Buying Your First Sailboat? Here Are All The Things To Consider

Your first boat is a huge investment and commitment, but it can be the most rewarding purchase you make. If you are ready to make sailing your life’s passion or are just looking for an engaging new hobby you can enjoy with your family, here are some considerations for buying your first sailboat.

Which style of boat do you prefer?

If you’re new to boating, you probably won’t know which type of boat is the best for your needs. Here are some things you should consider:

Motorboats are generally the most expensive option. Their engines increase the boat’s initial price tag, but also will need regular maintenance and will need to be refilled with gas. Motorboats are also sometimes less maneuverable than sailing boats, but they sometimes have more space for larger families or groups of people that want to travel together.

Sailing is a relaxing experience. You don’t need an engine and it is quiet on board with only the sound of the wind and waves. They are cheaper to operate and don’t consume a lot of fuel. Sailing boats are generally smaller though, so they offer less living space. They can go in rougher waters that motorboats might not be able to cope with. 

In this article, we will focus on Sailboats in particular, and the main things to consider when you are shipping for your first sailboat.

Your lifestyle and how much time you will get to spend sailing

First of all, you need to consider your lifestyle and how much time you are willing to set aside for enjoying the boat. The more time you spend with your family on board, the more memories can be built. You also have to think about how many people regularly will be part of this adventure. If there is only room for one or two, you better reconsider your options. How much time are you willing to spend on the water?

Where do you want to go with your first boat?

Think about where you want to go with the sailboat. Some people only want a small boat they can take out in the lake during summer weekends, but if you are dreaming about traveling the world on your boat, things will be very different.

What type of sailing do you want to be doing?

Do you want to take the boat out when there is no wind or will it be enough for you when the wind is blowing, but not too strong? Do you plan on using your boat mainly in protected waters where waves might not be a big problem, but going in rougher waters will be exciting? Is it important for you to go fast or do you not mind spending the day at a snail pace? Are you in it for sport or adventure? Or looking for some peace and solitude. There are many reasons people decide to take up sailing, and they will dictate the type of boat you will need. 

How much money do you want to spend?

This is an important point. As with most hobbies, sailing can become expensive fast. For some people, this is not a problem at all, but for others, it could mean selling their house or using all their savings. You need to really consider how much money you want or are able to spend before even thinking about buying a boat. When borrowing money, being close to the maximum of what is available will increase your monthly payments plenty.

What size sailboat should you buy?

The first thing that comes to mind is: what kind of vessel do I want? Are you interested in racing or just doing some boating for pleasure? A little bit of research can go a long way, so be sure to check out your local sailor’s club and see if there are any upcoming races in your area. This will help give you an idea of the types of boats that participate in such events, which will help narrow down your options when choosing one. Yacht brokers will often have information on upcoming races.

How can you finance your sailboat?

You need to make sure that the boat fits within

The price of your first sailboat.

A few different factors will come into play when thinking about how much you should be spending on your first sailboat including the size of the boat, the materials used to build it, the location you want to live in, and whether you are buying a new or a preowned vessel.

charter a yacht buying your first sailboat
Photo Oliver Sjöström from Pexels

Location, location, location

The price of your first sailboat will depend on where you are planning to buy it. If you are looking in the UK, for example, prices are much higher than in Thailand. The same can be said about buying a boat in the Caribbean compared to the East Coast of the US. Location will make a huge difference when it comes to the price of a boat.


The materials used to build your boat will also affect the final price. Fiberglass and wood hulls are much cheaper than steel hulls, for instance. Why is that? Steel boats are much more sturdy and last longer. They might be a better choice if you want to use your boat in rough waters or if you live in a windy area. Fiberglass boats are lighter and easier to maneuver, but not as sturdy as steel vessels. Wood might be the best choice if you want a boat that is both light and very sturdy, though it is also often the most expensive option.

Sometimes, boats built with materials such as aluminum or plastic are much cheaper than those made of steel, wood, or even fiberglass. This might be because these vessels were not built to last as long and need more repairs and maintenance throughout their lifetime. If you are someone who doesn’t want to spend too much time on the boat itself, this might be your best option.

New or preowned

Time is money, as the saying goes. A new sailboat will most likely be more expensive than a preowned one, but it could end up saving you money in the long run. Buying a new vessel will give you less headache because everything is brand-new and should be working perfectly. This is especially important to sailors buying their first boat, since you may not be familiar with all the equipment and the workings of your boat. On the other hand, if you are knowledgeable and confident in assessing the condition of a pre-owned sailboat you, can save you a lot of money shopping around and waiting for a good deal.

Yacht Surveys

If you do decide to buy a used sailboat, you will definitely want to lean on the expertise of a professional to fully inspect and survey the vessel. This inspection will give you an accurate picture of how well the boat is built and if it’s in good working order. The average price for a yacht survey will vary depending on the size, age, and condition of your boat. You can expect to pay between $400-$1,000 for a comprehensive survey that should give you an accurate picture of the boat, its cost to repair and restore, and what problems might arise in the future.

The different types of sailboats

In general, sailboats are classified by their hull type. There are generally 3 types of hulls, though there are other groups that have been identified. In this article, we will look at the three main types of sailboats: monohulls, catamarans, and trimarans.

Monohull boats

A monohull boat is a vessel with one main hull or body. It can feature a single mast or more than 1 depending on its size and design. Monohull boats come in many different shapes and sizes depending on their use and purpose.


The Catamaran has two hulls that support a platform above water level known as a floatation device or flotation tube. The 2 separate parts give the boat stability both front to back and side to side which makes the catamaran fast and safe.


A trimaran is similar to a catamaran, but instead of 2 it has 3 hulls. The third hull is usually smaller than the other 2, and it is placed behind the main hull of the boat. Sometimes you might even find a four-hulled boat, though this kind is not a true trimaran. A four-hulled boat can also be called a quadrihull. Trimarans are often considered the safest boats because they have two flotation devices on both sides, unlike monohulls that only have one in case of damage. This type of vessel is often used by sailors to travel long distances due to its stability and versatility.

Cutters, Schooners and Sloops.

All of these hulls are distinguished by their single mast and the way the sails are rigged.

The Cutter is a fore-and-aft rigged boat whose mainsail is larger than its mizzen and jib (auxiliary) sails. Their large sails make them faster and they can carry more cargo, but require a bigger crew to operate efficiently.

The Schooner is also forward-rigged, however, instead of having 1 mast it has two, with the mainmast being slightly taller than the mizzen mast. A schooner’s larger mainsail means that it requires less manpower to operate which makes it a good option for those who enjoy sailing on their own or a small crew aboard.

The Sloop is a single-masted sailboat whose mast is located forward of the center. It has a main and a jib (auxiliary) sail, but also requires significantly fewer crew members to operate it.

What is your budget?

We already established that buying a boat can become very expensive quickly, so it’s important to take into consideration how much money you have available before you even begin searching for one. Not everyone has a huge budget to spend on such an investment, and if this is the case don’t worry, there are many affordable options available. It’s also important to keep in mind that buying a boat can be very costly because you’ll have additional expenses like maintenance, docking fees, repairs, etc…

How will you pay for your new sailboat?

Before even beginning your search it’s good to have an idea of how you are going to finance your purchase. You can save up money or use credit cards but it’s better not to overextend yourself financially. Some people decide to sell their current car in order to get enough money for their dream sailboat!

Sailboat financing

If you are someone who can put forth a decent down payment on your new boat, then there are plenty of financial institutions out there willing to finance your sailboat purchase over five years or more time frames. You can even find some banks that will offer you a line of credit to make the purchase when buying a new boat. Be sure to shop around and ask lots of questions since each bank and lender has different rules and regulations.

Rent before you buy

If you are unsure whether you want to commit to sailing as a hobby, renting is the best way to go. Most marinas offer short-term rentals, some as short as a few hours. This way you can get on the water and figure out if it is something that interests you before spending too much time or money on buying a new boat.

Sailboat Sales

The traditional way to purchase a boat is through an established dealer. Like most retail establishments, dealers are usually more expensive than buying directly from the seller. However, they come with several benefits like warranties and after-sales services. The main disadvantage of buying from a dealer is that you don’t have as much room to negotiate as if you were to buy from a private party.

The Benefits of Sailing

Propelled by wind, sailing is an eco-friendly sport that does no harm to the environment. It is also a great way to explore beautiful places and enjoy time with family or friends on the water. Whether you are looking for relaxation or adventure, sailing has something to offer every type of person. People who have bought sailboats will confirm that it is one of the most fulfilling investments they’ve ever made!

When you consider everything that goes into buying a boat, it’s easy to see why it could be such an important and complicated purchase. But if you’ve done your homework and are able to find the right deal, nothing beats the thrill of owning your first sailboat! Happy sailing!

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