pair or solo. Hull and deck are a fiberglass and balsa core sandwich. With the centerboard up, the boat draws only eight inches. Though intended to be a daysailer, owners have rigged boom tents and berths for overnight trips, and one adventurous Scot sailor cruised his along inland waterways from Philadelphia to New Orleans.

Known primarily for its line of racing dinghys, RS Sailing also builds the 16-foot, 4-inch Venture, which it describes as a cruising and training dinghy. The Venture features a large, self-draining cockpit that will accommodate a family or pack of kids. A furling jib and mainsail with slab reefing come standard with the boat; a gennaker and trapeze kit are options, as is an outboard motor mount and transom swim ladder. The deck and hull are laid up in a fiberglass and Coremat sandwich. The Venture’s designed to be both a good performer under sail, but also stable, making it a good boat for those learning the sport.

$14,900, 203-259-7808, rssailing.com

Topper makes a range of mono- and multihull rotomolded boats, but the model that caught one editor’s eye at Strictly Sail Chicago was the Topaz Taz. At 9 feet, 8 inches LOA and weighing in at 88 pounds, the Taz is not going to take the whole crowd out for the day. But, with the optional mainsail and jib package (main alone is for a single child), the Taz can carry two or three kids or an adult and one child, and would make a fun escape pod when tied behind the big boat and towed to some scenic harbor. The hull features Topper’s Trilam construction, a plastic and foam sandwich that creates a boat that’s stiff, light, and durable, and shouldn’t mind being dragged up on the beach when it’s time for a break.

$2,900 (includes main and jib), 410-286-1960, topazsailboats.com

WindRider WRTango

WRTango, a fast, sturdy, 10-foot trimaran that’s easy to sail, is the newest portable craft from WindRider International. It joins a line that includes the WR16 and WR17 trimarans. The Tango features forward-facing seating, foot-pedal steering, and a low center of gravity that mimics the sensation of sitting in a kayak. It weighs 125 pounds (including the outriggers and carbon-fiber mast), is extremely stable, and has single-sheet sail control. The six-inch draft and kick-up rudder make it great for beaching, while the hull and outriggers are made of rotomolded polyethylene, so it can withstand running into docks and being dragged over rocks.

$3,000, 612-338-2170, windrider.com

  • More: 21 - 30 ft , Boat Gallery , day sailing , dinghy , Sailboat Reviews , Sailboats , under 20 ft
  • More Sailboats

New to the Fleet: Pegasus Yachts 50

Balance 442 “lasai” set to debut, sailboat review: tartan 455, meet the bali 5.8, route planning in the face of climate change, how to rig everything in your favor, imtra named employee-owned company of the year.

  • Digital Edition
  • Customer Service
  • Privacy Policy
  • Email Newsletters
  • Cruising World
  • Sailing World
  • Salt Water Sportsman
  • Sport Fishing
  • Wakeboarding


9 Best Trailerable Sailboats

9 Best Trailerable Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

December 28, 2023

Sailing is an excellent activity for the weekends, especially in remote mountain lakes or sheltered waterways. The United States is full of small isolated waterways, inland lakes, and rivers—which make the perfect environment for an adventure in a small sailboat .

Unfortunately, many people are put off by the idea of owning a sailboat due to the associated docking and maintenance fees. Weekend sailors often don’t want to pay for a long-term slip, and there’s no question that the added expense can be a pain.

Luckily, you don’t have to permanently dock a sailboat to enjoy this great pastime.

Instead of docking a large boat, you can purchase a small trailerable sailboat. A trailerable sailboat is a perfect option for part-time sailors and people with busy lives. Trailer sailors are some of the most popular boats in the country, and they’re not limited to light winds and calm seas. Many trailerable sailboats have made some impressive passages both offshore and coastal. In this article, we’ll go over some of the top new and used trailerable sailboats that you can purchase today. 

Table of contents

Best Trailerable Sailboats

1) west wight potter 15.


The West Wight Potter 15 is perhaps one of the most capable 15-foot sailboats around. This neat little vessel is as seaworthy as it is easy to handle, and it’s a great choice for all kinds of cruising adventures.

The West Wight Potter 15 is a 15-foot sloop with an aluminum mast and tiller. This tiny boat also features a small cabin, which has ideal sleeping accommodations for a cruising couple. The cabin itself is spartan compared to its larger relatives, but it’s the perfect design for the minimalist cruiser.

This small sailboat is easily trailerable and can be stored in some garages with relative ease. The West Wight Potter 15 is ideal for inland and coastal waters and sets up (and takes down) fast with minimal fuss. Don’t let the small design fool you—this craft is surprisingly seaworthy.

The West Wight Potter 15 has an impressive cruising record, including a trip from England to Sweden in the brutal North Atlantic. The West Wight Potter 15 can be purchased new from International Marine, and thousands of craft are in circulation already.

2) West Wight Potter 19


We thought it fitting to include the Potter 15’s big brother, the West Wight Potter 19, on this list of the best trailerable sailboats . West Wight Potter boats are well known for their robust design and easy handling, and the Potter 19 is no exception.

The West Wight Potter 19 boasts the seaworthiness and ease-of-handling offered by its little brother, with the benefit of greater sailing comfort and cabin accommodations. This 19-foot sailboat is constructed of fiberglass. The hull contains a liberal amount of positive flotation, which makes the boat practically unsinkable.

The cabin features generous accommodations for a boat of its size, featuring space for a vee-berth, a small stove, a sink, and a portable head. Additionally, the West Wight Potter 19’s cabin can be wired for electricity from the factory, further increasing the level of comfort in this capable trailer sailor.

Like its smaller alternative, the West Wight Potter 19 has a history of some impressive cruises. An individual sailed this craft thousands of nautical miles from California to Hawaii —a single-handed voyage usually reserved for boats twice its size.

That’s not to say that the Potter 19 is a purpose-built long-haul sailboat. This design is ideal for larger lakes, rivers, and coastal cruising. However, the design has demonstrated toughness and seaworthiness rarely found in smaller boats.

The Potter 19, like the Potter 15, is a centerboard craft. This sailboat is available new from International Marine and offers a wide range of options packages and upgrades.

3) Newport 27


The Newport 27 is a massive step-up in size and amenities compared to the other boats on this list so far. This comfortable trailerable sailboat originated in 1971—at the height of the fiberglass boat boom. The Newport 27 measures 27-feet in length and feature a flush-deck design similar to the famous Cal 20.

This sailboat, despite its trailerable size and weight, features surprisingly good handling characteristics and generous accommodations. A full 6-feet of standing headroom is available in the cabin, making this boat exceedingly comfortable for longer journeys.

This sailboat is an excellent choice for the trailer sailing sailor who dreams of longer journeys but spends much of the time just hopping around local ports.

Despite its modest size and weight, the design of this small sailboat is proven. Many people sail them long distances and enjoy the quick handling characteristics of its design.

The Newport 27 is a true pocket cruiser, if not slightly larger than most. The Newport 27 isn’t produced anymore, but there is a healthy second-hand market for the boat.

4) Cape Dory 28


The Cape Dory 28 is a legendary Carl Alberg design known for its commodious living spaces and well-rounded performance both offshore and inland. This spacious little cruiser has the styling and capability of many larger boats, featuring traditional styling and generous amounts of varnished teak and brass. This cozy boat is a great choice for traditionalist sailors.

The Cape Dory 28 features a proven, simple, and robust rig, and it functions gracefully in a variety of conditions. While a 28’ sailboat is hardly considered trailerable by many, it can certainly be hauled-out and transported with relative ease. This is the kind of sailboat that’s just as happy in the boatyard or a permanent mooring.

The Cape Dory 28 offers attractive features for long-haul voyages, plus ease-of-handling and quickness that is necessary for tighter coastal waters. The Cape Dory 28 is ideal for salt-water cruising, though it’s a bit large for small lakes and narrow rivers.

This is certainly not a shoal-draft cruiser—with a draft of 4-feet, it's primarily at home in the water. 

5) Islander 24


The Islander 24 is a common fiberglass classic that makes an ideal trailer sailing setup. This 24-foot fiberglass boat features a robust design and ease-of-maintenance rarely found on boats with similar capabilities.

The design has been around for over 40 years, and it’s served weekender and cruising sailor alike. The Islander 24 is a well-rounded cruising vessel with a spacious cabin for two (or more). The cabin features a forward vee berth, space for a head, and tables for a sink, stove, or navigation.

The boat is single-handed with ease, and the rig is simple enough to be stowed without too much hassle. The Islander 24 is a relatively common trailer sailor, though many owners leave it in the water.

A vessel of this size is ideal for cruising coastal waters, though some sailors have attempted longer voyages in this vessel. The Islander 24 is available on the used market all over the country. 

6) Contessa 26


The Contessa 26 is an excellent classic trailerable sailboat. Don’t let its modest size fool you—this cruising craft has a long-standing reputation for seaworthiness. The Contessa 26 is a fiberglass boat that debuted in 1965 and has since earned a bit of a cult following.

These rather innocuous looking crafts are as fun and capable as they are easy to handle. The boat features a spacious cabin, comfortable cockpit, and plenty of available cruising upgrades. The rig is well-built and resembles the rig of a much larger boat.

The Contessa 26 is an ideal pocket cruising setup for a moderately experienced sailor. The vessel has a narrow beam, which contributes to heeling. The boat is known to heel rather violently, but it stiffens up shortly after and becomes a joy to sail.

A boat like this knows its capabilities and is sure to impress anyone. The Contessa 26 is a safe, hardy, and comfortable cruising boat for minimalists, and one of the best tailorable sailboats in the mid to large-size category.

This boat is a little harder to come by than many other vessels on this list, as around 300 were built. However, if you’re lucky enough to locate one on the used market, it’s definitely worth considering. Contessa built a fine boat, and the Contessa 26 meets the standard with confidence.

7) Hunter 27 


If you’ve made it this far down the list, you’re probably surprised that the Hunter 27 hasn’t come up yet. This famous little boat has quite a reputation and happens to be one of the most popular modern trailerable cruisers available.

The Hunter 27 isn’t a traditionalist’s dream, but it offers the modern amenities and capabilities you’d expect from Hunter. This capable little sailboat has the handling characteristics of a truly seaworthy boat and manages well in all kinds of conditions.

The Hunter 27 has a reputation for amazing durability, and the design is sound from keel to masthead. Now, let’s get into some of the features that make the Hunter 27 a very attractive option. The Hunter 27 is a purpose-built small cruising vessel, but the accommodations appear to be a shrunken version of a boat 10 feet longer.

Down below, the Hunter 27 features a full galley, head, a full standing shower, berths, and generous storage space. The Hunter 27 is a truly livable trailer sailor, featuring accommodations that make it suitable for extended cruising or even living aboard. The salon features over 6 feet of standing headroom, with plenty of seating and counter space throughout.

The rig is sturdy and easy to handle. And remember, the Hunter 27 is still a trailer sailor. The boat features a shoal draft of under 4-feet and a displacement of less than 8,000 pounds. The Hunter 27 is available used, and this boat is still produced and available brand-new by Marlow-Hunter. 


How could we forget the little Cal 20? We didn’t—and it’s certainly worth including the famous Trans-Pac underdog on this list. The Cal 20 is reminiscent of the glory days of fiberglass sailing in the 1960s and 1970s.

This flush-deck racer is a fantastic trailer cruiser for anyone wanting big-boat handling and speed in a compact package. The accommodations on this boat leave something to be desired, but many people find them cozy and acceptable.

The cabin features sitting headroom and a berth, along with small tables for a stove or sink. The Cal 20 has a history of impressive voyages and was a popular choice for daring sailors on long offshore journeys. However, the boat is designed to be quick, safe, and fun on inland passages and coastal cruises.

The Cal 20 is common on the used market and makes a great entry-level cabin sailboat. The Cal 20 features an enormous cockpit, making it ideal for a day on the bay with friends or family.

The boat is easy to handle, and upgrades abound. The Cal 20 is a great little sailboat with a fun history and a massive fan base. This stout little yacht makes an excellent weekender too, and the cabin makes overnighting comfortable. 

9) Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20


One of the most legendary small trailerable cruisers is the full-keel Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20. A limited number of these boats were produced by Pacific Seacraft during the 20th century, and they have a reputation for incredible seaworthiness and long-range voyaging.

These sailboats have the hull shape of boats twice their size, with a long, deep, full keel running the length of the hull. The boat can handle some serious offshore cruising and features the capabilities of other full-keel sailboats.

The Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20 is an amazing find on the used market, as owners tend to cling to them due to their incredible characteristics. There aren’t many trailerable offshore cruisers available, which is because it’s not easy to design a small boat with offshore capabilities.

However, Pacific Seacraft did just that and built one incredible trailer sailor. This vessel is not really designed for shallow lakes and rivers.

The Flicka 20 is known to be a truly seaworthy ocean-going sailboat, which happens to be small enough to fit on an average-sized boat trailer.

Wherever you choose to sail, a trailerable sailboat is often a great choice. The boats listed here are by no means the only options—in fact, there are dozens of excellent trailerable sailboat models on the market. If you enjoy sailing but want to avoid the hassle of a permanent mooring, or if you travel to sail, a trailer sailor is a great choice.

Many sailors pick trailerable sailboats to sail multiple oceans. Many people would agree that it’s a lot more practical to haul your boat from the Pacific to the Atlantic, especially when the alternative option is the Panama Canal .

A trailerable sailboat can give you access to a multitude of sailing adventures—the lake one weekend, the coast the next, and perhaps an offshore voyage or island hopping in the delta.

And with this list of the best trailerable sailboats, you can find the boat that fits your needs (and your budget) and hit the water in no time.

Related Articles

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

by this author

Best Sailboats

Most Recent

What Does "Sailing By The Lee" Mean? | Life of Sailing

What Does "Sailing By The Lee" Mean?

October 3, 2023

The Best Sailing Schools And Programs: Reviews & Ratings | Life of Sailing

The Best Sailing Schools And Programs: Reviews & Ratings

September 26, 2023

Important Legal Info

Lifeofsailing.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

Similar Posts

Affordable Sailboats You Can Build at Home | Life of Sailing

Affordable Sailboats You Can Build at Home

September 13, 2023

Best Small Sailboats With Standing Headroom | Life of Sailing

Best Small Sailboats With Standing Headroom

Best Bluewater Sailboats Under $50K | Life of Sailing

Best Bluewater Sailboats Under $50K

Popular posts.

Best Liveaboard Catamaran Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Best Liveaboard Catamaran Sailboats

Can a Novice Sail Around the World? | Life of Sailing

Can a Novice Sail Around the World?

Elizabeth O'Malley

June 15, 2022

Best Electric Outboard Motors | Life of Sailing

4 Best Electric Outboard Motors

How Long Did It Take The Vikings To Sail To England? | Life of Sailing

How Long Did It Take The Vikings To Sail To England?

10 Best Sailboat Brands | Life of Sailing

10 Best Sailboat Brands (And Why)

December 20, 2023

7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat | Life of Sailing

7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat

Get the best sailing content.

Top Rated Posts

Lifeofsailing.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. (866) 342-SAIL

© 2024 Life of Sailing Email: [email protected] Address: 11816 Inwood Rd #3024 Dallas, TX 75244 Disclaimer Privacy Policy


My Cruiser Life Magazine

7 Best Trailerable Sailboats for Cruising

Many sailors balk at the idea of leaving their boat in the water at a marina. Slip fees are expensive, and maintenance bills get bigger the longer you leave a boat in the water. However, if you want a boat under 30 feet long, there are trailerable sailboats that will fit the bill.

Like any boat purchase, you’ll need to analyze precisely what kind of trailer sailer you want. Will a simple weekend sailboat suffice, or do you really need the best trailerable cruising sailboat you can find? 

Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of the best trailerable sailboat. Plus, we’ll look at how to compare them for your purposes.

trailerable sailboat

Table of Contents

Best trailerable sailboats, easy to launch trailerable sailboats, quick setup time, towing weight, catalina 22/25 “pop-top”, com-pac horizon cat for classic coastal cruising, marshall sanderling — small, portable, classy, west wight potter 19 — the tiny go-anywhere sailboat, seaward 26rk with retractable lead keel, corsair f-24 trimaran – sporty sailing, macgregor 26m — maximum speed meets maximum living space, long-range cruising boats, 7 best trailerable boats – a recap, what’s the best trailerable sailboat for a cruise, trailerable sailboats faqs.

  • Catalina 22/25
  • Com-Pac Horizon Cat
  • Marshall Sanderling
  • West Wight Potter 19
  • Seaward 26RK
  • Corsair F-24 Trimaran
  • MacGregor 26M

We’ll get into more detail about each brand in my post today, so hang tight!

What Is a Trailerable Sailboat, Exactly?

For this article, the priorities for a trailerable sailboat are:

  • Easy to launch
  • Require minimum setup to launch and store
  • Lightweight enough to be towed by the average vehicle

Before you can really classify a sailboat as trailerable, you need to evaluate and narrow your search criteria. Truthfully, 50-plus-foot ocean-going sailboats are regularly put on trailers. But that’s done commercially, on a big rig, with special permits for oversized loads, and even led cars.  

That probably isn’t what most people mean when they think of a trailerable sailboat. But what is the priority here, the trailerable part or the sailboat part? Compromises are going to have to be made somewhere. 

If you’re looking at the 20-foot-and-under sailboat crowd, finding a trailerable example should not be hard. Most sailboats this size are designed for trailers anyway since they aren’t the sort of boats people want to pay to leave in a slip year-round.

Things get more interesting when you look at the 20 to 30-foot boats. In this class, there are stout ocean-going cruisers with deep keels and lightweight centerboard trailer sailboats designed from the get-go to be trailered by the average car or SUV. The differences between these boats are night and day.

Sailboats often have a hard time at boat ramps. First, deep keels mean that the trailer must extend farther into the water than the average boat ramp allows. This means the ramp needs to go back far enough, and the trailer tongue needs to be long enough not to swamp the car. 

If you have a boat like this, you’ll need to find the right boat ramps. Unfortunately, not all ramps are created equally. If your boat draws more than two or three feet on the trailer, you’re going to be limited to steep, paved, and high-quality boat ramps. Unfortunately, those aren’t standard features, so your cruising grounds are going to be limited.

Usually, ramps aren’t built steeply because they are often slippery. Your tow vehicle will need excellent traction and torque to pull your fully loaded boat out of a steep ramp. The steeper the ramp, the more trouble you’ll have. 

The alternative to finding steep ramps is to use a trailer tongue extender. This lets you get the trailer into deeper water without swamping the tow vehicle. But it also means that the ramp needs to extend deep enough. Many ramps end abruptly. Allowing your trailer to sink off the edge is an excellent way to get stuck or pop a tire.

Pick a boat as easy to launch and retrieve as a similarly sized powerboat to remove all of these boat ramp problems. The soft chines of most sailboats will always require a little more water, but a swing keel and the hinged rudder raised mean that the boat can sit low on the trailer bunks. That way, you only need one or two feet of water to launch, an easy feat at nearly every boat ramp you can find.

The next consideration for a sailboat to be portable enough to call it “trailerable” is the amount of time it takes to step the mast and get it ready to cruise. 

To accomplish this, you need a mast that can be stepped by a two-person team–maximum. Ideally, it will have some tabernacle hardware to enable one person to do the task for solo sailing.

There is an entire family of pocket cruisers that could ideally fit on trailers. But you won’t find the Fickas or the Falmouth cutters on my list, simply because they aren’t easy to launch or easy to rig. But, of course, they’re also too heavy for most vehicles to tow, which leads us to the final point of excluding them this trailable pocket cruiser’s list.

One of the most significant financial burdens the trailer sailer faces is their tow vehicle. You are all set if you already drive a two-ton dually diesel pickup truck. But if your daily driver is an SUV or light pickup, you need to think long and hard about the math of the towing equation. 

Whatever boat you buy cannot exceed the towing rating limits of your tow vehicle. If you don’t have a tow vehicle, you’ll need to buy one. This will double or triple the cost of getting a trailer sailer in most cases. For the same money, you may want to look at a boat that stays in the water at a traditional boat slip. For the cost of a trailer sailer and a tow vehicle, you can probably step into a nice boat that is larger and more comfortable than any towable.

If you have a tow vehicle, you need a light enough vessel for it to tow. Most modern SUVs tow less than 2,500 pounds. Anything more than 5,000 will require a full-size pickup. Remember that the tow weight isn’t just the boat’s displacement—it’s the empty hull weight, plus the weight of the trailer and any extra gear you need to pack into the boat. 

Finding a vessel that fits these limitations on weight isn’t easy. If the manufacturer’s goal is to make it towable, immediate limits are placed on the materials they can use. This means less seaworthiness since boats are built light and thin. As far as stability goes, lead keels are generally out, and water ballast systems or centerboards might be used instead. It doesn’t mean these boats aren’t safe and fun, but they aren’t designed for rough conditions, crossing oceans, or living on in the water full-time .

Trailerable sailboats are usually limited to the best paved ramps

7 Best Trailerable Cruising Sailboats

There are more trailerable sailboats out there than you might imagine. Here’s a look at seven popular options of all shapes and sizes to give you a taste of what you might want to take to sea.

The boats here are selected for their storage and living space. With these boats and a little outfitting, you can spend weeks gunk-holing in the Chesapeake Bay or island hopping the Bahamas. If you broaden your scope to include daysailers with no cabin space, there are countless more options.

One of the worst parts of a small trailerable sailboat or pocket cruiser is the lack of stand-up headroom. One clever solution that you’ll find on some weekend sailboat types is the pop-top. 

The pop-top is simply an area around the companionway hatch that extends upward on struts. So when you’re at the dock or anchor, you get standing headroom down below—at least right inside the pop-top.

You can build a canvas enclosure for your pop-top to use it in all weather. A pop-top makes your boat feel much larger than it is and allows you to move freely to cook or get changed down below or even do a nice boat bed area. 

Later models of the Catalina Sport 22 and Capri 22s lacked this cool pop-top feature, so if you want it, you’ll need to seek out an older model on the used market.

Com-Pac has been building small sailboats since the early 1970s. They currently sell two lines, each with various-sized boats. All are well built, and a majority of their boats are trailerable. 

Most interesting at the Com-Pac traditional catboats . The rigging is more straightforward than modern sloops, with only one large mainsail. Com-Pac boats come with a unique quick-rig system to make getting on the water fast and simple.

The Horizon Cat Coastal Cruising has a displacement of 2,500 pounds with a 2’2″ draft when the board is up. She has a separate head forward and space to lounge either topside or down below. The smaller Sun Cat has slightly few amenities but shaves off a few feet and pounds, making it easier to tow and it is one of these amazing small sailboats. Com-Pacs features stub keels, so their centerboard and hinged rudder do not take up space in the cabin.

On the sloop rig side, the Com-Pac 23 comes in a 3,000-pound traditional sailboat or a very interesting pilothouse. Both are incredibly livable for their size , with shallow two-foot-long fixed keels and high-quality construction.

Another option if you like catboats is the Marshall Sanderling. This salty 18-footer oozes traditional charm , all while being easy to sail and easier to tow. And while she has wooden boat lines, she has a modern laminated fiberglass hull.

The Sanderling has a 2,200-pound displacement, so tow weights will be around 3,000 pounds. At only 18-feet, she’s on the small side for cruising. The cuddy cabin has no galley, and the portable toilet is not enclosed. But that small size means a simple boat that’s easy to maintain and take anywhere. 

An electric motor package is an exciting option on this weekend sailboat!

View this post on Instagram A post shared by @marshallmarinecat

You can’t mention tiny trailer sailers without touching on the famous West Wight Potter . These 15 and 19-foot pocket cruisers have earned a worldwide reputation as the ultimate go-anywhere coastal cruiser.

The West Wight Potter 19 offers the most living space for staying aboard and cruising. So even though its dimensions are diminutive, this little boat packs a lot in. There’s a single burner hotplate and sink and a porta-potty tucked under a cushion. Yes, it’s tight—but the company claims the little boat can sleep five people. Any more than two will feel pretty crowded, however.

The boat comes standard with a mast-raising system that a single person can manage alone. It has a daggerboard for a shallow draft of a half-foot when the board is up. The total towing weight is around 1,500 pounds, which means nearly any car can tow a West Wight Potter.

This little-known trailer sailer is produced at the same Florida factory that makes Island Packet Yachts. That should give you a little bit of an idea of what sort of boat it is—trailerable, yes, but also high-quality, beautiful, and built for cruising. In other words, it’s one of the nicest all round pocket cruisers and it feels like a much larger boat.

The Seaward is easily the saltiest boat on this list . It’s beefy and seaworthy. Instead of a lightweight centerboard, Seaward fits the RK with a bulb-shaped retracting keel. Other big-boat items include a Yanmar diesel inboard motor and an enclosed head. The spacious cabin of the boat features a double berth and is ready for salt water cruising.

According to sailboatdata.com , the tow weight of the 26RK is 6,000 pounds. With the keel up, the draft is 1.25 feet.

Multihull sailors need not feel left out from the trailer sailer club and the pocket cruiser. Beyond the ubiquitous beach Hobie Cat, there are not many options for catamarans. But trimarans are uniquely suited to be towed.

Why? For one thing, performance oriented boats like trimarans are based on it being built light. There is no ballast—a trimaran’s stability comes from its two outer hulls. Additionally, the living space is entirely housed in the central hull–the outer floats are small and sometimes foldable. Finally, there are no keels on tris, so they are extremely shallow draft and perfect for trailering.

If you’re looking for adrenaline-pumping sporty and fun sailing, it’s impossible to beat what a trimaran will offer. Let’s not beat around the bush—most of the trailer sailers on this list have hull speeds around five knots. The Corsair has no such limits, routinely sailing at 15 knots or more .

The new Corsair 880 trimaran has an unloaded weight of 3,659 pounds. It is trailerable behind a big SUV or small pickup and is probably the most fun sailing option that is trailerable at all.

An even more portable option is the older Corsair F-24. It has a light displacement of under 2,000 pounds—so nearly any SUV can tow it.

MacGregor owns the market on trailerable motor sailers since they more or less created the product to fit the bill. The MacGregor 26 is not like other boats. The design combines a planing powerboat with a centerboard sailboat. Imagine scooting along at 20 knots or more when the wind is down or enjoying a sporty sail on a breezy day–in the same boat.

The entire boat is built from the ground up for towing and long-range sailing. So if you want a big sailboat that you can tow behind pretty much any SUV, the MacGregor has to be on your list. 

Depending on the model, the 26-foot-long boats have incredibly light dry weights of between 1,650 and 2,350 pounds. Considering the massive volume of the roomy cabin, the ability to tow such a large vessel opens up an entire world of opportunities for owners. 

It’s not all good news, of course. MacGregor owners love their boats, but they are built light and are not ideally suited for offshore cruising or rough weather. But in bays and for coastal sailing on nice days, few boats can get as much use as a MacGregor. 

The motorboat capability of the 26M and 26X might not appeal to hardcore sailors, but for those looking to maximize their use of the boat depending on the weather, their mood, or location, it makes a lot of sense. 

MacGregor shut down in 2015, but the daughter and son-in-law of the original owners took over production and renamed the boat the Tattoo 26 . The company will soon release a smaller version, the Tattoo 22 .

If the 26 is a bit big to make your list of best trailerable small sailboats, consider the smaller Powersailer 19. It’s nearly identical to the 26, just smaller and lighter.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dale Roddick (@droddick33)

What Do You Want Your Trailer Sailer To Do?

After you’ve settled on how you will tow and launch your trailer sailer, now it’s time to dream about what you want it to do. Where will it take you? 

The beauty of a towable boat is that you can travel anywhere. A boat in the water might take weeks or months to move a few hundred miles. But if you can attach it to your car and do 65 mph on the interstate, you could sail on the Pacific on Monday, the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, and the Atlantic on Friday.

We can divide our trailerable sailboats into three groups – daysailers, weekenders, and cruisers.

These are designed with open cockpits and no space to sleep. This is a majority of the sub-22-foot boats on the market. They are designed to be launched, play for the day, and return to the ramp or dock.

A weekender will have rudimentary sleeping facilities. Think of it as a floating tent—it’s not a five-star hotel, but you can sleep under the stars or get out of the rain. Conceivably you could stay aboard indefinitely, but it doesn’t have much room for gear. So most people are ready to get off after a day or two. 

A cruising boat has sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities built-in. These might be small and simple, but in any quantity, they mean you can disconnect from shore for a long time. Unfortunately, squeezing all of this into a tow-friendly package isn’t easy, and very few boats do it well. 

Trailer sailer adventures

The best trailer sailor for your adventures will depend on many factors. Like any boat, whatever you decide on will be a compromise – boats always are. But there are plenty of choices out there, no matter what size your tow vehicle is and no matter what sailing adventures you have in mind.

What size sailboat is trailerable?

Even large yachts are routinely transported by towing across land, so the question is more of how big a sailboat can you tow? Your tow vehicle will be the limiting factor. The upper limit for most large SUVs and trucks is usually a sailboat around 26 feet long.

Sailboats are generally very heavily built, with ballast and lead keels. Sailboats specifically made to be trailer sailers are lighter. They may use drainable water ballast tanks instead of fixed ballast and have fewer fixtures and amenities.

To find the best trailer sailer, you need to balance the total tow weight, the ease of rig setup at the boat ramp, and the boat’s draft. Shallow draft boats with centerboards are the easiest to launch and retrieve.

Is a Hunter 27 trailerable?

No. The Hunter 27 is a one of those fixed-keel larger boats built from 1974 to 1984. The boat’s displacement is 7,000 pounds, not including trailer and gear. That alone makes it too heavy to tow by all but the beefiest diesel trucks. 

Furthermore, the fixed keels had drafts between 3.25 and 5 feet, all of which are too much for most boat ramps. In short, the standard Hunter Marine 27 is too big to tow for most people.

On the other hand, Hunter has made several good trailer sailers over the years. For example, the Hunter 240 and 260 were explicitly designed for trailering. They have drainable water ballast and shallow keel/centerboard drafts less than two feet. 

Is a Catalina 22 trailerable?

Yes, the Catalina 22 is easily trailerable and makes a wonderful weekend sailboat. In fact, there were over 15,000 Catalina 22s made and sold over the years. 

The boat’s displacement is 2,250 pounds, which means your total tow weight with trailer and gear will be under 3,000 pounds. This is within the capabilities of most mid to full-size SUVs and light trucks. Be sure to check your vehicle’s towing capacity, of course.

The centerboard on the Catalina 22 is another factor in its easy towing. With the board up, the boat draws only two feet. This makes it easy to float off the trailer at nearly any boat ramp. You should avoid fixed keel versions of the 22 for towing unless you have access to extra deep ramps. 

24 ft sailboat

Matt has been boating around Florida for over 25 years in everything from small powerboats to large cruising catamarans. He currently lives aboard a 38-foot Cabo Rico sailboat with his wife Lucy and adventure dog Chelsea. Together, they cruise between winters in The Bahamas and summers in the Chesapeake Bay.

Can someone tell me why no other manufacturer makes pop tops? Those who have them, love them. Makes sense for head space with a trailerable boat too. Catalina stopped making them decades ago, yet people still swear by them. So, why isn’t there any newer models?

MacGregor put pop tops on many of its trailerables

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • New Sailboats
  • Sailboats 21-30ft
  • Sailboats 31-35ft
  • Sailboats 36-40ft
  • Sailboats Over 40ft
  • Sailboats Under 21feet
  • used_sailboats
  • Apps and Computer Programs
  • Communications
  • Fishfinders
  • Handheld Electronics
  • Plotters MFDS Rradar
  • Wind, Speed & Depth Instruments
  • Anchoring Mooring
  • Running Rigging
  • Sails Canvas
  • Standing Rigging
  • Diesel Engines
  • Off Grid Energy
  • Cleaning Waxing
  • DIY Projects
  • Repair, Tools & Materials
  • Spare Parts
  • Tools & Gadgets
  • Cabin Comfort
  • Ventilation
  • Footwear Apparel
  • Foul Weather Gear
  • Mailport & PS Advisor
  • Inside Practical Sailor Blog
  • Activate My Web Access
  • Reset Password
  • Customer Service

24 ft sailboat

  • Free Newsletter

24 ft sailboat

Ericson 34-2 Finds Sweet Spot

24 ft sailboat

How to Sell Your Boat

24 ft sailboat

Cal 2-46: A Venerable Lapworth Design Brought Up to Date

24 ft sailboat

Rhumb Lines: Show Highlights from Annapolis

24 ft sailboat

Solar Panels: Go Rigid If You have the Space…

24 ft sailboat

Leaping Into Lithium

24 ft sailboat

The Importance of Sea State in Weather Planning

24 ft sailboat

Do-it-yourself Electrical System Survey and Inspection

24 ft sailboat

When Should We Retire Dyneema Stays and Running Rigging?

24 ft sailboat

Rethinking MOB Prevention

24 ft sailboat

Top-notch Wind Indicators

24 ft sailboat

The Everlasting Multihull Trampoline

24 ft sailboat

What Your Boat and the Baltimore Super Container Ship May Have…

Check Your Shorepower System for Hidden Dangers

24 ft sailboat

DIY survey of boat solar and wind turbine systems

A lithium conversion requires a willing owner and a capable craft. Enter the Prestige 345 catamaran Confianza.

What’s Involved in Setting Up a Lithium Battery System?

24 ft sailboat

The Scraper-only Approach to Bottom Paint Removal

24 ft sailboat

Can You Recoat Dyneema?

24 ft sailboat

How to Handle the Head

24 ft sailboat

The Day Sailor’s First-Aid Kit

24 ft sailboat

Choosing and Securing Seat Cushions

24 ft sailboat

Cockpit Drains on Race Boats

24 ft sailboat

Re-sealing the Seams on Waterproof Fabrics

24 ft sailboat

Safer Sailing: Add Leg Loops to Your Harness

Waxing and Polishing Your Boat

Waxing and Polishing Your Boat

24 ft sailboat

Reducing Engine Room Noise

24 ft sailboat

Tricks and Tips to Forming Do-it-yourself Rigging Terminals

marine toilet test

Marine Toilet Maintenance Tips

24 ft sailboat

Learning to Live with Plastic Boat Bits

  • Sailboat Reviews

Corsair F-24 Boat Test

The corsair f-24 mk i cooks up a budget-friendly taste of fast..

24 ft sailboat

In May 1999 Practical Sailor reviewed the then-new Corsair F-24 Mark II trimaran. Nearly 20 years later, were here to follow up with a focus on the Corsair F-24 Mark I, a boat that can represent a good value today since many newer designs have entered the market.

The late Ian Farrier (1947-2017) designed fast, trailerable trimarans for more than 40 years. A New Zealander, his first production success was the 18-foot Trailertri. His 19-foot Tramp was Boat-of-the-Year in Australia in 1981. In 1983 John Walton (of the Wal Mart family) founded Corsair to build high-performance multihulls, lured Farrier to Chula Vista, California, and the result was the very popular F-27 ( PS September 1990 ). Almost 500 have been sold since it went into production in 1985. It has since been superceded by the F-28.

In 1991, Corsair added the F-24 Sport Cruiser. This abbreviated version of the F-27, with a starting price more than 30 percent lower than the F-27, was designed to be affordable.

While she remained sharp in the performance department, her accommodations were even more spartan. We spoke with Ian Farrier several times about anchoring and cruising; it was pretty clear that his heart was in racing and he even suggested we were probably better in tune with the needs and practicalities of small multi-hull cruising than he was. Still, he designed a cabin that can handily do both, if you can accept the compromises.

Corsair F-24 Boat

The deck layout is similar to the typical 24-foot monohull, except that it is wide-18 feet-with wing trampolines on both sides. In addition to providing stability, this gives lounging space in fair weather and greatly increases safety in rough weather. Though lacking railings and lifelines-other than a pulpit and wrap-around stern rail-its hard to fall off the F-24 if jacklines and tethers are used. A single large Lewmar foredeck hatch provides ample ventilation. The cockpit will easily seat six, but three is more comfortable for vigorous sailing.

The cockpit is equipped with four Lewmar 16 winches (the jib winches are one-speed self-tailers, the reacher winches are standard two-speed), two multi-line jammers, and ten cam cleats. All essential sail controls, including halyards, are accessible from the cockpit, making for easy single-handed sailing.

The mainsail furls by winding around the boom; fast, convenient, and very gentle on the typical Mylar/carbon laminate sails. Reefing requires a quick trip to the mast to crank the boom around and attach the down haul, but that is it. The set up makes a vang impractical but few multihulls use them anyway, preferring to control the boom with the traveler.

The bow anchor locker holds two anchors and two rodes, so long as they are folding designs. Trimarans are best anchored using a bridle; the test boat uses a 20-foot Dyneema bridle that is retracted onto the wing nets when not in use.

The typical 6 horsepower outboard delivers about 5.3 knots at 1/3 throttle and about 6.5 knots wide open. The side mount provides decent performance in chop, pitching less than transom-mounted engines.

The portable fuel tank is protected from the sun and solar heating in an under-seat locker. It is wide is open for venting (but sealed from the cabin) and drains out through the open transom, safe and out of the way.

Since the emphasis was fast cruising and racing, storage and amenities are sparse. In the cabin there is storage behind the seat backs. The large rectangular top-opening lockers in the galley counter and under the seats can be fitted with hanging bags for easier access.

The head compartment has sufficient space for toilet paper and cleaning supplies. There is a large bottomless locker in the cockpit that also provides access to under cockpit areas. Lockers in the amas (outriggers) can hold light, bulky items.

There is sitting head room and ample seating for four on the starboard settee. An Origo alcohol stove and sink with rocker pump provide a minimal galley. A large cooler slides easily under the companionway. The forward V-berth is quite long, though a little pinched at the foot. The settee converts into a twin-sized bed using filler boards that slide neatly into storage slots under the companionway.

A portable head sits in a well behind a curtain, and is typically moved into the cockpit at bedtime for better privacy. Some owners rate the interior as poor, but most call it camping-out comfortable, suitable for an overnight or weekend.


Everyone wants to know how fast the little trimaran will go. To windward it points as well as most monohulls, thanks to a deep centerboard. Shell tack through less than 90 degrees if you pinch, though it’s faster if you bear off just a little. Keeping up with 40-foot cruisers is easy on any point of the sail, and you quickly chase them down on a reach.

With the wind free, expect to match true wind speed up to about 12 knots, after which you may reef or bleed power, depending on your mood. In lighter winds, pop out the reacher and you’ll get a whole new gear, easily exceeding wind speed.

In stronger winds, bear off until the true wind is on the quarter, and you’ll see 14 knots or more, although handling requires sharp attention if you haven’t reefed.

Compared to the Stiletto 27 (see PS July 2016), it is more weatherly, tacks faster, can safely handle more wind, but is slightly slower off the wind (though not as scary).

Upwind reefing begins at about 15 knots true for those who like fast sailing, but there is no reason not to reef a little earlier and enjoy more relaxed, but still spirited sailing. Maximum angle of heel is about 15 degrees.

With two reefs and the jib rolled up a little, shell take quite a lot of wind, perhaps 30 knots, without much excitement. Upwind in 20 knots is fun with the right reefs in, and that’s pretty good for a 24-foot boat. Farrier designed these conservatively, with windy conditions in mind. They are quite popular on San Francisco Bay, an area known for strong breezes.

The Mark II was touted as the new and improved version of the Mark I. By replacing the centerboard with a daggerboard, weight was reduced, and a rotating mast increased power, making the Mark II noticeably faster. The Mark I has more usable cabin space, since the centerboard case is hidden inside the settee, and the Mark I cockpit is also several feet longer, a boon to fun daysailing.

The centerboard is also a blessing in shoal water, automatically pivoting up if it smells the bottom, instead of breaking things when you find a sandbar at 15 knots. The Mark I has a kick-up rudder fitted into a cassette, keeping it under the boat, while the Mark II has a transom hung rudder. The Mark I works as a day sailor and weekender, while racers prefer the Mark II.

As with any multihull, there is always the capsize canard. Sailed poorly, any sailboat can capsize, says Farrier. My designs are not immune to this. With over 1,000 Farriers now sailing, even a low 1 percent capsize ratio would mean 10 capsizes a year. However, the capsize rate actually appears to be averaging .03 percent.

Large ocean-going monohull yachts are foundering annually, sometimes with loss of life. The basic safety difference is that the monohulls ultimate stability is resting on the bottom, while the multihulls is floating on top.

Reef appropriately and the risk is truly small. F-27s have completed successful transpacific and transatlantic crossings, and even the first circumnavigation of the North Pole under sail. Finally, the F-24 can’t sink. Built-in foam flotation, light construction, and multiple crash tanks in the amas and foam-filled akas (cross beams) make this impossible.

The F-24s main hull is fine, with a V-entry forward, U-sections mid-ships, and a relatively flat transom to damp pitching and provide lift for planing. Going to weather, most of the weight is on the amas, with fine V-sections that cut nicely through waves. Powering through short chop is not a strong suit among multihulls, but she has demonstrated considerable ability in choppy waters such as San Francisco Bay and the Chesapeake.

The heart of Farriers designs is the patented Farrier Folding System. Refined over the years, the mechanism allows the akas to fold-up, which reduces the F-24s beam from 17 feet 11 inches to 8 feet 2 inches.

We kept our F-24 in a small boat marina for a time, folding after every sail; we did this while motoring in the channel, requiring only a few minutes of light effort by one person.

While the claim of trailering to sailing in 20 minutes may be true for seasoned crews that race every weekend, allow two hours for the transition if you do this only occasionally.

Although no single step is physically difficult for a single person, there are many steps and a second pair of hands makes for safer work. The engineering has proved very reliable, and now that the patents have expired, copies abound.


Performance multihulls built to their designed displacements are hardly ever built on production lines. Corsair has been the exception to that rule. Light weight is an essential if you want a cat or trimaran to sail up to its speed potential, but you’re not likely to achieve it with normal materials and common construction techniques.

Turning out an F-24 that weighs 1,800 pounds (1,650 pounds for the Mark II) is no simple matter. It involves almost 50 separate molded parts, considerably more than same-length monohulls.

Carbon fiber and Kevlar reinforcement, vacuum-bagging, double-biased fabrics, acrylic-modified epoxy resin, and NPG gelcoat are all elements you’d expect to see in a custom shop. They all go into the F-24.

Glass/resin control, published laminate schedules, a computer-generated production protocol, universally bonded top hat joints between hull and deck, barrier coats of vinyl ester resin, isopthalic resin throughout the rest of the laminate, and bulkheads tabbed in seven places to the hull makes for a light but sturdy boat.

The akas appear to be held in place by the anchor bolts inserted when unfolding, but the sailing forces are actually carried by strong pivot arms connecting the akas to anchor points near the waterline, anchored deep within the hull, and by compression blocks where the arms meet the hull at deck level.

After 20 years we’ve had a few minor issues related to failed bedding and damage to the balsa core, but nothing affecting the main structural elements.


Whether you’re downsizing from a cruising cat, or upsizing from the family Hobie, the F-24 offers the sports car of youthful dreams, on a budget.

Is it worth paying three times as much as you would for a 24-foot mono-hull with more room? Not if you’re looking for cabin space and need an enclosed head. On the other hand, if fun sailing is the goal, the dollar-to-grin ratio is very high. Market demand is dependable and you will get your money back. It’s not the best beginners boat.

You can’t just sheet-and-forget, and getting the best from her requires experience and attention. But if you have a beach cat or fast dinghy background, it’s a great way to gain weekender capability without losing any of the fun. If you need a little more comfort or more speed, look at the Corsair F-27. And if money is no object there’s a world of Farrier designs to choose from.

Corsair F-24 Boat Test

Cruising in an F-24 is a tiny step above camping, but for the bare-bones cruiser who wants to cover some ground quickly, it fits the bill quite handily.

1. An alcohol stove and a small sink serve the micro-galley. 2. The V-berth is tight, but the convertible settee in the main cabin makes a twin-sized bed. 3. The porta-potty sits under the V-berth. It is often moved to the cockpit at night while sleeping. 4. A folding table seats one for dining.

Corsair F-24 Boat Test

  • Fast, weatherly, and quick to tack.
  • Stable. Only 15 degrees heel.
  • Reefing starts at about 18 knots apparent.
  • Easy to fold from 18-foot beam to
  • 8-foot in about two minutes.
  • Roomy cockpit. Tramps are fun in the summer.
  • Eighteen-foot beam makes it hard to fall off.
  • Well-built with stout rigging.
  • Cramped cabin. No standing headroom and few amenities.
  • Limited storage space.
  • Portable head and no head compartment.
  • Quick motion.
  • Slow under power.

Corsair F-24 Boat Test

  • Corsair Marine


By far the most comprehensive review of the F-24 I was able to find online. Many thanks for the write-up, very informative and helpful.

Lakeside Marine & Motorsports has been awarded Best of Forsyth Boat and Marine Service as well as Used Boat Sales. Please contact us for any kind of Boat work or Purchase.

LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply

Log in to leave a comment

Latest Videos

What's The Best Vinyl Window Cleaner for Your Boat? video from Practical Sailor

What’s The Best Vinyl Window Cleaner for Your Boat?

40-Footer Boat Tours - With Some Big Surprises! | Boat Tour video from Practical Sailor

40-Footer Boat Tours – With Some Big Surprises! | Boat Tour

Electrical Do's and Don'ts video from Practical Sailor

Electrical Do’s and Don’ts

Bahamas Travel Advisory: Cause for Concern? video from Practical Sailor

Bahamas Travel Advisory: Cause for Concern?

  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell My Personal Information
  • Online Account Activation
  • Privacy Manager
  • Email Newsletters
  • Best Marine Electronics & Technology
  • America’s Cup
  • St. Petersburg
  • Caribbean Championship
  • Boating Safety

Sailing World logo

Boat of the Year 2022: Tartan 245 Preview

  • By Dave Reed
  • Updated: September 28, 2021

drawings of Tartan 245 sailboat

Like most things in life, the new Tartan 245, was born of necessity—and the desire for something ideally suited for the purpose. And this is how yacht designer Tim Jackett, of the Marine Manufacturing Group in Painesville, Ohio, created the Tartan 245 with Cai Svendsen, a customer who once owned a sailing school in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. This particular retired sailing instructor, who also owned a C&C 99, had experience with a wide variety of boats over the years, and naturally, had ideas of his own that would combine to make the ideal wind-powered vessel for harbors and bays. Jackett, as he’s known to do, took on the gentleman’s challenge and ran with it.

“He had always been thinking about a boat that would fit him better,” Jackett says. “So, we wound up moving along to the point where he wanted to see it happen. He funded the tooling and built the first boat. The goal was a boat that could be used in sailing schools but also be sporty enough for private ownership.”

The result is the 245, a conservative-leaning 24-footer that Jackett says is designed to accommodate four learn-to-sail students and an instructor, or a couple out for harbor cruise. “There’s a nice big cockpit with reasonable seatbacks and a limited cuddy cabin for sails and life jackets,” he says. “There’s room for an instructor in the companionway or aft of the tiller.”

Easy trailering and off-season storage are essential traits of any small keelboat, so to this end, the boat has a lifting keel and a deck-stepped carbon rig (and boom, both built in-house). The 900-pound keel is a composite fin with a lead bulb.

Jackett says they didn’t want a transom-hung rudder, which is vulnerable to damage in the sailing school environment, so instead, the rudder sits in a hinged-cassette arrangement that allows it to be easily pulled up and out of the water.

The Tartan 245 with optional asymmetric spinnaker option, under sail in Annapolis, Maryland.

The standard sail plan has 285-square feet of upwind cloth, and while the initial concept was for a 110-percent jib with hanks, Jackett says early user reviews with the first boat in Annapolis, Maryland, have recommended a roller-furling jib instead, which keeps sailing school students off the foredeck as much as possible.

The asymmetric spinnaker package is optional and it has a centerline retractable carbon sprit from the stem that’s recessed into a covered well in the foredeck. Spinnaker sets and douses, Jackett says, go easy in and out of the wide companionway, and with the additional boost of the kite, says Jackett, in 15 to 20 knots, the boat has proven to “jump up and go.”

interior of Tartan 245

The quoted price of $49,165 does not include the options for: batteries, electric outboard, Porta-Potti, safety gear or electronics.

  • More: Keelboat , sailboat
  • More Sailboats

ClubSwan 28 rendering

Nautor Swan Has A New Pocket Rocket

Pogo RC Visuel

Pogo Launches its Latest Coastal Rocket

The Storm 18

A Deeper Dive Into the Storm 18

24 ft sailboat

2024 Boat of the Year Best Recreational Racer: Z24

windfoiling in Arendal, Norway

One-Design Wingfoil Racing Takes Off

Augie Diaz at the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series in St. Petersburg

The Wisdom of Augie Diaz

ClubSwan 28 rendering

Brauer Sails into Hearts, Minds and History

Sailing World logo

  • Digital Edition
  • Customer Service
  • Privacy Policy
  • Cruising World
  • Sailing World
  • Salt Water Sportsman
  • Sport Fishing
  • Wakeboarding


  1. Vivacity 24 Foot Bilge Keel Yacht Sailboat Excellent Condition for sale

    24 ft sailboat

  2. Bristol 24

    24 ft sailboat

  3. 1972 venture 24 sailboat for sale in Ohio

    24 ft sailboat

  4. 1977 Helms 24' Sailboat sailboat for sale in Maryland

    24 ft sailboat

  5. 1965 Used Columbia 24 Contender Racer and Cruiser Sailboat For Sale

    24 ft sailboat

  6. 24 Foot Bilge Keel Sailing Boat includes motor

    24 ft sailboat


  1. Sail Life

  2. International Seaplane fly-in Sailing Sturdee Cat

  3. IC-24 sailboat losing a sail during St. John Virgin Islands regatta

  4. It's Done! Exterior Fiberglass Complete On Our RAN 50

  5. Commissioning New 54 Ft Sailboat

  6. SuperBoat 24' & Progression 22'


  1. Best Bluewater Sailboats Under 24 Feet | Life of Sailing

    The best bluewater sailboats under 24 feet are the Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, Norseboat 21.5, Catalina 22 Sport, Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20, and West Wight Potter 19. These sailboats have ample space for a couple and even a moderately-sized family along with all the amenities you may need. A roomy cabin, galley, and settees are necessary to go ...

  2. 20 Best Small Sailboats for the Weekender - Cruising World

    If you want a personal sailboat ideal for solo sailing, the Sun Can is a great choice. Belowdecks, the twin 6-foot-5-inch berths and many other features and amenities make this cat a willing weekender. $19,800, (727) 443-4408, com-pacyachts.com.

  3. 9 Best Trailerable Sailboats | Life of Sailing

    1) West Wight Potter 15. The West Wight Potter 15 is perhaps one of the most capable 15-foot sailboats around. This neat little vessel is as seaworthy as it is easy to handle, and it’s a great choice for all kinds of cruising adventures. The West Wight Potter 15 is a 15-foot sloop with an aluminum mast and tiller.

  4. 7 Best Trailerable Sailboats for Cruising - in 2024 My ...

    7 Best Trailerable Cruising Sailboats. Catalina 22/25 “Pop-Top”. Com-Pac Horizon Cat for Classic Coastal Cruising. Marshall Sanderling — Small, Portable, Classy. West Wight Potter 19 — The Tiny Go-Anywhere Sailboat. Seaward 26RK with Retractable Lead Keel. Corsair F-24 Trimaran – Sporty Sailing.

  5. J/24- World's Largest One-Design Sailboat Class

    Recognized as an international class by World Sailing, the J/24 has been selected for use in nearly every major international championship, including the PanAm Games, World Sailing Games, and Nations Cup. The J/24 is the world's most popular keelboat class, with over 5,500 boats built and over 50,000 people actively sailing in more than 150 ...

  6. The Six Categories of Daysailers, and Why We Love Them

    Family Boats/Trainers. Speed, comfort, safety and an easy-to-handle rig are all the hallmarks of a great daysailer: (clockwise from top) the Catalina 275 Sport, Tartan Fantail, Colgate 26 and American 18. Family boats and trainers are perhaps the toughest to categorize, given all the different shapes and sizes they come in.

  7. Morgan 24/25 - Practical Sailor

    The Morgan 24/25s long waterline, very well balanced hull, relatively low wetted surface, large sailplan (for its vintage), and attention to small details like well-shaped foil blades and flush-faced through-hulls, provide good speed and close-winded sailing for the racer. At the same time, its shallow draft (2′ 9″ board up) and relatively ...

  8. Dana 24 Boat Review - Practical Sailor

    In the absence of proof to the contrary, we believe them: This 24-footer has 6′ of headroom in the saloon and 8’6″ of space between the foot of the companionway and the V-berth. The V-berth is large enough for two 6’2″ adults to sleep comfortably. Settees port and starboard measuring 4’6″ long convert to 6’6″ berths.

  9. Corsair F-24 Boat Test - Practical Sailor

    2. In May 1999 Practical Sailor reviewed the then-new Corsair F-24 Mark II trimaran. Nearly 20 years later, were here to follow up with a focus on the Corsair F-24 Mark I, a boat that can represent a good value today since many newer designs have entered the market. The late Ian Farrier (1947-2017) designed fast, trailerable trimarans for more ...

  10. Boat of the Year 2022: Tartan 245 Preview | Sailing World

    The 24-foot Tartan 245 debuts for Sailing World’s Boat of the Year 2022 new boat tests, here’s a preview of the design, the concept and it’s notable traits. The Tartan 245 as shown with ...