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How to choose your sailboat ? The advice of an expert

Updated: May 19, 2022

What are the criteria to define a good sailboat?

Before talking about performance or comfortcriteria, it is important that the yachtsman defines how he intends to make use of his yacht. Too many yachtsmen imagine crossing the Atlantic or sailing with a large and experienced crew, whereas in the end, they will most often sail around the bay with their family and sometimes a friend. Notoriously, future buyers tend to overestimate their sailing ambitions.

Logically, the right usage requirement reduces the list of corresponding sailboats to 2 or 3 models, not more. If there are more than 3, it means that the use is not very clear and that you have to review your copy.

How can we be sure that the yacht we choose corresponds to our expectations?

Each shipyard communicates with a marketing image that it maintains. It is important to check that this marketing message is real. For example, if the term "Performance" is associated with the name of the boat, is it legitimate or not?

The best way to do this is to talk to the owners. Of course, they might tell you that they have the "most beautiful boat in the world", but by discussing its uses, its way of sailing, its program, you will be able to realize if it will correspond to your expectations.

You must always keep in mind that a sailboat is a compromise. You will not find a sailboat that has the performance of a carbon prototype with the equipment of a cruising catamaran. It is up to you to adjust the sliders to know what you want to keep and what is less important in your choice.

You should also be wary of the figures given by shipyards. A boat is a complex entity and it is easy to make these figures say whatever you want. For example, a sailboat can be said to be very light if the ballast is placed very deep (with a huge draft). Thus in comparison of the weights, we will say that sailboat 1 is much lighter than sailboat 2. But with a comparable (and reasonable) draught, the 1 will become heavier... Moreover, the manufacturer's information may be subject to variations. If you want to compare precise and measured data, the most reliable is to refer to the ORC rating system of measured sailboats. This one is public and accessible, and certainly not faked.

Can we still reconcile cruising and racing?

One or two decades ago, racing-cruising yachts really existed. One thinks of the First range or the Jeanneau Sun Fast, the X-Yacht or the Grand-Soleil... These yachts were capable of crossing a finish line and then continuing on a cruising program. Today, the market is becoming more and more specialized: racing yachts are very specialized and less versatile, and cruising yachts are increasingly bulky and equipped, at the expense of performance.

J Boat for instance are good in both areas. The most convincing demonstration was the victory of the J/112 in 2018 on the world ORC with the J/112. This sailboat certainly with a carbon mast, quality fittings and beautiful sails, had inside a fridge, an oven, a hot water tank and even all the cushions. The only thing missing was the supplies to go cruising.

Why not discuss your sailing ambitions with our expert team?

Give us a call and we'll be happy to discuss the different brands and their pros and cons.

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