Whether you want to cruise to your next destination at 55 mph or are striving for simplicity, this fleet of trailer-sailers and pocket cruisers will fit your needs and budget. If you have an eye for elegant lines and your heart goes pitter-patter over just the right amount of overhang beneath a counter transom, the Marblehead 22 daysailer, designed by Doug Zurn and built by Samoset Boatworks in Boothbay, Maine, will definitely raise your pulse. Many a harbor plays host to an active fleet of Catalina 22s, a boat that’s been a popular weekender over the years, given its basic amenities and retractable keel, which allows it to be easily trailered. With its large, open-transom cockpit and sloop rig, the Hunter 22 makes a comfortable daysailer for family and friends.
Easy to rig and trailer, the BayRaider from England’s Swallow Boats is a relative newcomer to the small-boat market in the United States. With berths for four and a workable galley featuring a cooler, a sink, and a stove, West Wight Potter has packed a lot into its 19-foot-long P 19. Designed for rowing and sailing (a motor mount is optional), the Canadian-built NorseBoat 17.5—one of which was spotted by a CW editor making its way through the Northwest Passage with a two-man crew—features an open cockpit, a carbon-fiber mast, and a curved-gaff rig, with an optional furling headsail set on a sprit. Billed as a trailerable pocket cruiser, the Montgomery 17 is a stout-looking sloop designed by Lyle Hess and built out of fiberglass in Ontario, California, by Montgomery Boats. With long overhangs and shiny brightwork, the CW Hood 32 is on the larger end of the daysailer spectrum. No roundup of small, trailerable, and fun sailboats would be complete without a mention of the venerable Hobie 16, which made its debut in Southern California way back in 1969. Under various owners, the Snark brand of sailboats, now built by Meyers Boat Co., has been around since the early 1970s.
Talk about time-tested, the 19-foot Flying Scot has been in production since 1957 and remains a popular design today.
Known primarily for its line of racing dinghys, RS Sailing also builds the 16-foot, 4-inch Venture, which it describes as a cruising and training dinghy. Topper makes a range of mono- and multihull rotomolded boats, but the model that caught one editor’s eye at Strictly Sail Chicago was the Topaz Taz.
WRTango, a fast, sturdy, 10-foot trimaran that’s easy to sail, is the newest portable craft from WindRider International.
The boats in this roundup caught the eye of CW editors as they made the rounds of last winter’s boat shows. We all know that a well designed large boat is more comfortable in theory than a well designed small boat. Having all your lines lead to the cockpit is fun until you realize that this system only works pulling up the sails which is the easy part. If I was going to throw a dart at the wall, the plastic fantastic Triton is hands down one of the best budget blue water cruisers out there. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The Precision 18, designed by Jim Taylor, is a small sailboat with a simple fractional rig that is easy to raise, rig and with an easy launch, you are off sailing in minutes. Traditional-looking above the waterline and modern beneath, the cold-molded hull sports a deep bulb keel and a Hall Spars carbon-fiber mast with a wishbone rig and square-top main. Recently, the company introduced the Catalina 22 Sport, an updated design that can compete with the older 22s.
But with its cuddy cabin, twin bunks, optional electrical system, opening screened ports, and portable toilet, a parent and child or a couple could comfortably slip away for an overnight or weekend.


Nearly all of its 19 feet 9 inches is open cockpit, though a spray hood can be added to keep the forward sections dry. First launched in 1971, this is a line of boats that’s attracted a true following among trailer-sailors. With a keel and centerboard, the boat draws just under 2 feet with the board up and can be easily beached when you’re gunkholing. Designers Chris Hood and Ben Stoddard made a conscious decision to forego a cabin and head in favor of an open cockpit big enough to bring 4 or 5 friends or family out for an afternoon on the water.
East Coast bays and rock-strewn coasts have long been graced by cat boats, whose large, gaff-rigged mainsails proved simple and powerful both on the wind and, better yet, when reaching and running.
With the fiberglass board up, the 17-foot-2-inch boat draws just 5 inches of water; with the board down, the 4-foot-5-inch draft suggests good windward performance. The company has introduced many other multihulls since, but more than 100,000 of the 16s have been launched, a remarkable figure. The Super Snark, at 11 feet, is a simple, easily car-topped daysailer that’s fit out with a lateen rig and sail. Both carry NorseBoat’s distinctive looking carbon fiber gaff-rigged mast with main and jib (a sprit-set drifter is optional), and come with a ballasted stub keel and centerboard. Sloop rigged, with a conventional spinnaker for downwind work, the boat is an easily sailed family boat as well as a competitive racer, with over 130 racing fleets across the U.S.
The Venture features a large, self-draining cockpit that will accommodate a family or pack of kids. At 9 feet, 8 inches LOA and weighing in at 88 pounds, the Taz is not going to take the whole crowd out for the day.
The boat, likely a 30-footer and more often a 40-footer, will have electronics for navigation and entertainment, refrigeration if the trip is longer than a coastal hop, an engine for light wind, and, depending on our appetites for food and fun, perhaps a genset to power our toys and appliances. To experience the pure joy of sheeting in and scooting off across a lake, bay, or even the open ocean, there’s nothing better than a small boat. Some are new designs, others are time-tested models, but every one is easy to rig, simple to sail, and looks like a whole lot of fun either for a solo outing on a breezy afternoon or to keep family and friends entertained throughout your entire sailing season. The 11-foot-9-inch cockpit can seat a crowd, and a small cuddy forward will let you stow your friends’ gear for the day. Add in the optional performance package, which includes an asymmetric spinnaker, a pole, and a mainsheet traveler, and you could be off to the races. The P 19’s fully retractable keel means that you can pull up just about anywhere and go exploring. In the cuddy cabin you’ll find sitting headroom, a pair of bunks, a portable toilet, optional shore and DC power, and an impressive amount of storage space. The CW Hood 32 is sleek and graceful through the water and quick enough to do some racing, but keeps things simple with a self-tacking jib and controls that can be lead back to a single-handed skipper. The 17-foot-4-inch Sun Cat, built by Com-Pac Yachts, updates the classic wooden cat with its fiberglass hull and deck and the easy-to-step Mastender Rigging System, which incorporates a hinged tabernacle to make stepping the mast a one-person job. The Hobie’s asymmetric fiberglass-and-foam hulls eliminate the need for daggerboards, and with its kick-up rudders, the 16 can be sailed right up to the beach. The ample freeboard and wide beam provide stability under way, and the heavy-duty rubrail and kick-up rudder mean that you won’t have to worry when the dock looms or the going grows shallow. Its roomy cockpit can seat six to eight, though the boat is often sailed by a pair or solo.


A furling jib and mainsail with slab reefing come standard with the boat; a gennaker and trapeze kit are options, as is an outboard motor mount and transom swim ladder.
But, with the optional mainsail and jib package (main alone is for a single child), the Taz can carry two or three kids or an adult and one child, and would make a fun escape pod when tied behind the big boat and towed to some scenic harbor. The Tango features forward-facing seating, foot-pedal steering, and a low center of gravity that mimics the sensation of sitting in a kayak. Lifelines, a swim ladder, and an engine are options, as are cloth cushions; vinyl cushions are standard. The boat features a laminated fiberglass hull and deck, molded-in nonskid, and a hydraulic lifting centerboard. Closed-cell foam fore and aft makes the boat unsinkable, and thanks to its hard chine, the boat is reportedly quite stable under way.
The boat is designed with positive flotation and offers good load-carrying capacity, which you could put to use if you added the available canvas work and camping tent.
Belowdecks, the twin 6-foot-5-inch berths and many other features and amenities make this cat a willing weekender.
The roomy cockpit is self-bailing, and the bow harbors a good-sized storage area with a waterproof hatch. Its large trampoline offers lots of space to move about or a good place to plant one’s feet when hanging off the double trapezes with a hull flying. Both the 15 and its slightly larger 18-foot sibling come standard with roller-furling jibs. The hull features Topper’s Trilam construction, a plastic and foam sandwich that creates a boat that’s stiff, light, and durable, and shouldn’t mind being dragged up on the beach when it’s time for a break.
It weighs 125 pounds (including the outriggers and carbon-fiber mast), is extremely stable, and has single-sheet sail control. The large cockpit will seat a crowd or let a mom-and-pop crew stretch out and enjoy their sail. The BayRaider can be sailed with a dry hull in lighter conditions or with 300 pounds of water ballast to increase its stability. The builder reports taking his own boat on trips across the Golfo de California and on visits to California’s coastal islands. The boat comes with a main and a jib; a spinnaker, douse kit, trailer, and beach dolly are optional features.
The Venture’s designed to be both a good performer under sail, but also stable, making it a good boat for those learning the sport. The six-inch draft and kick-up rudder make it great for beaching, while the hull and outriggers are made of rotomolded polyethylene, so it can withstand running into docks and being dragged over rocks. With the centerboard and hinged rudder raised, the boat can maneuver in even the thinnest water. The Super Snark weighs in at 50 pounds, and with a payload capacity of 310 pounds, the boat can carry two. Though intended to be a daysailer, owners have rigged boom tents and berths for overnight trips, and one adventurous Scot sailor cruised his along inland waterways from Philadelphia to New Orleans.



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