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All summer readers cast votes for their favorites on CW’s 40 greatest production monohulls of all time list, now you can see how the fleet stacks up.
Sailors are certainly passionate about their boats, and if you doubt that bold statement, try posting an article dubbed “40 Best Sailboats” and see what happens.
By vote, he means that he, like hundreds of other readers, took the time to click through to an accompanying page where we asked you to help us reshuffle our alphabetical listing of noteworthy production sailboats so that we could rank them instead by popularity. One Hylas owner, irked because his boat did not make Best Sailboats list (though the Hylas 49 did) put it this way: “An OI 41 is on the list, and my Hylas 44 is not?
One fellow noted, “My impression is a bunch of editors put photos on the ceilings and threw darts. I personally appreciated the many suggestions readers made of boats they felt were seaworthy cruisers. Or as one Cherubini 44 admirer, who thoroughly got the spirit of our original list put it: “Lots of good boats here, and understandably the criteria are not objective.
It all began with such a simple question, one that’s probably been posed at one time or another in any bar where sailors meet to raise a glass or two: If you had to pick, what’re the best sailboats ever built? When our list was complete, at first, we thought we should take the next step and rank them.
Designed by the legendary California sailor and surfer George Olson, the Moore 24 was one of the first ultra-light displacement sailboats, or ULDBs, and launched a whole movement of fast, fun speedsters based loosely out of Santa Cruz. With a sloping sheer line and gentle overhangs, the Philip Rhodes-designed Pearson Vanguard was an eye-catching yacht that was also built like the proverbial brick outhouse. Long before Beneteau and Jeanneau came to dominate the French import market, Michel Dufour was a key player in the industry, and his 30-foot Arpege was one of his greatest successes.
The late California naval architect Carl Schumacher paired a modern underbody with the classic lines of Nathanael Herreshoff’s 1916 beauty, Alerion, to create this simple, fast and beautiful “gentleman’s daysailer.” The Alerion Express was so successful and struck such a chord that it spawned a whole new category of inshore cruisers from builders such as Morris, Hinckley, Friendship and others.
The Mason 43, following its launched in 1978, quickly became a much sought after yacht for both the owner with an eye for traditional lines and the bluewater cruiser seeking a vessel to safely take him across any ocean. Designed by French naval architect Daniel Andrieu, the 43DS—for deck saloon—was one of the company’s first forays with the concept of adding a raised deck with plenty of windows for interior light and visibility, as well as increased volume and living space.
Small enough to load onto a trailer and drive to the next cruising ground but rugged and seaworthy enough to circle the world on its own hull, the Nor’Sea 27 exemplifies designer Lyle Hess’ notion of affordable boats that can take their owners as far as their dreams might lead them. A former world champion Sunfish sailor turned marketing maven and boat designer, the visionary Garry Hoyt hit pay dirt with his engineless, cat-ketch rigged Freedom 40, which sported a centerboard and un-stayed spars. With regard to both systems and layout, the newest boat in our list, the Beneteau Sense 50, is also the most innovative and unique. Click here to read more about the Beneteau Sense 50.To see more photos of the Beneteau Sense 50, click here. Built by George Hinterhoeller in Ontario, Canada, unlike most catboats the Nonsuch 30 was rigged with an interesting and useful wishbone boom. A strong, robust cruising boat built for high-seas, blue water adventures, the Swan 44 was designed by Sparkman & Stephens, and the yacht’s well-known Finnish manufacturers, Nautor Swan, produced 76 boats in a production run that lasted from 1972-1975. With a tall rig, relatively light displacement (15,000 pounds), and available in either a deep fin (5’ 8”) or shallow draft (4’ 11”) configurations, the C&C Landfall 38 was a strong yet sleek sloop with outstanding sailing characteristics. Gulfstar Yachts, founded in Florida in 1970 by Vince Lazzara, a pioneer in fiberglass production boatbuilding, turned out a full line of roomy, affordable cruising sailboats, but arguably the best was the Gulfstar 50, introduced in 1975 and continuing in production until 1980. The successor to a popular 38-footer, the Sabre 36 sports good-looking contemporary lines combining a sweet low profile and a striking reverse transom.

A vintage Carl Alberg creation with narrow beam, long overhangs, a large mainsail and small fore-triangle, the 28’ 6” Pearson Triton was designed to the influential CCA (Cruising Club of America) rule. After the success of his maxi race boat, Windward Passage, designer Alan Gurney was one of the hottest names in the business when he was commissioned by Southern California’s Islander Yachts to draw a new 36-footer. With its clipper bow, teak wheel, low-aspect cutter rig and detailed interior, the Canadian-built Gozzard 36 is one of the saltiest mid-sized cruisers from a sailing-mad country that produced scores of them.
No list of the best in cruising boat designs would be complete without an example of the great Ted Hood’s vast body of work, and the Bristol 40 gets our nod for numerous reasons. Designed and built, at least originally, by the legendary Charley Morgan, the Morgan Out Island 41 was a success on multiple fronts: The shoal-draft cruiser was one of the first center cockpit boats, it played a pivotal role in the growth of the burgeoning bareboat charter trade, and it helped transform and streamline the business and methods of production boatbuilding. We have the largest print-on-demand fulfillment network in the world with 15 manufacturing centers in five different countries. If you can't find the answers to your question on our FAQ page, please submit a support ticket, and our staff will respond to your question(s) right away.
Types of Sailboats and Their Uses Beach CatamaranThese are generally 14a€“20 feet in length primarily used for daysailing.
So did our web editor, Eleanor, who took the time to go though all of the comments and compile yet another list we’ve called the People’s Choice of Best Cruising Sailboats. And so, having fun with it, we decided to put the same question to a handful of CW’s friends: writers and sailors and designers and builders whose opinions we value. Year of manufacture does not matter, though because we’re talking production boats here, it will be by default a celebration of the fiberglass age. A downwind flyer, some 160 boats were built in a 16-year production run that began in 1972. In a four-year production run from 1963-1967, some 400 models were built, making it truly on the “vanguard” of the emerging fiberglass production boatbuilding era. First introduced in 1966, over 1,500 were eventually built, and with a spacious galley, nice sea berths, tremendous forepeak stowage, and other amenities, the boat was certainly ahead of its time.
Designed by Al Mason and built by Ta Shing in Taiwan for Pacific Asian Enterprises (which went on to build the Nordhaven line of power trawlers), the 43 evolved into the Mason 44 in 1985, with design changes introduced by PAE’s Jeff Leishman. Many other builders threw hats into the DS ring, but on a mass production scale, nobody was as prolific or successful as Jeanneau. With its full keel, round stern, lapstrake fiberglass hull, solid bulwarks and extended anchor roller and bow pulpit, the Nor’Sea 27 is a salty looking classic.
Hoyt swept all five races in the 1976 running of Antigua Sailing Week with his unique 40-footer, and a whole new brand of offshore cruisers was born. From its Dock & Go docking system, to its single-level floor plan, to its spacious cockpit and interesting overhead arch, this thoroughly modern 50-footer was the first in a whole new series of Sense sailboats that invited sailors and designers to look at monohulls in a fresh light.
But what really separated the 30-footer from other catboats and made it a classic was the thoroughly modern Mark Ellis-designed hull, which incorporated balanced ends, a fin keel and a spade rudder, which gave it surprisingly good upwind ability.
With her understated profile and standard teak decks, many sailors consider the 44 the prettiest Swan of them all.
Along with her 48-foot sister ship, the Landfall series bolstered C&C’s reputation as a builder of fast, versatile, high-performance cruisers. Its center cockpit design allows for an enormous aft owners stateroom, and because it was initially conceived for charter, it has proved a comfortable sailboat for families over the years. A lively sailboat with a good turn of speed, the thoroughly modern sloop employed a Hall spar and rod-rigging, and was available with a fixed, 6’ 4” fin keel or a keel-centerboard that drew 4’ 2” with the board up and a deep 7’ 8” with the board down.

Cousins Clint and Everett Pearson introduced the boat to commercial and critical acclaim at the 1959 New York Boat Show, which it took by storm. Built in the mid-1980s, the 36-footer looks like something from an altogether different era, and they still pop up in many a distant anchorage today. With her prominent overhangs, sweet sheer line, low freeboard, undistorted hull shape and narrow beam, this iconic 40-footer set high marks for seaworthiness and style. Like her sisterships, the Tartan 34 was commissioned as a “high performance, offshore cruising-racing boat.” The handsome lines of this keel-centerboard craft have withstood the test of time.
Sail boats are incredibly beautiful and gorgeous due to their smart design and beautiful sails on it.
With a cutter rig and full keel with a cut-away forefoot, the Masons performs well under sail and below, the double-berth cabins fore and aft provide lots of comfortable space for the cruising couple or family.
Still in production today, the builder notes the boat has made at least four circumnavigations and hundreds of ocean crossings. The sail boats are sometimes partially or completed sails on the water with the help of head and main sails of the boat. Hopefully those leaving comments will be more considerate of the feelings of their fellow readers than they were when commenting about CW editors.
To corral things a bit and avoid going all the way back to Joshua Slocum and his venerable Spray —Hell, to Noah and his infamous Ark —we decided to focus our concentration on production monohull sailboats, which literally opened up the sport to anyone who wanted to get out on the water.
Every year numerous sailboat competition takes place around the world and they are famous among different parts of the world as water sports.
Cruising CatamaranThe larger relative of the beach catamaran, they actually share more in common with a cruising mono-hull. And since CW is on the verge or turning 40, we decided that would be a nice round number at which to draw the line and usher in our coming ruby anniversary.
Cruising SailboatGenerally 16a€“50+ feet in length, these boats are cabins for extended cruising. Many of the more popular models have large fleets and are raced or have fleet associations for group cruising. As the name implied they are intended for day use with a small cuddy cabin for storing gear.
MotorsailerMotorsailers are sailboats that are powered with inboard engines capable of allowing long cruises under power or sail. As with any boat that is trying to do more than one thing adequately they are a compromise giving up sailing speed due to a smaller rig and added weight for the engine and larger gas and water tanks. Racer-CruiserThis is a hybrid of the cruising boat built to accommodate overnight cruising but trimmed with the equipment for competitive racing.
Racing SailboatsThese boats are similar to cruising boats but have more equipment and are built lighter, with Spartan accommodations. Just as these are related to cruising boats, there are smaller, faster cousins of sailing dinghies that are also raced.

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