catalina 315

With core attributes of the award-winning 445 and 355, the new 315 (seen above) is a Catalina with a higher level of performance, finish and engineering achievement.

Buying the perfect sailboat is like deciding which car to drive off the dealer’s lot. A bare-bones coupe might provide reliable transportation, but you’re also drawn to the luxury red sportster. Choose the vehicle that will provide the most satisfying ride – and use that process to find your ideal sailboat.

Your Supersized Sailboat

You really enjoy relaxing day-sails and leisurely weekend cruises, with occasional week-long jaunts to more distant ports and anchorages. You might be planning a transition to live-aboard life or longer-term cruising. Regardless of your intentions, you’d like a sailboat that offers many desirable amenities.

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First, you want at least two comfortable cabins. Add a roomy dinette for onboard entertaining, a good-sized head (or two), and a galley with lots of counter space and fridge capacity. Naturally, you want tons of storage throughout the boat. Simply put, you’re probably looking at 40+ feet of boat.

Totally Different Tack

But what if you completely switched course and considered a smaller sailboat instead? Believe it or not, a boat in the 30-to-35-foot range offers five distinct advantages that can save you valuable time and money.

For example, Beneteau and Catalina sailboats typically pack lots of comfort and amenities into their mid-30s models. If you’d prefer a vintage mid-30s sailing yacht, put Allied, Bristol, and Pearson on your list.

Pearson 365 available from Boatshed

Easier to Handle

If you’ll be mostly single-handing your boat, or sailing with one crew, a smaller sailboat is simply easier to manage. Let’s say you’re enjoying a nice summer day-sail, with a gentle breeze filling the main and rolled-out jib, and barely any waves to worry about.

And suddenly, everything changes – fast. The wind quickly accelerates from an eight-knot zephyr to a gusty twenty knots. The seas are also building, with widespread whitecaps and occasional breaking waves across your bow. Now the boat’s rail is almost buried in the water, and you braced your feet to keep from pitching overboard as the boat charges ahead.

Clearly, you’re overpowered and need to quickly reduce sail and get your boat under control. With a smaller sailboat, you’ll find it easier to wrestle down the main and roll in the jib while your partner handles the helm. If you’re sailing alone, you’ll have a shorter distance to travel on deck while juggling both tasks.

More Dockage Options

Naturally, you want a boat slip that comfortably accommodates your sailboat’s dimensions while allowing you to easily step aboard. Marinas generally assess dockage rates based on each boat’s length, although some facilities group their boat slips by size range.

For example, your 41-foot sailboat might be slotted into a 40-to-50-foot slip, meaning you’re charged the same rate as a gold-plated 50-footer. Yes, a smaller sailboat is subject to the same rule, but you’ll encounter a reduced cash outlay.

Now let’s say you’re taking a weekend cruise to a nearby waterfront town. Your dockage options are limited, with one public marina and a long face dock for visiting boats. With a smaller sailboat (especially with a shallow draft), you might be able to tuck into a smaller (and cheaper) shore-side slip. On the face dock, you could squeeze into a tighter spot that’s off limits to larger boats.

Lower Electric Bills

When you’re spending time dockside, you want to be comfortable during every season. If the temperatures are chilly (or downright cold), you plan to crank up the electric heaters. In summer’s blistering heat, you want to cool your sailboat’s cabin with air conditioning. Naturally, heating or cooling a smaller space means you’ll spend less money on electric bills.

Simpler Cleaning & Maintenance

While you want to keep your sailboat shipshape, you don’t want to spend countless hours scrubbing the decks and cleaning the cabin. And when it comes to varnishing the brightwork, plus sanding and painting the bottom, a smaller boat means less square footage to tackle. That translates into more time to enjoy your boat.

Reduced Upkeep Costs

With your smaller sailboat’s reduced surface area, you’ll save money on cleaning and maintenance products. You’ll also spend less on super-expensive bottom paint. If you have the marina staff handle the bottom work, they’ll incur less materials and labor expense, decreasing the project’s final bill.

With these five advantages to buying a smaller sailboat, you’re in a better position to find the best boat for your needs.