The 5 best sailboats for beginners (Personal Experience)

Have you ever wanted to learn how to sail? It’s a fun and challenging sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. If you’re thinking about getting started in sailing, you’ll need to choose the right boat. In this blog post, we’ll recommend five of the best sailboats for beginners. With one of these boats, you’ll be able to learn the basics of sailing and have a great time doing it!

If you don’t know how to sail, check out my other article here!

What Makes A Sailboat Good For Beginners?

Sailing is an exhilarating experience and one that I would recommend to all beginners. When it comes to choosing the right sailboat, easy handling should be your number one priority. Bigger boats require more skill and knowledge as what may seem easy with a smaller boat can become complicated with a bigger boat. This isn’t meant to scare you away from sailing – rather it is helpful information so you know what size of boat will be the most enjoyable for you. Beginner vessels should be easy to maneuver, balanced, and stable so that those with little or no knowledge about sailing can still enjoy this activity. With easy handling and a little knowledge, you will soon enough be able to move up in size so that you can explore different terrains with confidence.

1. The Sunfish

The Sunfish is a popular choice for beginners because it is simple to set up and easy to handle. Setting up a sailboat can be incredibly intimidating: the rigging, masts, rigging, sails, and more can all seem too much to manage alone. That’s why so many new sailors choose the seemingly simple Sunfish as their first boat – it offers an excellent balance between ease of setup and a fun sailing experience, making it the ideal choice for beginners. Not only is the Sunfish relatively easy to get on the water quickly, but its basic design also makes it maneuverable and controllable for novice sailors. It’s no wonder that even experienced veterans hold this classic sailboat in such high regard; its unmistakable presence on lakes and near coasts around the world is a testament to its popularity. Whether you’re just beginning your journey into sailing or honing your skills after years of experience, the Sunfish will undoubtedly offer you an exciting voyage of discovery!

2. Laser Sailboat

The Laser is another popular choice for beginners because it is lightweight and easy to maneuver. Choosing a sailboard can be intimidating but the Laser sailboat is an excellent choice for those just getting started. It’s lightweight, easy to maneuver, and highly recommended by many friends I have in the sailing community. What’s also great about it is that its adjustable control lines let you adapt to different conditions, so as your skills grow, you’re able to take on more significant winds and rougher waters. The Laser isn’t just for beginners either—it’s used in racing competitions all around the world. All in all, it’s an ideal starter boat, with plenty of potential for growth.

3. The Catboat

The Catboat is a good choice for Beginners because it is stable and can be sailed in a bunch of different weather conditions. As someone who is looking to start sailing, the Catboat is definitely worth considering. It’s a great option for first-timers because it’s very stable in the water and can handle pretty much any type of weather condition. What I really like about this boat is that it has a high narrow bow and low stern, which means its center of gravity stays low while sailing. Plus, I don’t have to be an expert sailor to feel confident during longer voyages – the Catboat handles beautifully under multiple sail sets and different wind speeds. All in all, if you’re thinking of beginning your sailing journey soon, then the Catboat should be on top of your list!

4. Catalina 22

The Catalina 22 has been a go-to sailboat for new sailors for many years due to the fact that it is relatively easy to set up and maintain. It also boasts one of the largest cockpits in its class, giving the crew plenty of room while they’re out on the water. The features of this boat make it an excellent option for any beginning sailor looking to invest in their first boat. From learning how to use all parts of the boat and rigging properly, as well as how to sail itself, getting comfortable with sailing starts with having a boat that is easy to manage. With this classic design and quality build, there isn’t much better than the Catalina 22. I personally started with this boat as my first and I loved it! See my article below all about my first boat!


This article is all about buying my first sailboat.

5. Hunter 22

The Hunter 22 is a popular choice for first-time sailors, and it’s easy to see why. It has a spacious cabin with plenty of room for two people and all their supplies but is still small enough to be easily maneuvered by a single sailor. Its design allows for great upwind performance and it can even handle light winds with ease. The boat also comes standard with a furling jib and mainsail, making it easy for beginners to understand the basics of sail trimming and tacking. Additionally, the Hunter 22 is built with durability in mind and is constructed from high-quality materials that make it strong enough to withstand most weather conditions. And above all else, its lightweight design makes transportation and storage extremely easy. All this makes the Hunter 22 a great option for those looking for an entry-level sailboat that provides good performance and comfort on the water.

Final Thoughts!

As a beginner sailor, getting the right sailboat is essential to start on the right foot. That’s why I think the Sunfish, Laser, Catboat, and Catalina 22 are the five best sailboats for beginners. The Sunfish is an ideal boat for beginner sailors since it’s really easy to control and can handle all water conditions (plus it looks amazing on the water!). For those who want to practice racing then the Laser is a great choice since it’s fast and responsive. The Catboat is larger than most beginner boats so you can fit more people onboard which will be fun for family outings or parties on the water. The Catalina offers excellent stability and performance however its larger size may be daunting for some beginner sailors. Lastly, there’s the Hunter 22 which provides plenty of room for storage, good speed even with a beginner skill level, and also looks pretty cool! All five of these options make wonderful beginner sailboats. I hope this helps you begin your sailing life! Cheers!


Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

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