Best Small Sailboats For Beginners

Best Small Sailboats for Beginners: Discover My Three Favorites and Set Sail with Confidence

Sailing is a fun and enjoyable activity for everyone, no matter the experience level.

Mastering how to sail a primary boat is effortless. I encourage beginners to practice in the right environment as they can gain considerable experience with time.

Since most beginners make the mistake of picking the wrong boat to start with, they get frustrated and quit before they can sail by themselves.

In this blog, I will cover the best small sailboats for beginners to help mitigate this problem.

Read on to learn more…

The Three Best Small Sailboats for Beginners


Sunfish is a personalized boat for beginners to sail with. Its ease of use makes sailing enjoyable for both beginners and experienced sailors.

Key Specifications

  • Sail Area: 75 Square Feet
  • Hull Weight: 120 Pounds
  • Capacity: 1-2 people
  • Optimal Weight: up to 190 pounds

Key Features

  • Sunfish has a patented kick-up rudder that makes beach launches, landings, and shallow-water sailing effortless.
  • It has a self-bailing cockpit.
  • It has a stainless steel bow handle that enables carrying, docking, and holding the boat into the wind while launching or loading.


  • Easy to sail and rig using a single control line
  • Fast planning sailboat in good wind
  • It is cheap
  • Daggerboard and kick-up rudder enable easy beaching.


  • Little freeboard and small cockpit
  • A beginner can easily capsize

Why I Have Included Sunfish Sailboat in My List

I have included this sailboat in my list because it combines performance, durability, and stability suitable for beginners and experts.

With this boat, you can quickly learn how to sail, and you can’t go wrong with it.

More Info International Sunfish Class Association

Hunter 15

Hunter 15 is a safe and versatile boat for both beginners and masters in sailing.

Key Specifications

  • Passenger capacity: 4
  • Length overall: 4.4 m (14′6″)
  • Draft – Board Up: (6″)0.15 m
  • Draft – Board Down: (3’0″)0.92 m

Key Features

  • Material: fiberglass
  • Appendages: lifting keel
  • Intended use: daysailer
Hunter 15 Small Sailboats For Beginners
Hunter 15 by Marlow Hunter


  • Stainless steel arch
  • Spacious cockpit area
  • Easy to balance


  • It doesn’t sail well in downwind
  • No separate starting battery

Why I Have Included the Hunter 15 Sailboat in My List

I have included this boat in my list because it has a comfortable wide beam, a contoured self-bailing cockpit and fiberglass construction.

Additionally, it is designed to allow beginners to sail around with ease, and it is a safe boat giving sailors a confident feeling and peace of mind as they sail.

More Info

Catalina 16.5

Catalina 16.5 is a small, powerful recreational sailing boat constructed predominantly of fiberglass.

Key Specifications

  • LOA: 16.33 ft. / 4.98 m
  • Approximate Base Wt.: 430lb.
  • Draft Board up: 5″
  • Draft Board down: 4’5″

Key Features

  • Fiberglass composite Kick-up rudder
  • Stainless steel standing rigging
  • Adjustable hiking straps
  • Self-bailing cockpit
Catalina 16.5 Sailboat For Beginners
Catalina 16.5 sailboat


  • Fast sailboat
  • Spacious cockpit area
  • Easy to sail and rig around


  • Difficult to balance

Why I Have Included Catalina 16.5 Sailboat in My List

I have included Catalina 16.5 boat in the list because of its fantastic design, is versatile, and you can get them in two designs: the keel model and the centreboard model.

More Info

So, What’s the Best Small Sailing Boat For Beginners?

Here are my top three picks of best small sailboat for beginners:

  1. Sunfish
  2. Hunter 15
  3. Catalina 16.5

If I had to pick one, I would go for Hunter 15 sailboat because it has the the best safety features. The Hunter 15 sailboat is also easy to operate, plus you can dock with no problem. The boat is easy to maintain, and it’s not complicated for a beginner.

What is your choice?


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igor desperatesailors

Hi, I’m Igor, Skipper of S/Y "The Hooker". A decade ago, I conquered my childhood dream: to be a sailing skipper, own a sailing yacht. Yes, it knocked dullness out of my urban life — Read more →

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