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Racing Sailboats

  • Activities: Racing
  • Length Range: 16 - 100 ft.
  • Average price: $224,000
  • 2-3 cabins

Few boats are built with as single-minded a purpose as racing sailboats. As you’d expect they’re built to sail fast—as fast as possible—to the exclusion of almost all other factors. There are, however, many different classes of racing sailboats. And the range of racing sailboats goes from tiny one-man “dinghies” to true yachts of 100 or more feet in length. Some racing sailboats are incredibly advanced, employing the very latest in composite construction techniques and CAD/CAM design. Boats designed for races like the famous America’s Cup, for example, are “foiling” boats that can rise up out of the water and run on foils under their hulls. As a result, they can sail at spectacular speeds—sometimes in excess of 50 MPH.

Most racing sailboats used for wider-ranging competitions are given ratings, which take factors like overall size and weight, sail area, and type of boat, into account. Using these ratings racing sailboats of different types can be handicapped, allowing them to compete among one another with the captain and crew’s skills determining the outcome as opposed to the larger or faster boats always winning the race. There are also “one-design” racing sailboats, which are built to identical specifications to eliminate any unfair advantages and are raced head-to-head.

Racing sailboats are generally Spartan on the interior to save weight, since lighter boats travel faster. They have few accommodations, if any, and little attention is paid to comfort or cruising ability. As a result, most true racing sailboats are used strictly for competition and little else. But people have been racing boats just as long as boats have been afloat, so there’s not only a huge range of racing sailboats but also a huge range of very dedicated sailors who enjoy competing in them—and maybe that includes, or will someday include, you.

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