Should I Buy A Sailboat? The Pros And Cons

I have always loved sailboats. I had my first sailboat at age 23. It was a Catalina 22 and I loved almost every minute of having it. There were a few times when I hated it though. This article will discuss all the things I loved and hated about my experience of owning my own sailboat.

10 Pros Of A Sailboat

1. There are no loud engine sounds when you are under sail.

This provides peace and tranquility and a feeling of surreal.

2. Sailboats are much easier to work on than powerboats.

Almost all the sailboat parts are easily accessible and don’t require too much work to replace. Each boat varies though.

3. Fuel costs are very minimal.

Depending on the engine use, the average tank of gas will last most of the season. Sail more and use less gas!

4. You can live aboard a sailboat.

Most sailboats have a cabin down below. If you would like a weekend getaway on the water, then a sailboat is a great option. I spent many weekends on my CAT 22.

5. The cost of a sailboat is much less than the cost of a powerboat.

I bought my Catalina 22 for $2500 dollars and probably could have paid even less.

6. Sailing will teach you a lot of new skills.

Reading the wind, reading the water, and learning how to handle the boat in rough seas, will be a few of your new skills.

7. The Sailboat community is fantastic.

I have been a part of a few different sailing communities and I have never met such great people. They are always willing to help.

8. Environmentally friendly for our waters.

Sailboats use much less fuel and resources compared to a powerboat. Since you should be sailing most of the time, fuel exhaust will be almost non-existent.

9. Freedom comes with sailing.

Being able to harness the wind to its full power and glide through the water will give you a feeling like you’ve never felt before.

10. Sailboats will connect you with nature.

A powerboat can connect you with nature as well, but not like a sailboat. A sailboat will feel more connected to nature than any other boat.

These 10 pros are just some of the reasons sailboats are so great. I could talk about sailing all day and why I love it so much.

Check out my other article all about picking the right sailboat!

There are some negatives when it comes to sailboats though. The pros should outweigh the cons but I feel like I should mention these so you will have a better idea of what to expect.

10 Cons Of A Sailboat

1. No wind means no movement.

When there is no wind you will not be able to sail. You can use your engine but that defeats the purpose of sailing.

2. Sailboats are slow.

When you are sailing upwind it feels fast, but compared to a powerboat, sailboats are quite slow.

3. There is always work to be done.

Every sailboat I have been on has needed work. It doesn’t keep you from sailing but there are always projects. I like working on them though so this could be a pro. It’s a big pro for me.

4. Limited seating.

Most sailboats don’t have much seating on the deck. Also, it is usually not too comfortable compared to a pontoon with lounge seating.

5. Transporting a sailboat.

I have transferred a small sailboat that had a trailer, but most 27-foot and larger boats don’t have trailers. This means you will have to put it somewhere and leave it there. If you need to move your 36-foot Hunter and have to pay for a professional to haul it, you will have to pay a lot.

6. Winter storage.

If you slip your sailboat on a lake during the summer that is great, but what will you do with it in the winter? You probably didn’t get a trailer so your options are very limited.

7. You have to know how to sail to use it.

Sailing isn’t the hardest thing in the world, but you do need to know how to sail in order to use a sailboat. Check out this article to find out more about learning to sail.

8. The best sailing is on the ocean.

If you are landlocked you may not have a big enough water source for a sailboat. Lake sailing is possible but it needs to be a good size to fully enjoy sailing.

9. Sailing is work.

When you are sailing there will be work to do. You have to work for the speed of the boat. Most people enjoy the work, but if you just want to sit there all day, a sailboat may not be the right choice.

10. Maintenance

I believe that sailboats require more maintenance than a powerboat. There are a lot of little things you have to keep up with on a sailboat. Powerboats mostly require only minor engine maintenance.

These 10 cons are some of the reasons I think people steer away from sailboats. I personally find some of these cons enjoyable though. The pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Keep reading to see my final thoughts.

My Final Thoughts

When I owned my own sailboat, the worst thing was probably the learning curve. I jumped in with both feet and decided to learn as I went. I learned how to sail before I bought my boat, but I learned everything about maintaining a boat while I owned it.

There were a lot of things that came up that I didn’t know how to handle. The internet was a great help, but sometimes it was frustrating trying to fix something and not knowing how. This can come from any type of boat ownership though. Even though I experienced some stress I still loved the sailboat overall.

I also added a lot of items to my boat that weren’t necessary. Basically, I created more work for myself than needed. I definitely could have just sailed all summer and not worked on the boat. Take that as you may.

Like I keep saying throughout my website, there is no better feeling than being under sail with the wind in your face, and listening to the waves splash against the hull.

If you like working on things and improving yourself as a person, then a sailboat is a great option for you. I will always choose a sailboat over a powerboat!


Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

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