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14 Great Pocket Cruisers in 2023

  • By Victor Tan
  • Updated: July 20, 2023

Pocket cruisers and mini yachts are generally vessels under 50 feet in length overall, and can include express cruiser designs, flybridge yachts as well as either monohull or catamaran hull forms. They are cruising boats easily handled by a small, or even shorthanded, crew. Pocket cruisers generally have wave-taming hull designs and have the ability to take on sporty seas, offer comfortable accommodations belowdecks with one or two staterooms for extended voyages, “homelike amenities,” and the ability to cruise as slowly or as quickly as an owner desires with inboard- and outboard-power options. These pocket-cruising boats have the range for longer voyages , can pull up in skinny water at the sandbar thanks to shallow drafts, and head over the horizon where cruising adventure awaits. Pocket cruisers are true multitasking yachts. When it comes to family and couples cruising, it’s hard to beat a well-built and well-equipped and pocket cruiser.

Best Cruising Boats Under 50-Feet

The following 14 pocket cruisers and mini yachts are all vessels we’ve seen, been aboard, and tested. They are listed in no particular order.

  • Hood 35 LM: high-tech, family-friendly pocket cruiser
  • Galeon Yachts 375 GTO: mid-size boat with plenty of below-deck space
  • Aquila 42: sleek power catamaran ready to entertain
  • Azimut Verve 42 : small, yet mighty yacht ready for open water
  • Hinckley Yachts 35: luxury picnic cruiser with range
  • Beneteau Gran Turismo 45: sleek cruising yacht with all the amenities
  • Solaris Power 48 Open: eye-catching power yacht with 360-degree views
  • Cruisers Yachts 42 GLS: luxury cruiser yacht with powerful outboard options
  • Back Cove 34O: modern outboard power combined with classic Downeast styling
  • Picnic Boat 40: speedy and fuel-efficient vessel with great looks
  • Aquila 36: comfortably seat up to 20 guests for fun on the salt
  • Boston Whaler 350 Realm: multitasker built for fishing and entertaining
  • MJM 35z: sporty, aesthetically pleasing, cruising-conscious features and elegant lines
  • Greenline 39: sturdy-looking lines and environmentally-friendly power

When Android co-founder, Rich Miner, wanted a new family-friendly pocket cruiser , he turned to a custom-penned C.W. Hood design and a Lyman-Morse-built 35-footer, which has a timeless Down East profile matched to seriously modern technology under the hood.

This yacht looks like a traditional, cold-molded Down East dayboat, but actually, it has everything, from Hamilton HJX Series water-jet drives to a planned Sea Machines autonomous command-and-control system . Top speed: 40-plus knots.

Hood 35 LM

Quick Specifications

34’10”
11’6″
350 Gal.
60 Gal.
19,000 lbs.

Galeon Yachts 375 GTO

Even the remnants of Hurricane Ian, couldn’t dissuade the Galeon Yacht 375 GTO from its cruising mission. The small yacht’s wave-splitting hull form is paired to torque-filled 600 hp Mercury Verado outboards , giving this fun-in-the-sun boat a 47-knot top hop.

The 375 GTO is a speedster, to be sure, but it’s also so much more. Just about every aspect of the main deck seating is transformable and multifunction, from the aft seating to the alfresco dining abaft the helm, and beyond. It also has a family-size and eminently cruise-worthy belowdecks space for four guests, all while providing a foredeck entertaining lounge too.

The Galeon Yachts 375 GTO ticks all the boxes for an easy-to-handle and sporty cruiser.

Galeon Yachts 375 GTO

37’9″
12′
396.25 Gal.
53 Gal.
27,270 lbs.

Aquila 42 Yacht Power Catamaran

Following the success of its 44-, 54- and 70-foot power catamaran models, Aquila has launched the stable-as-a-table, owner-operator-ready Aquila 42 Yacht Power Catamaran .

The Aquila 42 is the entry point into the builder’s yacht line and is noteworthy for its ability to accommodate anywhere from a two- to four-stateroom layout, depending on the owner’s cruising requirements. There are alfresco spaces to manage the sunset cruise with friends and family, including a foredeck lounge area that can be accessed via centerline steps from the flybridge. The Aquila 42 is available with several Volvo Penta diesel-engine options .

Aquila 42

41’6″
21′
290 Gal.
132 Gal.
41,895 lbs.

Azimut Verve 42

Want to cruise from Florida to Bimini in about an hour? The Azimut Yachts Verve 42 can do that thanks, in part, to triple 450 hp Mercury Racing outboards and a hull designed to dice-and-slice a seaway. Top hop: 45 knots. The Verve 42 also has style for miles with a fine entry, raked hardtop, and a razorlike sheerline accented by sweeping hull glass from bow to stern. It’s striking.

With accommodation for a family of four, the Verve 42 is also solid under the hull tokeep everyone safe on those passages. The Verve 42’s hull is built of fiberglass and uses vinylester resins for blister protection. The yacht’s deck and hardtop are comprised of carbon fiber for strength without added weight. This all means that the Azimut Verve 42 is built to CE Classification Type A , making it suitable for sea voyages where winds can exceed 45 mph and seas to 13 feet.

Azimut Verve 42

42’4″
12’11”
462 Gal.
66 Gal.
30,865 lbs.

Hinckley Yachts 35

The Hinckley Yachts 35 takes everything that yachtsmen like about this pedigreed-brand’s classic profile and infuses today’s modern outboard power to create 40 knots of sheer fun wrapped in sheer luxury.

This 35-foot Hinckley is built on a Michael-Peters-penned hull form with a fine entry, wider-than-average chines and a moderate deadrise. While the boat is built to sprint when desired, it’s also a relatively economical cruiser. For instance, a comfortable 24-knot cruise the Hinckley Yachts 35 has a 276-nautical-mile range.

It also has a tech-build thanks to vacuum-infused carbon-fiber composites and epoxy resin. An integrated interior structure is infused with the hull adding rigidity. The hull is then post-cured in an 80-foot oven, further strengthening the structure.

Hinckley 35

38’8″
11′
250 Gal.
35 Gal.
13,174 lbs.

Beneteau Gran Turismo 45

The Beneteau Gran Turismo is the flagship of the builder’s four-model GT series, which also includes 32-, 36- and 41-foot models.

The Gran Turismo 45 ’s cruise-centric layout includes two staterooms and two heads belowdecks, as well as a galley down. There is also a dinette for meals and a settee for rainy-day lounging. Entertaining guests and enjoying the sun is the primary mission of the main deck.

Beneteau Gran Turismo 45

48’6″
13’9″
238 Gal.
106 Gal.
24,782 lbs.

Solaris Power 48 Open

The Solaris Power 48 Open was the first powerboat from this longtime builder known for its sailing yachts, ranging from 40 to 110 feet length overall. The Solaris Power 48 Open is notable for its wave-slicing plumb-bow design, high freeboard forward and 32-knot-plus speed. Power is twin 480 hp Volvo Penta IPS650 diesels.

The high freeboard keeps the deck dry and help creates sizable volume belowdecks with an average 6-foot-6-inch headroom. This enables real estate for either one or two staterooms. With the single-stateroom setup, there is a forepeak master stateroom while an L-shaped settee converts to sleeping accommodations for family or occasional guests. Interior wood options are oak or walnut.

Solaris 48 Open

48’8″
15’10”
396 Gal.
114 Gal.
37,037 lbs.

Cruisers Yachts 42 GLS

Outboard-power cruising aficionados will appreciate the triple-engine options for the Cruisers Yachts 42 GLS . The 42 GLS we got aboard had the triple 400 hp Mercury Verados , which produced a top hop of 45 knots, but triple 450 hp Verados are available. Triple 350 hp Mercury Verados are the standard engine option. No matter the power arrangement, this express cruiser can easily be used for wakeboarding and tube towing. The 42 GLS is designed to handle the rough stuff too, with a fine entry and 21-degree transom deadrise.

For cruising enthusiasts, the 42 GLS has a master stateroom with an athwartships and a nearly queen-size berth, and the lower salon’s U-shaped dinette converts to a queen-size berth for the kids.

Cruisers Yachts 42 GLS

42′
13′
403 Gal.
50 Gal.
27,000 lbs.

Back Cove 34O

Combining modern outboard power with classic Downeast styling, the Back Cove 34O touts award-winning standards with cruising in mind. The 34O is equipped with twin 300 hp Yamaha outboards, engines that allow the Newport International Boat Show’s 2018 Best Powerboat Under 35 Feet winner to travel up to 214 nautical miles at 24 knots on a 250-gallon fuel tank.

Belowdecks, the 34O has an island double berth and a split-head arrangement with the toilet to port and a separate shower stall to starboard. On the main deck, a U-shape dinette to port accommodates four or more guests on the Back Cove Yachts vessel. The 34O’s galley is equipped with a Cuisinart microwave, a two-burner Kenyon electric cooktop and a Vitrifrigo fridge and freezer.

back cove 340

38’11”
11’10”
242 Gal.
60 Gal.
17,000 lbs.

Picnic Boat 40

Hinckley Yachts unveiled its first Picnic Boat more than two decades ago. Now, after two previous, sub-40-foot models, the Maine-based boatbuilder has developed its largest and most advanced model to date: the Picnic Boat 40.

Twin 480 hp Cummins diesel engines paired to twin Hamilton 322 jet drives propel the yacht to a 30-knot cruising speed and 34 knots on the pins. With optional twin 550 hp Cummins diesels, cruise and top-end speeds jump to 35 and 38 knots, respectively.

There is an L-shaped settee with a table and a wet bar on the main deck to port. The helm station is forward and to starboard with a benchseat for two. There is also a companion seat across from the helm. Belowdecks, there is 6-foot-2-inch headroom, and the dinette table drops to form a California-king berth for overnights and weekending.

hinckley picnic boat 40

42′
12’10”
375 Gal.
80 Gal.
25,000 lbs.

Aquila Power Catamarans started its line with 44- and 48-footers, and now the builder’s Aquila 36 takes the line into the midsize market.

The 36 features a single, main-living area from bow to stern, helped in part by the vessel’s 14-foot, 7-inch beam. The boat can comfortably seat up to 20 guests for fun on the salt. Several Mercury Verado engine options are available for the Aquila 36, including twin 250-, 300- and 350-hp four-strokes. With the 350s, the Aquila has a top-end speed of 37 knots.

Other notable features include a fiberglass hardtop, a dinette, a cooktop, a fridge, a sink and a smokeless grill. Belowdecks, there are two staterooms with nearly queen-size berths, en suite heads and 6-foot-6-inch headroom in each.

aquila 36

36′
14’7″
330 Gal.
52 Gal.
21,572 lbs.

Boston Whaler 350 Realm

From fishing and entertaining guests to diving and overnight cruising, Boston Whaler ‘s 350 Realm is a multitasker. And it’s fast, too. It’s powered with either triple 300 hp or triple 350 hp Mercury Verados. The 350 Realm can reach a top speed of 46 knots.

At the helm, two Raymarine displays provide vital navigation data. The captain can take in the displays’ view from a doublewide helm seat. There’s a flip-down platform for standing when needed and a footrest when desired.

There is a V-shaped berth that converts into a double berth with a filler cushion. The separated head has a VacuFlush MSD and a hot-and-cold shower. Owners also have the option to add a microwave and a flat-screen TV.

Boston Whaler 350 Realm

35’6″
10’10”
385 Gal.
45 Gal.
18,830 lbs.

The MJM 35z can reach a top speed of 44 knots and a cruising speed of 33 knots on its optional 350 hp Mercury Verado outboards; twin 300 hp outboards are standard on this MJM Yachts vessel. Additionally, the 35z can travel up to 304 nautical miles on its 250-gallon fuel tank.

The 35z has a flush-deck layout and to port is space for an electric grill, a baitwell, a sink, an ice maker and a fridge. There are two Stidd helm seats—one for the helmsman and the other for a copilot—that rotate to face the rest of the seating aft. In the cabin is V-shaped seating forward that can be converted to a berth.

Owners also have the option of adding a Seakeeper 3 gyrostabilizer and a full-length Bimini top to shade the cockpit.

MJM 35z

38’3″
11′
250 Gal.
58 Gal.
13,279 lbs.

Greenline 39

Greenline Yachts ‘ vessels are aptly named for their environmentally friendly means of moving about; the Greenline 39 is no different. The Slovenian yacht manufacturer produces two types of this model: hybrid and solar.

If owners opt for the latter, the 39’s four solar panels atop the salon power all of the vessel’s systems for three hours. With the power of the sun, the 39 can achieve a max speed of 6.5 knots and a cruising speed of 4 knots. The hybrid type uses those same panels to help power a 220 hp Volvo Penta D3 with a Mahle electric-drive system. Owners have the option of replacing the standard engine with a 370 hp Yanmar 8LV diesel.

Belowdecks, scissor berths provide accommodations for long weekends.

Greenline 39

39’5″
12’4″
185 Gal.
105 Gal.
15,432 lbs.
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The best small cruising yachts in 2023

  • Theo Stocker
  • September 29, 2023

Despite bigger yachts dominating the new boat scene in recent decades, there are still any number of builders making new smaller cruisers. Here's our pick of the best small cruising yachts in 2023

small yachts

We have seen a surprisingly large number of builders going against the grain to bring small cruising yachts to market in the last year or so, ranging from trailer0-sailers to smaller traditionally-styled options. Here, we’ve rounded up 4 of the best small cruising yachts launched in the last year.

Typically this size of yacht appeals to those who are looking for a day sailer or weekender and will often offer reduced draught in able to allow you to go creek crawling or nose your way into otherwise hard to get to anchorages.

The best small cruising yachts 2023

small yachts

Once you’ve seen one, Bente yachts are unmistakable. We revisited the brand’s first boat, the Bente 24 , a couple of issues ago, which has been around for 10 years or so. The brand then launched the striking Bente 39 which was immensely innovative, but the company ran into financial difficulties. Now under new owners and a more stable footing, a third model has been launched, which I can’t wait to test sail. The Bente 28 is unlike any other 28-footer.

The hull is cutting edge with wide transom, double rudders and full bows providing a powerful hull form as well as volume below. Construction is polyester GRP foam sandwich, with the basic version being heavier hand lamination, and the more expensive Edition version being vacuum infused. While this is a boat designed to be fast, it’s a long way from a wild racing boat.

Displacement is a not outlandish 3.2 tonnes and draught is 1.6m (there’s an option for a 1.95m performance T-keel with lead bulb that’s 100kg lighter), so it fits well within the scope of a sensible cruising boat.

small yachts

The Tide 25, built by MFH in north Germany – began its life as a Dehler SQ25, but the mould was sold off when that company hit hard times. Plumb bows and stern with a long hull chine, bevelled deck edge and twin rudders put her on trend, and maximise performance under sail and accommodation on board.

On deck, she has a large cockpit with benches forward and four decent lockers. Under the cockpit sole there’s access to what would be engine space for a diesel inboard, now housing batteries for the electric motors.

Opt for the sport version, and you’ll get beefed up deck hardware and a minimalist fit out, with the mainsheet traveller across the transom, while the comfort version has a smaller main with the mainsheet coming to a fixed point on the cockpit sole forward of the helm. The rig has aft-swept spreaders and no backstay.

small yachts

The fact that the accommodation of the Pointer 30 is designed around a Nespresso machine, enshrined in glory, tells you a lot about this boat. It was conceived as a comfortable, fast and stylish weekend cruiser that you can take your friends down to for a coffee before a nice sail to somewhere for lunch. This is a boat that knows what it is about. Tea drinkers, don’t worry; there’s still a gas hob to boil a kettle.

The sail area isn’t vast, but this looks to be an easily driven hull. A below-deck furler setting a genoa that sheets to tracks on the coachroof is standard, with a self-tacker being optional.

The fixed bowsprit houses a bow roller, and a tack point for furling offwind sails – the gennaker takes her offwind sail area up to 100m2, set from an aluminium twin-spreader rig with adjustable backstay. She has a powerful kicker, but no traveller for the main, which is sheeted to a raised plinth in the cockpit sole.

Below deck the layout is simple, clean and quietly stylish. Headroom is restricted, dictated by the low freeboard and elegant lines.

To port, the heart of the boat is the ‘coffee bar’ on a shelf in the moulded hull liner, next to a small dinette-style table with two leather swivel armchairs. The forward of these chairs spins round to face a neat lift-top desk (though the drawer below isn’t large enough for a chart).

small yachts

Swallow Yachts 32

Aimed at sailors who may have owned larger yachts before but want to downsize, Swallow Yachts owner Matt Newland explained that he ‘wanted to build a boat that was fun and easy to sail, simple to maintain and had timeless looks with as low an environmental impact as possible.’

Though not a true launch-and-sail trailer sailer, a four-by-four will still be able to tow the 32 on her own trailer, as boat and trailer come in at under 3.5 tonnes, and within the 2.9m overhang limit.

With a keel-down draught of 2.8m, a fine entry at the bow and broad aft sections, this boat promises to be a good performer. You can sail with the lifting keel in any position for shoal waters, but lift it all the way and you’ve got a draught of just 40cm for creek crawling and drying out.

Newland has tried to draw lines that are timeless rather than trendy while a retractable bowsprit, backstayless carbon rig and square-top mainsail ensure she is right up there in terms of her contemporary design and latest tech.

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Small Yacht: Essential Buying Guide for New Owners

The world of yachting has seen a steady rise in popularity. With that has come a growing interest in small yachts.

small yachts

These vessels, often referred to as mini yachts or small luxury yachts, provide an accessible and versatile option for those looking to venture into the nautical lifestyle. Small yachts range from about 30 to 65 feet in length. They cater to a variety of needs, blending luxury aesthetics with the functionality and maneuverability of compact marine vessels.

Understanding the unique characteristics of small yachts is essential for potential buyers and enthusiasts. Their design and construction prioritize space efficiency and creativity. This enables a comfortable living experience aboard, without sacrificing performance and handling capabilities.

small yachts

Therefore, it's crucial to examine factors such as yacht size, layout, amenities, fuel efficiency, and sailing range when exploring the market for small luxury yachts.

Key Takeaways

  • Small yachts provide a versatile and accessible option for exploring the nautical lifestyle.
  • Design and construction balance luxury aesthetics with functionality and maneuverability.
  • Essential factors to consider include size, layout, amenities, fuel efficiency, and sailing range.

Understanding Small Yachts

Defining Small Yachts

Small yachts, also known as mini yachts, are vessels designed to offer the luxury and amenities of a superyacht in a more compact and manageable size. These yachts typically range from 20 to 60 feet in length, which is much more modest when compared to the vast size of superyachts 1 .

Although smaller in size, these yachts still boast a variety of features and can include a range of models, from motor yachts to sailing yachts.

Small Yachts vs. Superyachts

The differences between small yachts and superyachts are not just about size. Superyachts tend to offer more extravagant amenities, such as onboard cinemas, helipads, and multiple swimming pools. On the other hand, small yachts focus on providing a comfortable and luxurious experience while being more budget-friendly and easier to handle 2 .

Here are some key differences between small yachts and superyachts:

FeaturesSmall YachtsSuperyachts
Size20-60 feet 100+ feet
AmenitiesBasic to moderate luxury Ultra-luxurious
HandlingEasier to maneuver Requires crew
Price$20,000 to $500,000 $10 million+

Types of Small Yachts

There are two primary types of small yachts: motor yachts and sailing yachts. Each type offers unique features and advantages depending on the owner's preferences and intended use.

  • Motor Yachts : These mini yachts are powered by engines, making them ideal for those who prioritize speed and convenience. Motor yachts often come with more creature comforts and can reach destinations quickly 9 .
  • Sailing Yachts : Sailing yachts rely on wind power, offering a more traditional and eco-friendly sailing experience. They provide a sense of adventure and connection with the sea while still offering a range of comfort features 10 .

Both motor and sailing yachts can be further classified into various subcategories, such as powerboats and sailing catamarans, each with its own unique characteristics.

small yachts

  • Mini Yacht Buying Guide 2023 ↩ ↩ 2
  • Small & Mini Yachts for Sale ↩ ↩ 2
  • Superyacht Size Categories ↩
  • Small Yacht: Luxurious Vessels for Leisure & Adventure ↩
  • Luxury Superyacht Amenities ↩
  • Superyacht Crew Requirements ↩
  • Small Yacht Price Range ↩
  • Superyacht Prices ↩
  • Motor Yacht vs. Sailing Yacht ↩
  • Advantages of Sailing Yachts ↩

Design & Construction

Hull Design and Material

When it comes to the design and construction of small yachts, hull design and material selection are of utmost importance. Most small yacht builders, such as Small Trimaran Design , focus on creating efficient and stable hull designs. These can be found in various forms, such as monohulls and multihulls.

Various materials can be used in the construction of yacht hulls. Common options include wood, steel, aluminum, and composites like fiberglass, GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic), and carbon fiber . The choice of material can have a significant impact on the yacht's performance, durability, and maintenance requirements.

Deck Layout and Features

A well-designed deck layout contributes greatly to the comfort and functionality of a small yacht.

Luxury yacht builders, such as Burgess and Fraser , pay special attention to optimizing deck space for both practical and aesthetic purposes.

Key features often found on small yachts include:

  • Cabins : Depending on the size of the yacht, there may be one or more cabins for sleeping, typically offering a comfortable and cozy environment.
  • Outdoor living : Designers strive to maximize outdoor living spaces, such as lounge areas and sun decks, allowing passengers to enjoy the surroundings and fresh air.
  • Coachroof : A raised section of the deck, the coachroof often houses the entrance to the yacht's interior and provides additional headroom below deck.
  • Interiors : Small yacht interiors can be designed with efficient use of space, incorporating luxury finishes and furniture to create a comfortable and stylish atmosphere.

Some yachts even make use of advanced materials like foam in their construction, which can offer benefits in terms of weight reduction and insulation.

Performance and Handling

Sailing Performance

Small yachts are known for their agility and responsiveness in a variety of sailing conditions.

The lifting keel plays a crucial role in enhancing their performance, allowing them to access shallow waters and engage in creek crawling .

The versatility of these compact vessels allows sailors to enjoy the thrill of sailing on open water, as well as navigating through narrow channels and shallow creeks.

Some popular small yachts with remarkable sailing performance include the Sadler 26 and the Rustler 37 .

The maneuverability and ease of handling make these yachts perfect for both inexperienced and seasoned sailors.

Motor Yachting Efficiency

While small yachts are primarily designed for sailing, many of them can also function as motor yachts when needed. This allows for greater versatility, especially in situations where wind conditions are unfavorable.

In comparison to larger powerboats and cruisers, small motor yachts are generally more fuel-efficient, easier to maneuver, and require less maintenance.

Motor yachting efficiency can be affected by factors such as:

  • Engine type and size
  • Weight distribution

A well-designed small yacht strikes a balance between sailing performance and motor yachting efficiency, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy the best of both worlds.

The Hobie Cat , for example, is a popular small sailboat that can be easily powered by a small outboard motor when needed.

Living Aboard a Small Yacht

Comfort and Accommodations

Living aboard a small yacht offers a unique and enjoyable lifestyle .

One of the key aspects of a comfortable liveaboard experience is having well-designed interiors and cabins. Most small yachts are designed with efficient use of space in mind, providing comfortable sleeping quarters, ample storage, and functional galleys for meal preparation. Some yachts even feature crew quarters for those who choose to sail with a crew.

It's important that the cabins offer a cozy and pleasant atmosphere, an essential factor when living aboard for extended periods.

When it comes to outdoor living spaces , many small yachts have cleverly designed decks and seating areas for lounging, enjoying the surroundings, or simply watching the sunset.

The yacht's galley should be well-equipped, featuring appliances such as a stove, refrigerator, and sink, making it possible to prepare meals just like at home.

Many small yachts also come with well-appointed saloons that provide additional space for dining, relaxing, and socializing with friends and family.

Entertainment and Social Spaces

Small yachts designers often prioritize creating social spaces, both indoors and outdoors, that cater to various needs.

The saloon is typically the heart of the yacht's interior, offering a comfortable space where everyone can gather for meals, play games, or watch movies.

Outdoor living is another essential aspect of the liveaboard lifestyle. Many small yachts are designed with spacious deck areas for sunbathing, enjoying the fresh air, and taking in the surroundings. These spaces can also be great for hosting outdoor events or simply relaxing with a good book.

The Buying Process

Choosing the Right Model

When purchasing a small yacht, it's essential to focus on choosing the right model that suits your needs.

Major yacht brands like Azimut and Ferretti offer various models with different features and specifications.

Consider factors such as the yacht's size, intended use (coastal cruising, blue-water passage-making, or competitive racing), and your budget.

On average, a small brand-new sailing yacht can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 or more .

Inspecting a Small Yacht

Before making a purchase, it's crucial to inspect the condition of the small yacht. Factors to consider include:

  • Age: Older yachts may require more maintenance and have outdated features.
  • Model: Different models come with various features and layouts, so choose one that fits your needs.
  • Condition: Check for signs of wear and tear, as well as any repairs or replacements needed.

When searching for small yachts for sale , it's highly recommended to hire a marine surveyor to carry out a thorough inspection of the yacht. They will provide a detailed report on the vessel's condition and recommend any necessary repairs or improvements.

Securing a Purchase

Once you have chosen the right model and inspected the yacht, it's time to negotiate the yacht price and secure the purchase.

It's advisable to involve an experienced yacht broker who can simplify the process, handle negotiations, and aid with post-sale support.

When determining the final purchase price, bear in mind factors like the yacht's age, model, condition, and any additional features.

Maintenance and Upkeep

When owning a small yacht, it's crucial to ensure proper maintenance and upkeep to keep the vessel in great condition.

The age and condition of your yacht will greatly influence the maintenance schedule and tasks required. This section will cover the basics of routine maintenance and necessary repairs and refits.

Routine Maintenance

Regular inspection and maintenance of your yacht's essential systems can help prevent major problems in the long run.

It is important to follow a maintenance schedule and to use a calendar or reminder app to stay on track with your maintenance tasks. Yacht maintenance schedules often include the following key areas:

  • Hull and Engine Inspection: Perform regular checks for any signs of leaks, corrosion, or damage. Clean and repaint the hull periodically to prevent fouling.
  • Electronics, Sails, and Rigging: Inspect all electronics, sails, and rigging for wear and tear or any signs of damage. Replace or repair them as needed.
  • Interior and Exterior Lights: Ensure all lights are functional, and replace any damaged or burned-out bulbs.
  • Cleaning: Regularly clean the yacht's interior and exterior surfaces using gentle cleaning agents and fresh water to prevent dirt and salt buildup.
  • Fuel and Water Tanks: Check and refill fuel and water tanks as needed, and inspect for leaks or contamination.

Repair and Refit

As your small yacht ages, it is essential to address any issues through repair and refit. Here are some common repair and refit tasks to help keep your yacht in the best possible condition:

  • Engine Maintenance: Change oil, internal engine anodes, and check for any issues with engine mounts or fuel tanks. Maintain a proper 55-point skipper's checklist to ensure smooth engine operation.
  • Electrical System: Replace or repair any malfunctioning electrical components. Ensure the wiring is in good condition and perform upgrades as necessary.
  • Sail and Rigging Repair: Check for wear and tear or damaged parts, and replace any components that are no longer in good condition.
  • Upholstery and Interior: Regularly clean, repair, or replace cushions, curtains, carpets, and other fabric materials on board.

Yachting Lifestyle

Destinations and Marinas

The yachting lifestyle offers numerous opportunities for exploring breathtaking destinations and marinas around the world.

Most yacht owners prefer to dock their vessels in well-equipped marinas. These marinas provide high-quality facilities, services, and security.

Some of the top destinations for small yachts include the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and picturesque coastal towns in Europe and the United States.

The Mediterranean is home to famous yachting hotspots such as the French Riviera, the Greek Islands, and the Amalfi Coast . Meanwhile, the Caribbean offers a tropical paradise with its clear turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and hidden coves .

The Mediterranean

  • French Riviera: Cannes, St. Tropez, Monaco
  • Greek Islands: Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu
  • Amalfi Coast: Positano, Capri, Sorrento

The Caribbean

  • Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, British Virgin Islands
  • Bahamas: Nassau, Exumas
  • British West Indies: Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia

Yachtsmen can also explore vibrant coastal towns in the United States, such as Newport, Rhode Island , or Annapolis, Maryland. These towns have a rich maritime history and provide access to world-class marinas.

When deciding on a marina, yacht owners should consider factors such as the amenities offered, proximity to popular destinations, and the depth of the harbor. Additionally, safety and environmental standards should not be overlooked.

Community and Events

Yachting is not only about the exploration of beautiful destinations but also about the experience of socializing with fellow yacht enthusiasts.

The yachting lifestyle fosters a strong sense of community, as yacht owners frequently mingle at marinas, yacht clubs, and exclusive events.

Yacht clubs and organizations often host events and regattas, where like-minded individuals can share their passion for sailing and create lasting bonds.

Participating in these events is a fantastic opportunity to expand one's social and professional network within the yachting world.

Notable yachting events include:

  • The Monaco Yacht Show
  • The Antigua Charter Yacht Show
  • The Cannes Yachting Festival
  • The Newport International Boat Show

These events showcase the latest trends and innovations in the yachting industry, providing attendees with both networking and learning experiences.

Charter and Rental Options

Comparing Ownership and Charter

Owning a small yacht can come with many advantages, such as having the freedom to sail whenever and wherever desired. However, ownership also involves significant costs, including maintenance, docking fees, and insurance.

On the other hand, chartering a yacht can offer a more cost-effective, low-commitment option. Yachts for rent are available in various sizes and price ranges, accommodating anything from a luxurious vacation to a simple day trip.

Chartering allows the enjoyment of the yachting experience without the burden of upkeep, while still providing access to luxury and customizable vacations.

There are different types of charters to consider:

  • Bareboat Charter : The individual or group rents the yacht and operates it without a hired skipper or crew. This type is suitable for experienced sailors with the necessary certifications.
  • Skippered Charter : Provides a professional skipper to help navigate the yacht, while the customers handle all other aspects, like provisioning and potentially crewing.
  • Crewed Charter : More common in luxury and mega yachts, this all-inclusive option provides a complete crew, from a skipper and deckhands to a chef and hospitality staff.

Finding Yachts for Rent

In order to find the ideal yacht for a trip, it is crucial to research the available options.

One popular website for browsing yachts is YachtCharterFleet , offering a comprehensive list of luxury superyacht rentals. Their inventory includes everything from small yachts to mega yachts, catering to a wide range of budgets and group sizes.

Another option for discovering yacht charters is the Moorings platform, specializing in private yacht charters and vacations catering to a variety of boating preferences.

For those looking for more personalized sailing vacations, Moorings Crewed Yacht Charters provides customized, all-inclusive travel experiences, allowing guests to enjoy luxury and adventure at their desired destination.

When choosing the right yacht charter, some key factors to consider are the size and type of the yacht, the desired destination, length of the trip, budget, and any specific services or amenities included.

In any case, the options are virtually endless, ensuring that there is a perfect yacht rental available for any occasion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors affect the pricing of a small yacht?

Several factors contribute to the pricing of a small yacht, including its condition, age, size, brand, and the features and amenities it offers.

The materials used in construction, the engine's power, and the yacht's overall design can also influence the cost. Additionally, prices may vary depending on the manufacturer and market demand.

Where can I find listings for small yachts currently on sale?

You can find small yacht listings on various websites that specialize in boat sales and brokerage services, such as YATCO , Seattle Yachts , and Live Yachting .

It is essential to research different options to find the best deal and meet your exact requirements.

How does the buying process differ for new vs. used small yachts?

The primary difference between buying new and used small yachts lies in the warranty, customization options, and yacht history.

New yachts often come with factory warranties and a higher degree of customization. Meanwhile, used yachts typically have a lower initial cost but may require more maintenance or repairs.

It is crucial to inquire about the vessel's history, including previous owners, maintenance records, and any known issues when purchasing a used yacht.

What are some common features to expect in the interior of a small yacht?

Even though they are smaller in size, small yachts often have luxurious and well-designed interiors.

Common features may include a cozy living area, comfortable sleeping quarters , a functional kitchen or galley, and a compact bathroom.

Some yachts also provide entertainment systems, climate control, and advanced navigation equipment , ensuring comfort and convenience while sailing.

Which brands are well-known for manufacturing small yachts?

Several reputable brands produce small yachts, including Hanse , Catalina, Seawind, and Absolute.

Each brand may specialize in different types of yachts, such as sailing, motor yachts, trawlers, and catamarans. It is essential to research and compare various brands and models to find a yacht that best suits your preferences and needs.

What types of luxury amenities can be found on a small yacht?

Small yachts can still offer various luxury amenities, depending on the manufacturer and level of customization.

Some examples include high-end audio and entertainment systems, deck jacuzzis, underwater lighting, custom upholstery and finishes, water toys, and advanced navigation technology.

These amenities add to the overall comfort and enjoyment onboard, but they may also increase the yacht's price.

small yachts

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Yacht Sourcing > Navigating the World of Small Yachts: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the World of Small Yachts: A Comprehensive Guide

  • April 29, 2024

Selecting the perfect small yacht is a thrilling experience that marries luxury with adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a maritime enthusiast looking to purchase your first vessel, understanding the key components that make a small yacht an ideal fit is essential. Here are some essential tips to guide you through the intricacies of choosing a small yacht that will cater to your nautical desires.

al dhaen 310 small yacht

Understand Your Needs

Before diving into the vast sea of mini yacht options, take a moment to consider what you are looking for in a yacht. How many people will typically be on board? What kind of journeys do you plan to undertake – short coastal trips or longer voyages? Your intended use will significantly influence the type of boat you should choose.

Size and Layou t

The interior design can range from practical and marine-efficient to the height of opulence. When inspecting small luxury boat interiors, look for space-saving designs that maximize comfort. High-quality materials and finishes are standard in luxury models, and personalized options may include state-of-the-art entertainment systems, custom lighting, and bespoke furniture.

Functionality Meets Charm

Don’t let the term ‘mini boat’ mislead you; these small yachts are often packed with features and are designed to optimize space without sacrificing style or performance. Make sure the layout suits your needs, with sufficient cabins, storage space, and a comfortable saloon for relaxation. Here at Yacht Sourcing, we have a variety of mini yachts to choose from, including some popular models like the VX28BII & VX30B by Yanmar, the Al Dhaen 310, and the Dufour 30.

dufour 30 small yacht

Performance and Handling

When it comes to mini boats, performance is key. You want a yacht that handles well in various weather conditions and is responsive at the helm. Test drives are crucial – this is when you can assess the yacht’s stability, maneuverability, and speed. Understanding the hull design and engine specifications will also give you an insight into the boat’s performance capabilities.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Owning a yacht is a commitment that comes with necessary maintenance to keep it in pristine condition. Consider the long-term care requirements, including regular cleaning, engine maintenance, and potential repairs. Boats with simpler designs and systems may be easier to maintain, particularly if you’re new to yachting.

small yacht

Budget Considerations

A crucial factor in your decision will be your budget. Mini boats can vary significantly in price, depending on size, brand, features, and age. Remember to account for additional costs such as insurance, docking fees, and maintenance when setting your budget.

Make an Informed Decision

Finally, do your research. Attend boat shows, visit marinas, and speak with yacht owners and industry professionals. This will give you a better understanding of what’s available and what to expect from owning a yacht.

Choosing the perfect boat is a personal journey that should be undertaken with careful consideration and a bit of soul-searching. With these tips, you are well on your way to finding a vessel that will provide endless enjoyment and create lasting memories on the water.

Contact Yacht Sourcing Now, and Get Your Small Yacht Today!

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Small boats: Small boats: A comprehensive guide to choosing the ideal vessel

  • Small boats: A comprehensive guide to choosing the ideal vessel

Are you an adventure lover who wants to explore the high seas? Or do you have a deep-rooted love of fishing and want to enjoy a quiet day on the lake. Whatever your reason, investing in a small boat can transform your water adventure. In this article, we'll delve into the world of small boats, exploring their different types, features, and factors to consider when making your purchase. Join us on a journey to find the perfect small boat that fits your needs and preferences.

Small boats offer a variety of options for recreational activities on the water. From fishing and recreational cruising to water sports and exploring hidden coves, these compact watercraft provide unparalleled versatility and freedom. Whether you prefer the tranquility of paddling or the thrill of gliding through the waves with a powerboat, there's a small boat waiting to become your perfect companion.

Types of small boats

Small fishing boats.

Small fishing boats are designed with features and amenities tailored specifically for fishermen. They offer stability, manoeuvrability and plenty of storage space for all your fishing equipment. These boats come in a variety of configurations, including bass boats, jon boats and boat boats, so you can choose one that suits your fishing style and environment.

Small motor boats

Small motor boats, also known as powerboats, provide the convenience of an engine for propulsion. They are ideal for covering longer distances or when speed is a priority. Whether you opt for a small motorboat or an outboard motorboat, these vessels offer an exciting experience on the water and allow you to reach your destination quickly.

Small open boats

Small open boats, such as dinghies and rowboats, are often used for recreational cruising and exploring shallow waters. They are lightweight, easy to handle and ideal for solo adventures or intimate outings with a partner. These boats offer a calm and meditative experience that allows you to connect with nature while gliding through calm waters.

Small skiffs

Skiffs are versatile small boats that can be used for a variety of purposes, including fishing, transportation and leisure activities. They usually have a flat bottom, which increases stability and allows for navigation in shallow waters. Skiffs are known for their simplicity and durability, making them a popular choice among boating enthusiasts.

Miniature boats

Often referred to as toy boats or model boats, miniature boats satisfy everyone's inner child. These small replicas of real boats are perfect for displaying, collecting, or simply for nostalgic fun. Although not suitable for real water activities, miniature boats have a special charm and bring joy to enthusiasts of all ages.

Factors to consider when choosing a small boat

When it comes to buying a small boat, there are a few key factors that should guide your decision. Let's explore these factors in detail so you can make an informed decision:

1. Size and capacity

Consider the size of the boat based on the number of people you intend to accommodate and the activities you intend to engage in. Make sure the boat has sufficient seating capacity and enough room for equipment, refrigeration and other necessities.

2. Hull material

The hull material determines the durability, weight and performance of the boat. Common hull materials for small boats include fiberglass, aluminum, and wood. Each material has advantages and disadvantages, so choose one that fits your needs and preferences.

3. Stability and manoeuvrability

Stability and maneuverability are essential for a pleasant and safe boating experience. Look for a boat with a stable hull structure and features such as keels or pontoons that improve balance. Consider the maneuverability of the boat in different water conditions, as this will affect your ability to navigate and control the vessel effectively.

4. Storage and transportation

Evaluate the boat's storage options, including deck compartments, fishing rod holders, and live tanks. In addition, consider the weight and size of the boat in relation to your transportation options. Make sure it can be easily transported to and from the water without causing undue inconvenience.

5. Engine power and fuel consumption

If you opt for a small powerboat, carefully consider engine power and fuel efficiency. The engine should provide sufficient power for your needs while being fuel efficient to minimize operating costs and reduce environmental impact.

Read top articles in our magazine on topics such as sailing, cruising tips and destinations .

Various small craft and boats in the bay, blue sky, clear water.

Fishing on a small boat: Tips and techniques

Fishing from a small boat can be a rewarding and memorable experience. Here are some tips and techniques to help you enhance your fishing adventures:

1. Basic Small Boat Fishing Equipment

Make sure you have the necessary fishing equipment, including fishing rods, reels, tackle boxes and safety equipment. Be sure to bring a fish finder or GPS device so you can locate fish and navigate efficiently.

2. Safety precautions

Prioritize safety by wearing life jackets, having a first aid kit on board, and familiarizing yourself with boating safety regulations. Check weather conditions before setting sail and avoid taking to the water during storms or rough seas.

3. Choosing the right fishing spots

Research and explore the different fishing spots in your area to find the ones that offer the best chance of a successful catch. Consider factors such as water depth, vegetation and underwater structures that attract fish.

4. Best practices for catching and releasing fish

Follow catch-and-release principles when fishing responsibly. Handle fish with care, minimize stress and release them back into the water immediately. This helps conserve fish stocks and ensures sustainable fishing practices.

5. Maintenance and cleaning

Regularly maintain and clean your small boat to prolong its life and maintain its performance. After each use, rinse the boat and engine with clean water, check for signs of wear or damage, and perform routine maintenance tasks as recommended by the manufacturer.

Buying a small boat: New vs. used: buying a new boat

When buying a small boat, you have the option of buying new or used. Consider the following advantages and disadvantages to make an informed decision:

1. Advantages and disadvantages of new small boats

Pros: 1. Small boats are suitable for small boats that are equipped with the new small boat navigation system:

  • Latest features and technology
  • Warranty and after-sales support
  • Customization options
  • No previous wear and tear or damage

Cons: Unsatisfactory condition that could be considered the worst in life:

  • Higher initial cost
  • Declining value over time
  • Limited availability of some models

2. Advantages and disadvantages of used small boats

  • Lower initial cost
  • Wide range of options
  • Potential room for negotiation
  • Immediate availability

Disadvantages:

  • Greater risk of wear and tear or damage
  • Limited or no warranty coverage
  • May require maintenance or repairs

3. Tips for inspecting a used small boat

When considering the purchase of a used small boat, perform a thorough inspection to ensure its condition and performance. Look for signs of wear, inspect the engine, test the boat in the water if possible, and ask for maintenance records and any available warranties.

4. Warranty and financing options

If you decide to buy a new small boat, find out about warranty coverage and understand the terms. In addition, research financing options to determine the best approach for your budget and financial situation.

5. Where to buy small boats

Small boats can be purchased from a variety of sources, including boat dealers, online marketplaces and private sellers. Research reputable dealers, read customer reviews and compare prices to find the best deal.

Small Boat Engines: outboard motors and more

The engine is the heart of any small powerboat. Let's explore the different types of small boat engines and their features:

1. Outboard motors for small boats

Outboard motors are the most common type of motor used in small boats. They are portable, easy to maintain and offer excellent manoeuvrability. Outboard motors can be folded down or completely removed, allowing for convenient storage and maintenance.

2. Deck motors and radial engines

Deck motors are usually found in larger boats, but can also be used in some models of small boats. They are installed inside the hull and provide a smoother ride due to the weight distribution of the engine. Boat drives combine inboard engines with outboard propulsion and offer a balance between power and manoeuvrability.

3. Electric motors and alternative propulsion systems

Electric motors are increasingly popular for small boats due to their environmental friendliness and quiet operation. These engines are battery powered and offer a clean and efficient alternative to traditional fuel-powered engines. In addition, alternative propulsion systems such as solar-powered engines and paddle-wheel drives are becoming increasingly popular among environmentally-minded boaters.

4. Maintenance and problem solving

Regardless of the type of engine chosen, regular maintenance is essential to ensure optimum performance and longevity. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for maintenance tasks such as oil changes, fuel line checks and spark plug cleaning. Familiarize yourself with common troubleshooting techniques so you can address any minor problems.

5. Upgrading a small boat engine

If you want to increase the performance of your small boat, upgrading the engine can be a worthwhile investment. Consult experts or boat mechanics to determine the compatibility and feasibility of an engine upgrade based on your boat's specifications.

Small boats offer endless opportunities for adventure, relaxation and exploration on the water. By understanding the different types of small boats, considering the essential factors in your purchase, and choosing the right engine, you can embark on unforgettable journeys and create memorable moments. Whether you're fishing in a calm lake or cruising along a scenic coastline, your small boat will be your gateway to new water experiences.

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

FAQ Selection of the best small boats

How much does a small boat cost?

The price of a small boat can vary depending on its size, features and condition. Prices can range from a few thousand dollars for basic models to tens of thousands of dollars for more specialized boats.

Do I need a licence to operate a small craft?

The requirements for a small craft licence vary depending on location. Check with your local boating authority for specific regulations and licensing requirements in your area.

Can I use a small boat for water sports?

Yes, many small boats are suitable for water sports such as tubing, wakeboarding and water skiing. Make sure the boat has enough power and stability to safely support these activities.

How often should I service my small boat engine?

We recommend following the manufacturer's instructions for engine maintenance. Regular servicing, including oil changes, filter changes and inspections, should be performed at recommended intervals or according to the number of hours of operation.

Can I store a small boat in my garage?

Depending on the size of your boat and the dimensions of your garage, it is possible to store a small boat in the garage. However, make sure you have enough space and consider any local regulations regarding boat storage.

The Ultimate Guide to Small Boats: What Are Your Options?

small boats

Small boats are where many people discover a love for the water, and if you’ve been browsing our Boat Finder Tool looking for small boats that would be ideal for your needs, you’ve surely encountered many options. 

Small boats are less expensive to buy and operate than large ones, are easier to tow or load on a trailer, and can sneak into tiny waterways that bigger boats can’t access.

Small boats also have an esoteric value that’s difficult to pin down. There’s something special about being physically closer to the water, surrounded by nature without all the extra tools and features found on larger, more complex boats. 

In fact, many boat lovers who own large boats also have a small boat or two that they love and enjoy just as much as their bigger craft. But which small boats would be best for you? To make the search easier, we'll review the top 10 small boat contenders.

Types of Small Boats

Inflatable boats, aluminum fishing boats.

  • Pontoon Boats

Car-Toppers

Canoes and kayaks, personal watercrafts (pwcs).

types of small boats

Jon Boats are among the simplest and most popular boats around. Many consist of little more than an aluminum hull with a flat bottom and a squared-off bow, bench seats, and an outboard or electric outboard engine. They’re incredibly easy to launch, load, and store and are among the least expensive options for buying a boat .

Skiffs are another form of very simple, basic, all-purpose utility boats. What exactly makes a boat a skiff? This is a catch-all term often used to describe any relatively small and open boat. Due to this, there’s an extensive range of candidates.

Dinghies come in many shapes and sizes and in different versions that can be rowed, motored, or sailed. But they all share a few common traits: they’re usually very small (eight or 10 feet is standard) and are often used as tenders to transport people and gear from a boat to shore.

Inflatable boats come in two basic styles: those that are completely inflatable and those that have a rigid hull surrounded by an inflatable “collar” or ring (usually called a “RIB,” short for rigid inflatable boat). 

Most inflatables are made of materials like Hypalon or PVC fabrics. Their main advantage is the ability to bounce off anything they might hit. Still, RIB versions are also considered seaworthy and used in many commercial and search-and-rescue applications and for recreational purposes.

small boat types

Aluminum fishing boats come in all shapes and sizes, the only common denominator being that they’re constructed of aluminum. Aluminum boats tend to be light, relatively inexpensive, and fuel-efficient.

Small Pontoon Boats

Although there are some very large and costly pontoon boats on the water, plenty of small models are available that are easy to trailer, easy to afford, and still get you a taste of luxury on the water. There are even different models and designs ranging from mini fishing pontoons to small performance pontoon boats.

Learn more in Buying a Pontoon or a Deck Boat?

This is another catch-all category of boat, with one common denominator: if a couple of people can lift it up and secure it to a roof rack on a car, the boat’s officially a car-topper. Usually, these are very small, simple boats, like Jon boats and dinghies.

These small crafts are popular, and even though most don’t have any mechanical propulsion, they’re still boats. In fact, there are some shockingly advanced models designed for specific purposes (such as fishing or maximum speed). Many boaters develop their initial love for the water while paddling or pedaling on a canoe or kayak.

While there are some large and rather complex jet boats , some small ones can be pretty thrilling to drive. Most have inboard jet engines that create thrust by blasting high-pressure water through a nozzle rather than spinning a propeller. However, there are outboard versions of jet engines, too.

Many people think of personal watercraft (PWCs) more like motorcycles of the water, which has led some to refer to them as waterbikes, or boatercycles. But despite their small size and limited passenger capacity, these are still boats in every sense of the word. They’re also among the most exciting to drive, and many are capable of neck-snapping acceleration, hair-raising high speeds, and exhilarating hairpin turns.

So—have you made up your mind as to which small boat you’d like to own? With all these options, it’s no surprise if you’re still trying to determine which one is right for you. No matter which ones you may be considering, however, one thing is a sure bet: whether it’s the only boat you have or it’s one of several in the family fleet, your love of the water is only going to grow when you spend time on your own small boat.

Read Next: Choosing the Right Boat Type for You

Editor’s Note:  This article was updated in December 2022.

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Home » Blog » Buy a boat » 5 best small sailboats for sailing around the world

5 best small sailboats for sailing around the world

By Author Fiona McGlynn

Posted on Last updated: April 19, 2023

sailing around the world

A small sailboat can take you big places

Small sailboats are the ticket to going cruising NOW — not when you retire, save up enough money, or find the “perfect” bluewater cruising boat. In fact, it’s the first principle in Lin and Larry Pardey’s cruising philosophy: “Go small, go simple, go now.”

Small yachts can be affordable, simple, and seaworthy . However, you won’t see many of them in today’s cruising grounds. In three years and 13,000 nautical miles of bluewater cruising, I could count the number of under 30-foot sailboats I’ve seen on one hand (all of them were skippered by people in their 20s and 30s).

Today’s anchorages are full of 40, 50, and 60-foot-plus ocean sailboats, but that’s not to say you can’t sail the world in a small sailboat. Just look at Alessandro di Benedetto who in 2010 broke the record for the smallest boat to sail around the world non-stop in his 21-foot Mini 6.5 .

So long as you don’t mind forgoing a few comforts, you can sail around the world on a small budget .

dinghy boat

What makes a good blue water sailboat

While you might not think a small sailboat is up to the task of going long distances, some of the best bluewater sailboats are under 40 feet.

However, if you’re thinking about buying a boat for offshore cruising, there are a few things to know about what makes a small boat offshore capable .

Smaller equals slower

Don’t expect to be sailing at high speeds in a pocket cruiser. Smaller displacement monohulls are always going to be slower than larger displacement monohulls (see the video below to learn why smaller boats are slower). Therefore a smaller cruiser is going to take longer on a given passage, making them more vulnerable to changes in weather.

A few feet can make a big difference over a week-long passage. On the last leg of our Pacific Ocean crossing, our 35-foot sailboat narrowly avoid a storm that our buddy boat, a 28-foot sailboat, couldn’t. Our friend was only a knot slower but it meant he had to heave to for a miserable three days.

pocket cruiser

Small but sturdy

If a pocket cruiser encounters bad weather, they will be less able to outrun or avoid it. For this reason, many of the blue water sailboats in this list are heavily built and designed to take a beating.

Yacht design has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Today, new boats are designed to be light and fast. The small sailboats in our list are 30-plus year-old designs and were built in a time when weather forecasts were less accurate and harder to come by.

Back in the day, boat were constructed with thicker fiberglass hulls than you see in modern builds. Rigs, keels, rudders, hulls and decks – everything about these small cruising sailboats was designed to stand up to strong winds and big waves. Some of the boats in this post have skeg-hung rudders and most of them are full keel boats.

The pros and cons of pocket cruiser sailboats

Pocket cruiser sailboats present certain advantages and disadvantages.

More affordable

Their smaller size makes them affordable bluewater sailboats. You can often find great deals on pocket cruisers and sometimes you can even get them for free.

You’ll also save money on retrofits and repairs because small cruising sailboats need smaller boat parts (which cost a lot less) . For example, you can get away with smaller sails, ground tackle, winches, and lighter lines than on a bigger boat.

Moorage, haul-outs, and marine services are often billed by foot of boat length . A small sailboat makes traveling the world , far more affordable!

When something major breaks (like an engine) it will be less costly to repair or replace than it would be on a bigger boat.

how to remove rusted screw

Less time consuming

Smaller boats tend to have simpler systems which means you’ll spend less time fixing and paying to maintain those systems. For example, most small yachts don’t have showers, watermakers , hot water, and electric anchor windlasses.

On the flip side, you’ll spend more time collecting water (the low-tech way) . On a small sailboat, this means bucket baths, catching fresh water in your sails, and hand-bombing your anchor. Though less convenient, this simplicity can save you years of preparation and saving to go sailing.

Oh, and did I mention that you’ll become a complete water meiser? Conserving water aboard becomes pretty important when you have to blue-jug every drop of it from town back to your boat.

Easier to sail

Lastly, smaller boats can be physically easier to sail , just think of the difference between raising a sail on a 25-foot boat versus a 50-foot boat! You can more easily single-hand or short-hand a small sailboat. For that reason, some of the best solo blue water sailboats are quite petite.

As mentioned above small boats are slow boats and will arrive in port, sometimes days (and even weeks) behind their faster counterparts on long offshore crossings.

Consider this scenario: two boats crossed the Atlantic on a 4,000 nautical mile route. The small boat averaged four miles an hour, while the big boat averaged seven miles an hour. If both started at the same time, the small boat will have completed the crossing two weeks after the larger sailboat!

Less spacious

Living on a boat can be challenging — living on a small sailboat, even more so! Small cruising boats don’t provide much in the way of living space and creature comforts.

Not only will you have to downsize when you move onto a boat  you’ll also have to get pretty creative when it comes to boat storage.

It also makes it more difficult to accommodate crew for long periods which means there are fewer people to share work and night shifts.

If you plan on sailing with your dog , it might put a small boat right out of the question (depending on the size of your four-legged crew member).

boat galley storage ideas

Less comfortable

It’s not just the living situation that is less comfortable, the sailing can be pretty uncomfortable too! Pocket cruisers tend to be a far less comfortable ride than larger boats as they are more easily tossed about in big ocean swell.

Here are our 5 favorite small blue water sailboats for sailing around the world

When we sailed across the Pacific these were some of the best small sailboats that we saw. Their owners loved them and we hope you will too!

The boats in this list are under 30 feet. If you’re looking for something slightly larger, you might want to check out our post on the best bluewater sailboats under 40 feet .

Note: Price ranges are based on SailboatListings.com and YachtWorld.com listings for Aug. 2018

Albin Vega 27($7-22K USD)

small sailboats

The Albin Vega has earned a reputation as a bluewater cruiser through adventurous sailors like Matt Rutherford, who in 2012 completed a 309-day solo nonstop circumnavigation of the Americas via Cape Horn and the Northwest Passage (see his story in the documentary Red Dot on the Ocean ). 

  • Hull Type: Long fin keel
  • Hull Material: GRP (fibreglass)
  • Length Overall:27′ 1″ / 8.25m
  • Waterline Length:23′ 0″ / 7.01m
  • Beam:8′ 1″ / 2.46m
  • Draft:3′ 8″ / 1.12m
  • Rig Type: Masthead sloop rig
  • Displacement:5,070lb / 2,300kg
  • Designer:Per Brohall
  • Builder:Albin Marine AB (Swed.)
  • Year First Built:1965
  • Year Last Built:1979
  • Number Built:3,450

Cape Dory 28 ($10-32K USD) 

small sailboat

This small cruising sailboat is cute and classic as she is rugged and roomy. With at least one known circumnavigation and plenty of shorter bluewater voyages, the Cape Dory 28 has proven herself offshore capable.

  • Hull Type: Full Keel
  • Length Overall:28′ 09″ / 8.56m
  • Waterline Length:22′ 50″ / 6.86m
  • Beam:8’ 11” / 2.72m
  • Draft:4’ 3” / 1.32m
  • Rig Type:Masthead Sloop
  • Displacement:9,300lb / 4,218kg
  • Sail Area/Displacement Ratio:52
  • Displacement/Length Ratio:49
  • Designer: Carl Alberg
  • Builder: Cape Dory Yachts (USA)
  • Year First Built:1974
  • Year Last Built:1988
  • Number Built: 388

Dufour 29 ($7-23K)

small sailboat

As small bluewater sailboats go, the Dufour 29 is a lot of boat for your buck. We know of at least one that sailed across the Pacific last year. Designed as a cruiser racer she’s both fun to sail and adventure-ready. Like many Dufour sailboats from this era, she comes equipped with fiberglass molded wine bottle holders. Leave it to the French to think of everything!

  • Hull Type: Fin with skeg-hung rudder
  • Length Overall:29′ 4″ / 8.94m
  • Waterline Length:25′ 1″ / 7.64m
  • Beam:9′ 8″ / 2.95m
  • Draft:5′ 3″ / 1.60m
  • Displacement:7,250lb / 3,289kg
  • Designer:Michael Dufour
  • Builder:Dufour (France)
  • Year First Built:1975
  • Year Last Built:1984

Vancouver 28 ($15-34K)

most seaworthy small boat

A sensible small boat with a “go-anywhere” attitude, this pocket cruiser was designed with ocean sailors in mind. One of the best cruising sailboats under 40 feet, the Vancouver 28 is great sailing in a small package.

  • Hull Type:Full keel with transom hung rudder
  • Length Overall: 28′ 0″ / 8.53m
  • Waterline Length:22’ 11” / 6.99m
  • Beam:8’ 8” / 2.64m
  • Draft:4’ 4” / 1.32m
  • Rig Type: Cutter rig
  • Displacement:8,960lb / 4,064 kg
  • Designer: Robert B Harris
  • Builder: Pheon Yachts Ltd. /Northshore Yachts Ltd.
  • Year First Built:1986
  • Last Year Built: 2007
  • Number Built: 67

Westsail 28 ($30-35K)

small sailboat

Described in the 1975 marketing as “a hearty little cruiser”, the Westsail 28 was designed for those who were ready to embrace the cruising life. Perfect for a solo sailor or a cozy cruising couple!

  • Hull Type: Full keel with transom hung rudder
  • Hull Material:GRP (fibreglass)
  • Length Overall:28′ 3” / 8.61m
  • Waterline Length:23’ 6” / 7.16m
  • Beam:9’ 7” / 2.92m
  • Displacement:13,500lb / 6,124kg
  • Designer: Herb David
  • Builder: Westsail Corp. (USA)
  • Number Built:78

Feeling inspired? Check out the “go small” philosophy of this 21-year-old who set sail in a CS 27.

Fiona McGlynn

Fiona McGlynn is an award-winning boating writer who created Waterborne as a place to learn about living aboard and traveling the world by sailboat. She has written for boating magazines including BoatUS, SAIL, Cruising World, and Good Old Boat. She’s also a contributing editor at Good Old Boat and BoatUS Magazine. In 2017, Fiona and her husband completed a 3-year, 13,000-mile voyage from Vancouver to Mexico to Australia on their 35-foot sailboat.

Saturday 1st of September 2018

Very useful list, but incomplete - as it would necessarily be, considering the number of seaworthy smaller boats that are around.

In particular, you missed/omitted the Westerly "Centaur" and its follow-on model, the "Griffon". 26 feet LOA, bilge-keelers, weighing something over 6000 pounds, usually fitted with a diesel inboard.

OK, these are British designs, and not that common in the US, but still they do exist, they're built like tanks, and it's rumored that at least one Centaur has circumnavigated.

Friday 31st of August 2018

This is a helpful list, thank you. I don't think most people would consider a 28' boat a pocket cruiser, though!

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  • Articles and Guides

11 Best Small Sailboat Brands: How to Choose Your Next Daysailer or Pocket Cruiser

12th oct 2023 by samantha wilson.

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Sailing is a relaxing, invigorating pastime that allows you to harness wind and waves in a unique and historic way without requiring a 50-foot yacht to enjoy what’s special about the experience. In fact, small sailboats allow a delightful back-to-basics experience that often gets lost on larger, systems-heavy sailboats.

On a small sailboat you can connect with the sea, feeling the boat move beneath you. The boat is typically easy to rig, simple to sail, and can even be sailed solo. Small sailboats give you the freedom to trailer your or car-top your boat and go anywhere, and they’re perfect for learning the nuances of sailing. There are many excellent brands and models of small sailboat, each with their own appeal, and here we narrow down some of our favorite in the daysailer and pocket cruiser categories under 30 feet. 

Difference Between a Daysailer and a Pocket Cruiser

While there are many different types of sailboat on the market and there is no single definition of either a daysailer or a pocket cruiser, they are used in a particular way, as the names imply. The term daysailer covers a huge array of sailboats, smaller and sometimes larger, and is generally defined as any day boat used for local sailing, with a simple rig, and easy to get underway. A pocket cruiser typically offers a cabin and head, and adequate accommodations for an overnight stay and sometimes longer cruises. Having said that, there is a large overlap between the two in many instances, so the lines may become blurred. 

What Size is a Small Sailboat?

Small is a relative term of course, but in general—and for the purposes of this article—a small sailboat is one that could be sailed by a small crew, often with one or two people aboard. It will have a simple rig and be trailerable, and it might be either a daysailer or pocket-cruiser style vessel as above. Within those categories, there are many models and styles, but when it comes to length we consider a sailboat as small when it’s under 30 feet in overall length. 

The Best Sailboats Under 30 Feet

Pocket cruiser: Beneteau First 27.  The Beneteau First 27 is a modern example of a pocket cruiser, earning Cruising World ’s Boat of the Year award in the Pocket Cruiser category in 2022. With space for up to six people accommodated in a separated bow-cabin and open saloon, it offers families the chance to go farther, explore more, and cruise in comfort. There is a galley with freshwater and a head, adding to the interior home comforts. The sailboat itself is modern, fast, and stable, designed by Sam Manuard, and has been designed to be incredibly safe and almost unsinkable thanks to its three watertight chambers. The handling is also refreshingly intuitive, with a well-designed cockpit, simple deck controls, and double winches allowing it to be sailed solo, by two people, or a small crew. 

Beneteau First 27

Photo credit: Beneteau

Daysailer: Alerion 28.  You’ll certainly turn heads cruising along in an Alerion 28, a daysailer whose forerunner by the same name was designed by Nathanael Herreshoff in 1912 and then updated with a modern underbody for fiberglass production by Carl Schumacher in the late 1980s. This pretty daysailer manages to combine a traditional silhouette and classic feel, with very modern engineering creating an excellent package. Over 470 of these sailboats were built and sold in the past 30 years, making it one of the most popular modern daysailers on the water. With a small cabin and saloon, complete with miniature galley area, it offers respite from the sun or wind and the option for a night aboard. The cockpit offers a beautiful sailing experience, with plenty of space for the whole family. 

Alerion28

Photo credit: Alerion Yachts

The Best Sailboats Under 25 Feet

Pocket cruiser: Cornish Crabber 24.  British manufacturer Cornish Crabber has been producing beautiful, traditional style small sailboats for decades, ensuring they honor their heritage both in the construction style and appearance of their boats. The Cornish Crabber 24 is the most iconic of their range and dates back to the 1980s. It offers a simple yet surprisingly spacious interior layout with cabin, galley, and head, and a good sized cockpit, as well as seating for up to six people. It’s the perfect family sailboat, with clever use of storage as well as just under 5000 pounds of displacement providing stability and easy tacking. Aesthetically the 24 is simply beautiful, with a traditional silhouette (combined with modern engineering), finished in hardwood trims. 

Cornish Crabber 24

Photo credit: Cornish Crabber

Daysailer: Catalina 22 Capri.  Catalina sailboats need little introduction, and are one of the world’s best-known, most-respected brands building small sailboats. The Catalina 22 Capri (also available in a sport model) is a great example of what Catalina does so well. While we’ve classified it as a daysailer, it could easily cross into the pocket cruiser category, as it offers excellent sailing performance in almost all conditions as well as having a small cabin, galley, and head. Loved for its safety, stability, ease of handling and simple maintenance, it makes for a good first family boat for getting out onto the bay or lake. 

Catalina 22 Capri

Photo credit: Catalina

The Best Sailboats Under 20 Feet

Pocket cruiser: CapeCutter 19.  This is another model that combines the beauty of the traditional silhouettes with modern-day advancements. The design originates from the classic gaff cutter work boats, but today offers excellent performance—in fact it’s one of the fastest small gaffers in the world. The interior is cleverly spacious, with four berths, two of which convert into a saloon, as well as a simple galley area. With quick rigging, it can be sailed solo, but is also able to accommodate small groups, making it a capable and hugely versatile pocket cruiser. 

CapeCutter 19

Photo credit: Cape Cutter 19

Daysailer: Swallow Yachts’ BayRaider 20.  Classic looks with modern performance are combined in Swallow Yachts’ beautiful BayRaider 20. This is one of the most capable and safest daysailers we’ve seen, but also incredibly versatile thanks to the choices of ballast. Keep the ballast tank empty and it’s light and fast. Fill the tank up and you’ve got a stable and safe boat perfect for beginners and families. While it’s got an eye-catching traditional style, the engineering is modern, with a strong carbon mast and construction. While this is a true daysailer, you can use the optional spray hood and camping accessories to create an overnight adventure. 

Swallow Yachts BayRaider 20

Photo credit: Swallow Yachts

The Best Sailboats Under 15 Feet

Pocket Cruiser: NorseBoat 12.5.  Can we truly call the NorseBoat 12.5 a pocket cruiser? Yes we can! The sheer versatility of this excellent little sailboat has convinced us. These beautiful hand-crafted sailboats offer exceptional performance and are described by the manufacturer as ‘the Swiss Army Knives of sailboats’. The traditionally styled 12.5 can be sailed, rowed, and motored. It can be trailered, easily beached, and even used as a camp cruiser, allowing for overnight adventures. There is no end to the fun that can be had with this easy-to-sail and easy-to-handle boat, which makes it a dream to learn in. With positive flotation, lots of clever storage, and a full-size double berth for camp cruising, it really is the perfect mini pocket cruiser. 

NorseBoat 12.5

Photo credit: NorseBoats

Daysailer: Original Beetle Cat Boat 12: All across the bays of the US east coast cat boats have long been part of the ocean landscape. Able to access shallow rocky coves yet also withstand the strong coastal winds, these traditional New England fishing boats have an iconic shape and gaff-rigged mainsails. Beetle Cat have been producing elegant wooden cat boats for over 100 years – in fact they’ve made and sold over 4,000 boats to date. Their 12 foot Cat Boat 12 is one of their finest models, offering lovely daysailing opportunities. It has a wide beam and centerboard that lifts up, allowing it to access shallow waters, as well as a forward mast and single sail gaff rig in keeping with the traditional cat boats. To sail one of these is to be part of the heritage of New England and Cape Cod, and to honor the ancient art of hand-made boat building. 

Beetle Cat official website

Beetle Cat Boat 12

Photo credit: Beetle Cat

The Best Small Sailboats for Beginners

When it comes to learning to sail, it’s important to have a boat that is easy to handle. There’s no quicker way to put yourself or your family off sailing than to start off with a boat that is either too big or too complicated. When choosing your first boat we recommend the following characteristics:

  • Small: The benefits of starting off with a small boat are many, as we’ve seen above. They’re easier to control as well as to moor, and they react more quickly to steering and sails. They can be trailered and launched easily, and the loads generated are much lower than on bigger, heavier boats.
  • Easy to sail: You want a boat that is stable and forgiving of mistakes, doesn’t capsize easily, and isn’t too overpowered in a stronger breeze. Keep things simple and learn as you go.
  • Simple sail configuration: Choosing a boat that can be rigged by one person in a few minutes, and easily sailed solo, makes it easier to take along inexperienced crews. With regards to the rig, all you need are a halyard to hoist the mainsail and a sheet to control the mainsail.
  • Tiller steering: We recommend boats with tiller steering over wheel steering when starting out. The tiller allows you to get a real feel for the boat and how the rudder works as it moves through the water. 

For more information on choosing the best beginner sailboat check out our full guide. There are many popular brands of beginner boats including Sunfish, Laser, and Hunter Marlow. Some of our favorites include;

Hobie 16: The classic Hobie catamaran has been a well-loved beginner sailboat for years, and the Hobie 16 started life back in 1969. Since then they’ve made and sold over a staggering 100,000 of the 16s. It has twin fiberglass and foam hulls, a large trampoline, and a pull-up rudder so it can be sailed straight onto the beach. The basic package comes with an easy to handle main and jib with plenty of extras available too such as a spinnaker and trailer. The Hobie 16 promises a great learning experience and lots of fun in a very nifty and inexpensive package. 

Hobie 16

Photo credit: Hobie

Paine 14: You’ll immediately fall in love with sailing when you step into a beautiful Paine 14. Made from seamless epoxy cold-molded wood, the P-14 is simply beautiful and offers the classic sailing experience with the design and innovation of a more modern hull and rig. Two people will be able to enjoy getting out on the water together and learning the ropes. The Paine 14 has a lead ballast keel that accounts for nearly half her weight, giving her the feel of a much larger boat, but is still trailerable and easy to manage offering the best of both worlds.

Paine 14

Photo credit: Chuck Paine

High-Performance Small Sailboats

Small sailboats generally become high performers if they are light, have a lot of sail area, or they have more than one hull. More recently, some of have been designed with foiling surfaces, as well. For the purposes of this article, we’d like to close by pointing out one model that is super fast and has versatile pocket-cruising capabilities.

Corsair 880 trimaran : The Corsair 880 trimaran is the grandchild of the company’s F27, a model that launched the popularity of trailerable leisure trimarans about 40 years ago. The 880 has taken the model to new heights and exemplifies the incredible space benefits you can achieve in a 29-foot sailboat. We’re talking an aft cabin, room to sleep 5 people, an enclosed head, and standing headroom in the galley and main saloon. It brings many of the opportunities that a much larger yacht plus the ability to cruise in extremely shallow water. Whether you want to cruise to the Bahamas or enjoy a high-adrenaline race, the Corsair 880 offers incredible performance and unlimited adventures in a truly pocket size. 

Corsair 880

Photo credit: Corsair

Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

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11 Best Pocket Cruiser Sailboats to Fit a Budget

  • By Cruising World Staff
  • Updated: May 24, 2024

Looking for a trailerable pocket cruiser that offers that liveaboard feeling? This list features 11 small sailboats with cabins that have the amenities often found on larger vessels. They may not be ocean crossing vessels, but they’re certainly capable of handling big bays and open waters.

What is a pocket cruiser? It’s a small trailerable sailboat, typically under 30 feet in length, that’s ideal for cruising big lakes, bays, coastal ocean waters, and occasionally bluewater cruising. Pocket cruisers are usually more affordable, compact, and offer a level of comfort that’s comparable to bigger liveaboards.

Small cruising sailboats are appealing for many reasons, but if you’re like most of us, you want to maintain a certain level of comfort while on the water. We took a poll and these are what we found to be the best cruising sailboats under 30 feet.

– DON’T LET CARBON MONOXIDE SNEAK UP ON YOU – Install detectors on your boat to sniff out any buildup of carbon monoxide gas. Avoid running engines or generators while anchored or stopped for extended periods. Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

Andrews 28

Open and airy below deck, the Andrews 28 doesn’t sacrifice comfort for speed. Designed by Alan Andrews, the Southern California naval architect renowned for his light, fast raceboats, this 28-footer will certainly appeal to the cruiser who also enjoys a little club racing. Sporting a total of 6 berths, a galley, head and nav area, you might forget you are on a boat small enough to be easily trailered. The retractable keel allows the Andrews 28 to be easily launched and hauled and ensures it’s as comfortable as a daysailer as it is a racer. Click here to read more about the Andrews28.

Beneteau First 20

First 20 at sunset

Small sailboat with a cabin? Check! Fun to sail? Modern design? Capable of flying a spinnaker? Check! Check! Check! The Finot-Conq-designed Beneteau First 20, which replaced the popular Beneteau first 211 nearly a decade ago now, is a sporty-but-stable pocket cruiser suitable for newcomers to the sport who are eager to learn their chops before moving up to a bigger boat or for old salts looking to downsize to a trailerable design. The boat features twin rudders, a lifting keel, and a surprisingly roomy interior with bunks for four. Click here to read more about the Beneteau First 20 .

Ranger 26

Conceived as a way to bridge the gap between a safe, comfortable, family cruiser and a competitive racer, Gary Mull’s Ranger 26 does exactly as it was designed to. Undeniably fast, (one won the 1970 IOR North American Half-Ton Cup) the boat sails as well as it looks. However speed isn’t the Ranger’s only strong-suit, with over 7 feet of cockpit there’s plenty of room for socializing after an evening of racing. The Ranger 26 sports a nice balance of freeboard and cabin height ensuring that a handsome profile wasn’t sacrificed for standing headroom. Click here to read more about the Ranger 26.

Nonsuch 30 left side

Catboats were once a common site in coastal waters, where they sailed the shallow bays as fishing or work boats. Their large single and often gaff-rigged sail provided plenty of power, and a centerboard made them well-suited for the thin waters they frequently encountered. In the late 1970s, Canadian builder Hinterhoeller introduced the Nonsuch 30, a fiberglass variation of the catboat design, with a modern Marconi sail flown on a stayless mast, and a keel instead of a centerboard. The boat’s wide beam made room below for a spacious interior, and the design caught on quickly with cruising sailors looking for a small bluewater sailboat. Click here to read more about the Nonsuch 30 .

– SHOW THEM HOW MUCH YOU CARE – Nothing says ‘I love you’ like making sure the kids’ life jackets are snugged up and properly buckled. Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

Newport 27

Debuted in 1971 in California, the Newport 27 was an instant success on the local racing scene. For a modest 27-footer, the Newport 27 has an unusually spacious interrior with over 6 feet of standing headroom. With 4 berths, a table, nav station, head and galley the Newport 27 has all the amenities you might find in a much bigger boat, all in a compact package. While quick in light air, the drawback of the tiller steering becomes apparent with increasing breeze and weather helm often leading to shortening sail early. Click here to read more about the Newport 27.

Balboa 26

First splashed in 1969, the Balboa 26 continues to enjoy a strong following among budget-minded cruisers. Built sturdy and heavy, all of the boat’s stress points are reinforced. The spacious cockpit comfortably seats 4 and is self bailing, ensuring that sailors stay dry. While only 26 feet, the Balboa still has room for a double berth, galley with stove and freshwater pump, and an optional marine head or V-berth. The Balboa has the ability to sleep five, though the most comfortable number is two or three. Under sail, the Balboa is fast and maneuverable, but may prove a handful in heavy breeze as weather helm increases. Click here to read more about the Balboa 26.

Cape Dory 28

Cape Dory 28

While the sleek lines and the teak accents of the Cape Dory 28 may grab the eye, it is the performance of the boat that make it unique. The Cape Dory comes with all amenities that you might need available, including a V-berth, 2 settees, and a head. Safe, sound and comfortable as a cruiser it is still capable of speed. Quick in light wind and sturdy and capable in heavy air, it is off the wind where the Cape Dory 28 shines with a balanced helm and the ability to cut through chop and still tack perfectly. Click here to read more about the Cape Dory 28.

Islander Bahama 28

Islander Bahama 28

On top of being a real eye-catcher, the Islander Bahama 28, with its 5-foot-6-inch draft and 3,300 pounds of ballast, sails beautifully, tracks well, and responds quickly to the helm. Inspired by the International Offshore Rule, it is unusually wide, offering stability in breeze without sacrificing the sheer and lines that make it so attractive. Below deck, the Islander Bahama 28 comes standard with plenty of berths and storage space and a galley complete with stove, icebox and sink. Click here to read more about the Islander Bahama 28.

– CHECK THE WEATHER – The weather changes all the time. Always check the forecast and prepare for the worst case. Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

S2 8.6

Much like its older sibling, the S2 8.6 still holds its contemporary style, despite its 1983 introduction. Like all other S2 Yachts, the 8.6 is recognized for the quality craftsmanship that allows the boat to hold up today.The S2 8.6 is a very comfortable and easily managed coastal cruiser and club racer. It’s relatively stiff, its helm feels balanced, and it tracks well. On most points of sail, it compares favorably with other boats of similar size and type. Click here to read more about the S2 8.6.

Contessa 26

Contessa 26

When the Contessa 26 was released in 1965, it immediately proved itself to be a strong, seaworthy vessel. The Contessa has continued to prove itself throughout its lifetime, being the boat of choice for two solo circumnavigations under the age of 21. While upwind performance leaves some wanting, the boat is sturdy and can carry full sail in up to 20 knots of breeze. Suited more for single-handing, the Contessa lacks standing headroom and the accommodations are sparse. Nonetheless, the Contessa 26 performs well as a daysailer with guests aboard. Click here to read more about the Contessa 26.

Hunter 27

The Hunter 27 perfectly encompasses the pocket cruiser ideal. Even if you don’t want a big boat, you can still have big boat amenities. With the generously spacious layout, wheel steering and a walkthrough transom the Hunter feels much larger than 27 feet. Step below deck and any doubts you had that the Hunter was secretly a big boat will be gone. The amenities below are endless; a full galley including stove, microwave and cooler, head with full shower, several berths and not to mention a saloon with seating for 6. The Hunter 27 has reset the benchmark for 27-footers. Click here to read more about the Hunter 27.

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Small yachts for sale Pershing 82

Pershing 82

2015 | €3,950,000

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2017 | €290,000

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2017 | €149,300

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2015 | €2,985,000

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2017 | €1,735,000

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2015 | €2,175,000

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Riva VIRTUS

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Small motor yachts for sale

Arcon Yachts has a wide range of small yachts for sale. Small yacht concept refers to motor vessels with a hull under 14 m. Starting from 9 m boats are becoming comfortable and spacious reaching more performance of a bigger yacht. There's enough space for a cabin and a small galley onboard. Open areas are big enough for sunbathing zones. At this moment we start to call them small yachts rather than motor boats.

Small yachts are diverse. In this category you can find cruisers, cabin boats,  fishing boats, bowriders, ski boats, runabouts, aluminium yachts.

Strong points of the small yachts are high mobility, most attractive price, easy storing during the off-season. Normally it's easy to launch them by yourself and to move on tow around the country. Less formalities while using the mini yachts is always a pleasure. And while on water there are no limits for fun and relax. That is why the small yachts are always a good option for those who like to move a lot, who treasure their freedom and for the moment prefer not to spend too much on a yacht.

With Arcon Yachts it's more than easy to buy a small yacht, either new or brokerage, in Russia or in any other region. After all the years in the industry we have good relationship with all the major brands and companies who might be of use while small yachts sale.

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14 Types of Small Boats (Photos, Features & Sizes!)

Explore the world of small boats with our guide on 14 types, featuring essential details on sizes, features, and vivid photos for travelers.

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Boat lovers all over the world first found their fondness while fishing aboard a small canoe, riding down rapids on a kayak, or on some other small boat. Those looking to recapture that initial feeling, hoping to share it with others, or wanting to own a small boat for any other reason, will find a multitude of options.

There are a huge assortment of small boats on the market, all with various uses and in different sizes. From dinghies to Jon boats, to skiffs, and beyond, small boats can be a valuable asset for any boater. These specialized boats can help solve problems larger boats can’t handle and offer an additional way to enjoy the water.

However, with so many options, finding the right one for your specific needs can be a challenge. This is especially true if you aren’t familiar with the terminology or names of the many different types of small boats.

Below is a list of many of the most common small boats on the market, and an explanation about each one’s use. So, whether you’re looking for a fishing boat for the weekends, a small boat as a companion to a larger one, or something else, you’ll know what to look for.

What Are the Different Types of Small Boats?

Now that it’s understood that there is a wide array of options to choose from, let’s dive into the specifics of the most popular options out there. After this article, you’ll feel confident that you know what you’re looking for to meet your specific needs.

Pontoon boats

small yachts

Pontoon boats are a great option for those looking for a casual boat option either for fishing or cruising short distances. These boats offer a lot of room on board for seating and are distinguished by the Catamaran style hull keeping it afloat.

Most pontoon boats are between 15 and 30 feet long. They have a flat profile with aluminum tubes spread around the boat for added support. 

The flat profile allows for plenty of passengers and equipment to be stored on board, however pontoons are not suited for long distances. This is a casual cruiser or fishing boat, not an intracoastal voyager.

Inflatable boats

small yachts

There are two main types of inflatable boats, the RIB kind and the SIB kind. RIB stands for rigid inflatable boats. These types of boats have a rigid flooring or hull with an inflatable component. SIB stands for soft inflatable boat. These types of boats are soft all the way through.

Both the RIB and SIB have their advantages and disadvantages. The RIB offers added structural integrity, but due to its rigid hull, cannot be easily stored. The SIB lacks the structural integrity of the RIB, but its completely soft body allows it to be easily stored anywhere.

Inflatable boats typically range in size from 6 feet to 22 feet and have a variety of uses. They work great as lifeboats aboard a larger vessel, but can also be great for recreational use.

small yachts

Those looking for a simple but reliable boat for recreational use, cruising, or fishing, will find exactly what they’re looking for with a jon boat. This kind of boat is characterized by its flat bottom, affordable price, bench seats, and motor.

Jon boats are most commonly used as cruisers and fishing boats. Their relatively small and simple construction makes them easy to transport, making them perfect for a quick weekend trip. 

Additionally, the light and simple construction of the Jon boat makes it perfect for fishing in shallow waters, where other boats might have trouble. The simple construction also means that they require very little maintenance, meaning you can spend more time on the water.

small yachts

Skiffs are one of the more ambiguous boat types in this list. Skiffs are characterized by their small, simple, and open design, but can be used to categorize many other kinds of boats. Skiffs are made up of a simple hull, an outboard engine, and some seats.

Skiffs are ideal for recreational use, fishing, and cruising short distances. The simplicity of a skiff is one of its main draws. With a skiff you won’t have to worry about maintenance or have to worry about mastering many moving parts.

Their compact size also makes them easy to transport and easy to maneuver in the water. However, their small size also means that less people can be aboard at a time. Additionally, they have no natural protection from the elements, so you will have to find a safe space for storage.

If you’re looking for a simple boat ideal for recreational use at a moderate price, then a skiff might be for you. 

Personal Watercrafts

small yachts

Sometimes referred to as water bikes, water scooters, “boatercycles,” or jet skis, personal watercrafts, or PWC’s, offer a lot of fun. These small “motorcycles” of the water are great for the adventurous looking for a thrilling time on the water.

Jet skis are recreational watercrafts suited for cruising and some light fishing. They can range in horsepower from 60 to 300, so you can get some serious speed if you want it. PWC’s can only hold one or two people, so keep that in mind if you’re looking to get more people on the water.

Personal watercrafts come in sit down and stand up versions, so make sure you know which one you’re getting when you buy. 

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If you’re looking to go fast but want something larger than a personal watercraft, then a jet boat is for you. These boats use a high powered nozzle to propel you quickly through the water. These boats are great recreational boats for cruising and water sports.

Jet boats typically vary in size from 14 to 24 feet in length. They can’t fit as many people as some other boat options, but you will still find space to bring along a few passengers. The main draw for a jet boat however, is the speed and maneuverability.

Jet boats are great for speeding along the water even in shallow areas and participating in water sports. While you could also fish from a jet boat, you would probably be better off with a different option, as these are built for speed. 

small yachts

Dinghies are another type of boat that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and forms. Dinghies can be sailed, rowed, or motored, but a common aspect is they are small and often used alongside a larger boat.

Some dinghies will be inflatable while others may be fiberglass, aluminum, or wood. They are typically between 8 and 10 feet long, making them one of the smallest options in this list. They also have varied amounts of seating, depending on the specific kind you get.

Dinghies are best used as companions to larger boats to reach areas that the larger vessel can’t reach. Their compact size makes them perfect for towing along with a larger boat. They can also be used as small fishing boats or for relaxing on the water.

Aluminum Fishing Boats

small yachts

Aluminum fishing boats are one of the most reliable and utilitarian options on the market for fishing. Their relatively small size, between 8 and 24 feet in length, make them easy to transport to your favorite fishing spot for the weekend.

Aluminum fishing boats are great for navigating even the most shallow of waters, and their simple construction makes them durable. You won’t often find yourself worrying about maintenance with this type of boat.

Some fishing boats must be rowed,  but most will be motored. They often have plenty of floor space for sitting, walking, and storing equipment. 

small yachts

Canoes are one of the most popular options of boat on the market for their simple construction, low maintenance, and ease of use. Canoes are propelled by rowing and are great for a fishing trip, or for coasting along a river.

These types of boats are moderately priced and easy to transport, making them perfect for recreational use. They offer plenty of seating for passengers, given their small size, which you’ll be thankful for when rowing.

Canoes are simple and offer plenty of fun for everyone involved. They come in a variety of shapes as well, some prioritizing speed, others prioritizing coasting, and more. 

small yachts

Kayaks are very similar to canoes in their simple construction, but vary in a few key ways. While canoes offer an open interior to store things and sit, Kayaks seal off your legs and are used primarily for traversing a body of water. 

Kayaks typically only sit one or two people and are propelled by rowing. They use a double bladed paddle as opposed to two separate oars. 

Kayaks are also more suited for maneuverability, and will often be seen as the boat of choice on rapids. These types of boats are ideal for coasting along a body of water or racing down rapids.

If you’re looking for a boat with speed but want a more comfortable seating area than a jet boat has, then the deck boat is for you. This type of boat varies in length from 25 to 35 feet, and offers plenty of seating and comfort for all your passengers.

small yachts

The wide deck is what gives the deck boat its name. Its large deck space makes it ideal for just about any water activity. Its high powered engine makes it great for watersports, while its wide deck makes it suitable for parties. 

Deck boats can be used for fishing, some longer distance travel, and much more. These are the ideal boat for someone hoping to take a lot of people out on the water. 

small yachts

Runabout boats are another catch-all term used to describe a variety of boats. Runabouts include bowriders, deck boats, jet boats, and more. The two primary factors that distinguish a runabout boat are that they are powerboats, and that they are relatively small.

Bowrider Boat

small yachts

Bowriders are another great option for those hoping to take several people out onto the water. They typically range in size from 16 to 28 feet in length and are characterized by their v-shaped hull. 

Bowriders are great for just about any water activity from fishing to cruising, to watersports, and beyond. They are known for their versatility.

What's the Smallest Boat?

small yachts

The smallest boat on the market is the jet ski, the largest being only around 11 feet long. While there are some dinghies, kayaks, and other boats of similar size, jet skis at their smallest take the title. The stand-up models are even smaller than the sit-down style.

What Is a One-Person Boat Called?

There is no one singular name for a single-person boat, as there are numerous kinds of boats that are built for individuals. 

Some of these types of boats include kayaks, rafts, sculls, and dinghies. However, there are many more, and some of these have models that fit more than one person.

What Is a Small Pleasure Boat? 

Small pleasure boats can refer to a variety of boats on the list above. While there is no official designation for what makes a “small” boat, most people agree that smaller than the upper 20s in feet is the cut-off. 

Some small pleasure boats may include bowriders, runabouts, jet boats, and car toppers among many more. What distinguishes a small pleasure boat is that it fits within the loose definition of “small boat” and can be used as a personal water vehicle.

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Two teen girls killed after their jet ski smashes into a small boat on Illinois lake

Two teen girls died in Illinois when their WaveRunner collided with a passing boat on a popular lake, according to police.

Police told ABC7 the incident involved a 16-year-old from Lake Forest, California, driving a Yamaha WaveRunner with a 13-year-old passenger from Long Grove, Illinois, on the back, as the pair navigated the waters of Lake Marie.

The teens were traveling towards a channel that led to Grass Lake on Tuesday when they collided with a Sea Ray Cabin Cruiser boat operated by a 55-year-old man.

Witnesses described the WaveRunner speed directly at the boat.

"The operator, there was nothing they could do to stop the boat in time around the wave runner as it approached," Lake County Deputy Chief Sheriff Chris Covelli said after the incident.

“The Lake County Sheriff’s Office extends its condolences to the families of the girls and others involved in this tragic boat crash,” his office said in a statement.

The girls, both of whom were wearing life vests, were knocked unconscious in the collision and thrown into the water.

The boaters pulled them out of the water, gave first aid, and called 911.

The teens were taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville and pronounced dead on arrival. A male patient was transported from the scene to the hospital.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and Illinois Conservation Police are investigating.

Officials are investigating whether the 16-year-old driving the WaveRunner had a boating safety certificate.

The local coroner’s office will perform autopsies on the bodies of the victims on Thursday, according to the Lake & McHenry County Scanner newspaper .

Publishing from 12 countries and in six languages, The Independent is a truly international news organisation. The first of the quality news brands to embrace a fully digital future in 2016, The Independent is the UK's largest quality digital news brand , and a top ten news brand by reach in the US.

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  • Coast Guard Relieves Commander of Biggest Station for Failing to Act on Harassment Claims

U.S. Coast Guard boat escorts the USS Cole into the New York Harbor

The Coast Guard has removed the commanding officer of its largest small boat station, Station New York.

The service announced Friday that it relieved Cmdr. David Ruhlig on June 3 "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to fulfill the expectations of his position." Ruhlig had commanded the unit for three years and was expected to turn the station over in September.

According to a Coast Guard press release, Rear Adm. John Mauger, the former commander of the First Coast Guard District who relinquished that position in May, recommended the relief for cause.

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Station New York, on Staten Island in New York City, is the largest and one of the busiest boat stations in the Coast Guard, conducting more than 3,800 hours a month in law enforcement and search and rescue operations. More than 140 active-duty and reserve personnel are assigned to it.

According to Coast Guard First District Public Affairs, an investigation showed that Ruhlig did not take steps to address allegations of harassment within his unit.

"The Coast Guard takes all reports of harassment seriously and is committed to providing all members with a safe and respectful environment to work. Therefore, Cmdr. Ruhlig was relieved of command and has been reassigned to Coast Guard Headquarters," First District spokeswoman Lt. Samantha Corcoran said in an email to Military.com.

The firing is the fourth of a prominent Coast Guard leader in less than two months.

In April, Navy Capt. Daniel Mode, the chaplain of the Coast Guard, was relieved for failing to take action when he became aware of sexual misconduct by another chaplain that had taken place before the other chaplain joined the Navy and served in the Coast Guard.

In May, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Reserve Timothy Beard was relieved for inappropriate conduct.

And in late May, Navy Cmdr. Cristiano DeSousa, a Presbyterian chaplain, was relieved as chaplain of the 7th District for what a Coast Guard official described as "poor judgment and performance constituting a breach of trust with the workforce."

Before becoming station commander, Ruhlig served as an adviser to then-Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz and Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray on strategic communications with Congress, academia and federal agencies.

According to Ruhlig's LinkedIn page, he also was the service's lead analyst on diversity, inclusion and equity issues, responsible for developing the Coast Guard's plan to implement initiatives to retain women and minority service members.

Coast Guard leaders have been under intense scrutiny since last year, when a scandal erupted over a coverup of an investigation into multiple cases of sexual assault at the Coast Guard Academy dating back to the late 1980s.

None of the recent firings have been publicly linked by the Coast Guard to cover-up of the investigation, known as Operation Fouled Anchor. The only former Coast Guard leader who has experienced any consequences is retired Coast Guard Capt. Glenn Sulmasy, who resigned as president of Nichols College last year after he was accused of inappropriate communications with students while he was on the faculty at the academy a decade ago.

Shannon Norenberg, the Coast Guard Academy's official in charge of sexual assault response, tendered her resignation last Sunday, saying that she could no longer be part of service that led a concerted effort to cover up incidents of sexual assault.

In a public blog post , Norenberg, who had served in her position since 2013, said she participated in the Coast Guard's efforts to conduct outreach to victims, believing she was helping the investigation and assisting victims in receiving benefits, but later came to believe that the initiative was designed to mislead victims and quash publicity.

During a hearing earlier this week before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee , Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan said the service is waiting for a Department of Homeland Security inspector general investigation to conclude to determine whether actions need to be taken against anyone who was involved.

"As [the IG investigation] concludes, that will provide insights into whether non-criminal misconduct occurred or not, and then we'll work to create what accountability, transparency, what are the administrative tools there [are]," Fagan said.

Regarding Station New York, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Garris of the Coast Guard's Office of Boat Forces will temporarily lead the unit until September, when Lt. Cmdr. Craig Johnson will assume command.

Related: Construction on Coast Guard's Much-Needed Icebreaker Could Begin by End of the Year, Service Says

Patricia Kime

Patricia Kime

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  • missing swimmer

Body of missing boater found in Lake Michigan after small boat capsizes near Winnetka: fire dept.

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WINNETKA, Ill. (WLS) -- Coverage of this story has moved here .

On Monday morning, the body of a woman was found in Lake Michigan after crews searched for hours after a boat capsized Sunday night.

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On Sunday, two women sailed from Evanston in a 12-foot sailboat, before it capsized at dusk.

Around 2 a.m. Monday, one of the women swam about two miles to the shore of Tower Road Beach asking for help, according to the fire department.

The woman told authorities the second woman, 50, was still missing.

The Winnetka Fire Department began a search and rescue mission shortly after the first woman was found.

After several hours of searching, the Coast Guard found the second victim's body around 7 a.m. about a mile off shore north of Winnetka. She was taken into Chicago's Montrose Harbor.

The Cook County Medical Examiner confirmed the woman's death. The victim's identity has not been released.

The sailboat was found about two to three miles off shore, according to the fire department.

This comes as crews searched for a man reportedly fell off a boat on Saturday afternoon near the enclosed boating area, also known as the "Playpen," close to downtown.

After about an hour of searching for the 58-year-old man on Saturday, crews called off the search for the night.

Divers were back on Sunday, but there was no word yet if anyone was found. The search was suspended once again.

READ ALSO | Crews resume recovery mission for man who fell off boat at Chicago 'Playpen': CFD

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Chinese man who sailed into a strategic river mouth in Taiwan was acting on his own, China says

In this photo released by the Taiwan Coast Guard, Taiwan's coast guard officials are seen on board a speedboat that an alleged former Chinese naval officer used to enter a harbor in New Taipei city, Taiwan on Monday, June 10, 2024. Taiwanese authorities are investigating how the Chinese man had driven the small boat into a strategic river mouth that leads to the capital of the self-governing island republic. (Taiwan Coast Guard via AP)

In this photo released by the Taiwan Coast Guard, Taiwan’s coast guard officials are seen on board a speedboat that an alleged former Chinese naval officer used to enter a harbor in New Taipei city, Taiwan on Monday, June 10, 2024. Taiwanese authorities are investigating how the Chinese man had driven the small boat into a strategic river mouth that leads to the capital of the self-governing island republic. (Taiwan Coast Guard via AP)

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BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese government said Wednesday that a Chinese man who sailed a small boat into a strategic river mouth in Taiwan was acting on his own and would be punished after his return to China.

Taiwanese authorities have detained the man, who has been identified as a 60-year-old former Chinese naval officer surnamed Ruan, according to Taiwan’s official Central News Agency. His reported military background raised suspicion that the voyage might have been an attempt by China to test Taiwan’s detection and defense capabilities.

“This is purely his personal behavior,” said Chen Binhua, the spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.

The authorities from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party “do not need to be paranoid, make a fuss and engage in political manipulation,” Chen said in response to a question at a news conference.

China claims self-governing Taiwan as its territory and says the island must come under its control. The Chinese military regularly sends warplanes and ships toward the island and staged a large exercise with dozens of aircraft and vessels last month.

Supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gather and push an ball reading ''Reject China's Interference In Politics'' outside of the legislative building in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

The small boat was detected off Taiwan’s coast on Sunday but apparently was not interdicted until it began interfering with ferry traffic across the Tamsui River, which leads to the capital, Taipei, and flows into the 160-kilometer (100-mile) -wide strait that separates Taiwan and China.

The Taiwan Strait is a key transit point for global commerce but is also known for its winds and tides, raising speculation over whether the small boat made it on its own from the Chinese coast or was launched from a larger vessel.

Transport links have been restored between the sides over the past two decades, but China’s ruling Communist Party keeps tight restrictions on where serving and retired officials can travel.

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Dozens of police officers are powerless on French beaches as people smugglers exploit loopholes to pack dinghy

Sky News witnessed the desperation of migrants trying to board a dinghy off a French beach, with police powerless to stop the people smugglers. The atmosphere turned from calm to chaotic in a matter of seconds.

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Europe correspondent @adamparsons

Tuesday 18 June 2024 18:15, UK

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Migrants climb onto boat in Calais as police watch unable to intervene

So here's a story of a morning at the beach. There's no ice cream, no sandcastles and no sense of fun in this tale - but there are criminal gangs, dune buggies and desperate people.

This beach in Calais is an illustration of the lengths people will go to, the risks they will take, just to try to get to Britain. And things start early.

We arrive at the beach at about 4am. There is a beautiful orange sunrise on the way and barely a whisper of wind. But down on the shore, things are happening.

A group of people are getting on to a dinghy and slowly heading out into the Channel.

As we arrive, the boat is making its way toward Britain, while the people smugglers are heading back toward their hiding places in the dunes.

More will follow. A little later, we see another boat come around the headland, chugging slowly along.

As we're watching, a crowd of people - men, women and children - start hurrying down the beach.

We can see them as they head towards the shore, splashing through the water to try to get on to the boat.

As we catch up and film the scene, three of the Kurdish smugglers start shouting at us. They may not speak English but, safe to say, they know a few swear words.

By now, the sun has risen. Smugglers used to only send people out under the cover of darkness, but now they are more bold.

From Adam Parsons VT

Boat launches happen quickly these days. Smugglers have worked out that it's much more efficient to launch the boat elsewhere and bring it round to the beach, allowing your passengers to run into the water and clamber aboard.

And, under maritime law, there's not much the French police can do to get involved.

They're not allowed to enter the water to stop a boat that hasn't asked for help and, well, it's not illegal for migrants to run into the water.

Basically, there are loopholes that smugglers have learned to exploit, and which hinder and frustrate the police. And we're about to see that play out.

Read more: People smuggler 'at peace' with dying on the job

A large, black dinghy comes into sight, heading in our direction. This time, though, there is a reaction.

On the beach, the police are gathering, ready to puncture the vessel if it comes on land.

Two teams of officers have arrived on the dune buggies they drive across the beaches; others have walked down. I count 25 officers at one point.

On the water, a police boat - its blue lights flashing - is circling the dinghy, building up waves and trying to knock it off course, to stop it from reaching the waters near the beach, where a group of people are now slowly gathering, a little way from both the water and the police.

The police boat continues to zig-zag, but the dinghy, with five men on board, is resolute.

A police boat near the dinghy

It perseveres and, as it nears the water, the men offer up a signal, and there is a sudden surge from the beach.

The group who had been waiting quietly now rush forward, past the police and into the sea. They wade into the water and set out towards the boat.

And we follow them, striding into water that rapidly rises to the top of our legs. Two men stride past, each cradling a child. I can see people scrambling to get on to the boat.

A minute ago, the atmosphere of these people had been deliberate and calm. Now, it feels chaotic.

A woman's cry, desperate and imploring, rings out. She has drifted away from the boat and, despite wearing a life jacket, she is struggling in the water.

More from Sky News on the migration crisis: On 'Train of Death': Electric shocks and beatings Poll reveals what people think about immigration

One of the smugglers comes over and brings her back to the boat, helping her on.

Some children are crying; others simply seem bewildered.

The last two people to get on are men, who pull themselves up and out of the water with a huge effort.

Everyone on board is drenched; many have lost or dropped the bags they'd brought with them. But they are on a dinghy, and now, with a jolt, the engine is pulled into action and they start their journey towards British waters.

We stride back through the water and reach the shore. The police have been watching, filming the boat on their phones, powerless to stop anything happening.

And beyond them is another crowd of migrants, now walking away from the beach. The ones who couldn't get on to this boat, or who decided it was simply too dangerous.

Those that couldn't make it to the dinghy headed back

Among them is Rebaz, from Iraq, who's trying to get to Britain with his wife and his two small children, one of them just five months old.

In his home country, he insists, his whole family would be at risk. Rebaz says the family, including their baby, has been sleeping out in the cold.

He dreams of getting across the Channel.

"We have tried four times to get across," he tells me.

"Will you try again?" I ask.

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"Yes, of course because I don't have any solution. I know it will be very dangerous for me and for my children. But when you don't have any solution... I will try," he said.

"I don't want to take money from anyone. I just want to live a life, be safe and make a life for my children."

His daughter clings on to his neck as he talks, Rebaz holding her close. He has a desperation to get to Britain, a belief that crossing the Channel will right the wrongs of his life.

And, as long as people have that belief, the smugglers will have customers.

Watch special programme on migration crisis with Yalda Hakim on Sky News from 9pm tonight

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