Sailing Yacht Guide

Read YATCO's in-depth sailing yacht guide for boating beginners. Learn about what sailing yachts are & the different types available.

A sailing yacht is a beautiful vessel that allow you to harness the power of the wind and feel an instant connection to the water around you. Today, sailing yachts boast incredible luxury amenities and technology. From Ketches to Sloops, browse the YATCO sailing yacht guide to discover which boat type is right for you.

#1 What is a Sailing Yacht?

Sailing yachts are boats that vary in size and shape. These vessels are eco-friendly because the sails primarily power them; many are propelled partly by an engine in case there is little wind. The main difference that can be found in sailing yachts is in their sail configuration and whether they have a single hull (known as monohulls) or two to three hulls (which are sailing catamarans or trimarans).

Sailing yachts used to offer more basic accomodations than motor yachts, but with modern technology and innovative designs, sailing yachts have come a long way. Luxury sailing yachts have many of the amenities of their motor yacht counterparts, with wide beams that offer lots of internal volume. They feature luxuries like staterooms with en suite facilities, formal dining areas, and larger main salons – just as in motor yachts. Sailing vessels may not offer as many deck levels as they have lower profiles than motor yachts so they don’t offer as much space.

These luxury sailing yachts are now used for cruising or racing and can be customized to the unique needs and wants of each owner. Sailing yachts can have any number of water toys and on board luxuries. However, it is not about what a sailing yacht can give you, but what you choose to get out of them – which can be the experience of a lifetime.

Popular Sailing Yacht Brands on YATCO.COM

to only name a few.

Find all sailing yachts for sale here.

#2 What Are the Different Types of Sailing Yachts?

Within the category of sailing yacht monohulls, there are seven distinct types – cutter, catboat, dinghy, ketch, schooner, sloop, and yawl. A sloop is the most popular sailing yacht of today, and it is designed with one mast with two sails – the headsail and the mainsail. These operate the best when sailing windward.

Below some popular monohull types, and show the true variety of sailing yachts available:

#2.1 Cutter

The cutter is similar to a sloop with a single mast and mainsail, but generally carries the mast further aft so that a jib and staysail can be attached to the head stay and inner forestay. It used to be a common racing configuration, and today it gives a lot of versatility to cruising boats.

The cutter is similar to a sloop with a single mast and mainsail, but generally carries the mast further aft so that a jib and staysail can be attached to the head stay and inner forestay. It used to be a common racing configuration, and today it gives a lot of versatility to cruising boats.

Find all cutters for sale here.

#2.2 Catboat

A catboat has a single mast mounted far forward but doesn’t have a jib. Today’s catboats have only the mainsail. However, a catboat could usually carry multiple sails from the gaffrig.

A catboat has a single mast mounted far forward but doesn’t have a jib. Today’s catboats have only the mainsail. However, a catboat could usually carry multiple sails from the gaffrig.

#2.3 (Sailing) Dinghy

A dinghy is a type of small open sailboat. Characterized for their short length overall and light weight, which also makes them very easy to handle. Sailing dinghies are used for recreation, youth sailing programs, sail training, and tending a larger vessel.

A dinghy is a type of small open sailboat. Characterized for their short length overall and light weight, which also makes them very easy to handle. Sailing dinghies are used for recreation, youth sailing programs, sail training, and tending a larger vessel.

#2.4 Ketch

A ketch is a type of sailing yacht with two masts. They are like sloops in this, but ketches have a second shorter mast astern of the mainmast, forward of the rudder. The second mast is called the mizzen mast and the sail is called the mizzen sail. Originally, ketches were fishing vessels; the term "ketch" comes from the same root word as "catch". Their versatility and ease of use have made them popular, particularly in Northern European waters, where their sail plan allows them to react quickly to varying wind conditions.

A ketch is a type of sailing yacht with two masts. They are like sloops in this, but ketches have a second shorter mast astern of the mainmast, forward of the rudder. The second mast is called the mizzen mast and the sail is called the mizzen sail. Originally, ketches were fishing vessels; the term “ketch” comes from the same root word as “catch”. Their versatility and ease of use have made them popular, particularly in Northern European waters, where their sail plan allows them to react quickly to varying wind conditions.

Find all cruising ketch for sale here.

#2.5 Schooner

A schooner is a type of sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts, the foremast being always lower than the foremost main. Such vessels were first used by the Dutch in the 16th or 17th century. Originally schooners were gaff-rigged, but modern schooners may be Bermuda-rigged. (A Bermuda rigged schooner typically has four triangular sails: a mainsail, a mainstaysail, the foremast, a forestaysail, and a jib (or genoa) forward of the foremast. An advantage of the staysail schooner is that it is easily handled and reefed by a small crew, as both staysails can be self-tacking.

A schooner is a type of sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts, the foremast being always lower than the foremost main. Such vessels were first used by the Dutch in the 16th or 17th century. Originally schooners were gaff-rigged, but modern schooners may be Bermuda-rigged. (A Bermuda rigged schooner typically has four triangular sails: a mainsail, a mainstaysail, the foremast, a forestaysail, and a jib (or genoa) forward of the foremast. An advantage of the staysail schooner is that it is easily handled and reefed by a small crew, as both staysails can be self-tacking.

Find all schooner for sale here.

#2.6 Sloop

A Sloop (from Dutch sloep) is a sailboat with a single mast and a fore-and-aft rig. A sloop has only one head-sail, nevertheless, if a vessel has two or more head-sails, she is called a 'cutter' and her mast may be set further aft than on a sloop. In the USA however, a sloop may have one, two or three headsails forward of the mast—the term cutter not generally being used for sailboats. The most common rig nowadays is the “Bermuda sloop” which carries a mainsail on a boom aft of the mast, with a single loose-footed head-sail (a jib or a genoa jib) forward of the mast. This is an optimal rig for upwind sailing; consequently, sloops are popular with sport sailors and yachtsmen, and for racing. The rig is simple in its basic form and is maneuverable and fast.

A Sloop (from Dutch sloep) is a sailboat with a single mast and a fore-and-aft rig. A sloop has only one head-sail, nevertheless, if a vessel has two or more head-sails, she is called a ‘cutter’ and her mast may be set further aft than on a sloop. In the USA however, a sloop may have one, two or three headsails forward of the mast—the term cutter not generally being used for sailboats. The most common rig nowadays is the “Bermuda sloop” which carries a mainsail on a boom aft of the mast, with a single loose-footed head-sail (a jib or a genoa jib) forward of the mast. This is an optimal rig for upwind sailing; consequently, sloops are popular with sport sailors and yachtsmen, and for racing. The rig is simple in its basic form and is maneuverable and fast.

The main disadvantage is the relatively expansive size of the sails, especially on larger vessels. It is also less successful sailing downwind. The addition of a spinnaker is necessary for faster speed in all but the strongest winds, and the spinnaker is an unstable sail that requires continual trimming.

Find all sloop for sale here.

#2.7 Yawl

A Yawl is typically two-masted sailboat, usually rigged with one or more jibsails, a mainsail, and a mizzen. Like the ketch, the forward (main) mast is higher than the mizzenmast, but the mizzenmast of a yawl is placed astern of the rudder post (more for balancing the helm than propulsion) while that of the ketch is closer amidships. Like most modern pleasure boats, yawls are rigged with fore-and-aft sails - the most effective rigging in utilizing manpower. The word yawl is sometimes applied to a dinghy and to a light fishing vessel rigged with lugsails.

A Yawl is typically two-masted sailboat, usually rigged with one or more jibsails, a mainsail, and a mizzen. Like the ketch, the forward (main) mast is higher than the mizzenmast, but the mizzenmast of a yawl is placed astern of the rudder post (more for balancing the helm than propulsion) while that of the ketch is closer amidships. Like most modern pleasure boats, yawls are rigged with fore-and-aft sails – the most effective rigging in utilizing manpower. The word yawl is sometimes applied to a dinghy and to a light fishing vessel rigged with lugsails.

Find all yawl for sale here.


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