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Types of Sailboats

Over the thousands of years people have sailed, many different kinds of sailboats have been designed for different purposes. Learn about both historical and modern designs. Choosing the right boat for your own uses involves considering hull types, construction, and many other factors. Read reviews of common models and learn how to shop wisely.

Types of Sailboats and Rigs
Over history, dozens of sailboat rigs have been developed and used for different types of boats in different circumstances. The "rig" refers to the combination of mast(s) and sail(s), which may vary considerably among boats of different sizes. Here is an introduction to the most common types of sailboat rigs found on the water today.

Sailboats in 2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympics in London will have 10 sailing events. Here are pictures and descriptions of the 10 boats that will be raced in these events.

Sailboat Keel Shapes
The keel of a sailboat is necessary to keep the boat from being blown sideways and usually also to provide ballast weight low in the water to reduce heeling. Different keel shapes have varying advantages and disadvantages for different kinds of sailboats.

The Laser - Perfect Small Sailboat for Racing or Intense Recreational Sailing
The Laser is a small, fast sailboat often raced at clubs or in regional, national, and international races up to the Olympics. Learn all about the different Laser models here.

Sailboat Rudder Types
A sailboat is steered by the rudder, a flat vertical surface under the water at the stern. As the rudder is pivoted to one side by the tiller or steering wheel, the force of the water striking one edge of the rudder pushes the stern of the boat in the opposite direction, thereby turning the boat as it continues forward. Different types of rudders have different advantages and disadvantages.

Fixed, Folding, and Feathering Propellers for Sailboats
In the past most sailboats with inborn engines had fixed propellers with 2 or 3 blades. While this type generally works well when the boat is under power, the prop causes drag when sailing and can reduce boat speed up to 15% in some conditions. Newer models of folding or feathered props greatly reduce drag and may have other advantages as well, but each type still has certain disadvantages.

Review of MacGregor 26M Sailboat
The MacGregor 26M sailboat is a popular pocket cruiser for day sailing and short cruises. It trailers well and with a large outboard engine also moves like a fast powerboat. But this inexpensive sailboat may not be for everyone.

How to Buy a Sailboat
If you're thinking of buying a sailboat, it's important to consider many issues and questions about your needs and future activities before selecting a type and size of boat, and deciding whether to buy a new or used sailboat.

Buying a Sailboat - Centerboard vs Fixed Keel
You need to consider many different questions when deciding what kind of sailboat is best for you. Depending on the general size range of the sailboats you may be interested in, you may need to choose between fixed-keel boats and centerboard (or swing keel or daggerboard) boats. This article will help you choose which is best for your needs.

Buying a Sailboat - Sloop vs Ketch
If you are looking for a cruising sailboat, depending on your preferred size range, you may be choosing between a sloop and a ketch, the two most common types of cruising sailboats. Each offers certain advantages. This article will help you choose which is best for your needs.

Buying a Sailboat - Inboard vs Outboard Engines
If you are shopping for or buying a large daysailer or a small cruising sailboat, you may be choosing between sailboats that have an inboard engine and those having an outboard motor. Each offers certain advantages.

Review of the Hunter 140 Sailboat
The Hunter 140 (14 feet long) has been a popular small daysailer for over a decade. It's a good, inexpensive sailboat for learning to sail and for a small family. Read the full review here.

Review of the Mariner 19 Sailboat
For over 40 years, the 19-foot Mariner sailboat has been a popular classic daysailer. Read this full review to discover its strengths and weaknesses.

The Sunfish - A Perfect Lake or Urban Sailboat
The 14-foot Sunfish sailboat is a very popular daysailer that has been around for decades and remains the almost perfect sailboat for certain situations. Read the review here and learn all about its strengths and weaknesses.

MacGregor 26 Sailboat Strengths and Weaknesses
The MacGregor 26 has undergone many changes in different models over three decades. It can be a safe or dangerous sailboat, depending on how it is sailed. New owners should maintain certain cautions. Read this experienced owner's review.

"The Voyager's Handbook" by Beth Leonard - Book Review
This is the book you don't want to even think of going on a serious cruise without having read. Leonard, a most accomplished circumnavigator who's cruised all over the world, writes almost everything you need to know. Read the full review here.

Review of West Wight Potter 19
The West Wight Potter 19 sailboat is a smaller, trailerable sailboat that makes a good daysailer or pocket cruiser. Read the review here to learn how it earned its reputation as a stable, easy-to-sail small sailboat.

The Sloop Sailboat Rig
A sloop-rigged sailboat has a single mast near the center of the boat and a tall triangular mainsail on the mast. Also called a Bermuda rig, a sloop is the fastest rig upwind and is the most common type of sailboat today.

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