OceanWave Sail

UK Sailboat Brands: The Top 21 Sailing Yachts and Brands of Britain

Published by sail on february 8, 2023 february 8, 2023.

The UK has a long history of excellence in shipbuilding and sailing, producing some of the most cutting-edge and stunning sailing ships in the world. There are several UK Sailboat Brands, each with a distinct specialty and set of talents. You can locate a firm in the UK that can match your needs whether you’re searching for a traditional wooden yacht, a contemporary GRP sailboat, or a custom-built power catamaran. The UK is a fantastic destination to find your next boat because of its rich nautical history, reputation for excellence, and commitment to innovation.

In this post, we’ll examine the top UK Sailboat Brands, each of which has distinctive characteristics and features.

One of Oyster Yachts’ flagship models, this magnificent yacht provides a roomy and opulent sailing experience. For discriminating sailors who appreciate comfort, style, and performance, the Oyster 885 is the ideal option thanks to its elegant lines, cutting-edge technology, and contemporary design.

A gorgeous sailing boa t from Spirit Yachts, the Spirit 100 offers a high-performance sailing experience with a dash of grace and beauty. This 100-foot yacht is perfect for sailing, racing, or just lounging on the water thanks to its lovely carbon-fiber hull and roomy deck.

Gunfleet 74

For individuals who desire the utmost in performance and luxury, Gunfleet Marine has created the exquisite Gunfleet 74 sailing yacht. The Gunfleet 74 is a top pick for sailors who desire the best of both worlds because of her svelte carbon-fiber hull, cutting-edge technology, and roomy living quarters.

A traditional sailing yacht by Rustler Yachts, the 44-foot Rustler provides a safe, pleasant, and traditional sailing experience. This 44-foot yacht has a stunning wooden hull, traditional lines, and cutting-edge technology, making it a great option for individuals who value sailing’s timeless beauty.

Discovery 67

A beautiful sailing yacht from Discovery Yachts, the Discovery 67 provides a roomy and comfortable sailing experience with a dash of innovation and ingenuity. This 67-foot sailing boat is the ideal option for individuals looking for a sailing yacht that stands out from the crowd thanks to its distinctive and inventive design, state-of-the-art technology, and roomy interior.

Arbor Yachts

The Arbor 26 is the company’s signature product, and Arbor Boats is a maker of wooden yachts. Another boat manufacturer in the UK is Blaxton Boats, which offers dayboats and yachts with sail and engine options. Modern GRP yachts between 35 and 48 feet in length are the focus of Bowman Yachts. The Parker 235 GRP daysailer, available from BP Sailboats, is ideal for individuals seeking a high-performance boat for day outings.

Bristol Classic Boat

Your boat will be distinctive and long-lasting thanks to the custom wooden boats and restoration services offered by Bristol Classic Boat Co. The 20-31 foot modern GRP yachts produced by British Hunter are well renowned for fusing traditional design with cutting-edge technology. Sailing and power catamarans are the company’s specialties, and they offer adaptable and sturdy boats for a variety of boating activities. Butler & Co. is a wooden boat builder that upholds the enduring beauty of wooden boats by providing traditional boatbuilding services.

If you want to have more details about UK sailboat brands then here you can find a comprehensive range of sailboat data for over 10000+ boats.

Cape Cutter

The CC19 traditional daysailer, a small and capable sailboat ideal for day voyages, is the focus of Cape Cutter, a UK Sailboat Brands boat manufacturer headquartered in the UK. Unique wooden yachts are created by Cockwells to the greatest standards and according to the requirements of their owners. A selection of GRP pilot-cutters and traditional-style GRP yachts, ranging in length from 17 to 43 feet, are available from Cornish Crabbers/Mystery. Wooden boats of the highest caliber that are both attractive and useful are made by David Moss.

Demon Yachts

Smaller yachts and keelboats are Demon Yachts’ specialty, and they are built to order to meet the individual requirements of their clients. Drascombe constructs traditional GRP yawls, offering vessels that fuse traditional design with contemporary engineering. Custom yacht builders Farrow & Chambers produce high-quality, long-lasting boats out of wood and epoxy. A variety of dinghies, dayboats, and kayaks are available from Fyne Boat Kits, making them ideal for individuals wishing to construct their own boats.

Gaffers & Luggers

The classic wooden working boats offered by Gaffers & Luggers range in length from 23 to 28 feet. The 43-foot modern GRP cruiser from Gunfleet Marine is ideal for individuals looking for a high-performance boat for longer voyages. With a focus on traditional GRP dayboats, Honnor Marine combines traditional design with cutting-edge engineering. Traditional wooden boat builder Ian B. Richardson upholds the enduring beauty of wooden boats.

British Hunter

The UK-based company British Hunter produces contemporary GRP yachts. Their boats, which range in length from 20 to 31 feet, are built for both comfort and efficiency. The newest materials and technology are used in the construction of British Hunter yachts to provide you with a comfortable and safe sailing experience. They are the ideal choice for individuals who want a boat that is simple to manage and that gives an exceptional sailing performance.

BroadBlue is also one of the UK Sailboat Brands. They offer catamarans for sailing and propulsion are their areas of expertise. In order to give you a safe and enjoyable sailing experience, their boats are made with the most up-to-date materials and technology and are designed to deliver exceptional performance and handling. Broadblue provides the ideal boat for your needs, whether you’re searching for a powerful and roomy power catamaran or a quick and maneuverable sailing catamaran.

Butler & Co

This specialized in making old-fashioned wooden boats. Their boats are created to the greatest levels of quality and craftsmanship, and they provide a variety of services, including new builds, restorations, and repairs. Butler & Co. can assist you in finding the ideal boat for your requirements, whether you’re looking for a historic boat that has been refurbished or a classic sailing yacht.

Blaxton Boats

A company called Blaxton Boats sells a variety of sail- and power-powered dayboats and yachts. You may be sure to discover a boat that meets your requirements and aesthetic preferences because they come in a range of sizes and types. In order to give you a safe and enjoyable sailing experience, their boats are made with the most up-to-date materials and technology and are designed to deliver exceptional performance and handling.

Bowman Yachts

Modern GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) boats are the focus of the UK-based company Bowman Yachts. Their boats, which range in length from 35 to 48 feet, are built for both comfort and efficiency. For individuals looking for a boat that combines historic style with contemporary technology and materials, Bowman Yachts are ideal, and their boats are constructed to the highest standards.

BP Sailboats

GRP daysailer boats are the company’s area of expertise. The Parker 235, a sleek and fashionable yacht ideal for day outings and weekend sailing excursions, is their most popular model. The Parker 235 is developed with the most up-to-date materials and technology to give you a pleasant and joyful sailing experience. It is designed to deliver exceptional performance and handling.

Stirling & Son

A UK-based business called Stirling & Son specializes in creating unique wooden ships. The company is dedicated to providing custom boats that satisfy each client’s particular demands and requirements, with a concentration on traditional designs and construction methods. They assist clients to realize their ideas by providing a full design and build service. One of the top wooden boat builders in the UK, Stirling & Son is renowned for its attention to detail and high-caliber craftsmanship.

Swallow Boats

This business specializes in the creation of Bay Cruisers. These boats include contemporary amenities and technologies while maintaining a timeless and traditional design. They are ideal for exploring the shoreline, inland waterways, or estuaries because they are built to be both functional and fashionable. Swallow Boats offers a variety of models, each with a distinctive style and set of characteristics, and can also build custom boats to satisfy certain needs.

Swallowtail Boatyard

There is yet another business that specialised in classic Norfolk Broads boats. They provide a variety of services, such as boat construction, maintenance, and rental. Because Swallowtail Boatyard is dedicated to upholding the history and customs of the Norfolk Broads, their boats are made in a manner that reflects this. Their boats are renowned for their fine craftsmanship and attention to detail, and they employ traditional methods and materials.

T. Nielsen & Company

This business specializes in the construction and repair of tall ships. They provide the whole spectrum of services, from the initial concept to the final building and launch. With years of expertise in building and renovating tall ships, T. Nielsen & Company’s team of talented craftsmen and engineers guarantees that every job is executed to the highest standards. They are dedicated to conserving the UK’s maritime legacy and have worked on a variety of projects, from major commercial vessels to tiny traditional sailing ships.

Voyaging Yachts

Custom sailing yacht design and construction are the focus of the UK-based business Voyaging Yachts. They provide a wide variety of services, including design, construction, and refitting, and their team of professionals can assist clients in realizing their ideas. With years of experience producing high-quality sailing yachts, Voyaging Yachts is dedicated to providing clients with custom boats that are tailored to their individual requirements. They are renowned for their attention to detail, superior craftsmanship, and creative designs, and sailors from all over the world like their yachts.

In conclusion, these UK Sailboat Brands are just a fraction of the amazing sailing ships built by Britain’s skilled shipbuilders. You’re sure to discover the ideal yacht among these high-caliber ships, whether you’re searching for performance, luxury, or just a gorgeous sailing experience. Why then wait? Start your next sailing journey right away to experience the finest Britain has to offer.

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The 8 Best New British Yachts on the Water, From Sunseeker to Fairline

Quality among the top u.k. builders is always a given. it's the range of yacht designs that may surprise you..

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Pearl 72

As an island, boats have always been the lifeblood of Great Britain. And many British yacht builders continue to uphold the country’s proud naval and maritime traditions. While there are a handful of superyacht builders, the UK isn’t known for eye-wateringly huge megayachts or avant-garde design—though that has changed as its largest international brands compete with the style-obsessed Ferretti Group and Azimut brands.

But what you do find with the Brits is well engineered vessels with a high level of attention to detail in both the interior and exterior design. From semi-custom motoryacht builders like Princess and Sunseeker to the rarefied realm of a highly sought-after Pascoe limousine, there’s something here for nearly every yachtsman.

And thanks to enduring popularity, there is nearly always a British-built sailboat from the Oyster yard, somewhere just over the horizon. In fact, whether you’re cruising the waters of the Caribbean, New England, or the South of France, you’ll find U.K. brands along with the highest luxury offerings from Italy and Northern Europe.

Here are seven of Britain’s finest, newest, and most noteworthy vessels on the water.

Project Fox, Pendennis Shipyard

british made sailing yachts

This 114-foot explorer yacht, overseen by project manager Burgess and in build at the Pendennis shipyard in Falmouth, was designed around the owner’s wishes. It has a rugged exterior that will be paired with a bright, contemporary interior by QLondon Design. The owner told Robb Report that he plans to cruise off-grid to remote areas like Norway for heli-skiing with his family and friends (thus necessitating five large staterooms). But he also wanted family-friendly features like a sun terrace, wine lobby, open-air barbecue, and DJ station. Of course, the real breakthrough here: The open stern, measuring more than 1,100 square feet can carry a large complement of toys and tenders, but also scientific equipment (the interior has space for a modular lab) for when the yacht is hosting research scientists. “Flexible cabins and connectivity are key,” said the owner.

british made sailing yachts

The ubiquitous model of the Pearl lineup, the 72 received a creative new interior design earlier this year with the addition of a stateroom that gives it two master suites. The U.K. yard has always been high on haute design, offering different palettes by British interior designer Kelly Hoppen, but this double-master suite idea is a first for this size of motoryacht. The yard has recently won awards for the naval architecture of its 95, which approaches superyacht status, and it will be launching a new 85-foot flybridge next year.

Fairline Targa 40

british made sailing yachts

Fairline is also among England’s internationally renowned yacht brands, famous for seaworthy hulls and top-tier creature comforts. It hasn’t built yachts as large as competitors Princess and Sunseeker but has been equally creative with the design. The new Targa 40’s cockpit is a case in point. It has an enticing exterior layout, with the cockpit featuring a foldout terrace to starboard and a U-shaped dining settee to port facing the rest of the deck, not to mention the two sun lounges on the stern. The 40 is effectively a dayboat, but with two staterooms, it also works as a family weekender. There’s a master in the forepeak and guest cabin amidships which is best suited for children. The galley below decks is also very functional. Top speed for the Targa is 36 knots with the optional Volvo Penta D6-380 upgrades.

Princess Y80

british made sailing yachts

Along with Sunseeker, Princess Yachts is the other heavyweight of British yacht building. These cruisers and motoryachts have proven to be perennial favorites on both sides of the Atlantic. The Y80 debuting at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival looks to continue the tradition. The Y80 brings to the table an “infinity cockpit” with a glass transom and modular furniture for multiple setups. It also has a flybridge that spans about two-thirds of the yacht’s nearly 84-foot length, effectively creating a legitimate third deck. The Y80’s owner’s stateroom is amidships and full beam, while it has a VIP in the forepeak. Two other guest cabins are to port and starboard. The Y80 has an impressive top speed of 30 knots, but at 10 knots the range is an even more impressive 1,000 nautical miles.

Cockwells Duchy Sport

british made sailing yachts

The 37-foot Duchy Sport from the Cockwells’ yard in Cornwall, famous internationally for its custom tenders, is designed for watersports enthusiasts. This Sport offers multiple towing points for waterskiing, wakeboarding, wakesurfing and tubing, with interior space for nine guests. Bow and cockpit sunpads will be popular spots for tanning, while a Bimini covers the amidships. Standout features include a wetbar, retractable swim ladder, bowthruster with joystick control, and of course ample water-toy stowage. The Duchy Sport comes with twin 370 hp Yanmar 8LVs which can get it up to a top speed of 42 knots—a speed befitting of this model’s name. Cockwells is also building a new Duchy 60, a stylized motoryacht that should rival Downeast offerings from U.S. builders Hinckley and Malaysian builder Grand Banks.

british made sailing yachts

The Oyster 495 is a 52-foot, 8-inch sailing yacht that entered the U.S. market earlier this year. A new design from the keel up, the U.K. builder was thinking global circumnavigation, or at least serious offshore cruising, from the onset. The yacht is also meant to be able to be singlehanded by a capable sailor. The plumb bow and teak decks imbue the 495 with a definite saltiness with performance and aesthetics. The cabin is noteworthy for being both ergonomic and well-lit. Reported top speeds for the 495 crest the 10-knot mark under sail, while a 100 hp Yanmar diesel pushes it along happily at 9.5 knots.

Sunseeker Superhawk 55

british made sailing yachts

Sunseeker is one of England’s brands that has a global following. For good reason. The Poole builder has a range of vessels that extend from 38 to 161 feet. Sunseeker is known for good oceangoing performance and creative design. The Superhawk 55 is a reimagining of the Superhawks that enjoyed popularity with performance enthusiasts in the 1990s and Aughts before being discontinued in 2009. Sunseeker introduced the Superhawk 38 in 2020, which had echoes of its go-fast past. This 55, however, is more of a performance cruiser than a day boat. With twin Volvo Penta IPS950s the new Superhawk has a very respectable top end of 38 knots and a feature even Miami Vice hot-boat aficionados will appreciate—slow-speed maneuverability offered by pod propulsion. An aggressively raked profile complemented by stiletto-sharp hullside windows augment the Superhawk’s sporty vibe.

Pascoe E-Limousine Electric Tender

british made sailing yachts

Pascoe tenders reside in the garages of some of the world’s biggest and most glamorous superyachts, thanks to the yard’s dedication to customization. The E-Limousine is the builder’s first fully electric vessel, the result of six years of R&D. Top speed is reported to be an impressive 40 knots, with a range of 60 nautical miles at a fast cruise of 20 knots. The builder says not only is this boat greener than a traditional tender but will also offer a smoother, quieter ride thanks to the construction used to mitigate vibration.

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10 Best Sailboat Brands (And Why)

10 Best Sailboat Brands | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

December 20, 2023

‍ There's no denying that sailors are certainly a passionate bunch. We’re so passionate about our boats that we always try going for the best sailboats. To make it a lot easier for you, here are the best sailboat brands.

Owning a sailboat is an indulgence that many of us only dream about but very few ever have the privilege of sailing the seas in what they can actually call their own.

While there's nothing wrong with renting a sailboat, the honor of owning one is certain what many sailors dream of.

With a perfectly crafted sailboat as company, gliding through the water, waves, and wind brings some sort of unmatched comfort and peace.

Add this to the fact that sailing takes you far away from the daily hustles and bustles that we've become accustomed to in our daily lives and you'll see why the life of sailing is very appealing to the masses.

But without a proper sailboat, all this fun and the good life of sailing are thrown out of the window.

Contrary to the widespread opinion, owning a sailboat isn't beyond anyone's reach. It's something that we can all achieve. But before getting into that, it's important to know some of the best sailboat brands.

The best sailboat brands will make your life as a sailor a lot easier and more fun. The best sailboat brands have, for decades if not centuries, mastered the art of woodworking. They've dedicated their skills and immense amount of their time to designing and manufacturing nothing but the best quality of sailboats in the industry.

So if you've been looking for the best sailboat brands from all over the world, you've come to the right place. We'll discuss the best of the best, something that will give you a perfect getaway from your normal life.

Table of contents

‍ Must-Have Features for Your Sailboat

Before highlighting the best sailboat brands, it would be appropriate to jog your mind a little with some of the features that must be available in your sailboat.

Choosing a sailboat can sometimes be a matter of compromises. In other words, it's sometimes sensible to accept that a sailboat cannot have all the features that you desire.

As such, it's all about going with a sailboat that has the features that matter to you most.

For this reason, let's look at the most basic features that can make the difference in both safety and comfort while improving your sailing experience.

A Safe and Comfortable Sailing Cockpit

You'll most definitely be spending a huge amount of time in the cockpit. Whether you're keeping watch, trimming sails , helming, or just enjoying the scenery, there's no better place to do all these than from the cockpit. That being said, a good cockpit should have the following.

  • Have a good depth for safety reasons and adequate drainage
  • Should give you a quick and easy access to jammers, cleats, and other important parts of the winch system
  • Should have a seat or seats that are about 35 cm high, 50 to 55 cm wide to provide ideal support
  • The seats should be adjustable to offer maximum comfort and allow you to change your position

GPS Chartplotter

Use a GPS Chartplotter once and your sailing will never be the same without it. It not only allows you to map a course but is also a great way of ensuring that your sailboat exactly follows that course. It also gives you constant updates on ocean conditions, weather conditions , and potential hazards such as deadly currents and sandbars.

A GPS Chartplotter is also an important safety device that can help you in some very critical situations while out there on the water.

For instance, it has a man-overboard button that is essentially meant to allow you to receive coordinates of the exact location should someone fall off your boat.

Electric Winch System

This is an amazing addition to any sailboat. It allows you to sheet a jib even in high and strong winds with a simple press of a button. It also gives you the chance of trimming a mainsail easily while still carry out other essential tasks in the sailboat.

An electric winch system can be of great importance, especially if you're short on crew. This is because it can free up some crew members to carry other important tasks. In other words, it can make duties that would otherwise require more crew members a lot easier.

More importantly, an electric winch system can maintain safety even in the roughest of conditions, thereby preventing you and your crew from getting injured. In essence, an electric winch system will make your sailing a lot safer, less stressful, and more enjoyable.

Reverse Osmosis Watermaker

This is a very valuable accessory, especially if you're going on long sea voyages. You can spend days on end without drinking clean and safe water.

As the name suggests, you can use this accessory to turn seawater into purified drinking water. It uses the reverse osmosis method that's essential not only in removing bacteria and parasites from the water but also in turning the water into purified and safe drinking water.

Even though this device is pricey, it's a great way to mitigate the over-reliance on huge water tanks. All you have to do is to ensure that it's properly maintained and you'll have an endless streak of safe drinking water no matter where you are.

Wide and Clutter-free Deck

While the deck is often an overlooked feature of a sailboat, it can be the difference between a great sailing experience and a stressful one. In essence, the deck of a sailboat should be wide enough and clutter-free.

This is significant as it can enable you to quickly access different parts of your sailboat with hindrance or getting tangled. As you can see, this is particularly important in improving safety and reducing stress.

With that in mind, make sure that the deck is organized in such a way that you can have easy access to sails, masts, and winches.

You should, therefore, avoid sailboats with decks that are designed in such a way that you have to climb on top of the cabin just to access these features. Needless to say, this can be quite unstable and very dangerous especially when conditions are rough.

The Best Sailboat Brands and Why

1. hallberg-rassy.

Hallberg-Rassy is a Swedish yacht maker that's very well-known in the blue water cruising circles for making some of the highest quality and sturdiest sailboats. For many sailors, this is the number one sailboat brand as it offers absolute comfort, utmost safety, and good and easy handling.

This brand is not only synonymous with sturdy construction but you won't worry getting soaking wet while out there on the water. This is because it has a well-protected deck and cockpit, finished with nice woodwork, and has a powerful engine with a big tankage just to ensure that you can go on long voyages.

When designing its sailboats, this brand has made it a norm to add some features that stand out from the rest. For instance, the bowsprit is an integral feature that makes sailing a Hallberg-Rassy quite easy and much enjoyable. This is because it grants easy access to and from the deck. Its electric anchor winches facilitate smooth maneuvering. Even more, its large steering wheels makes it much easier to control the boat even in the roughest of conditions. In essence, this brand has features that provide good control and an extra sense of safety.

Although this brand has evolved over the years, you'll easily recognize it even from a distance. And why is this? A Hallberg-Rassy never goes out of style. This is a unique sailboat brand that has always stayed true to its principles and concept. No matter which part of the world you go, Hallberg-Rassy will remain the undisputed king of blue water cruising.

2. Nautor's Swan

For over 50 years, Nautor's Swan has endlessly raised the sailing levels by designing and manufacturing new sailboat models that not only push the boundaries but also meet that many requirements and demands of sailors across the world. Thanks to its wide range of seaworthy, timeless, elegant, and highly-performing sailboats, the Nautor's Swan remains one of the best if not the best sailboat makers in the world.

Based in Jakobstad, Finland, this brand has severally set the industry standard with its speedy and sleek models such as the Swan 48, Swan 65, Swan 98, Swan 78, and Swan 120. These models have one thing in common: they never compromise on safety. As a brand that puts safety first, it ensures that its models are made of foam-cored glass fiber and reinforced both with carbon-fiber and epoxy. In essence, Nautor's Swan is widely revered for its unmatched seafaring and safety records.

Additionally, Nautor's Swan models are incredibly responsive. You can easily tell this just by the feel of the wheel. This brand has models that will gracefully slice through the biggest of waves with ease. That's not all; the interior of these models that are very comfortable even when the going gets tough. This is, without a doubt, a brand that strives to create self-contained worlds with each model.

3. Beneteau

This is perhaps the most selling sailboat brand in the world. For over a century now, this brand has based its models in a combination of simplicity and performance. This is a brand that will serve you just right across all latitudes and in all circumstances. Whether you prefer the Oceanis Yacht 62 or the Figaro Beneteau 3, this brand will never let you down on all fronts.

This brand revolves around a simple concept of creating a link around the world. From the deck space to its design and light, this brand does everything possible not just to uniformly transform life at sea but also to open doors to new horizons in a very luxurious yet practical way. Its models are designed with clear deck plans, stable hulls, simplified maneuvering and interior materials and equipment that can be easily personalized.

Whether you're looking for a racing sailboat or something that's designed to explore and enjoy the world in the company of friends and family, Beneteau is a true combination of sensations and simplicity. This is a brand that brings to the seas fun, simplicity, smartness, toughness, safety, intuitiveness, as well as dazzling reinvention.

4. Amel Yachts

Based on the ethos of designing and manufacturing comfortable, robust, and easy-to-handle boats, this French brand has, for over five decades, offered sailors and other sailing enthusiasts the perfect opportunity to explore the seas with the utmost quality, comfort, and more importantly, safety.

Using 100% French know-how, this brand has brought to the sailing world some of the best boats such as the Santorini, the Mango, the Super Maramu, and the Maramu. We would be doing this brand total injustice if we said that they're distinctive. Truth be told, there's nothing comparable to an Amel model. Well Amel was and still is, the ultimate standard by which other sailboat models are measured.

From items such as electric winches and furling, to generators, Watermaker , and washing machine down to the simplest of items such as towels. Spare filters, bathrobes, deck brush, and a boat safe, the Amel is in reality with what the real life of a sailor is and should be.

Although some may say that Amel still has room for improvement in terms of specifications and personalization, it cannot be denied that the Amel is a serious brand that designs and manufactures complete boats. With this brand, you'll be guaranteed of a higher degree of reliability, safety, and an edge of fun while out there on the water.

5. Hinckley Yachts

Based in Maine, United States, Hinckley Yachts is a brand that has been building robust, luxury, and safe sailboats for more than 90 years now. In its sailboat class, you'll find several sailboats that have classic shapes, inner strength, dramatic lines, and features that are absolutely essential in dealing with the challenges of the North Atlantic.

This brand has been successful in integrating impeccable craftsmanship with new technologies to ensure that their models always stand out while articulating advanced sailing practices, timeless aesthetic, robust construction, and the utmost safety. Whether you choose the Bermuda 50, the Sou'wester 53 or any model for that matter, you'll never be short of advanced performance based on the best design and technology.

In terms of features, this brand provides sailboat models with modern performance hulls. These hulls are constructed with inner layers of carbon, outer layers of Kevlar, and are aligned with computer-designed load paths. Every feature is designed without compromising comfort.

To this end, this brand offers you a perfect combination of both fun and sail. This brand offers more than just sailing. Instead, it offers a unique sailing experience that's combined with the pure joys of sailing in the blue waters with an ease of ownership and maneuverability.

6. Oyster Yachts

If you've been looking for luxury more than anything else, Oyster Yachts provides you with numerous solutions. This British brand is widely known for manufacturing a wide range of luxury cruising sailing yachts. Its sailboats are among the finest in the world and are immensely capable of taking you to some of the far-flung places in the world without having to worry about high winds and hellish waves.

Whether you choose the iconic Oyster 565 or the immense Oyster 595 you never fall short of experiencing the new world like never before. These are models that will enable you to own your adventure, choose your destination, set your courses, pick your anchorage, and stay safe at all times. If you want to hold the wheel and pull the sail while feeling the tang of salt spray on your face, Oyster Yachts is the way to go.

This is, unquestionably, a brand that's meant for you if you want to explore the seas in comfort, luxury and utmost safety. From craftsmanship, sailboat design, to hull, deck, and keel configurations, everything is designed to allow you to circumnavigate the world in comfort, elegance, and style.

7. Tartan Yachts

Based in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, there's arguably no better to begin your sailing adventures than with a sailboat designed and manufactured by Tartan Yachts. With several award-winning designs and construction, this brand is widely known for providing easy handling, great performance, and an ultimately stable platform.

This brand always strives to deliver a unique and the best possible experience to every sailor. As a brand, Tartan fully understands that every sailor has his/her unique sailing needs. As such every component of their models is designed with engineering levels that guarantee optimum performance, excellent on-deck visibility, and luxurious interior.

From the Tartan 5300, the Tartan 4300, the Tartan 345 to the New 365 and the Fantail, this brand makes it a priority to ensure that its models are among the strongest, lightest, and more importantly, the safest in the sailing industry. In essence, this brand can be ideal if you appreciate performance. It has rewarding sailing features both in narrow water lines and wider passages. Add this to its easy handling and you'll have a top-notch performer in virtually every condition.

8. Catalina Yachts

As one of the most popular boat manufacturers in the world, this American brand is widely revered for building the sturdiest boats that can hold up perfectly well in real-world conditions. These are generally family-oriented boats that are intelligently designed to ensure that your entire family can have fun out there on the water.

Some of the models include the cruiser series such as the Catalina 315, the Catalina 385, the Catalina 425 while the sport series include the Catalina 12.5 Expo, the Catalina 16.5, and the Catalina 14.2 Expo. As the current winner of the "Boat of the Year" Cruising World, you'll rarely go wrong with a Catalina model.

It offers a wide range of sailboat sizes that suits your lifestyle. This brand makes it a priority to ensure that all their models are not only safe but offer the best ownership and sailing experience. If anything, this brand is widely known to have one of the most excellent resale values in the sailing industry.

9. Island Packet Yachts

From the IP 525, the IP 439 to the IP 379, the Island Packet Yachts is a brand that encourages its customers not to keep the world waiting. This brand is meant for sailors who want to explore the world in utmost comfort and safety.

The first thing you'll notice in an IP sailboat is its large aft deck. This is not only perfect for sunbathing but can also serve you well if you want an impromptu dinner with friends and family while out there on the water. The living space is also large enough to carry most of your belongings, which is an added advantage especially if you've been planning to spend longer periods in the seas.

With modern evolution and refinement, as well as proven features, this brand is known to offer sailors maximum comfort, luxury, and safety. You'll have better access to the cockpit, have enough space, and are excellently designed to provide superior seafaring and the best features to enable you to spend extended periods when cruising.

10. Sparkman & Stephens

For more than 90 years, Sparkman & Stephens has been at the forefront of the belief that sailboat excellence goes beyond hull lines and deck plans. Instead, this brand believes in excellent naval architecture, innovation, sophistication, and beauty. This is a brand that has laid the foundation of sailboat as a sport not just in America but all over the world.

These models have graced the world for decades and bring immense pleasure to their owners in terms of innovation, performance, and excellence. Though rooted in tradition, the brand has pushed sophistication, technology, and sailing experience to a whole new level. You'll be a proud owner of the Sparkman & Stephens model.

There you have it; these are the best sailboat brands in the world. Although there are several other sailboat brands to choose from, the-above described brands stand shoulder above others in terms of quality, safety, performances and luxury.

Hopefully, you're at a much better place when it comes to choosing a sailboat that suits your lifestyle, needs, and budget .

Happy sailing!

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I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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Oyster Yachts Craftsmanship 2 v2

Great British craftsmanship

Oyster craftsmanship began in Norfolk in 1973. Oyster drew on the experience and craftsmanship of Landamores, who had been building wooden sailing yachts since 1923. They were soon joined by another Norfolk boat builder with an equally fine pedigree, Windboats, founded in 1920 by Graham Bunn – a master craftsman and yacht designer.

@

Merge and conquer

This team was responsible for building more than 700 Oyster yachts until Oyster took over Landamore’s new facility and brought the build in-house combining the workforce from both companies.

We have four main yacht construction centres: in Norfolk, there is Oyster Yachts Wroxham which is close to our new composite technology facility in Ashmanhaugh. The Oyster 565 and 595 are all brought to life here by our skilled teams. Our other construction centres are located in Southampton, where our Oyster 495 and larger models – the Oyster 675, 745 and 885 – are built and finished by hand to the highest standards. Our head quarters are at Saxon Wharf, Southampton and our newest construction centre at Hythe Marine Park is a state-of-the-art production facility where the new Oyster 495 is built.

2 v31

British yacht builders

Everything about our boats and build process is focused on creating the world’s finest bluewater British yachts, from the quality of the materials to the exceptional skills of our craftsmen and women and precise project management. We believe a key part of owning an Oyster is understanding the craftsmanship and attention to detail that go into her. Passing down these time-honoured craft skills to the next generation of great British boatbuilders is a priority for Oyster – it is the reason we set up the Oyster Academy, where our apprentices learn from the very best.

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Winner of European Yacht of the Year 2023. She sets a new 50 foot bluewater benchmark, offering a stunning combination of sailing performance, comfort, safety and luxurious living space.

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Heralding a new generation of Oysters, this 60 foot bluewater cruiser is a sailing yacht for all oceans. Practical and well-provisioned for long distance sailing or cruising in coastal waters.

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The much-anticipated Oyster 595 is well-proportioned and extremely versatile. Offering exciting, customised build options with no compromise, she is capable of great things.

Oyster 595 sailing yacht sailing at sea

A versatile sub-70 foot sailboat offering the perfect balance of size and practicality. She can be sailed shorthanded effortlessly or take a full crew and up to eight friends and family.

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This long range 75 foot cruising yacht is designed for very big adventures. A joy to sail yourself, she also boasts dedicated crew quarters.

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An exhilarating 90 foot sailing yacht, delivering comfort and safety with uncompromising performance. She is capable of taking you anywhere in the world effortlessly, in luxury and style.

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SPIRIT YACHTS

MODERN CLASSIC YACHT DESIGN & BUILD

Based in Suffolk on the east coast of the UK, Spirit Yachts has a portfolio of custom, wooden sail and power yachts ranging from day sailers to superyachts.

From humble beginnings in the Suffolk countryside, Spirit Yachts now operates from a large waterside facility with a team of highly skilled designers, naval architects, boat builders, cabinet makers, electricians and engineers.

Our portfolio of luxury sailing yachts and elegant power boats win awards, as well as regattas.

TIMELESS ELEGANCE

Spirit Yachts’ contemporary, elegant design style is world-renowned. Subtle variations on 1930s classic yacht design with long overhangs, low profiles and smooth lines, married to contemporary underwater profiles and the latest technology, are synonymous with Spirit’s modern classic cruising, racing , and power yachts .

Spirit yachts are designed to be as beautiful in 100 years as they are today.

“THE SPIRIT TEAM IS WITHOUT DOUBT THE BEST IN THE WORLD WHEN IT COMES TO A UNIQUE BUILD EXPERIENCE AND A TIMELESSLY BEAUTIFUL YACHT.”

WORLD-CLASS WOODWORK

Spirit Yachts comprises a talented team of craftsmen and women who are passionate about and dedicated to the highest standards of boat building.

Using hand-selected timber sustainably sourced from responsibly managed forests, Spirit Yachts incorporate the beauty of wood with the latest modern technology for sailing performance and a luxury guest experience.

SUSTAINABILITY

WOOD IS AT THE HEART OF EVERY SPIRIT YACHT.

Wood is a natural, sustainably-sourced boat building material offering beauty, a favourable strength-to-weight ratio, and durability. Spirit Yachts is committed to the environmental sustainability of its wood and is meticulous in sourcing the highest quality timber from responsibly managed forests and regulated suppliers.

SPIRIT NEWS

LATEST STORIES

Spirit yachts announces q class commission, spirit founder honoured with lifetime achievement award, spirit c72 wins prestigious classic boat award, entry open for spirit yachts regatta 2024, spirit yachts appoints australasia dealer, spirit c72 on display palma boat show, spirit yachts set to showcase new designs at boot düsseldorf, owner interview: my first season on a new spirit 72, our spirited fastnet adventure.

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DESIGN YOUR OWN PEARL 62

You don’t merely purchase a Pearl, you commission a yacht that is yours and yours alone.

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THE ATELIER OF YACHTING

To produce a limited number of high-quality yachts each year is a brand-defining choice. We are driven to offer a premium product, designed by the world’s most renowned yacht and interior designers, meticulously engineered, and crafted by expert hands, obsessed with perfecting every detail. Pearl builds yachts in an oyster, a state-of-the-art production facility that houses the entire supply chain. Only in this way can we keep faith with our mission: to offer you a yachting experience as unique and prized as the rarest of pearls. Boutique Yacht Builder since 1998.

To produce a limited number of high-quality yachts each year is a brand-defining choice. We are driven to offer a premium product, designed by the world’s most renowned yacht and interior designers, meticulously engineered, and crafted by expert hands, obsessed with perfecting every detail. Pearl builds yachts in an oyster, a state-of-the-art production facility that houses the entire supply chain. Only in this way can we keep faith with our mission: to offer you a yachting experience as unique and prized as the rarest of pearls.

Boutique Yacht Builder since 1998.

A PERSONAL AFFAIR

Pearl’s thoughtful design and world-class craftsmanship is evident from the beautifully streamlined exterior to the stunningly appointed, ingeniously spacious interiors. Owners are offered a selection of engines and layouts, and can tailor the interior with their choice of the Kelly Hoppen CBE designed interior themes: Modern, Luxury and Indulgence. Above all, the shipyard always guarantees a level of personal attention beyond comparison, working closely with each owner to ensure that every detail is just right.

Pearl’s thoughtful design and world-class craftsmanship is evident from the beautifully streamlined exterior to the stunningly appointed, ingeniously spacious interiors. Owners are offered a selection of engines and layouts, and can tailor the interior with their choice of the Kelly Hoppen CBE designed interior themes. Above all, the shipyard always guarantees a level of personal attention beyond comparison, working closely with each owner to ensure that every detail is just right.

DESIGNING EXPERIENCE

Attention to detail is the pride of our design team. Headed up by award-winning naval architect Bill Dixon, Pearl’s design ethos of beautifully crafted yachts, leading innovation and superb sea-keeping is evident in both the aesthetics and functionality, with key pioneering steps in the most exciting new directions being made across the whole range of yachts. Adding an extra cabin where no other brand could, integrating next-generation propulsion systems ahead of the rest, and drawing striking, recognizable lines for the exterior are just a few examples of how Bill Dixon has brought Pearl Yachts into competition with the industry frontrunners.

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DESIGNING THE EXPERIENCE

Discover beauty within.

No other yacht company works with the world-renowned British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE. Her ever-evolving style, defined by a subtle fusion of clean lines and neutral tones, intuitively balanced with an opulent warmth, has been honoured with numerous prestigious awards. Every Pearl is a canvas, upon which Kelly’s unmistakable design philosophy takes shape into a unique and surprising yet coordinated interior. For owners, this means the very thing one buys a yacht to secure: to feel in place wherever one goes, to find one’s intuitions reflected in the environment and to keep the mind sharp without feeling on edge. In other words, Kelly has a knack for putting things together as they should be.

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BEYOND CUSTOMER CARE

Care. It might be a small word, but it means a lot to us at Pearl. Nobody cares more about your experience than we do. We offer a round-the-clock aftersale service to ensure that you’re happy with every part of your life as a Pearl owner. In addition, each new yacht benefits from an industry-leading comprehensive 5-Year warranty, designed to safeguard your investment, protect her residual value and give you absolute peace of mind long into the future. Whatever you need to make the most of your Pearl experience, we’ll always be on hand to advise and inspire wherever you and your yacht may reside.

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Spirit Yachts: Inside the British yard behind some of the world’s most beautiful boats

Yachting World

  • February 6, 2020

Few builders possess the power of seduction demonstrated by British wood epoxy experts Spirit Yachts. David Glenn reports

spirit-yachts-history-yard-credit-emily-harris

Spirit Yachts’s workforce with one of the laminated sapele frames of the Spirit 111. Photo: Emily Harris

spirit-yachts-history-nigel-stuart-sean-mcmillan-credit-emily-harris

Highly stylised furniture

Two of the defining features of the Spirit 111 are aesthetics and a determination to use modern technology to make the yacht as efficient as possible, reducing the amount of fossil fuel required.

In profile she has a noticeably low freeboard and while the owner was warned this might limit headroom in the ends of the accommodation he was prepared to sacrifice this for looks. “The freeboard is just 1.4m which means she looks stunning – she’s more J then a J,” said Sean McMillan who is clearly relishing working with a client who won’t let anything get in the way of aesthetics.

Using some unusual, highly stylised furniture as guidance on how he wanted the interior designed, the client went to Rhoades Young in the UK to develop the accommodation. The result, which suits the use of wood construction perfectly, is quite extraordinary.

The yacht’s drive train comprises a 200hp electric engine served by four banks of lithium ion batteries providing a 380V system. The technology has been developed by the German outboard manufacturer Torqeedo, which has branched out into other forms of what it calls ‘water-based electromobility’ in response to the need for boats to be super eco-friendly on European inland lakes.

spirit-yachts-history-teak-logo

Nigel Stuart and Sean McMillan visited several companies developing the technology and were impressed by what they saw at Torqeedo in Gilching, Bavaria. One of the attractions is that the company considers the system as a whole, including batteries, the drive train to the folding Gori propeller, the ‘freewheeling’ prop generator system while sailing, and smart control to keep electricity consumption to a minimum.

The electric propulsion package perfectly suits the Spirit 111’s easily driven hull and relatively light displacement of just 59 tonnes. The batteries, which are similar to those used by BMW for their i3 and i8 electric cars, have a nine-year warranty and are small enough to fit under the yacht’s cabin sole in way of the keel.

It is anticipated that the Spirit 111 will be able to remain in quiet ship mode (no generator running) using all domestic appliances including air conditioning and water making for three to four days, assuming charging via the propeller while sailing can be achieved for up to five hours a day. Recharging the batteries using the yacht’s twin 25kw/33hp four-cylinder Torqeedo generators takes just four hours.

spirit-yachts-history-deckhouse-under-construction-credit-emily-harris

The deckhouse of a new Spirit in build showing the fan skylight. Photo: Emily Harris

In addition to propulsion efficiency, low current means running motors for cooling systems for the battery bank and the electric engine itself, plus pumps for the hydraulic system and a Webasto electric water heater, will also be far more efficient through smart control and monitoring. If these targets can be reached, the Spirit 111 will use half the amount of fuel than that of a conventional system, demonstrating a big advance in the search for the genuinely eco-friendly superyacht.

Another yacht in search of low consumption, and attracting considerable attention, is the recently-launched Spirit P70 motor yacht . She’s a semi-displacement fast cruiser with a top speed of 25 knots, whose owner required a 1,000nm range at 18 knots enabling him to complete cruises from Hamble in the UK to Scandinavia and back without refuelling.

Her advantageous power-to-weight ratio is achieved through her lightweight timber construction requiring two MAN diesel inboard engines of just 800hp each to reach the required performance. She carries 10,000lt of fuel, divided into five tanks, which is automatically distributed between the tanks to maintain efficient trim as the fuel is consumed. With luxurious accommodation on three levels this is a businesslike-looking yacht capable of high average speeds in almost all sea conditions.

spirit-yachts-history-p70-under-construction-credit-emily-harris

The P70 powerboat hull in the early stages of build with major engineering fitting such as engine and stabilisers. Photo: Emily Harris

With these three yachts alone, Spirit Yachts is displaying not only its known ability in sophisticated wood epoxy construction, but also its keenness to use advanced technology available from other industries. It’s a powerful combination likely to attract considerable attention in the demanding world of superyachting.

The Spirit Yachts story: From a cowshed in Saxmundham to building superyachts

Spirit Yachts has come a long way since a 37-footer called Spirit was built in a cowshed in Saxmundham in 1993. The hull of this beautiful long-ended, wood epoxy sloop was so light that Sean McMillan and his late business partner Mick Newman could pick it up between them and turn it over for completion.

Demand for larger yachts soon grew with eleven 46s built to date, four 52s and many other sizes including a 56, 74 and the 100-footer Gaia . Despite a steady flow of orders over the years and a big spike in interest when a Spirit 54 ‘starred’ in the James Bond movie Casino Royale , Sean McMillan had to spend a lot of time explaining the advantages of building in wood epoxy to the boat buying public.

spirit-yachts-history-54-casino-royale

Daniel Craig took the helm of a Spirit 54 in Casino Royale

“Thirty years ago people thought wooden boats were dirty smelly things, difficult to maintain with dodgy stuff lurking in the bilges,” said McMillan. “The journey has involved subtly re-educating the yachting public about composite wooden yachts.”

Due to its epoxy saturated protection, composite wood yachts are almost maintenance-free, they are easy to repair and can be done so invisibly, maintains Sean McMillan. The very structure of the hull is, without doubt, a thing of beauty something illustrated by the interior of the stripped out Spirit 52D Oui Fling . And it is the outward appearance of the Spirit genre that gives it its must-have status.

In 2007 Spirit Yachts launched five yachts including the 100ft Gaia , but it was also the year in which Sean lost his business partner Mick Newman, who died in a light aircraft crash in Turkey. Shortly after that in 2008 the financial crisis hit, although the effects didn’t filter down to Spirit Yachts until 2010 when business slowed.

spirit-yachts-history-52d-oui-fling-interior-credit-mike-bowden

The stripped-out interior of the Spirit 52D Oui Fling exhibits the yard’s craftsmanship. Photo: Mike Bowden

When Nigel Stuart arrived in 2013, the first thing he did was replace the industrial style metal door leading to reception with a solid mahogany one. He booked a stand at the Düsseldorf Boat Show, fired up the media machine and sat Sean down at his drawing board.

Stuart has also encouraged the company to re-define its range, which now includes, The Classic Style (Spirit 46,52, 56); The Cruising Style (Spirit 47CR, 55CR); The Deckhouse Range (Spirit DH57, DH60); Spirit Superyachts (100 to 130) and then the entirely bespoke. Spirit Yachts expanded into new, modern premises in 2017, making the build process faster. In all respects it’s a very long way indeed from that cowshed in Saxmundham…

The go-faster factor

A key player in almost all Spirit Yachts projects is John Parker of OneSails, based in Suffolk Yacht Harbour. He is passionate about Spirit’s modern classic ethos. His sails are not only Spirit’s preferred choice, but clients are urged to discuss their needs from early on in a project.

spirit-yachts-history-74-spirit-of-galatea-interior-credit-anthony-morris

The interior of the Spirit 74 is beautifully built in ruby rich mahogany and flooded with light. Photo: Anthony Morris

“It’s important to understand how people are likely to use their yachts,” said Nigel Stuart. “Are they setters and leavers, or non-stop tweakers? Will they simply go cruising or take to the race course?” Based on these facts carbon mast specification can be decided.

“We try to futureproof yachts by building in items like additional sheave boxes and mast track laminate reinforcement for spinnaker poles – it’s amazing how many clients seem convinced they don’t want to race but end up being tempted,” said Stuart.

Low friction rings, soft shackles and bespoke, colour-coded running rigging – even hand stitched leather winch handle pockets – are all part of what’s on offer to ensure clients get the best out of their Spirit and that the boat looks the part.

Adapted and updated from an article published in the September 2017 edition of Yachting World.

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Creating bespoke superyacht tenders and motor yachts for the modern world.

We are proud to design and custom-build superyacht tenders and motor yachts of the highest quality for 21st century leisure and commerce.

A quarter of a century’s boatbuilding experience underpins a bright new era in which technological innovation, ingenious design and modern materials combine with exquisite craftsmanship to push the boundaries of the possible, and guarantee outstanding performance, luxury and longevity.

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Superyacht Tenders

Our global reputation for creating high-performance superyacht tenders for busy owners and their crews – from luxury limousines and sports boats to semi-custom crew ribs and utility craft – is second to none.

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Duchy Motor Launches

Our award-winning semi-production motor yachts are the ultimate lifestyle boat and can be customised to create an on-the-water environment that is uniquely yours.

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Hardy Motor Yachts

The epitome of all-weather, all-location vessels, our all-new range of Hardys deliver an exceptional modern cruising experience for multi-generational maritime adventures.

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Commercial & Defence

Experts in creating effective and efficient craft for a range of deployments.

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Custom Boat Building

We fully appreciate that commissioning a superyacht tender, sailing or motor yacht is a momentous decision. Our designers and naval architects work with you every step of the way to provide you with a memorable experience as your custom-build takes shape – from the design of the hull and the powering of the boat to the layout of the interior, the selection of upholstery fabric and the brand of coffee machine for the galley.

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Career Opportunities

From marine electricians to boatbuilders, GRP technicians to laminators, a Finance Manager to a Refit Manager, as well as multiple engineering roles, we are not only seeking to hire experienced tradespeople, skilled craftsmen and women, and professional office staff, but are also looking to hire those who are keen to develop new skills and retrain.

Creating bespoke superyacht tenders and motor yachts for the modern world.

We are proud to design and custom-build superyacht tenders and motor yachts of the highest quality for 21st century leisure and commerce.

A quarter of a century’s boatbuilding experience underpins a bright new era in which technological innovation, ingenious design and modern materials combine with exquisite craftsmanship to push the boundaries of the possible, and guarantee outstanding performance, luxury and longevity.

british made sailing yachts

Superyacht Tenders

Our global reputation for creating high-performance superyacht tenders for busy owners and their crews – from luxury limousines and sports boats to semi-custom crew ribs and utility craft – is second to none.

british made sailing yachts

Duchy Motor Launches

Our award-winning semi-production motor yachts are the ultimate lifestyle boat and can be customised to create an on-the-water environment that is uniquely yours.

british made sailing yachts

Hardy Motor Yachts

The epitome of all-weather, all-location vessels, our all-new range of Hardys deliver an exceptional modern cruising experience for multi-generational maritime adventures.

british made sailing yachts

Commercial & Defence

Experts in creating effective and efficient craft for a range of deployments.

british made sailing yachts

Custom Boat Building

We fully appreciate that commissioning a superyacht tender, sailing or motor yacht is a momentous decision. Our designers and naval architects work with you every step of the way to provide you with a memorable experience as your custom-build takes shape – from the design of the hull and the powering of the boat to the layout of the interior, the selection of upholstery fabric and the brand of coffee machine for the galley.

british made sailing yachts

Career Opportunities

From marine electricians to boatbuilders, GRP technicians to laminators, a Finance Manager to a Refit Manager, as well as multiple engineering roles, we are not only seeking to hire experienced tradespeople, skilled craftsmen and women, and professional office staff, but are also looking to hire those who are keen to develop new skills and retrain.

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The classic sailing brands every yacht owner should know

Whether it's competitive sailing  you're into or relaxing on board your superyacht as your cruise the Mediterranean , these are the best brands to ensure you fit right in on the choppy seas or at the superyacht regatta . From high-tech performance apparel for braving the elements to chic leisurewear for relaxing on deck, you'll look and feel the part in these brands.

With 50 years experience creating cutting-edge performance gear, few brands are more synonymous with sailing than Musto . With emphasis on practicality and innovation combined with quality crafting, Musto apparel is made for adventure with style.

The history: In 1964 the brand’s founder Keith Musto competed in the Tokyo Olympics as part of the British sailing squad. It was during the relentless training for the competition that he realised their uniform of Guernsey sweaters and flannel trousers wasn’t cutting it and set out to create a line of revolutionary technical sailing apparel.

To further develop its advanced materials, Musto teamed up with W. L. Gore to create a tough yet breathable waterproof fabric that could endure the brutal conditions of ocean sailing. Together the brands produced an extra-durable Gore-Tex membrane. Twenty years later the material is still at the core of Musto’s renowned HPX range.

For fair weather: Corsica BR1 Jacket, £160, musto.com

For stormy seas: MPX Gore-Tex Pro Offshore Jacket, £550, musto.com

Henri Lloyd

Henri Lloyd’s sailing collection lies at the heart of the brand. Its connection with the sea began when co-founder Henri Strzelecki designed the first sailing jacket with a Velcro fastener. Since then the brand has continued to blend heritage with modern style to create lines that are both practical and sophisticated.

The history: Founded in 1963 in the British city of Manchester, Henri Lloyd quickly found favour with the sailing community for its pioneering use of new technologies and man-made materials.

Just three years after its launch early circumnavigation adventurers such as Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnson and Sir Ranulph Fiennes began to choose Henri Lloyd’s high-tech gear. This tradition continues today both on and off the water with Henri Lloyd being the choice of four-time Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup competitor Sir Ben Ainslie .

For fair weather: Breeze Jacket, £84, Henrilloyd.com

For stormy seas: Freedom Suit bundle, £349.95, force4.co.uk

Famed for its iconic sailing footwear, Dubarry takes inspiration from Galway’s boating heritage with the tough elements of the brand’s homeland echoed in the durability of its products.

The history: In 1937 the Dubarry co-operative company was established to provide employment in the small town of Ballinasloe on the west coast of Ireland. Thanks to their comfort, water resistance and unbeatable grip, the brand soon became known for its signature sailing footwear.

Now a globally recognised brand, Dubarry’s heritage still continues to influence its future. Through combining traditional design with high-tech materials each product is meticulously designed to give the best performance.

For fair weather:  Fastnet Sailing Boot, £199,  dubarryboots.com

For stormy seas: Crosshaven Sailing Boot, £379, Dubarryboots.com

From creating the world’s first boat shoe to becoming a modern nautical icon, Sperry is renowned for the durability, comfort and timeless style of its designs.

The history: Founded in 1935 by avid sailor Paul Sperry, the ambitious quest to create the perfect sailing shoe began when Sperry slipped and fell overboard while out on the water off Long Island. Sperry spent months in his workshop in New Haven trying to perfect his non-slip sole when eventually inspiration came from an unlikely source - his dog. He patented a design that carved indentations into the soles of his shoes to replicate the grooves in his dog’s paws thus providing traction on the slippery surfaces of the deck.

After the launch of the first shoe, every single member of the Cruising Club of America wrote to Sperry requesting a pair of his innovative Top-Siders. Ever since Sperry has been the go-to brand for boating footwear and a key component in casual sailing style.

For fair weather: Authentic Original 2-eye boat shoe, £85, mrporter.com

For stormy seas: Cold Bay Duck Boot, £109, sperry.com

Helly Hansen

The original pioneer of the three-layer concept, Helly Hansen has a history of product innovation that blends Scandinavian design signatures with inspiration drawn from the practicalities of living in some of the harshest environments on earth.

The history: After years battling tough conditions on the Norwegian Sea, captain Helly Juell Hansen began to produce his own oilskin jackets, trousers and sou’wester hats. Each piece was made from a course linen soaked in linseed to make it weather proof.

From these humble beginnings on the fjords of Scandinavia in 1877, Helly Hansen has grown to become a leading global sailing brand. Offering the optimal combination of performance, protection and style, its progressive designs continue to protect and enable professional sailors around the world.

For fair weather: HP Racing Midlayer Jacket, £160, hellyhansen.com

For stormy seas: Aegir Ocean Jacket, £800, hellyhansen.com

This Australian apparel brand has become a household name for sailors and Olympians globally. Pushing the boundaries on design and evolving their technical clothing, Zhik caters for all weather conditions both in functionality and style.

The history : Founded in 2003, Zhik’s range of wetsuits and dinghy gear completely changed the design approach for performance clothing and have been rapidly adopted by sailors across the globe.

Since then Zhik has developed their own specialist proprietary and trademarked fabrics including Isotak® a breathable, waterproof offshore fabric that is four times more durable that equivalent fabrics, the lighter Aroshell® breathable fabric and Superwarm®, a four-way stretch, extremely warm and thin neoprene fabric. In 2019 Zhik launched a range of ECO wetsuits, made from entirely natural plant-based fabrics and recycled plastic bottles.

For fair weather : Z-Cru Jacket, £119.95, z hik.com

For stormy seas : Isotak 2 Jacket, £499.95, zhik.com

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Practical Boat Owner

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Best boats for sailing around the UK: sail & power

Duncan Kent

  • Duncan Kent
  • September 12, 2023

Duncan Kent chooses the best sail and motor boats under 40ft for circumnavigating the islands of Britain and Ireland

People on a boat which is sailing around the UK

120 of the Vancouver 34 Classics were built. These seaworthy boats are highly sought after due to their solid build and ability to stand up to heavy weather. Credit: Colin Work

Best sail and power boats for sailing around the UK

Right around the UK in a small boat is a long sail, close to 2,000 miles in fact if you include Ireland.

Along the way you’ll likely encounter almost every kind of weather and sea state, so having the right boat is paramount.

Over the past 100 years cruising boat design has changed beyond imagination, with the emphasis for modern yachts placed predominantly on brisk performance and spacious, bright and luxurious interiors.

The primary element nowadays, for both sail and motor yachts, is commonly speed and comfort, whereas 50 years ago it was more about its ability to handle adverse conditions.

best-cruising-boats-under-30-foot-PBO274.Best_30ft_yachts.impala28_a

Small boats are perfectly capable of sailing around the UK, as Timothy Long proved when he sailed his Impala 28, Alchemy, solo around the UK. Credit:  Peter Jeanneret/Hunter Association

A yacht had to look after its crew regardless of the weather and a keen performance was simply a bonus. Of course, there were plenty of racing yachts back then that were chiefly designed for agility and performance, but few would have been taken by a family for a week’s holiday or sailed across open oceans for pleasure.

Sat firmly in the northern hemisphere, the UK experiences a wide range of weather patterns, which in turn affect the sea state.

There’s also a noticeable difference between its southern and northern coastal waters and sea areas.

I don’t want to lay down rules about which boats can safely sail round Britain and which can’t, as a very large proportion of this will be down to the experience of the skipper and crew.

But the following suggestions might help you choose a suitable boat for the task or at least let you know what modifications you might want to make to your existing boat to make the cruise safer and more enjoyable.

Boat design

To circumnavigate the UK in a reasonable time frame requires a boat that is tough enough and comfortable enough to beat into wind and waves when necessary, without making life totally unbearable on board.

On a sailing yacht, this usually means a relatively full-bodied hull , longish keel , high bows, and manageable rig .

That’s not to say a well-found bilge-keeled yacht couldn’t do the job perfectly well, it just means it might take slightly longer due to the little extra leeway experienced during heavy weather beats.

Folk have made it around in windsurfers, dinghies and even a kayak !

A an sitting in a cockpit of a trailer sailer boat

An outboard-powered boat, like this Viko 21, will struggle in heavy seas off headlands, and is not suitable for sailing around the UK. Credit: David Harding

However, I personally wouldn’t want to attempt a circumnavigation in an outboard-powered boat , either motor or sail.

More often than not you’ll be needing to motor or motorsail through confused seas, especially off Cape Wrath and similar foreboding headlands .

So, unless the outboard is mounted in a deep well on the centreline, the prop is likely to keep lifting out of the water just when you don’t need it to.

With all older yachts with inboards, I’d be looking for a newer engine than the original for a trip like this, unless they have been professionally rebuilt and meticulously maintained.

Home comforts

It will be a great deal more pleasant in heavy weather if the boat offers a reasonable level of protection from the elements for the on-deck crew, such as a windscreen, sprayhood or wheelhouse.

Depending on your overall plan, you should expect to be anchoring often when you need to stop, so think ‘off-grid’.

solor panels on a boat

Solar panels will provide enough power to make life comfortable if you need to anchor in a remote spot. Semi-flexible panels can be mounted on deck and have a non-slip surface. Credit: Graham Snook

Solar panels are comparatively cheap these days and a lot quieter than a wind generator so consider adding at least 200W of solar and a new matching pair of deep-cycle house batteries .

This should ensure you have enough power to have a few comforts such as a fridge , as well as run the navigation instruments and lights.

Sailing yachts under 25ft LOA for sailing around the UK

The duration and number of stopovers you plan to include will favour some boats and not others.

Keeping the passages to 8-10 hours each during the summer months, with a few overnighters when the weather is favourable, means you could do the whole trip in a sub-25ft boat, although hull stability and cockpit protection would be high on my list, as well as a reliable inboard diesel.

For a sturdy motorsailer such as the long-keeled, shoal-draught Fisher 25, the trip should be a doddle in most conditions.

A small boat with red sails sailing around the UK

The Fisher 25 is the smallest in the range, but has a big boat feel due to its heavy displacement, making it more than capable of sailing around the UK. Credit: David Harding

Lighter, slightly cheaper, but equally seaworthy boats such as the Vivacity 24 or the Hunter Horizon 23/235 should also serve well, although the limited accommodation volume and restricted headroom can sometimes get a little wearing on a long trip, especially when the weather is poor.

I have a good friend who sailed his 1970s Hurley 24 for many thousands of miles, including down to the Mediterranean and around the UK and Ireland.

Apart from the usual breakages and lack of power against fast currents and headwinds, the H24 served him and his wife well.

They remain happily married today, although they now cruise a 37ft swing-keel Southerly out of their southern Brittany home port.

Motorboats under 25ft LOA for sailing around the UK

There are a few sub-25ft semi-displacement motorboats that would safely complete a long passage by port-hopping in fair weather and sea conditions.

The bluff-bowed Hardy Pilot 20 is the smallest I would consider, sporting a powerful 30hp inboard diesel and super-tough hull.

Although she’s pretty rudimentary below, she does have 2+2 berths plus a basic galley and heads.

A cockpit tent will add considerably to the living area in port.

Numerous other small boats could be considered too, if properly prepared with well-maintained inboard engines.

A motor boat with a blue hull at sea

The spacious pilothouse of the Seaward 25 will keep the crew cosy if the weather takes a turn for the worse. Credit: Peter Cumberlidge

For instance, the Channel Island 22, though primarily intended for coastal and estuary cruising, could be in the running for a frequent stop itinerary, thanks to her pokey twin Volvo diesels and comfy interior.

Owners of boats such as these might, however, prefer cutting through the Caledonian Canal to avoid the rougher waters off Scotland’s northern coastline.

The larger Seaward 25 is a cosy pilothouse cruiser with comfortable accommodation below for two, maybe even four on day passages.

Twin 100hp+ diesels give her all the power you’d need to battle against foul tides and her sea-kindly motion makes her suitable for long passages.

Her spacious and comfortable pilothouse will keep you warm and toasty whatever the weather, while her cockpit has ample room for entertaining at anchor.

Below, she sports a good-size double forepeak berth, a private heads , and a decent size galley with ample stowage.

Sailing yachts 26-30ft LOA for sailing around the UK

There are plenty of capable passage-making boats in this size range, from older budget buys to more recent yachts.

In the budget range, I’d look closely at a decently maintained Contest 28.

Produced between 1976-1981 she is an IOR design but wasn’t taken to extremes and as such is a very stiff, stable boat with a 50% ballast ratio and high topsides.

Her accommodation is somewhat rudimentary but it has all the requirements for offshore cruising, including a comfy quarterberth and long, straight saloon settees.

A yacht with white sails and a blue hull at sea

In 1980 the Trapper 500 was slightly redesigned to become the 501, with an extended galley and a modified keel and rudder.

For slightly more money, boats such as the Twister 28, Trapper 500/1, Moody 27 and Westerly Merlin and Hunter Channel 27 all come to the fore.

The first is a rugged, narrow-beamed long-keeler renowned for her seaworthy performance in heavy weather.

Though somewhat ‘cosy’ below, for a relatively hardy couple she possesses all the basic attributes of a liveaboard boat.

Early boats were wooden, but the later all-GRP models are still valued as wallet-friendly offshore cruisers.

All-rounders

The UK-built Trapper 500/1 was based on the steadfast Canadian C&C27 .

She’s a heavily built, all-round offshore cruiser with a fair turn of speed under sail and a sea-kindly motion under way.

The T500 experienced noticeable weather helm in rough conditions, though, which was alleviated by a rudder redesign in the T501.

Trapper interiors are traditional, with the 501 having a quarterberth at the cost of one of the T500’s two deep cockpit lockers.

Westerly’s 28ft Merlin replaced the popular Konsort and featured a much-improved interior and deck layout.

A boat with two people on board sailing around the UK

The Westerly Merlin was designed by Ed Dubois, and came with a fractional rig. It was Westerly’s first model with a three-cabin layout. Credit: David Harding

Early boats had a transom hung rudder , before being upgraded to the 29 with its sugar scoop stern and semi-balanced spade rudder.

New to Westerly then was the Merlin’s inner floor moulding to which the furniture was bonded, providing further stiffness to the hull.

The Moody 27 is a more modern-looking yacht with a wider beam providing extra volume below and shallower underwater lines improving performance under sail.

She’s pretty stiff in a blow and has excellent agility in the gusts, although her transom rudder becomes overloaded if pushed too hard.

A remodel in 1985 formed the Moody 28 with a more modern, stepped transom and semi-balanced spade rudder.

A development of the Ranger 265, only with a higher coachroof and a marginally bigger rig, the Hunter Channel 27 is easily capable of a UK circumnavigation.

With her twin, foiled keels she sails upwind like a fin-keeler and can take full canvas up to a Force 5 thanks to her high-aspect, self-tacking jib , which is ideal for beating against the elements.

All sail control lines are within reach of the tiller, plus she’s nicely balanced and light on the helm.

Though her side decks are quite narrow, sturdy handrails help going forward.

Her cockpit is comfortable and sports a deep locker that accepts most long-term cruising gear.

Below, she offers 1.88m (6ft 2in) headroom, a light and airy saloon and up to six berths including the two saloon settees.

The galley is well equipped with ample stowage and the nav station opposite has a large table and stowage for charts and books.

two people sitting in the cockpit of a yacht at sea

With a high transom and coamings, the Hallberg-Rassy 29 will be able to cope with the rougher waters off Scotland’s northern coastline. Credit: Colin Work

A moulded GRP heads provides a shower and a wet locker. Another alternative would be the popular Hallberg-Rassy 29.

Launched in 1982 as a ‘go anywhere’ family cruiser, she is remarkably stable in heavy seas.

Her Lloyds-certified, solid GRP hull was reinforced with stringers, while her foam sandwich deck and superstructure offered weight savings and good insulation.

Her longish, cast-iron fin keel is also encapsulated, so there are no keel bolts to worry about.

Although her hull is narrow by modern standards, she does boast a comfortable double vee-berth forward and two excellent saloon sea berths.

Boats with the removable chart table option also had a quarterberth.

Motorboats 26-30ft LOA for sailing around the UK

The Finnish-built, single-engined Aquador 28C is a stalwart motoryacht built with precision and care using top quality materials.

Her roomy wheelhouse opens right out aft to give an unhindered walkway through to the cockpit in fine weather.

She sports a 300hp Volvo diesel driving through a sterndrive transmission and is capable of over 30 knots flat out.

At a more sedate 24 knots she is quiet and economical. There’s good headroom throughout and a very comfortable forepeak berth/day cabin.

Continues below…

a boat hull design which has a near vertical sterm and stern is

Boat hull design: how it impacts performance

Peter Poland explains how boat hull design has evolved over the years and how it affects boat handling and accommodation

A yellow junk rig sail on a wooden boat

Sail boat rigs: the pros and cons of each popular design

Peter Poland looks at the history of popular rig designs and how the different types affect boat performance

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Keel types and how they affect performance

Peter Poland looks at the history of keel design and how the different types affect performance

british made sailing yachts

Improve performance by understanding boat design

Øyvind Bordal explains how form stability, LOA, LWL, speed tables and polar diagrams can help you choose the right boat…

Surprisingly for her size, she also has a full width midships cabin beneath the wheelhouse sole, along with heaps of smart cherry wood trim and Corian worktops.

The trusty ‘Nelsonesque’ Seaward 29 started life 30 years ago and is still built in the Isle of Wight today.

Early models are now quite reasonably priced and, being so ruggedly constructed, most are still in pretty good condition too.

Nicely balanced and steady in a choppy sea, her two pokey Yanmar diesels can power her up to nearly 30 knots or cruise quietly and economically in the low twenties.

Later models featured a smart Vessel Control System (VCS), capable of smoothing out the ride by automating the trim adjustment.

Accommodation on the S29 is roomy for a sub-30ft boat, with good size berths below and a well-equipped galley in the spacious wheelhouse.

Sailing yachts 31-35ft LOA for sailing around the UK

Traditional heavy displacement yachts like the Nicholson 32 or 35 never seem to age.

I’ve owned late models of both, so I might be a tad biased, but they really are workhorses of the sea.

The latest owner of my Nic32 recently completed a UK/Ireland circumnavigation without a hitch, albeit she had a new engine, rigging and running gear when I sold her.

The Nic35 was my overall favourite, however.

Being beamier than the 32, she had more space below, bigger water and fuel tank s, a large house battery bank and was generally a little more refined.

A boat with a blue hull and white full sails cruising and sailing around the UK

Most Nicholson 35s were fitted with a Whitworth wheel steering system. Usually light and responsive, the 35 can display slight weather-helm if over-canvassed. Credit: Colin Work

Another popular classic is the Contessa 32, often described as the definitive offshore cruising yacht.

Without a doubt, the Contessa 32 is a very seaworthy yacht with impressive stability specifications, which has allowed many owners to safely sail the world over with confidence.

The Westerly Fulmar 32/33 is also envied for her competent sailing performance in all weathers.

She’s weighty enough to carry her through an oncoming sea and stiff enough to stand up to full sail up to the top end of a Force 5.

Although not the quickest 32-footer around she handles beautifully on a beat thanks to her responsive helm, plus she tracks well off the wind.

Fulmars were available with either fin or bilge keels, the latter losing a little in leeway terms but gaining loads in convenience for those wishing to creek crawl.

A yacht with white sails sailing around the UK

The Westerly Fulmar 32 has a large cockpit for a boat of her size, which with the addition of a cockpit tent, means plenty of living accommodation for long voyages. Credit: Colin Work

In port or at anchor her hinge-up tiller increases available cockpit lounging area, while below her accommodation is warm, comfortable and practical, with a double forepeak berth, straight settees and a cosy quarterberth.

The Vancouver 34 Classic is a sturdy, long-keeled, shoal draft sailing yacht capable of modest speeds but with a powerful demeanour.

When challenged in a gale she’ll happily romp home while remaining stable enough for the crew to safely make and eat a hot meal.

On deck, her cockpit is narrow and deep, with high coamings to keep the water out.

Initially light and positive, her helm gets noticeably heavier if over-canvassed, but downwind her long keel enables her to hold her course as if on rails.

Many cruisers like the flexibility of the cutter rig and appreciate the ability to run under a staysail and triple-reefed mainsail in a gale.

Although tacking her can be somewhat slow, due to the need to haul the yankee around the inner forestay, her displacement enables her to keep way on through the tack and she quickly picks up speed on the new course.

Below, her interior is ideal for long term, open sea cruising. She can sleep up to six, and I like having all the ports openable for ventilation.

The galley is well appointed and the heads very spacious.

The ever-popular, ketch-rigged Fisher 34 motorsailer was purportedly designed to be as seaworthy as a North Sea fishing boat, but with the sailing abilities of a long-distance cruising yacht.

For this reason, she sports a canoe stern, long keel, deep-vee entry and pronounced sheer with high, flared bows and tall bulwarks.

Her rig is powerful enough to enable her to sail at motoring speeds, while remaining protected in her cosy wheelhouse thanks to a large, see-through, sliding hatch.

Renowned for their rugged build quality, below they are fitted out to a high standard, accommodating six crew in a double forecabin, a double aft quarter cabin and a convertible double saloon berth.

Motorboats 31-35ft LOA for sailing around the UK

Once you get over 30ft the ideal motorboat for a UK circumnavigation is a twin-engined, semi-displacement boat.

These offer all the grunt you need to plough through steep seas and adverse currents while being spacious enough to enjoy life on the hook once you arrive.

The Fairline Corniche 31 was praised for her stability when she was first launched back in the 1980s and has now become a sought-after shoestring motor cruiser.

That said, problems with her original twin Volvo diesels can be costly to fix, as can poorly maintained gear on the outdrive models.

The Humber 35 has seven berths, and twin Volvo TAMD40A diesel engines came as standard so cruising is comfortable

The Humber 35 has seven berths, and twin Volvo TAMD40A diesel engines came as standard so cruising is comfortable

The Nelson-derived Channel Islands 32 is a tough, twin-diesel, semi-displacement motoryacht that is ideally suited to long open sea passages, cruising economically at around 18-20 knots.

Despite her very roomy pilothouse, she has a decently sized and well sheltered cockpit too, while below she boasts a surprising amount of living space for her length, featuring four berths in two comfortable cabins, a well-appointed, seamanlike galley, and a roomy heads compartment.

Moving up in size and price, the Askham-designed Humber 35 (also from Nelson origins) features the same fine entry, long keel and round bilges, providing comfortable seagoing characteristics and pronounced form stability at speed.

Sailing yachts 36-40ft LOA for sailing around the UK

The Holman & Pye-designed Rustler 36 started life in 1980 as a development of the earlier Rustler 31, itself a derivative of the legendary Folkboat.

She’s a competent and seaworthy cruising yacht capable of any serious ocean passage.

Though her accommodation is nowhere near as voluminous as a modern yacht she has all the necessities for living aboard comfortably at sea.

Her full long keel, encapsulated ballast, high ballast ratio and relatively conservative cutter rig make her very stable and easy to handle in heavy weather.

The Rustler 36, previously called PRB and raced in the last Golden Globe by Philippe Péché

The Rustler 36 was a popular choice in the 2018 and 2022 Golden Globe Race

Intended for serious passage making in all weather and sea conditions, she was the choice of the majority of the 2022-23 Golden Globe Race entrants.

Angus Primrose’s robust 1980s cruiser, the Moody 36, was a frequent visitor to various far-flung parts of the world.

She was heavily built, in days when the thickness of GRP was what counted, therefore not the quickest boat around.

However, her centre cockpit not only purveyed a sense of security to the crew but also meant she was ahead of her time with regard to comfort below, and introduced Moody’s future signature feature – a full-width aft double cabin.

Unlike the Rustler’s long keel, the Moody’s fin keel and balanced rudder make her more responsive and agile, while her ample beam provides much more room below, both for living and for stowing equipment and provisions.

A moody 36 yacht sailing off the coast of Scotland

The high-volume Moody 36 is balanced to windward, and eats up the miles comfortably offshore. Credit: Marco McGinty/Alamy Stock Photo

Another early British boat, the Westerly Ocean 37, utilised the well-proven and easily driven Dubois-designed Typhoon hull.

The Ocean model added a more powerful rig and a deep, secure cockpit, with sensibly placed deck gear making her easy to sail single-handed.

Below, she is woody and warm with a very traditional layout, albeit with two heads.

The furnishings are solidly put together with no sharp edges, and she is comfortable to live in under way.

At anchor, she doesn’t feel quite as ‘open’ as more modern yachts do, but for those who put build quality before design flair she ticks all the boxes.

Another ideal yacht for this trip would be the Hallberg-Rassy 352 which did a great deal towards establishing the Swedish yard’s reputation for producing steadfast, go-anywhere cruising yachts.

In addition to having a comfortable interior and practical layout for liveaboards, she was one of the first centre-cockpit yachts to incorporate an internal corridor into the aft cabin, removing the need to go via the cockpit.

A yacht with white sails and a white hull in an anchorage

The Hallberg-Rassy 36 has a masthead sloop rig, an overlapping genoa and fairly small main. Hoisting and r eefing is done at the mast . Credit: Dick Durham

In early versions of the 800-plus HR 352s launched, headroom here was limited but over the following 14 years the deck was twice raised to alleviate this problem.

A long, encapsulated fin keel contains three tons of cast iron ballast with a cutaway forward to assist tacking and manoeuvring.

A full-depth skeg adds support to the rudder, which is semi-balanced to keep the helm light.

Those with a bigger budget but still yearning for the Hallberg-Rassy thoroughbred feel could opt for the equally sea kindly, but even more luxurious Hallberg-Rassy 36.

Though not cheap, a popular mid-range Swedish cruiser of the early 2000s was the Najad 380, a relatively long-keeled, heavy displacement yacht with enough volume to cruise in comfort as a family.

Not only is she sumptuous below with well thought out spacious accommodation but under sail, she’s really well balanced, even in a blow.

Motorboats 36-40ft LOA for sailing around the UK

A very common sight on the water in the 1980-90s, the Fairline 36 came in two versions.

The Sedan was a conventional aft cockpit with flybridge and aft cockpit, whereas the Turbo model, by far the most popular, boasted a large aft cabin with a raised afterdeck.

The Turbo’s aft cabin is full width and the centreline berth is huge. The ensuite and stowage matched the opulence.

Twin 165hp or 200hp Volvo diesels were standard, with the 300hp TAMD61 an option.

The former gave her reasonable performance in the mid-20 knots range, the latter nudged her on to touch 30 knots.

The Fairline 36 was launched in 1983; later versions were more powerful with TAMD60C (255hp) Volvo Penta engines as standard

The Fairline 36 was launched in 1983; later versions were more powerful with TAMD60C (255hp) Volvo Penta engines as standard

I’ve often looked longingly at the Aquastar OceanRanger 38, despite preferring to remain with rag and stick for as long as my aged body allows.

She looks like a proper gentleman’s yacht without the towering appendages that adorn many post-millennium motorboats, despite the popular option of a flybridge helm station.

Below, the standard layout on the aft cabin model provides two heads/shower and four permanent berths, fore and aft, with another four on a convertible dinette and convertible settee in the wheelhouse.

The aft cabin/owner’s suite is impressively spacious and boasts a queen-size centreline berth, loads of stowage and large windows letting the light flood in.

There is no doubt about the 38’s all-weather capabilities.

Early models, however, had relatively small 160hp diesels limiting her cruising speed to around 15 knots.

Later these were doubled in size and power to make her capable of a more impressive 25 knots or more.

Are you ready to go sailing around the UK?

Plenty of small boats complete arduous passages safely. The key is preparation.

Provided your boat is seaworthy, properly prepared, and skilfully skippered there’s no reason such a demanding journey as a UK circumnavigation should be a problem.

Size isn’t everything, but obviously once you get above 35ft almost any post-millennium sail or motor yacht should handle the vagaries of such a trip, along with many 1970-2000 boats too.

The decider is often how you plan to sail.

If you’re keen to tick off the headlands and get around ASAP then you need a robust boat with big tanks that is capable of handling heavy seas.

However, if you plan to potter, day sail, anchor in nice places and stay out of the rough stuff on inclement days then your choice of craft is much wider.

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