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10 New Cruising Sailboats Under 35 Feet

  • By Cruising World Staff
  • Updated: November 3, 2020

It wasn’t so long ago that 30- to 35-foot cruising sailboats were likely to be the largest yachts found in many a harbor. And while 40-something and even 50-something footers are all the rage at boat shows today, there’s a lot to be said for setting sail on a boat big enough to carry family and friends, but still small enough to be easily maintained and handled alone from time to time. Small cruising sailboats are simple to dock or tie up to a mooring, and finding long-term marina space is easier as well.

Choosing a cruising sailboat, no matter the size, is a big decision. And it helps to have a trusted list of boats to get started. Here, then, is a look at 10 of the best daysailers , weekenders and coastal cruising sailboats under 35 feet that are all in production and can be purchased new.

Alerion Sport 30

36 ft sailboat cost

A quarter-century ago, Garry Hoyt launched what would come to be known as the daysailer genre with the introduction of the Alerion Express 28, a boat designed by the late Carl Schumacher that featured a minimal interior and a large cockpit where an owner and guests could enjoy the simple joy of sailing. Traditional and lovely looking—but with a quite modern underbody and a powerful sail plan—Hoyt, ever the marketer, proclaimed the boat to be “the prettiest girl at the dance.”

Since then, a number of siblings ranging from 20 to 41 feet have been added to the Alerion family, including the Alerion Sport 30, which retains the graceful sheer line, oval ports and stylish overhangs of the original Schumacher design. Yet with input from naval architect Langan Design Partners, it also embraces a solid measure of performance-oriented DNA.

Read more about the Alerion Sport 30 »

Bavaria Cruiser 34

36 ft sailboat cost

In every Boat of the Year contest, it seems, a boat rises up after sea trials to make a lasting impression on the judges. For 2018, that boat was the Bavaria Cruiser 34.

Says Boat of the Year Judge Tim Murphy, “The Bavaria was a lovely boat to sail. It has a single rudder, and she answered her helm just beautifully in the conditions we had today. We started off with around 10 knots of breeze that built to 13 to 15 knots. As a sailboat, it was just a pleasurable sailing experience, among the best we had during our judging. It was among the boats that felt like a really happy sailing experience.

Read more about the Bavaria Cruiser 34 »

Beneteau Oceanis 30.1

Beneteau Oceanis 30.1

Sailed as part of the 2020 Boat of the Year sea trials, the 31-foot-3-inch Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 was the compact yacht best-equipped and spec’d out as a dedicated cruising boat, and not coincidentally, it was also awarded the title of Best Performance Cruiser for 2020. But don’t let her cozy interior accommodations fool you; this is also one peppy little vessel.

Read more about the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 »

Dehler 34

The 2017 Boat of the Year (BOTY) contest featured a stellar crop of crossover cruiser/racers; however, when all the testing was said and done, our independent panel of judges was sold on the Dehler 34, naming it the year’s Best Performance Cruiser. Designed by the highly regarded Judel/Vrolijk naval-architecture consortium, whose reputation was fostered by longtime success in international yacht-racing circles, the 34-footer combined contemporary good looks and a sweet turn of speed with better-than-average comfort and accommodations below. It didn’t hurt that the boat, nicely equipped at $215,000, was the least-expensive entry in the entire 2017 fleet. All in all, it proved to be a winning formula.

Read more about the Dehler 34 »

Dufour Grand Large 360

36 ft sailboat cost

Dufour Yachts introduced its new 360 Grand Large model to CW’s Boat of the Year team in 2018 as a coastal cruiser intended for a couple or perhaps a small family. With that in mind, judge Alvah Simon found numerous clever elements to praise within the boat’s 35-foot-2-inch hull—a relatively modest LOA compared to the many 40-, 50- and 60-footers on display at the U.S. Sailboat show in Annapolis, Maryland.

Read more about the Dufour Grand Large 360 »

36 ft sailboat cost

After a roughly 10-year hiatus from the U.S. marketplace, the Slovenian builder Elan is back in a big way. For the 2017 Boat of the Year contest, the company launched a pair of new boats in the States, including the Elan E4, a 34-foot-9-inch performance cruiser with an emphasis on performing, designed by renowned British naval architect Rob Humphreys. The brand has been in business for seven decades and lately is perhaps even better known in America for its skis. Not surprisingly, given its complementary product lines—lots of sailors are fine skiers—its boats are as sleek and sporty as its boards.

Read more about the Elan E4 »

Grand Soleil 34

Grand Soleil 34

Way back in the 1970s, when the well-known Italian boatyard Grand Soleil was just getting started, its first model was a Finot-designed 34-footer. With over 300 units sold, it was an instant success, and launched the company on an upward trajectory that spanned the intervening decades, mostly with an ongoing series of much larger, more complex racer/cruisers. For 2020, the builder decided to return to its roots with a completely revamped Grand Soleil 34, and it’s a terrific boat.

Read more about the Grand Soleil 34 »

36 ft sailboat cost

Value. How does one determine it? Price is most certainly a factor. In the case of new boats, and our Boat of the Year competition, it means something more. As sailors, we wish to recognize good boats that not only are affordable but offer other, tangible rewards. The ability to get couples and families out on the water, to have a weekend escape, to take them on coastal vacations and even maybe a sabbatical to the islands, all without breaking the bank. For 2019, the judging panel determined that one boat had the potential to do these things better than the rest, which is why they awarded the Best Value prize to the Hanse 348.

With a price tag under $200,000, during sea trials the Hanse 348 wowed the judging team from the get-go. “In only about 8 knots of breeze, we were seeing 5.7 knots upwind and pointing very nicely, and even registered 6.5 knots once we cracked off,” said Tim Murphy. “It’s a pretty sweet little boat.”

Read more about the Hanse 348 »

Italia 9.98

Italia 9.98

Of the performance cruisers that made their North American debut in 2020, in terms of sheer appearance, the futuristic 34-foot Italia 9.98 was easily the most distinctive. There are actually two versions of the boat: the 34 Club—which is the cruising alternative, the primary features of which are its twin wheels—and the 34 Fuoriserie—the racing model, and the one we tested, with its tiller steering being the identifying characteristic.

Read more about the Italia 9.98 »


Beginning with the popular little J/24 way back in 1977, J/Boats has become famous for its steady introduction of terrific racing and cruising boats, almost all of which shared one main characteristic: They sailed like a witch. More than four decades later, having built more than 50 separate, mind-boggling models, the Johnstone family that designs, markets and sells the brand shows no signs of slowing down. Their latest offering, for 2020, was another fast and fun racer/cruiser: the 32-foot-7-inch J/99.

Read more about the J/99 »

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Catalina 36 MK II

This recent update of an extraordinarily popular 18-year-old design is a good all-around boat. owners’ main complaint is with interior woodwork..

36 ft sailboat cost

Now the largest manufacturer of sailboats in the US, Catalina Yachts was formed in 1970, two years after founder Frank Butler was fired by the company to which he sold his first boatbuilding business.

Butler was the owner of a machine shop that provided parts for the aircraft industry when he began sailing at age 30. In 1961 he got the boatbuilding bug and formed Wesco Marine, soon changing the name to Coronado Yachts.

He successfully introduced the Coronado 25 in 1964, and sold the company to the Whitaker Corp. in 1968. A year later he was unemployed, and prohibited by a no-compete agreement from forming another company for two years.

With the expiration of the agreement in 1970 he established Catalina Yachts; introduced the Catalina 22, of which more than 15,500 have been sold; and began a steady ascent to the top of the industry.

Catalina 36 MK II

The company’s 700 employees occupy more than 500,000 square feet of manufacturing space at two plants in California, and a third in Florida, purchased from Morgan Yachts. Butler still manages the daily affairs of the company, and continues to act as “warranty coordinator.” He is assisted by chief designer and engineer Gerry Douglas, and Sharon Day, director of marketing, both of whom are now co-owners.

Catalina’s model lines range from the 8-foot Sabot to a well-developed line of Catalina and Expedition daysailers to boats with cabins that run the gamut from the Capri 22 to the Catalina 470. The company also builds Nacra catamarans.

Design Like most of the company’s boats, the Catalina 36 was designed by the in-house design team under the direction of Douglas.

“The target market for the 36 is couples and families who primarily weekend and vacation cruise but may be planning some extended cruising,” said Douglas. “They want a boat that is comfortable, offers reasonable performance, and is stable and predicable to handle. The boat suits their budget, and they can add gear for bluewater cruising.”

Like most modern production boats, the 36MKII has a fairly flat sheer, low-profile cabin and short overhangs. Beam is carried well aft to accommodate the double berth in the aft cabin.

“The hull shape has remained the same, since a basic tenet was that the boat would sail in a one-design fleet,” Douglas said. As a consequence, changes to appendages have had little affect on the PHRF rating, which is 140-150, depending upon local fleet handicappers.

The standard fin keel is the same design as on hull #1, though two shoal draft keels have been offered. An optional Scheel keel, which enjoyed limited success, has been replaced by a shoal draft wing keel. On new boats the rudder has been reconfigured as a semi-elliptical blade.

Three different decks have been manufactured but, as Douglas said, “most of the changes are cosmetic or ergonomic and have gone unnoticed. Maybe a customer said that a radius needed to be softened or I noticed things on my boat that I wanted to change.”

The MKII was introduced in August 1994 with hull #1368. Hull #2038 was launched last March.

Construction Catalinas are assembled from three principal moldings—the hull, deck and an interior liner that incorporates the cabin sole and much of the “furniture.” Butler was an early (possibly the first in the US) proponent of this time-saving method.

The hand-laid hull is solid fiberglass. Vinylester resin is used on the outer plies, underneath the gelcoat, because it better resists osmotic blistering than polyester. The balance of the laminate consists of alternating layers of 7.5-ounce cloth, 24-ounce roving and 1.5-ounce chopped strand mat (CSM).

“There’s more knitted than woven roving in current models,” Douglas said, adding that this improves structural integrity.

Hull thickness is 1″ at the centerline and 5/8″ on bottom panels.

The liner is bonded to the hull at all intersections using X-mat tape. Bulkheads are bedded in 3M 5200 and bolted or screwed to the liner.

The hand-laid deck is cored with Baltec AL 600 end-grain balsa; decks on earlier versions were cored with plywood.

The hull/deck joint is an overlapping flange bonded with a fiberglass-reinforced polyester mix and secured with 1/4″ bolts on 6″ centers.

The loads from the lower shrouds are transferred to the hull via tie rods fastened to the chainplates on top and to reinforced areas of the hull at bottom. A common complaint among owners responding to a PS survey is that chainplates leak and require annual inspection or rebedding.

Deck hardware is fastened with machine screws to drilled and tapped aluminum plates bedded in the deck laminate. This method produces a secure fit and avoids dimples on the ceiling of the interior.

The keel is lead with 2% antimony and installed with type 316 stainless steel keel bolts. The fin weighs 6,042 pounds, the wing keel 6,670 pounds.

On Deck Because the 36MKII was designed for cruising by couples and families with children, the deck layout is organized for shorthanded sailing.

The anodized mast is manufactured by Catalina. A Schaeffer 2100 furler is standard. The solid vang and most deck hardware are made by Garhauer Marine. Lewmar winches and hatches are standard. These lower-priced products are fine for their intended use.

The wire upper shrouds and stays are 5/16″; lower shrouds are 1/4″. A split backstay is equipped with adjustable turnbuckles. We would consider adding a backstay adjuster, which would have eliminated headstay sag on our test boat.

Standard running rigging on the boat is Dacron, strong enough and suitable for most owners, but we would consider switching to low-stretch rope.

Primary winches are self-tailing, chromed-bronze Lewmar 48s; halyard winches are self-tailing Lewmar 30s. Both were large enough for the heavy loads we encountered during our test sail.

The tracks for jib and genoa cars are located inboard, near the cabin sides, and outboard on the toerail. During our test sail we found the inboard track to be at least 1′ too short for sailing hard on the breeze with a double reef in the main and shortened headsail.

Standing rigging is led out of the way to the base of the cabin trunk, easing maneuvering along the 17″-wide decks. Coupled with a 1-1/2″ high toerail, and a stainless steel handrail running the length of the cabintop, we always found a handhold. However, stanchions are only 24″ high, 5″ lower than we prefer on an oceangoing yacht. Similarly, the mast pulpit is only 25″ tall.

A taller rig designed to improve performance in light air adds 24″ to the 44′ 9″ standard spar height and $860 to the purchase price, including the cost of larger sails — a deal worth grabbing, we think.

The anchor locker houses two 35-pound anchors and rode, and is designed for installation of a saltwater washdown hose. A Maxwell windlass mounted in the anchor locker is optional.

Ten-inch mooring cleats are located at the bow and stern.

We found the 8′ 8″ cockpit comfortable under sail and at dockside. Seats are 17″ wide and have comfortable 13″ backrests. Though a 42″-diameter destroyer wheel eases steering in heavy winds and seas, it impedes movement forward to the jib sheet or mainsail controls when singlehanding.

When the combination of wind and heel resulted in cushions being tossed around the cockpit, we stowed them below, only to discover that wet, slick cockpit seats make tending sail controls difficult when heeled more than 10°. A better non-skid surface would be safer.

Light and ventilation belowdecks are provided by Lewmar hatches located on the bow, amidships, and over the galley and nav station. The large hatch that vents the aft stateroom is covered by a hinged cockpit seat.

One old 36 we inspected had windows screwed to the outside of the cabin side. We prefer the current method of bedding ports in the cabin sides. However, the windows overlap the fiberglass to which they are bonded by 1-1/2 inches, and few owners reported leaks on newer boats.

A storage area spans the stern and provides access to the steering gear. A propane locker is located in the stern and vented overboard. The port lazarette has adequate space for the storage of deck gear, dock lines and, if properly stowed, an inflatable dinghy.

Belowdecks The accommodation plan is nearly 20 years old and is essentially unchanged, except for “minor changes in storage areas, especially where batteries are located,” Douglas said.

Catalina 36 MK II

The saloon measures 13′ 4″ long from the companionway to the forward stateroom, and maximum headroom is 6′ 5″. The combination of light- colored composite countertops and wood cabinetry, opening ports and hatches, and two portlights in the hull contribute to a sense of spaciousness.

The galley is located to port at the foot of the companionway, aft of a U-shaped dinette that seats four. (An L-shaped dinette with fold-down table also is available.) Forward to port is the head, which can be accessed from the saloon or the forward stateroom. The V-berth measures 90″ wide at the head and 84″ on centerline.

A second stateroom below the cockpit is accessed from a door in the port quarter. The nav station sits opposite the galley, aft of two heavily cushioned seats located to either side of a 25″ x 30″ game table that can double as a dining table or be converted to a 6′ 2″ long berth. Each chair has storage in its base.

“That table has been part of the design since hull #1, and was the first of its type in the industry,” said Douglas. “It’s still a good use of the space.”

One owner complained that the dining table mounting bracket is so far off the center of the table that a large person thrown onto the inboard edge could break the table. Another owner added a hinged second leg.

A common complaint among owners concerns interior woodwork. Said one owner, “The joinery is only average, but this isn’t a Hinckley; it’s a production boat.” Cabinet corners frequently do not fit squarely, and one owner reported having to plane drawers until they fit properly.

The galley is an L-shaped affair with a Seaward two-burner propane stove. The counter is 60″ long and 18″ wide when wooden panels are placed over the double sinks. A 22″ deep dry locker would benefit from the addition of a shelf and storage containers.

The 22″ x 26″ chart table is too small for full-sized NOAA charts but suitable for folded charts or chart kits.

The owner of our test boat echoed two common complaints about the heavily upholstered nav station chair, which is mounted on a swinging stainless steel bracket.

“The lock doesn’t always hold the chair securely under the table on a starboard tack,” he said, “and the chair blocks access to the aft stateroom and also intrudes into the passageway when occupied.”

“The nav station chair has been changed as a result of complaints about the stability of early models,” Douglas said. “Current boats have a bronze bearing on the seat swivel, and a stronger spring. And the backrest can be easily removed by those who are unhappy with the space it takes amidships.”

Catalina 36 MK II

The nav station bulkhead is large enough for mounting a VHF radio, GPS, stereo and instruments. The switch panel is hinged; wires are easily accessible and color-coded.

Newer boats have a second electrical panel located at the nav station, equipped with a Perko master switch for the engine and DC power.

Headroom at the forward end of the aft stateroom is 5′ 10″, and elbow room is adequate. The stern bunk is a whopping 78″ wide and 80″ long. However, there’s minimal clearance betweenthe bunk cushions and the bottom of the cockpit—only 16”. A hanging locker is wide enough for four sets of clothes, and storage is in four tiny drawers.

The head is essentially unchanged from early models, other than the addition of a sump in the shower. It measures 50″ x 36″ and is furnished with a large cabinet and mirror. A shower seat is forward of the sink.

The diesel engine is accessed by removing the companionway steps and panels in the aft stateroom. Reaching the port side of the engine is a difficult chore. The fuel tank is under the aft berth. All of the tanks have inspection ports.

Performance We tested a three-year-old MKII with a tall rig on a blustery winter day on Puget Sound, and were impressed with its performance in winds of 15-30 knots.

The standard-issue sails showed signs of use, since this owner sails 60-70 days a year. The test boat was also loaded for cruising with two kayaks lashed atop the cabin, a towed dinghy, barbeque, propane tank, and outboard motor mounted on the stern rail.

In wind speeds of 16 knots true and a one-foot chop on the quarter, we sailed at 5.7 knots under full main alone. This was good speed, with a tacking angle of about 110°.

Then, sailing upwind with the full main and 135% genoa, boatspeed varied between 5.5 and 6 knots. When we reefed the main she flattened out to approximately 15° of heel, her best attitude, and speed increased to 6.2 knots. Our tacking angle with the genoa up was about 100° —not stellar, but not abnormal, either.

Next we tucked in a second reef in the main, shortened the jib to 105%, and with water coming over the bow we watched speed increase to 7.1 knots. At one point the speedo recorded 7.6 knots on the beat. She slowed to 6.2 knots when we pinched her closer to 40°. Footing off to a broad reach, our speed increased to 8-8.5 knots, a knot faster than theoretical hull speed.

With sails balanced, we also tested the Autohelm 4000 on a reach in 20-25 knots of wind and found that the boat tracks well.

The 36 MKII performs as well as owners say, but could be improved with better-cut standard sails and a backstay adjuster.

The standard engine is a four-cylinder Universal 35B diesel. Fuel consumption is estimated to be 0.8 gallons per hour at 2200 RPM. When we doused sails in 25-knot gusts the diesel easily held the boat into the wind. The boat responds quickly to the wheel under power, as we discovered while poking in and out of fingers docks in a marina.

Conclusions Based on input received from more than 60 Catalina 36 owners who responded to a PS survey circulated by Phil Herring at Catalinaowners.com, we consider them a savvy bunch who understand the strengths and shortcomings of their boats.

These owners consider their boats to be structurally sound, seaworthy, and “fast enough.” They don’t suffer from expectations of Hinckley quality. We note that three 36 owners have circumnavigated the world, without incident according to the company.

“They don’t mind not having that extra layer of varnish or wood plugs in holes,” as Douglas says, “and they like to tinker on their boats. I like to think that we’ve given them a stable platform on which they can safely sail.”

Our test boat gets more-than-average use by a family that includes three teenagers, and it still looks fit. The boat also suffers some of the shortcomings of joinery assembled in a large manufacturing facility.

An excellent 78-page owner’s manual includes schematics of all of the boat’s operating systems, locations of through-hulls, a complete parts list, even a section on cleaning stains on the upholstery. From an owner’s perspective, this makes working on the boat easier. From Catalina’s perspective, it reduces the number of telephone calls to the customer service department.

The warranty is five years on the structure, and five years for blisters with a depreciating schedule that reduces to 50% in the final year.

Considering the number of 36s built during its 18-year run, and the number of repeat customers among Catalina owners, we think buyers looking for a moderately priced production boat should definitely check out this retooled version.

Also With This Article Click here to view “Owner Comments.”

Contact- Catalina Yachts, 21200 Victory Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91367; 818/884-7700; www.catalinayachts.com .


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36 ft sailboat cost

Average Sailboat Prices: 27 Helpful Examples (With Pictures)

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The average price of used sailboats is around $21,000, but new boats cost $60,000 on average and upwards. Some used boats can be purchased for less than $10,000, depending on their age, size, and condition. This is because pre-owned sailboats have about 80 percent of the market share.

You will find models from the early 1960s still racing across the Pacific and Atlantic like new. So what are your options?

Below, we provide a comprehensive list of enduring sailboat designs:

You can also check out our in-depth guide for more information on general boat average prices. In this guide, we have included a long list of boat types

Table of Contents

27 Good Examples When Looking At Sailboat Prices

1) tayana 37.

36 ft sailboat cost

Marine designer Robert Perry is arguably one of the most prolific in the boatbuilding world.

His Tayana 37 is one of the most popular production sailboats of all time, with over 650 built.

The Tayana 37 features a sturdy fiberglass hull and a balsa-cored deck for smooth and comfortable circumnavigation.

It comes with a variety of customizations, including different rigs, decks, accommodation, and more.

However, the early boats have V-berths, a high-aspect-ration rig, and a luxurious teak-trimmed interior.

Measuring 36’8″ in length with a displacement of 24,000 pounds, the Tayana 37 is one of the best world cruisers ever made. While production stopped in 2016, you can get one for $34,000 to $65,000.

2) Catalina 22

36 ft sailboat cost

Depending on the production year, the ubiquitous Catalina 22 can be as low as $4,000 or up to $15,000 for recent models.

This trailerable sailboat was first built in 1969 and enjoyed popularity thanks to its family-friendliness and compact design.

With over 10,000 boats commissioned, the Catalina 22 and its successors Catalina 27 and Catalina 30 are a permanent feature at lakes, rivers, and the high seas.

Despite its size, the Catalina 22 can hold its own in rough seas thanks to the hand-laid fiberglass hull. It is spacious below deck and comes with all the facilities you need to feel at home.

Whether you are a club racer or weekend cruiser, this dependable platform offers one of the best values for money when you want to spend quality time on the water.  If you get one with a trailer, that can save you a lot of money on marina and storage fees over time.

3) Hunter 356

36 ft sailboat cost

Starting in 2000, Glenn Henderson’s Hunter 356 took the sailboat industry by storm.

500 boats later, the 356 is still one of the best high-performance sailboats in its class.

This boat features a solid and balanced hull, shoal draft, and exceptional sailing qualities.

It has a sleek design, a clutter-free cockpit, and is easy to handle.

Early production Hunter 356s are available for less than $60,000.

Hunter Marine no longer produces the 356, but the sailboat is still popular among sailors old and young.

4) Contessa 26

36 ft sailboat cost

The compact Contessa 26 was designed by David Sadler and Jeremy Rodgers in the 1960s. It blew into the limelight when it helped Tanie Aebi complete her solo circumnavigation.

This fiberglass monohull is a sturdy and dependable vessel, and around 650 are voyaging across the oceans today.

She has a low freeboard, and the rudder is attached to the keel in a strong, traditional manner.

While you may have to bend a bit to access the cabin, there is plenty of space and amenities to deliver a home-away-from-home feel.

This is one of the most popular British sailboats and is most sought after by long-distance ocean sailors or just someone who wants a classic sailboat.

You can get a well-kept boat of this type for less than $10,000 or over $20,000.

The sister ship Contessa 32 is also a well-built model popular among sailors.

5) Island Packet 31

36 ft sailboat cost

If you love sailing in shallow waters, the Island Packet 31 is designed for the shoal draft needed to safely navigate Florida waters.

Featuring a solid fiberglass hull, the 31 has an end-grain balsa core deck, which gives it a powerful and solid feeling.

The boat is roomy, comfortable, and is designed to be simple to use and maintain.

While her seagoing credentials might not be the best, the Island Packet 31 is a vintage liveaboard yacht with all the trappings of royalty.

This boat costs about $35,000 to $50,000.

6) Bristol 40

36 ft sailboat cost

This Ted Hood design is one of the best cruising boat designs of all time.

Featuring a narrow beam and solid hull, the Bristol 40 has a low freeboard, large overhangs, and exceptional seaworthiness.

Its long keel carries an attached rudder for excellent tracking and stability.

The Bristol 40 has a relatively small interior with separate cabins , sea berths, and an enclosed head.

This boat was produced in keel or keel/centerboard configuration and came with the powerful Atomic 4 gas engine.  Many have been upgraded to diesel engines.

If you want a vintage racing sailboat that can deliver an impressive pace in the water, consider one of these.

The Bristol 40 was produced from 1966 to 1986, and you can get one for $29,000 to $49,000.

7) Cape Dory 30

36 ft sailboat cost

This 30-footer introduced in 1976 is a popular sailboat for people on a budget.

It boasts a robust design with a solid single hull, balsa-cored deck, and extensive bronze and teak hardware in the interior and exterior.

Like the Bristol 40, this boat has its rudder attached to the keel for stable tracking and safety, but not as much overhang in the stern.  The space below the deck uses a traditional design. But this tried and tested design is still ruling the waves.

For more room and improved handling, you can check out the bigger Cape Dory MK11, which comes at over $50,000.

36 ft sailboat cost

If you live on the West Coast of the United States, chances are you’ve seen one of these beauties.

Over 400 units of the Gulf 32 were produced, and the boat’s durable construction and beautiful design make it a good fit for many sailors.

It features a flush cambered deck, a sweeping sheer, and a low profile pilothouse, making it stand out on the water.

Specifications for the boat differ because it was built by two different boatyards. However, all Gulf 32 boats have a cavernous interior, comfortable wood finishes, and motorsailer dimensions.

Good samples of this model go for $24,000 to $39,000 but check the side decks for delamination.

9) Endeavour 37

36 ft sailboat cost

The Endeavour 37 is the successor of the successful Endeavour 32.

It is available as a sloop and ketch and comes with a powerful Perkins 4-108 diesel to provide good power for its heavy design.

The Endeavour 37 can be slow going upwind because of its weight but offers comfortable and smooth rides.

The hull is single fiberglass, and the interior comes with plenty of plywood, although the craftsmanship is exceptional.

The boat could have two aft cabins with a convertible dinette forward or a single aft cabin with a V-berth forward.

It sells for $20,000-$49,000.

10) Tartan 37

36 ft sailboat cost

The Tartan 37 is one of the three 37-footers Tartan Marine built over the years and the most popular.

This boat has a balsa-cored hull and deck and external lead ballast. The bulkheads are firmly tabbed to the deck to provide good structural strength.

With over 500 built, the Tartan 37 is a fast boat ideal for racing.

You can still find these boats for $23,000 and upward.

11) Islander 36

36 ft sailboat cost

As the name suggests, the Islander 36 is a 36-footer sailboat designed by the Australian Alan Gurney for Islander Yachts.

It features a skeg-mounted rudder, fin keel and has a solid fiberglass hull.

Unlike most sailboats with end-grain balsa deck, the Islander 36 uses plywood, which increases weight and can be stronger, but it can also get wet from leaks in the deck and rot.

What the boat excels at is the interior space.

The boat’s wide beam allowed the builder to provide more accommodation, unlike other boats in its category.

Over 1,000 units of this boat were built, and you can buy one for $22,000 and above.

12) Hallberg-Rassy 35 Rasmus

36 ft sailboat cost

This Olle Enderlein design features a center cockpit, a huge windscreen, and a full keel for improved stability and handling.

It has all the amenities of a small home, including a saloon, galley, main cabin, v-berth, and enclosed head.

The sailboat has a solid fiberglass construction and rides well in choppy waters.

A 75HP Volvo Pentad MD21 diesel supplements wind power, making this boat a reliable cruiser.

The boat sells for about $30,000.

13) Dufour Arpege 30

36 ft sailboat cost

You might not hear of this boat builder often, but it was one of the most successful in France and beyond.

The Arpege 30 sports luxurious facilities include stylish sea berths, a large galley, and plenty of forepeak storage compartments.

This 30-footer was so popular over 1,500 were sold from 1966 onward.

If you need a classic sailboat with high-end performance and fittings, this weekend cruiser is it.

One of these beauties goes for around $18,000

14) Mason 43/44

36 ft sailboat cost

The Taiwan-built Maison 43/44 from Al Mason is a fast, comfortable, and reliable oceangoing sailboat.

These boats were first introduced as the Mason 43 and upgraded to the Mason 44 in 1985.

The boat has a full keel and a cutter rig and rides well in the sea.

There are double-berth cabins fore and aft, a galley, and everything a small family or couple needs to cross any ocean in comfort.

These beautiful boats are still found in docks worldwide and go for $60,00 to over $120,000.

15) Nor’Sea 27

36 ft sailboat cost

This 27-footer designed by Lyle Hess is one of the most affordable and ocean-capable sailboats still in production today.

Despite being compact enough to move by trailer from one boating hotspot to another, the Nor’Sea 27 can take you safely across any ocean.

Don’t be fooled by its small size; this is a solid boat that can withstand a heavy bashing at sea.

It has a lapstrake fiberglass hull, a full keel, sturdy bulwarks, and a round stern for exceptional seaworthiness.

The Nor’Sea 27 featured a bowsprit and extended anchor roller, giving it a traditional sailboat appearance.

If you need an affordable sailboat that can circumnavigate the world, the Nor’Sea 27 is a capable cruiser that won’t hurt your purse.

You can get a 1981 model for less than $30,000.

16) C&C Landfall 38

36 ft sailboat cost

If you need a highly maneuverable sailboat, fast, and has exceptional cruising capabilities, one of the best examples is the Landfall 38.

This boat was produced in the shallow draft and deep fin configurations, and later versions gained 1700 pounds in weight.

However, this didn’t dampen the boat’s performance in bluewater environments.

The Landfall 38 was one of the first boats to feature a hull and deck with end-grain balsa coring, making it light and increasing stiffness.

There are a keel-stepped mast, through-bolted deck hardware, and a spade rudder, which provides improved control and sailing performance in all weather.

The interior is lavishly finished in teak, and the aft cabin has a double berth.

These boats were equipped with a venerable Yanmar diesel engine and sails upwind like a racer.

This boat costs around $33,000, and the last units were built in 1987.

17) Gulfstar 50

Gulfstar 50 is one of the most comfortable family-sized sailboats in the world.  Gulfstar also made versions from 36 feet to 60 feet.

Despite its luxurious trims and decent performance, the 50-footer from Gulfstar Yachts is affordable considering its features.

It features a center console cockpit, which provides for a spacious owner’s stateroom aft.

There is plenty of accommodation for a family or a small group because it was designed for charter. With its solid fiberglass hull and exquisite interior finishing, this boat continues to be one of the most preferred liveaboards for people who choose the sailing lifestyle.

A 1978 model goes for around $99,000.

18) Beneteau 423

36 ft sailboat cost

This Groupe Finot-designed sailboat is one of the best from the French boatbuilder Beneteau.

It has a solid construction, exceptional speed and is easy to handle even in rough waters. The interior is clutter-free, comfortable, and spacious.

Plus, the 423 is a quality boat that delivers tremendous value for money considering the pedigree and quality.

You can get one for less than $100,000 to around $195,000, based on the year of production and condition.

19) Alberg 30

36 ft sailboat cost

With over 750 of this boat built over 25 years, the Alberg 30 is one of the most beloved cruising-racing sailboats.

Featuring the wooden boats’ classy look, the Alberg 30 has a full keel, long overhangs, and a low freeboard.

Despite production stopping since 1984, these boats are going strong thanks to durable fiberglass construction and attention to detail.

The Alberg 30 is not the most accommodating by modern standards. But it has a sal0on, a V-berth forward, and an enclosed head aft.

There is also a small galley to starboard, and the design is clutter-free.

If you want to own one of these legendary club racers, you will be surprised they go for as low as $10,000 to $25,000. 

The price will often depend on whether the original Atomic 4 gas engine has been upgraded to a diesel engine.

20) Peterson 44

36 ft sailboat cost

The Peterson 44 was designed by Doug Peterson of the Jack Kelly Yachts in 1975.

This fine boat was designed for long-distance cruising and its center-cockpit style provided ample accommodation and comfort.

You can still find these beautiful boats crisscrossing the oceans , and many of them have circumnavigated.

The Peterson 44 featured hand-laid fiberglass matt and polyester resin roving, making it a solid and dependable cruiser.

It has a three-cabin layout with V-berths, a dinette, and an enclosed head.

The boat is powered by a 62HP Perkins 4-152 Diesel, although a few have 80HP Ford Lehman’s, allowing it to run fast under power.

It is estimated that over 600 hulls of the Peterson 44 were built, and price ranges from around $73,500 to $230,000.

21) Hinckley Bermuda 40

36 ft sailboat cost

Few sailboats hold their value, like the Bermuda 40 from Hinckley.

This elegant and capable boat was built to exacting specifications with its yawl rig, low freeboard, and sweeping overhangs.

Most used B 40s are still in mint shape because their proud owners well maintain them, many serviced by the boatbuilder.  So they retain most of their value even after thousands of miles on the high seas.

Despite its 40-foot length, the Bermuda 40 is limited in space, making it ideal for couples.

It has V-berths forward, which you can convert to a comfortable double bed.

There is plenty of storage space, and the head has a shower and a sink.

The deck is spacious, and the boat handles nimbly even in turbulent waters.

This boat is geared towards traditional sailors who want a top-end boat, as even a base model from 1975 goes for about$90,000.

22) Pacific Seacraft 37

36 ft sailboat cost

Since its introduction in 1980, the Pacific Seacraft 37 has proven to be one of the best world cruising sailboats in its class.

This boat is fast, comfortable and solidly built for safe passages across the ocean.

It was offered in the cutter and yawl configurations, and its traditional stern style sits atop a modern skeg rudder underbody.

This boat has accommodation for six passengers and every amenity to ensure a comfortable time on the ocean.

She is a prominent feature at the Singlehanded Pacific Yacht Race and other top sail boating events.

This boat is still in production and goes new for around $450,000, so an older used model for less than $100,000 is a good deal.

23) Gemini 3000

36 ft sailboat cost

A successor to the Gemini 31, the 3000 is the most popular American-built cruising cat on the market.

Featuring a simple design, this highly functional cat is affordable and fast.

Despite its narrow beam, the Gemini 3000 boasts a master stateroom with a queen-size double berth forward.

There are guest staterooms aft of both hulls with two small doubles.

It has a small saloon with a collapsible table with two settees and a galley, converting to a double berth.

This 30-footer can sleep three couples comfortably and will accommodate a family with several small children without issues.

The Gemini 3000 has deep pivoting centerboards for improved performance and directional stability.

Geminis are not considered suitable for bluewater cruising because they are not designed to withstand serious bashing.

However, these cats offer an affordable ticket for a family or group of friends to enjoy coastal cruising. This boat goes for around $35,000 to $65,000.

24) Gunboat 62 (catamaran)

36 ft sailboat cost

The Gunboat 62 from the same name’s cat builder is one of the safest offshore sailing catamarans in its class. It’s also insanely expensive!

This high-performance cat is perfect for oceanic cruises.

Its innovative design opened up plenty of space for accommodation and recreation.

It features three private cabins, each with queen berths and 2 roomy heads with a separate shower in each hull.

There is a galley, a lounge, a folding dining table, and a full pantry below the deck.

The starboard bow has a crew head, and the port bow houses the crew quarters.

This cat comes with air conditioning, refrigerator, deep freezer, and dishwasher, among others.

The cockpit is lavished with teak, and every part of the boat oozes luxury.

This cat carries a premium price tag of over 2 million dollars.

25) Lagoon 380 (catamaran)

36 ft sailboat cost

Lagoon 380 is a 4 cabin sailing cat built by Jeanneau.

This cat accommodates 10 passengers and is an excellent platform for cruising across the ocean or lounging on coastal waters.

With over 500 units cruising across the world, the Lagoon 380 has won the heart of many cat sailors as a comfortable and safe platform.

This workhorse comes with an exquisitely furnished interior at an affordable price.

It might not be the fastest catamaran, but the Lagoon 380 provides all the comfort and stability you need to have fun and memorable moments on the water.

These boats go for $400,000 or more, so they may still be out of many sailors’ reach.

26) Catana 50 Carbon (Catamaran)

36 ft sailboat cost

If you need a light, fast and go-anywhere cat, the Catana 50 Carbon is one of the best on the market.

Using weight-saving carbon fiber, Catana reduced the weight, turning the boat into a racy oceangoing multi-hull.

With this vessel, you get a luxurious interior, ample deck space, superior performance, and easy handling.

This boat costs a whopping $1.3 million at a base price, making it a choice of select premium sailors.

27) Prout Snowgoose 37 (Catamaran)

36 ft sailboat cost

With an estimated 500 units built, the Prout Snowgoose 37 from Prout boatyard is one of the most popular cats from the UK.

This catamaran features solid construction that allows it to sail across oceans, and many are reported to have completed circumnavigations.

The Prout 37 may not look like the newest designs, but it has a comfortable deck and interior.

Below deck, this boat has two large double cabins aft and a full queen berth forward.

There is a saloon with a large table and wraparound settees.

It has a changing station, a full-length bookshelf, and a large storage starboard hull. And the galley is well-equipped to keep a family well-fed on long voyages.

There are hundreds of Prout Snowgoose 37s plying the world’s ocean, and you can own one for less than $100,000.

2 Ways To Reduce the Cost of Buying a Sailboat

There are two main ways of saving cost when buying a sailboat or any boat. They include:

1) Buying Used Boats

If you’ve followed this article this far, you notice that the most affordable boats on this list are used.

Contrary to many novice sailors’ belief, you can buy sailboats for low prices as long as you do due diligence.

Many models from the last half of the 20th century are available for less than $30,000.

Because most serious sailors are passionate about their hobbies, they take exceptional care of their boats. This makes most sailboats on the market retain their value for many years.

In fact, you can get oceangoing boats of 26-32 feet in almost pristine conditions under $100,000.

The best part is most popular sailboats have a strong following worldwide, and sourcing spare parts won’t be a problem.

2) Partnerships

The other way to reduce the cost of a sailboat is to partner with someone.

Partners will share the purchase cost and other expenses related to the boat. However, this can be problematic.

Sometimes, a partner will not honor their commitment when it’s time to pay.

A partner may spend more time on the boat, and this can lead to conflict over responsibilities.

If you choose this route, it’s better to partner with a family or friend. And have a contractual agreement stipulating the rights and obligations of all the parties involved in the transaction.

Considering that most used sailboats are affordable and in good condition, you can save yourself the potential problems that come with co-owning a boat.

The best way to experience sailing life is to own your boat.

Final Words

Sailboats have come a long way since they became a serious pastime for people in the early part of the last century.

Because of the early sailboats’ quality construction, new sailors have myriad options to choose from without hurting their finances.

You can get a pre-owned offshore capable sailboat for less than $10,000 in many parts of the world.

However, very inexpensive used boats may need many repairs and upgrades, so it is often more inexpensive in the end, too, but a well-maintained and upgraded vessel. If you have a fat purse, you can go for newer, premium sailboats in the hundreds of thousands.

But whatever your budget and sailing dreams, there is a sailboat out there for everybody who dares to explore the oceans.

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36 ft sailboat cost

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The calculator is organized in multiple tabs that show costs breakdown and allow for detailed customization. For example, the fuel cost tab computes fuel consumption based on the type and size of your boat, estimated HP, and average current gas prices. To make this calculation more accurate you can enter a more exact fuel consumption for your boat and more accurate local gas prices.

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Beneteau First 36, Sailing World 2023 Boat of the Year

  • By Dave Reed
  • December 16, 2022

Boat of the Year

Sailing World Magazine’s  annual Boat of the Year tests are conducted in Annapolis, Maryland, following the US Sailboat Show. With independent judges exhaustively inspecting the boats on land and putting them through their paces on the water, this year’s fleet of new performance-sailing boats spanned from small dinghies to high-tech bluewater catamarans. Here’s the best of the best from our  2023 Boat of the Year nominees »

The Total Package

  • Beneteau First 36 2023 Boat of the Year
  • Stated purpose: Shorthanded racing, club racing, coastal cruising
  • Crew: Solo to six
  • Praise for: Build quality, deck layout, versatility
  • Est. price as sailed: $345,000

Like a runaway, the Beneteau First 36 careens across a westerly-whipped Chesapeake Bay. The boat’s big-shouldered spinnaker and mainsail are silhouetted in the early October morning light. It’s making trees on the Eastern Shore as we peg the throttle down to keep chase in a 19-foot RIB. The four crewmembers on board are having a casual conversation—like no big deal—when a cold and meaty gust fills the spinnaker. The leech flickers, and the boat surges forward onto plane. Twin rudders zipper the slick streaming out from the transom as the helmsman, hands at 10 and 2 on the carbon steering wheel, effortlessly weaves the boat across waves tops. The boat is, as the saying goes, on rails.

“Wicked,” is how senior Boat of the Year judge Chuck Allen summarizes his experience when he steps off. “That boat is going to be hard to beat.”

Three days and 10 boats later, nothing comes close to usurping the Beneteau First 36 as the obvious and unanimous Boat of the Year, a boat that has been a long time coming and overdue. It’s a boat that will serve many masters.


Beneteau initiated its First 36 project in 2019 by surveying a broad focus group of First “Point 7” owners and dealers about what they wanted in the marketplace, and the takeaways were: 1) Not another ­displacement boat—it had to plane. 2) They wanted a lounge, not a dining room. 3) They wanted their nav station back, and 4) for that, they were OK with having a smaller head.

Beneteau First 36 berths

Given the boat was to meet all three of its club racing, shorthanded and cruising demands, the brain trust assembled inside and outside of Beneteau focused on No. 1—keeping it light and fast. Naval architect Samuel Manuard, the new hot talent of the IMOCA 60 and Class 40 scenes, did the hull, keel and rig. Pure Structural Engineering took care of the structure, and the weight-obsessed glass slingers at Seascape’s factory in Slovenia ensured the boat came in at not a pound more than 10,580. At that weight, of course it’s going to plane.

The entire boat is ­vacuum-infused with CoreCell (hull) and PVC (bulkheads) from the deck down, inside and out, and everything, except the fridge, is somehow a piece of the structure puzzle.

Beneteau First 36 V-berth

“We are saving big weight there, as furniture is also part of the structure, and all of it glued together makes the boat extremely stiff and very light,” says Beneteau’s Tit Plevnik. “What is special is how calculated it is. In mass-production building, you can’t rely on precision, but we do. The boat is built to the same standard as a pure ­racing boat.”

“The moment I saw it, I knew it would be good. It’s a great-looking boat at the dock and even better with the sails up.” —Greg Stewart

Built like a race boat, the judges all agree it sure sails like one. “It’s a big 36-footer,” says veteran BOTY judge and naval architect Greg Stewart. “It’s a full-ended boat that has a hint of a scow-type bow with a lot of buoyancy forward. Looking at the numbers, what they achieved with the weight and its placement is impressive—10,000 pounds for a 36-foot waterline length is a very good number. I could tell the minute we put the spinnaker up it was a slippery boat.”

Stewart set the day’s top speed at a tick over 18 knots and says: “I remember feeling the puff hit and load the rig, and the boat just scooted off with really nice steering. It felt like a Laser when you get it in that groove and it just levitates. With the dual rudders, which are pretty long, the boat has more of a power-steering feel upwind, so it lets you do a lot of things. There’s so much control, which is a good thing because you can drive out of situations, but at the same time, it’s easy to oversteer.”

Beneteau First 36 sink

Multiple cockpit mock-ups done at ­different heel angles produced a workspace that the judges could find no flaw with. “It’s all legit, easy and clean in the pit,” Allen says. “With the four of us in the ­cockpit, we had plenty of space to move around and were never into each other.

“I was doing a lot of trimming downwind,” Allen adds. “You can feel the boat take off. It was really stable and easy to handle. The thing is light and fast, and we did push it to try and wipe it out, but it was hard to do.”

All the judges praised the clever location of the primary winches on sloped coamings, which were easier to trim from than a traditional winch-on-the-coaming setup. “They’re at the perfect height,” says judge Dave Powlison, “and with them angled like that, you don’t have to crane your neck to see the sail, and the lead is virtually override-proof.”

Beneteau First 36 nav station

Also noteworthy is the generous space between the high carbon wheels and the cockpit walls that allow the helmsman to slide forward without having to step up and around the wheel. The jib trimmer has easy access to the three-dimensional clue adjustment systems, and for the pit, there’s plenty of clutches, redirects and cleats to keep everything sorted and tidy.

Beneteau First 36 judges

The standard spar, and that on the demo boat, is a deck-stepped Z Spars aluminum section with Dyform wire rigging that carries 860 square feet of upwind sail area, which Stewart says is considerable for the displacement of the boat. The mast is well aft, which really stretches out the J dimension and opens the foredeck for a quiver of headsails—for this, you’ll find two tack points on the foredeck. There are four halyards total: one for a masthead gennaker, a 2-to-1 for a code sail, a fractional gennaker, and a 2-to-1 staysail. Allen, a semi-retired sailmaker, put an estimate for a complete race inventory at $60,000, which would put the boat on the racecourse for roughly $400,000. (Base boat is priced at $345,000.)

When the race is done, however, how about that interior?

Step down the wide companionway steps into a space of design simplicity and efficiency, some of which makes you say, “Duh, of course.”

Beneteau First 36 during sea trials

For example, there’s no ­traditional L-shaped galley to port or starboard. There is, however, a tall and slender fridge smack in the middle of the boat (that you connect to the galley with a removable cutting board to complete the L). Walk on either side of it to get forward, past the proper nav station, the fold-down dinette table in the middle with roomy 6-foot berths on both sides, a jetliner-size head with a stowaway sink to starboard, and then a gigantic V-berth that benefits from all that volume in the bow. Back aft, under the cockpit, are large quarter berths as well that easily cruise-convert into storage space for water toys, like kites, wings and foils, all of which takes us back to survey result No. 2. This is where the post-race party begins and ends.

With the usual supply-chain delays, compounded with the build and design team’s obsessive and calculated approach to getting the Beneteau First 36 perfect at Hull No. 1, its debut got off to a later start than hoped. But with early boats landing at eager dealers worldwide, Plevnik says the goal is 32 boats per year for the next two years. The BOTY judges assure us it’ll be worth the wait and give you plenty of time to start planning what you can and will do with it.

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36 Sport Power Catamaran

The Aquila 36 Sport is a totally innovative approach to having fun on the water. An outboard propelled power catamaran that can day boat with a multitude of revelers and all their water-toys or provide complete privacy for two couples on an adventure to newfound destinations, all with a multitude of options that support everything from invigorating watersports to sportfishing.

Available with a sport windscreen, full windscreen to the hardtop or fully enclosed helm deck with air conditioning (cruiser package option), the Aquila 36 Sport can accommodate most conditions.

The controls are strategically positioned to give the operator complete command of the vessel and the Mercury Joystick Piloting option makes docking and close-in maneuvering intuitively simple. Easily operated and safely able to manage open seas, the Aquila 36 Sport is in a class of its own.

Read on for details on cruiser package option and the fishing/diving version.

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Aquila 36 Sport VIDEO – FEATURING Hydro Glide Foil System™

Want to see the Aquila 36 Sport  with Hydro Glide Foil System ™ in action? Check out the full performance evaluation and walkthrough by BoatTEST as they put this model and innovation to the test.

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How Much Do New Sails Cost?

How Much Do New Sails Cost? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Sails are one of the most important parts of your sailboats. They're your engine or essentially, what propels your sailboat. Buying a new one is, without a doubt, a hefty if not expensive investment. You should, therefore, learn all about different types of sails, how much they cost, and how to buy them.

Sails are one of the most important parts of a sailboat. In addition to propelling the boat, sails play an integral role in efficiency and safety when sailing. Having high-quality sails not only makes your boat heel less but can also prevent your sailboat from rounding up into the wind in gusts. It can also reduce weather helm, make steering a lot easier, make you go faster, and make sailing more enjoyable even when short handed. In short, proper sails will improve reliability, increase speed, and improve your boat's handling characteristics.

Unfortunately, sails do not last forever. They'll, at one point, wear out and you'll need to buy new ones. To make it even worse, new sails are a huge investment; one that you hope to never make any time soon. But how much do new sails cost? Well, let's find out in this guide.

The prices of buying new sails vary greatly depending on several factors such as your boat's length, sail material, quality of the fabric, and many others. For instance, a 24-feet Bermuda sloop can cost between $1,000 and $2,500 while sails on mid-sized boats can cost between $3,000 and $5,000. The price of a new sail will, of course, depend on how long the piece is.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the process of buying sails, their prices, and making sure that you do not make a costly mistake when buying new sails.

Table of contents

How Can You Know that Your Sails Have Had Their Best Days?

Although sails are quite expensive, they seem to last forever especially on cruising sailboats . Without the stresses of competition or a yardstick of measuring whether your sails are appropriate or inappropriate for racing, it can be a lot harder to tell if your sails have worn out and need to be replaced.

This can give you a false sense of security that your sails are still in a working condition. So how do you know that your sails have had their day and what's the best time to upgrade to new sails? Well, you can know that your sails are worn out if they become saggy and dangerously long in the tooth or if they can no longer drive you upwind off a lee shore. If anything, you shouldn't wait until a self-destruct moment to buy new sails.

In essence, you should know that it's the right time to change the sails if it doesn't make economic sense to service or repair them. You should also change the sails if they absolutely refuse to work when you're trying to trim. This is because the sailcloth will break down or become extremely elastic to the point that you can no longer apply enough force to the corners or on the edges even when sailing in light winds.

How to Assess the Structural Strength and Damage of Your Existing Sails

When assessing the structural strength and damage of your existing sails, it's essential to know areas that are prone to tear and wear. While you should inspect every area of the sails you should put a lot of emphasis on the inboard batten pocket, the leech, and spreader patches.

You should also remember that stitching on your sails will get damaged by the sun and chafe long before the material itself. And because buying new sails is a huge investment, you should consider re-stitching the damaged parts if it means extending the sail's life. So how can you know that the stitches are damaged? Well, just rub your thumbnail along with the stitches. If you can pull them out easily, then they're weak and should be re-stitched. It would be appropriate to do it at an early stage to prevent it from becoming worse.

You can also assess the leech and see if it's in a working condition. You can do this by trying to poke your thumbnail into the weave fabric. If it's possible to poke the weave fabric, then it's in a bad state. That's not all; you should as well assess batten pockets for any form of damage or any worn-out patches on the sail.

As we noted earlier, you should know that your existing sails have seen their best day if they don't make any financial sense to repair or service them.

Different Types of Sails

When buying new sails, it's important to have even the slightest idea of the mainsail types. There are four main types of sails.

Mainsails - These include mizzen on yawls and ketches. They're the main driving force and should be fitted with anything ranging between one and four reefs.

Foresails - These include genoas, jibs, and can be used on cutter-rigged boats. Most boats have a single roller curling foresail. However, some have single-standing sails that are designed in different shapes and sizes but optimized for varying wind strengths. For example, you can use larger foresails when the winds are stronger and smaller foresails when the winds are somehow calmer.

Downwind Sails - These are symmetric and asymmetric spinnakers, as well as code zeros, and cruising chutes.

Storm and Heavy Weather Sails - These are storm jibs and trysails that are essential for safety, especially if you're often sailing offshore and may encounter challenging conditions. Given that reefing genoas have incompetent shapes especially when extremely reefed in heavy winds, it's recommended to have a smaller but heavier weather jib. This can be set as part of a removable inner forestay. In essence, this can be a crucial addition to your sail suit.

Choosing Sail Materials

The type of sail material that you choose when buying a new sail is another crucial thing to consider. Nearly two decades ago, the only viable option for sail material was woven Dacron. As such, the only thing to consider in terms of sail material was the grade of the woven Dacron. Sailors could choose between more durable but stiffer woven Dacron meant for cruising and a stiff, highly-resinated material used for racing.

Things, however, have changed recently thanks to technological advances. There is a wide range of sail materials with each having its own advantages and disadvantages. Let's look at the available sail materials.

Woven Dacron - This is not only one of the most durable sail materials but remains the least expensive option. The only downside is that it tends to lose shape quickly and may not retain the appropriate shape even when there's still more life left in the material.

Keep in mind that Dacron materials aren't made the same. There are Dacron materials meant for cruising sailboats . They generally use materials with the permeated finish. This is done by soaking the material in glue to bind the yarns together. Although this ensures that the material is softer and more long-lasting, the material will stretch more in strong winds, especially when it's still new.

On the other hand, there are Dacron materials used in racing sailboats. They're usually coated with a hard melamine finish to reduce stretch.

Hydrant Woven - These materials incorporate Dyneema fibers on the sails. This is fundamental in increasing resistance to substances such as ultraviolet degradation and chafe while also increasing durability and endurance. That's not all; the Dyneema fibers are known to help the sails maintain their original shape.

Laminate Sails - These are designed with load-bearing structural fibers that are crammed between two sheets of Mylar film. Several types of fibers such as carbon, polyester, Kevlar, and Twaron can be used.

However, the cost of fibers such as polyester and carbon tend to be expensive, which means that these sails might be a little costly. These materials can retain their original shape longer than other materials but have the shortest lifespan. But to increase durability, sailmakers do add taffeta layers on both sides but you may have to deal with a heavier and costly material.

String/Membrane Sails - These are molded in one piece using fibers that are aligned by following the exact load paths in the sail. These fabrics are effectively custom made and reinforced in the right places not just to maintain their original shapes but also to ensure that they remain durable.

Keep in mind that these materials are high-end products that can be costly and are mostly used in racing sailboats. This doesn't, however, mean you can't use them on your cruising sailboat . In fact, these sails are very appropriate for long voyages.

To this end, an appropriate sail material should be able to offer extraordinary durability and desirable shape retention. These are two important features to look for when buying new sails for your boat. So when buying new sails, make sure that you ask about the above-mentioned features as well as the weight of the material. Although woven Dacron is the standard material for sails, you can choose from other materials too as long as they suit your specific needs. More importantly, make sure that the prices and quality are within your specific and reasonable budget.

The Weight of the Material and Additional Extras

The weight of material used in making your sails may seem like a minute factor but it's of great importance. The idea here is that heavier material will generally be stronger and last longer. This should, therefore, depend on what you actually need but a heavier material will make the sail heavier.

In terms of additional extras, you should make sure that you ask what comes with the sails. For example, do they come with bags that can be of any use to you when out there on the water? This can be of great importance if you want to buy headsails that must be carried to the deck and hooked up. If this is the case, the bag should be bigger and longer to make carrying and transporting the headsail a lot easier.

You can also ask for boom covers. These are essential in protecting mainsails from various substances, especially when not in use. In essence, these extras are important in preserving and maintaining the life and conditions of your new sails. You should, thus, take advantage when negotiating for the new sails as it is these extras that sailmakers are willing to give out if it means making a sale.

How to Buy New Sails

Here is how to buy new sails.

Have Your Boat's Measurements

One of the most important factors that when buying new sails is your boat length. This is because the sail area is mostly determined by the boat length. If your sailboat is of popular design, the sailmaker may have enough information to make the right sail size. But if your boat is not that popular, you can take a few measurements to make it a lot easier for the sailmaker when giving you a quote. In most cases, you'll be given a form to fill in the information that the sailmaker needs in terms of measurements or anything else that might be of importance when choosing the right sails for your boat.

How Do You Want to Use the Sails?

It's very important to consider the type of sailing you're planning to do with your new sails. In most cases, there should be a fine balance between conflicting elements. For instance, the sails should be easy to handle, durable, and cost-effective. But to maintain this balance, you should always have an idea of what you want to use the boat for or how you'll be using the boat. For example, how often will you be sailing? Are you planning for long voyages? How many people do you usually sail with? Do you pick your sailing days or go out on the water irrespective of the weather?

Focus on the Detail

Do you want asymmetrical sails, symmetrical sails, or storm jibs? Are you planning to upgrade to roller reefing or will you go for a cruising chute? You should make the right choices in terms of design and the type of sail that you want. Keep in mind that more sophisticated designs such as tri-radial and bi-radial designs may be a little expensive. All in all, make sure that you put a lot of emphasis on buying sails that optimize the performance of your boat.

Choose the Right Fabric and Design

In addition to choosing the right fabric for the sails, you should make sure that the new mainsails have the right number of reefs. Ensure that each of the reefs is deep enough. You should as well decide whether to go with long or short battens.

If you're planning to use your sailboat for racing, mainsails with short battens could be the best option. This is because short battens offer more control in terms of speed, maneuverability, and acceleration. On the other hand, long battens are the best option for cruising sailboats as they are more durable even though they may come at an extra cost.

Generally, sails are often sold with standard two reefs but three reefs would be ideal for offshore sailing. This is to make it easier for you to reduce the sails to appropriate sizes in heavy weather or stormy conditions. The third reef will be essential in reducing the luff length by at least 40%. Again, you can choose sails with four reefs if you're planning to go for long voyages as this will eradicate the need to have trysails.

Compare Quotes

It's important to talk to a number of sailmakers to compare different designs and prices. The designs should be similar but prices will vary from design to design. You should, therefore, compare the prices of similar designs. You should also ask the sailmakers for detailed info on their designs and how much each design would cost you.

Estimated Costs for Different Boat Lengths

As we noted earlier, the costs of new sails will not only depend on the type of material and designs of the sails but also on the length of your sailboat. Let's highlight the estimated costs.

The Estimated Costs of Replacing a Jibs and Genoas

  • Sails for boats measuring 42' to 50' can cost around $5,500-$9,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 36' to 42' can cost around $4,000-$7,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 32' to 36' can cost around $3,000-$5,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 24' to 32' can cost around $2,500-$4,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 18' to 24' can cost around $1,000-$2,500

The Estimated Costs of Replacing Mainsails on Bermuda Sloop Rigs

  • Sails for boats measuring 42' to 50' can cost around $2,500-$4,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 36' to 42' can cost around $2,000-$3,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 32' to 36' can cost around $1,500-$2,500
  • Sails for boats measuring 24' to 32' can cost around $1,000-$1,500
  • Sails for boats measuring 18' to 24' can cost around $650-$1,200

It's important to note that these are estimated costs that should give you an idea of what to expect when buying new sails. It would, however, be appropriate to get a quote from a professional sailmaker, and most of them are willing to help.

The Aging Process of Your Sails

Whether you've just bought new sails or still using the old ones, the aging process of sails may depend on several factors such as the materials used, the type of use you subject them to, and the level of care you give them. That being said, it's almost impossible to accurately determine the lifespan of your sails based on the number of miles you've covered on the water or the number of years you've used the sails.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the shapes of the sails will change gradually without you realizing it. You should, therefore, check regularly to see if there are changes in the shapes of your sails. You can also take photos occasionally to determine the changes in shape over time.

This can be a great way of assessing not just the shapes of your sails but also in monitoring both the performance and the type of handling that new sails will provide. The idea is that new sails cannot instantly move from good to bad. They'll stretch as they age and this can lead to change in shapes. When your sails lose shape, they will not point well and steering will become difficult. This will, in turn, make your boat to drag, increase heel, and ultimately reduce speed.

Prolonging the Lifespan of Your Sails

Although sails can last a long time, they'll not last forever. Replacing your older sails with new ones will instantly increase the speed and handling capabilities of your boat. Here's how you can prolong the lifespan of your new sails and protect your sail investment.

  • Do not expose your sails to unnecessary sunlight and heat
  • Motor your sails down if they cannot be filled or if they are not in use
  • Avoid extended flogging and luffing
  • Use the appropriate halyard tension
  • Protect your sails from chafe
  • Take off the sails when not in use
  • Rinse the sails with fresh water from time to time
  • Dry the sails before storing

It's a known fact that sails don't last forever. While it's difficult to exactly determine how long the sails will last, it's a good idea to replace your sails before they become severely stretched and out of shape. Using old or worn-out sails can make a huge difference in the way your boat sails and handles. Just like you'd replace worn-out tires or an old engine on your car, replacing worn out sails with new ones will improve how your boat sails. This will give you a greater sense of control and going out on the water will be more fun.

Unfortunately, buying new sails can be a costly endeavor. That's why you should be well prepared and armed with lots of information when buying new sails. In addition to having in mind what new sails would cost you, you should know how to choose the right material for the sails and the type of sails that can be perfect for your sailing.

Don't wait until you experience serious structural failure with older sails to buy new ones.

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

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2020 Sailfish 360 CC

  • By Dean Travis Clarke
  • Updated: January 14, 2020

Sailfish 360 CC running shot

Sailfish Boats sets a standard with its new 360 CC, a wide-beam 36-footer. It’s elegant and sophisticated, well-planned and well-executed. With the 360 CC, Sailfish blends a hardcore fishing machine with a comfortable family cruiser.

You certainly get a sensation of mass when boarding. Unusually high gunwales offer security to passengers, and everywhere you look has someplace to sit—comfortably.

An expansive forward area for bow fishing converts to lounges with an electric table on centerline. Removable backrests let you face forward—or sprawl on the huge centerline lounge hiding tons of stowage for fenders, lines, tackle, dive gear and cleaning supplies. Sailfish also insulates it so it can double as a coffin box for all those fish it will raise. In fact, throughout the 360, a masterful use of space provides copious storage.

Sailfish 360 CC lounge

A through-stem anchor roller and a windlass work in concert with another big-boat feature: a freshwater washdown outlet (along with transom and amidships outlets) to clear the mud off the anchor and rode.

The console houses a stand-up shower, berth, Corian counters and head, all capped by a handsome T-top with tinted opening vents and molded channels to carry water away from passengers.

Sailfish 360 CC bow seating

Sailfish employs a “dot-matrix” nonskid pattern that grips well yet doesn’t tear up your bare feet or knees and cleans more easily than more aggressive patterns. Additionally, all lights aboard are LED and can flood the boat with 360 degrees of illumination. Underwater lights come standard as well. The only options include a Garmin electronics package and the outriggers.

Pricewise, this boat is middle of the road for its type. Compare the Sailfish 360 CC to Cobia’s 344 CC ($222,583 with twin Yamaha F350s). Also check out Boston Whaler’s 350 Outrage ($414,991 powered by triple 300 hp Mercury Verado outboards).

Triple Yamaha F300s powered our test boat admirably. It’s a big, heavy boat, so we didn’t experience head-snapping acceleration or frightening top speed, but these engines delivered ample performance.

Sailfish 360 CC stern shot

The 360 proved stable and dry. It runs flat, so you won’t need to use tabs except for lateral trim. If anything, it would be nice if the bow rode a bit higher in a following sea. However, prudent seamanship combined with all that internal volume in the bow should alleviate any problems. The boat responds instantly, and if you turn the wheel hard over at speed, it grabs and turns sharply rather than sliding the transom around. It’s a good riding hull, and unique too.

Sailfish boats ride a hull design the builder calls a variable degree stepped hull, or VDS. Rather than a transverse step—or steps across the beam—with chine vents, as is more common, Sailfish’s VDS hull features longitudinal steps.

Sailfish 360 CC cockpit seating

From the centerline along the keel to about one-third of the hull bottom’s width is a panel with a deep deadrise. The middle third of the bottom is a panel with slightly less deadrise. And the most outboard hull panel, terminating at the inside edge of the reverse chines, is a different deadrise angle again. For a simple visual, imagine an inverted shingled roof, in which each course of shingles is at a slightly steeper angle.

Sailfish 360 CC transom seating

Interior and Accessories

A side door opens inward so you can easily board from a floating dock. This one also has an excellent four-step ladder for climbing out of the water. However, such doors and ladders are no substitute for a real boarding ladder that you can deploy while in the water. The 360 CC transom has one of those as well. Space has even been engineered into the 360 to fit a Seakeeper stabilizer, should you choose that option.

Sailfish 360 CC helm

In addition to comfortable seating for three at the helm (with impact cushioning on an adjustable-height platform), mezzanine seating faces aft for another three, and a foldout transom seat accommodates more. The huge console fits a pair of 16- or triple 12-inch multifunction displays.

Sailfish 360 CC shade

With 34 rod holders, two pressurized baitwells of 42 and 32 gallons with a dedicated sea-chest pump system, built-in tackle storage, outriggers, insulated coffin box and choice of several fish boxes, the Sailfish 360 CC leaves little doubt as to its angling chops.

How We Tested

  • Engine: Triple 300 hp Yamaha F300 outboard motors
  • Drive/Prop: Outboard/15″ x 20″
  • Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 160 gal. Water on Board: 35 gal. Crew Weight: 499 lb.

High Points

  • Impressive standard equipment list.
  • Boat is roomy, with elegant styling, fit and finish.
  • Auto-engine flush system included.
  • Runs flat without any tabs; would prefer a little higher bow angle for following seas.
  • A little more “slide” in hard-over turns might be welcome.

Pricing and Specs

Speed, efficiency, operation.

Sailfish 360 CC performance data

Sailfish Boats – Cairo, Georgia; 229-377-2125; sailfishboats.com

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Average Sailboat Maintenance Costs (with 4 Examples)

A lot of new boat owners overlook the maintenance costs of sailboats - and maintenance can get pricey quickly. To save you from surprises, here's a full overview of costs you can expect when owning a sailboat.

What is the average sailboat maintenance cost? The average annual maintenance cost of sailboats is between $2,000 - $3,000. However, larger boats of 30 feet and up will cost considerably more. The actual total annual cost is $3,000 to $7,000, due to other recurring costs like docking and insurance fees.

However, what you'll actually pay really depends on the type of boat you have and what you do with it. Not all maintenance is as important. If you're on a budget, you can maintain your boat reasonably well for just $1,000 / year. I'll explain how below.

36 ft sailboat cost

On this page:

Breakdown of yearly maintenance cost, different costs for four situations, seasonal maintenance, recurring longterm maintenance, incidental maintenance costs, other costs to keep in mind.

Let's start by getting a good overview of the different maintenance costs. Here's a full overview of all the recurring maintenance from most to least frequent. I'll explain each line item in detail later on.

The average maintenance cost will be roughly $255 dollars per month for boats under 30' or just under $3,000 per year.

As you can see, most of these costs are longterm recurring maintenance costs. Some of these might not apply to your situation. Also, there are a lot of costs you can save on substantially if you do simple maintenance yourself or have a simple boat. Let me explain.

The total maintenance cost varies a lot, depending on the following factors:

  • length of the boat
  • saltwater or freshwater use
  • racing, cruising, or liveaboard use
  • sail area and rig type of the boat

Still, we want a general feel of what to expect. That's why I've calculated the average maintenance costs for four different types of boat below:

Maintenance cost for four boat types:

Your specific maintenance cost will vary depending on what type of boat you have and how you'll use it. Below, I'll go over four different situations and explain what type of maintenance you'll most likely will and won't do, and what the price tag is for each situation.

24 ft Daytripper

36 ft sailboat cost

Most people starting out will get a smaller size boat and use it for day trips and weekend trips. These boats have less moving parts and less critical parts. It will be important to maintain a couple of parts, though:

  • seasonal maintenance

With a first boat, you most likely won't invest in new sails or the standing rigging if you don't have to.

The total maintenance cost for a small daytripper will average around $1,600 per year or $133 per month.

30 ft Budget Sailboat

What would be the maintenance cost if you were on a tight budget? Well, for starters, I'd recommend doing most small maintenance yourself and ignore all non-essential. On sailboats, however, there aren't a lot of non-essential parts. But here are some things we could do out to save some big bucks:

  • don't set aside money for long-term recurring maintenance (rigging, sails, hardware, and batteries)
  • don't outsource engine maintenance, instead do oil changes ourselves
  • antifoul less frequently (every 4 years)
  • budget DIY winterization

Winterizing your boat yourself can cost you as little as $50 for antifreeze and an oil change afterward.

The total maintenance cost on a tight budget can get as low as $275 per year, or $23 per month.

34 ft Liveaboard

36 ft sailboat cost

Liveaboards that don't really sail that much have less maintenance to do in one way, and more in another. The sails, rigging, and engine will be less critical if you won't take her out very often. Also, you'll have plenty of time doing odd jobs yourself, since you'll be living on the boat. On the other hand, it will be very important to maintain hull health, as even small leaks will lead to condensation and mold, which is horrible for your health and living standard.

Replacing electronics won't be very important - however, your batteries will need to be replaced more often.

Important maintenance:

  • hull cleaning and painting
  • replacing batteries

If you live on a boat in a location where it falls below freezing temperature (good luck!).

The total maintenance cost for a liveaboard will average around $1,550 per year or $129 per month.

40 ft Bluewater Cruiser

36 ft sailboat cost

If you own a bluewater cruiser, your maintenance cost will go up a lot. Saltwater is a lot more corrosive, and the stress on your rigging and sails will be higher. Sun wear and constant use will wear down the sails and rigging even more. Your engine will wear out faster, and you'll need more incidental repairs as well.

The interval of longterm maintenance will increase dramatically in these conditions.

On top of that, maintaining your boat properly is critical. In marine environments, everything can go wrong exactly one time for it to be critical.

You want a reliable boat, which means you'll fix anything that needs fixing immediately.

Your sail area will most likely also be larger, which means your sail replacement will be more expensive.

One advantage is that you might not need to winterize if you're a fulltime cruiser since you'll probably spend your winters in Bermuda.

The total maintenance cost for a bluewater cruiser will average around $3,225 per year or $269 per month.

There are three types of maintenance:

  • seasonal maintenance - yearly recurring jobs
  • long-term recurring maintenance
  • incidental maintenance

Let's go over each type and break down which costs to expect exactly.


Winterization is an often-overlooked cost, but it can be one of the largest expenses each year. If you're like me, and not so lucky to live in Florida, you need to winterize your boat.

Failing to winterize it will increase your maintenance cost over time, as the engine wears out more quickly, and your plumbing and equipment will fall apart. Winter storms and ice can damage the hull and mast as well. Learn all about the dangers of failing to winterize here .

It's the best way to protect your boat in wintertime, period.

It consists of two parts:

  • Winterizing - costs $500 to $1000 - This is the preparation for winter storage. You flush the cooling system with anti-freeze, and the boat gets wrapped in a shrink wrap cover.
  • Winter storage - costs $50 per ft on average
Here's the full winterizing checklist

For dry storage, part of the process can be to shrink wrap your boat. Now, this is expensive, and it is hard on the environment. Some boaters don't shrink wrap in the winter because of it.

Here's the average cost to shrink wrap a boat

36 ft sailboat cost


Your boat will need bottom paint roughly every 2 years (could be longer, but to be safe, let's keep it at two). It's also called antifouling paint because it helps to protect your hull from weeds, barnacles, and so on. Barnacles can slice through your boat's bellow! So you don't want them on there.

On average, it costs about $15 to $20 per foot to get your sailboat hull painted professionally.

For a 26' sailboat, that's just 500 bucks. Money well spent.

Read more on the cost of antifouling your boat

Batteries have a limited number of charge cycles. Deep cycle batteries (which are best for household functionality) need replacing every 4-6 years and will cost roughly $600. If you use your batteries extensively, they will most likely need replacing after 3-4 years, for example, for liveaboards or full-time cruisers.

Replacing the sails

Good quality cruising sails will need to be replaced every 10 years or so.

The cost of new sails is on average:

  • 26' Bermuda Sloop rig will cost you about $1,000 - $2,500.
  • 34' Bermuda Sloop rig will cost you about $3,000 - $5,000.
I won't go into detail, but I have written an in-depth article about the cost of new sails (opens in new tab). It's a really helpful post (with a formula) if you want to know what to expect.

Replacing the standing rigging

Most people that own a sailboat will have to replace the sails and rigging at least once in their lifetime. Replacing the mast is uncommon, but if you're unlucky and get demasted, it will need to be fixed. So I've added it to the "be aware this might happen" list - but won't add it to the monthly recurring costs.

Standing rigging are the cables that support the mast. Click here for a full walkthrough with diagrams.

If you need to replace the mast and boom, prepare to spend anywhere between $15,000 - $25,000.

The cost of replacing the standing rigging is, on average, $4,000 every 10 years.

Running rigging

The running rigging consists of all the lines, sheets, and so on that is used to haul and operate the sails. It wears with time due to UV exposure, flogging, strain from the wind, and regular use. In most cases, you'll only have to replace your running rigging every 5-10 years, but it will cost you $5,000 on average.

36 ft sailboat cost

Deck Hardware

Deck hardware consists of the bullseyes, tiller , eye straps, cleats , and so on. All this small hardware needs to be replaced every 20-30 years and will amount to about $1,500.

Engine & Engine Parts

Gas engines run for about 1,500 hours, diesel engines run for 5,000. After that, you'll need to change them out.

Most engines will last you about 20 years, depending on the amount of use and whether you use it properly. Gas engine will last a lot less long than diesels.

A standard 15HP or 20HP outboard gas engine will cost you about $5,000 - $6,000 and needs replacing every 20 years or so. If you do the work yourself, it's more something like $1,000 - $1,500.

Read more on the lifetime expectancy of marine diesels here

Replacing the engine

  • sailboats with inboard engine: $5,000 - $10,000
  • sailboats with outboard engine: $1,000 - $1,500
  • most powerboats (inboard engine): $15,000 - $35,000
  • small outboard engines (2-5 hp): $1,000 - $1,500
  • large outboard engines (100+ hp): $10,000+
  • installation cost: $200 - $2,000

Installation Prices

The installation of the engine will cost a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars. With inboard engines, this is not something you can easily do yourself - it isn't just unscrewing a motor and screwing a new one in.

The deciding factor of how much will this cost exactly is whether you can simply bolt the new engine in or whether you have to adjust all other parts, including shaft logs, exhausts, electrics, and so on.

Of course, if you have an outboard engine the installation price will be nothing more than a few drops of sweat, swearing, and back pain for a day or two.

Read more on boat engine replacement costs here.

Risers and Manifolds

  • cost of 1 riser : $140 - $200
  • cost of 1 exhaust manifold: $150 - $300
  • cost of labor: $500 - $1,500

Most people need 2 risers + 2 exhaust manifolds. Parts total: $600 on average That's just what it is. Where you can really save some money, is on the labor. Labor total: $1,000 on average It's about a days worth of work. A professional needs roughly 8 hours to get the job done.

Read more about the cost of replacing risers and manifolds here.

Boat starter replacement

Inboard engine (and generator) starters cost from $40 - over $1,000 depending on the engine. Outboard starters run from about $100 - $500. Skilled marine technicians charge from $75 - $150 per hour. Your costs will range from a couple of hundred dollars for a small outboard up to over a thousand for a large or difficult to reach inboard.

That's a broad range, but if you know what you need for your boat, then you can get a better idea of the cost. The final price depends on two things - what type of engine you have, and how hard it is to get to the starter.

Read more on the average cost to replace a boat starter here.

Replacing safety equipment

USCG safety regulations require you to replace safety gear regularly.

  • Lifejackets have to be replaced every 10 years.
  • Flares have to be replaced every 42 months. You could consider buying a LED electric distress light instead, which will last you a lifetime.
  • If you carry a life-raft you'll need to replace that every 12 years as well.

Adhering to the minimum safety requirements shouldn't cost you more than 150 - 250 dollars every 5 years. But if you want the good stuff, need more fire extinguishers, plan on spending more like $600. If you want a life raft, that's another $1,500.

To avoid you have to go cheap on your safety gear, I've put it in the budget for $500.

If you want to know exactly what the USCG safety requirements are, including checklists , definitely check out my article here.
  • Hull repairs
  • Electronics update
  • Recovering a sunken boat
  • Sailboat mast replacement
  • Keel repairs
  • Rudder repairs
  • Replacing or refabricing boat cushions

One-time costs:

  • Registration : costs of registration differ per state, but usually run anywhere from $3 - $10 per foot.
  • Taxes : differs per state and country. Most governments want you to pay property tax and sales tax. Sales tax is usually about 5%. Property tax varies and is more complex, so I'll leave that up to you to figure out.
  • Trailer : $1,000
  • Sailing club initiation fee : $1,500 - $4,000

Recurring costs:

  • Mooring : $10-15 per foot per year (can be much higher for prime locations)
  • Insurance : typically 1.5% of the total value of the boat. So a $50,000 26' cruiser will cost 750 bucks.
  • Maintenance : a good rule of thumb is 10% of the boat value. Expect to spend anywhere between $500 - $2,500 per year for small to mid-sized boats.
  • Fuel : depends on how much you use the boat and the engine, but on average something between $100 - $150. - Find out how much fuel a sailboat uses in my article here (opens in new tab).
  • International License : if you want to sail on international waters, you have to get your ICC (International Certificate of Competence ). Plan on spending anywhere between 400 to 500 dollars.
  • Safety equipment : plan on spending anywhere between 150 to 600 bucks for lifejackets, first aid kit, and distress signals.
  • Winterize boat : $2,000
  • Sailing club: $800 - $1,500

Vonnie Harrington

Dear improvesailing.com webmaster, Your posts are always well-supported by facts and figures.

Bryon Soper

Hello improvesailing.com webmaster, You always provide useful information.

Tressa Valencia

To the improvesailing.com admin, Your posts are always well-referenced and credible.

Leave a comment

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FLOATING DILEMMA : No quick fix for chronic slip shortage

Jun. 2—TRAVERSE CITY — Earlier this month, a 36-foot boat slip at Harbor West Marina in Elmwood sold for $130,000, according to a listing in Realtor.com . That's nearly six times the average cost of a new two-car garage, per industry estimates.

This posh price for a private slip is a reflection of a much larger challenge — the chronic shortage of boat slips throughout northern Michigan, particularly those leased on a seasonal basis instead of owned.

The Record-Eagle investigated slip availability at more than a dozen locations from Petoskey and Charlevoix to Traverse City and Frankfort. The answer was almost always the same: "You'll have to wait. Get your name in now and cross your fingers."

Area boaters can expect to wait up to 10 years for a slip at many locations, depending on location and slip size.


Consider the publicly-owned "lower harbor" marina in Elk Rapids that connects to Lake Michigan. It has 213 slips, the vast majority of which are being used for larger power boats. The waiting list today has nearly 700 people on it.

"You'll be lucky to get one in eight years," said Lori Smith who works at the Harbormaster's office. "The length of boats has been increasing over time but we have very few slips in the 42- to 45-foot range."

Clinch Marina in Traverse City is another example. The public marina has 119 slips, of which 71 are seasonal leases. The waiting list for seasonal lease slips is "above 10 years," said Harbormaster Shane Dilloway.

"It can be like 'sticker shock' for new people coming to the area who want to reserve a slip. Some boaters have been on the list for a long, long time."

Another 48 slips at Clinch are reserved for transient boats, a set-aside required by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for certain grant-supported marinas. Such marinas allow boaters to stay for a maximum of 7 to 14 nights before they are required to vacate the marina for at least 48 hours.

East Bay Harbor Marina in Acme Township has a waiting list of about 150 currently. Slip turnover is relatively rare, amounting to only four or five this year, officials said.

The big three marinas in Elmwood Township — CenterPointe, Harbor West and Elmwood Township Marina — report similar issues with waiting lists up to 270 names long.


"There's definitely a slip shortage in northern Michigan, and part of it is caused by our geography," said Clem Thompson, harbormaster at the Elmwood Township Marina. "We don't have a lot of natural inlets and small harbors like they do in places like Chesapeake Bay and parts of New England.

"Building a new marina in our area often means constructing a large breakwater. That can be very expensive, not to mention all the permitting and environmental approvals required."

Developers Patrick Johnson and Ron Walters were working with Elmwood Township officials to build a new 64-boat marina on M-22 at 13380 Southwest Bay Shore Drive. A 146-room, three story hotel was planned for the 11-acre lot directly across the street.

Pandemic delays and the death of Johnson ultimately scuttled the project, local officials said, and the property is now back on the market.

"If those slips had been built, they'd be snapped up almost immediately," said Sam Bender of the nearby Grand Traverse Yacht Club. "We're seeing the same slip shortages in places like Frankfort and Boyne City. It's absolutely a problem."


The problem has a broad impact on the overall boating economy, not just boat owners. Companies that sell, service and repair boats are also affected.

Jack Hodge is vice president of sales for Irish Boat Shop. Founded in 1961 in Harbor Springs, the family-owned firm also now operates in Charlevoix and Traverse City.

"We're essentially at a stage now with people who are interested in buying bigger boats have no place to put them," he said. "And it's not just big boats. Unless you own a slip or shore station, you may be out of luck."

Irish Boat Shop has two marinas with about 300 slips in all, but they're all allocated today.

The problem that began a decade ago got much worse during the pandemic, Hodge said.

"I'd get hundreds of calls from people looking for a slip for larger boats they wanted to use as a 'floating cottage.'

"I don't know what the solution is short of a major recession," he added. "Prices are continuing to go up yet people are still renewing every season and not giving up their slips. I'm worried about the younger generation that might be getting priced out of boating."


Jeff Kern, owner of HarborView Yacht Sales in Traverse City, keeps in close touch with marinas and slip providers around Michigan. Using those contacts, he helps new boat buyers locate slips in other parts of the state, such as Cheboygan and the Upper Peninsula.

"There are definitely more boaters in the state now but the number of slips hasn't kept up," Kern said. "That's why we're shifting boaters into other markets around the state. Some of those owners hope to relocate their boats to the Traverse City area when slips become available."

Seasonal moorings — temporary buoys with mooring lines and/or clips — are sometimes mentioned as a solution to the slip shortage. Such mooring areas can be seen in West Bay and in the Northport area today.

However, those moorings have two major drawbacks: No. 1, they may trespass on the bottom rights of a nearby property owner or boating organization with a breakwater or pier, and No. 2, they can be less than reliable in a major wind storm.

"We have a phenomenon in West Bay and Northport called 'fetch' — big rollover waves (swells) that can be dangerous for moored boats," Kern said. "Sailboats tend to do better in those storm but power boats are more difficult to (moor) securely. It has to be a professional mooring system, and even with that I'd be a little concerned."


Mariners sometimes quip that "a boat is a hole in the water into which you pour money."

Besides the cost of actually buying a boat, several other factors affect are at play in 2024 that can impact affordability. These include financing costs (higher interest rates), unpredictable fuel prices, rising insurance rates and slip leasing costs.

At Clinch Marina, for example, seasonal lease rates vary according to slip length, ranging from $2,640 for 24-foot slips to $6,600 for 60-foot vessels.

Water and electricity hookups are generally included.

At Frankfort Municipal Marina, 2024 lease rates range from $2,856 to $4,950. Prices tend to be higher at privately owned marinas.

But money doesn't matter much if people can't find an available slip — at any price. The aftershock of the slip shortage is that the market value of many used boats in the area, particularly used sailboats, is dropping like a rock in water.

"A 30-foot used sailboat sitting on a cradle inland is very expensive to store and maintain," Hodge said. "Without a slip assigned to it, that boat is essentially worthless. If you can't use it, what's the point of owning it?"

Will the state or federal government help fund the construction of more boat slips in northern Michigan?

"I wouldn't count on it," Hodge said. "If they do, they should make all of those new slips for transient boaters, not seasonal leases."

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    Catamaran sailing vessels pricing. Catamaran sailing vessels for sale on YachtWorld are listed for a range of prices from $58,124 on the relatively moderate end all the way up to $7,486,430 for the most unique, one-of-a-kind yachts.

  22. Average Sailboat Maintenance Costs (with 4 Examples)

    The average annual maintenance cost of sailboats is between $2,000 - $3,000. However, larger boats of 30 feet and up will cost considerably more. ... On average, it costs about $15 to $20 per foot to get your sailboat hull painted professionally. For a 26' sailboat, that's just 500 bucks. Money well spent. Read more on the cost of antifouling ...

  23. FLOATING DILEMMA : No quick fix for chronic slip shortage

    Jun. 2—TRAVERSE CITY — Earlier this month, a 36-foot boat slip at Harbor West Marina in Elmwood sold for $130,000, according to a listing in Realtor.com. That's nearly six times the average cost of a new two-car garage, per industry estimates. This posh price for a private slip is a reflection of a much larger challenge — the chronic shortage of boat slips throughout northern Michigan, ...