As the name would suggest, sailboats are powered by sails using the force of the wind. There are many different types of sailing boats, and they range in size, from lightweight dinghies up to superyachts as large as 90 metres in length. Therefore, it is essential to understand the different types of sailing boats and their uses because sailing is an activity that comes in many forms.
The first thing is identifying the key characteristics of Sailboats. Three distinctive differences characterise sailboats.
- Hull type – either monohull, catamaran or trimaran.
- Keel type – includes fin keel wing keel, bilge keel, daggerboard, or centreboard.
- Mast configuration and sails – which consist of sloop, fractional rig sloop, ketch, schooner, yawl, cutter and cat.
One type of sailing boat is a catamaran. These sailboats are multi-hulled watercraft featuring two parallel hulls of equal size. Unlike the monohull boat, the catamaran is geometry-stabilised from its wide beam rather than from a ballasted keel like a monohull boat. There are typically two types of catamarans; beach and cruising. Beach Catamarans are generally between 4.2Metres and 6.1Metres in length and are primarily used for day sailing. They are fast boats that require some agility to sail. Cruising Catamaran is a larger relative of the beach catamaran, and they share more in common with a cruising monohull. They are stable platforms with shallow drafts, typically over 7.6Metres in length.
Cruising Sailboats are generally over 7.6metres in length and have cabins for extended cruising. Many of the more popular models have large fleets and are raced or have fleet associations for group cruising. Daysailers, like cruising sailboats, are a sailing that is suitable for longer-distance travel and offers enough amenities to live aboard the boat, yet are small enough not to require a professional crew.
Smaller sailing boats include Racer-Cruisers, Racing Sailboats and Sailing Dinghies. A Racer-Cruiser is a hybrid of the cruising boat built to accommodate overnight cruising but trimmed with the equipment for competitive racing. Racing Sailboats are like cruising boats but have more equipment and are built lighter, with basic accommodations. Just as these are related to cruising boats, smaller, faster cousins of sailing dinghies are also raced. Sailing Dinghies are small sailboats (Under 4.5 metres). These boats are usually one or two-person boats; many are competitively raced and are an excellent choice for those new to sailing.