Boat Guide

Types of Sailing Boats: A Guide

types of sailing boats

Ever wanted to take a vacation out at sea? This article on the types of sailing boats will come in handy. Apart from the types of sailing boats, we’ll also present the best aspects of sailing and why you should give it a try. If you want to know more, continue reading.

Why go sailing?

Sailing is an exciting and unique past time. If you aren’t suffering from Thalassophobia, or a fear of the ocean, we suggest you try it out. Briefly, let’s go over the reasons why.

First of all, sailing is just a thrilling experience. The first time you do it, you’ll probably have a ton of jitters. But once you ease into it, you’ll start to enjoy the wind in your face, the sound of water splashing, and the occasional view of a marine animal as you captain your ship.

On top of the experience, the satisfaction of mastering a new skill should at least get you off your feet and heading to a sailing boat rental facility. Furthermore, sailing can provide you the solitude you can’t find on land. You can relax and enjoy some peace in the middle of the sea where there won’t be any phone reception.

Types of sailing boats

As can be seen above, there are several reasons you should try out sailing. But before you learn how to handle a boat, you need to be aware of the types of sailing boats first. Below, we give a rundown of each kind. Note that for this article, we’ll be focusing on three ways to classify sailing boats. In other words, we’ll break down the types of sailing boats based on hull type and keel type,

Hull Type

First thing to remember is that hull type refers to your sailboat’s body. There are two types: mono hull and multi hull. Basically, mono hulls refer to sailboats with a single hull. Meanwhile, a multi hull sailboat has either two or three hulls, called Catamaran or Trimaran.

Mono Hulls

Mono hulls vary in size and features but their purpose ranges from transportation to dwellings. Examples of mono hulls include a cruising sailboat, daysailer, motorsailer, racing sailboats, sports boats, and a dinghy. Each of these boats can be further divided into more types.

Multi Hulls

Multi Hulls are known as quick and easy sail boats. They can be divided into Catamarans and Trimarans. With regard to their use, they are popular for day sailing, ocean cruising, and even sailing.

Keel Type

Next, sailing boats may also be classified by their keel type. To begin, the keel of your ship is the backbone of the whole structure, of which the hull is built around. It’s usually the bottom-most part of a sailing boat. It has two primary purposes: to provide balance and stability, as well as create forward motion. With this in mind, there are several variations to the keel. Consequently, these variations serve as a way to classify sailing boats. We’ve presented a few keel types below.

Fin Keel

Firstly, we have to discuss the fin keel. As its name suggests, the fin keel looks and functions like a fish’s fins. Usually, sports boats have this type of keel because they offer light steering and good speed. Moreover, it allows you to slice through the ocean with relative ease.

Wing Keel

Secondly, let’s talk about wing keels. Wing keels are similar to fin keels in that the only difference is it has wings going outwards at the side. This innovation improves maneuverability, glide, and stability.  

Bilge Keel

Next, there’s are sailing boats made with a bilge keel. Also known as twin keels, these protrude from each side of the ship. This configuration prevents it from rolling and keeps it upright during low tides. For this reason, it’s a great keel if you plan to cruise shallow or coastal waters.

How do you choose a sailboat?

Now that you know about the main types of sailing boats, the next thing to do is choose the most suitable for you. With this in mind, what are the things you should consider?


First of all, you should consider your purpose for purchasing a sail boat. For instance, will you be using it for short weekend trips or more long-term durations? Second of all, how will you be using it? Will be using your sailing boat as a temporary residence for a trip or will you join boat racing competitions? These are important questions to answer because they will dictate the type of features your sailing boat needs to have.

Level of Experience

If you’re a beginner, then you should probably start with a smaller boat. Apart from easing you into sailing, the maintenance and operating costs will also be more manageable. Before you make a purchase, make sure you’ve tested the sailing boat and assessed its performance yourself.  


Following purpose and level of experience is popularity. Now, we’re not saying that sailboats are popularity contest. However, once you become a sailboat owner, it’s inevitable that you will run into some issues. Subsequently, these issues might lead to repairs or replacement parts. To be sure the things you need are in stock and easily accessible, make sure your chosen sailing boat doesn’t have obscure origins.


Next, think about stability and maneuverability vis-à-vis the waters you will be exploring. Will you be staying in shallow waters? If so, choose a sailing boat whose keels are appropriate.


In connection with functionality, you should also consider the length of your sailboats. Longer sailboats are usually equated with more comfortable sailboats. However, longer and comfortable sailboats are also more expensive. Even if you can afford to splurge on your sailboat, make sure you’re capable of handling the model you choose.


Another thing you should consider is the material of your chosen sailboat. Nowadays, many companies opt to use fiberglass because it’s durable, long-lasting, and relatively affordable. However, there are others that still use aluminum, metal, steel, wood, or ferrocement as the base material of the hull.

Although some of these options, such as ferrocement, come cheaper than the others, they are also more vulnerable to the elements of the sea. Given that you probably don’t want to experience technical difficulties at sea, you should choose the best option.


Last but certainly not the least is the overall cost of a sailing boat. This covers purchase, operation, maintenance, and repairs. When you purchase a sailing boat, think long term. Make sure you’re not just taking into account the initial cost. Remember, sailing boats can last for decades.


Now that you have a better idea of the best aspects of sailing as well as the types of sailing boats, will you heed the call of the sea? If you do, just remember the factors you have to consider along with a purchase. Make sure you consider everything before choosing a sailing boat.

Lena Horner
the authorLena Horner
Lena Horner is a LA Galaxy fan who does freelance writing and marketing. A graduate of UCLA with a degree in Marketing, she enjoys the outdoor. Lena enjoys the outdoor and is constantly convincing her partner to live in an RV fulltime.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.