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13 Best Small Catamarans For Cruising 2024

The best small catamarans for cruising are affordable and comfortable, making great sailboats for a number of different purposes. If you’re looking for the best small catamarans to start your cruising life then look no further!

When searching for a catamaran for our adventures we scoured the internet for any and all information we could find on just about every size, shape, and model!

Although in the end, we opted for a bigger catamaran, in the hopes of having more family and friends on board, we did heavily research the best small catamarans as an option.

One of the best small catamarans for cruising out at anchor.

Each small catamaran has different pros and cons. As with every sailboat, there will be compromises, but hopefully, this post will help you firm up what you’re really looking for in a multihull and find the right smaller catamaran for you!

Here are what we consider the best small cruising catamarans out there, costing anywhere from $40,000 to $300,000. You can also read up on the average costs of sailboats here.

Why choose a small catamaran for cruising?

The downsides to small multihulls for cruisers

The best small catamarans for ocean sailing

The best small catamarans for coastal cruising

Why Choose A Small Catamaran For Cruising?

a small multihull on an ocean passage, cutting through the water.

The main advantage to choosing a small catamaran for cruising has to be the cost. Not only are smaller sailboats cheaper to buy initially, but they are also cheaper to maintain and to dock in marinas or dry storage.

Why buy a small catamaran over a monohull? This isn’t the post to go into the pros and cons of multihulls vs monohulls, but a few of the main reasons you might prefer to buy a small cat over a bigger, cheaper monohull is the living space and the comfort underway and at anchor.

Living on a sailboat is very different from taking the boat out for a sporty sail every now and again. Having a catamaran over a monohull means you won’t be heeling or rolling at anchor half as much, you can leave out your coffee cup, and you have the space you need to spread out a little.

A small catamaran will enable the more comfortable lifestyle you’re seeking at a more reasonable price tag. So what’s not to love about small cruising multihulls?

The Downsides To Small Multihulls For Cruisers

a sailboat with its sails up, goosewinged.

Of course, just with everything in sailing, there are always compromises to be made when it comes to small multihulls.

One of the biggest downsides for cruisers is the weight issue smaller catamarans present. You won’t be able to carry half as much as you would on a larger catamaran or monohull, which might be a problem if you live onboard full time.

The other negative is that smaller boats usually aren’t quite as seaworthy as larger ones. You might find you’re limited to coastal cruising if you choose a small catamaran, so make sure you have your cruising intentions in mind before you buy.

the sails of a sailboat against the blue sky.

Another big thing to look out for when it comes to choosing the right small cat for you, is the bridge deck clearance. This is often worse on smaller catamarans, and can cause nasty slamming in any sort of sea, both when sailing and at anchor.

With these downsides in mind, we’ve split this post into the best small catamarans for ocean sailing and the best for coastal cruising. Obviously this is a little subjective, as many people have sailed around the world in much smaller and less seaworthy vessels!

The Best Small Catamarans For Ocean Cruising

#1 wharram tiki.

  • Suitable for: Bluewater sailing
  • Fixed Keels
  • Draft (max): 2.08′
  • Engines: Single outboard, though some versions have twin inboards
  • Price: Roughly $100,000

small catamarans sailing with the sunset behind

We have lusted after the Wharram catamarans since our adventures began and would have opted for one of these if we had found one for sale this side of the pond.

Designed by the legendary James Wharram, these small multihulls are pretty unique. They are based on the Polynesian catamaran design, and the plans enable you to self-build these boats if you have the time, money, and space for a project of this magnitude.

If you aren’t keen on taking on a project then you can commission a boat builder to complete the design for you, or buy one second-hand. The advantages of having one made yourself are that you can tweak things to your personal taste, and you can even contact the Wharrams themselves to see if they can adjust the designs for individual requests.

The Wharram catamarans have a lot of charm dues to their traditional design, and the old-fashioned appeal continues inside the boat too. You won’t find the same huge hull space as some of the modern design catamarans now have, but the outside entertainment space is perfect for entertaining.

One of the best small multihulls for ocean cruising

These small catamarans don’t have an inside space across the hulls, so all of your inside living space is below. If you’re used to monohulls then this won’t be a problem but if you like the idea of a galley-up then these boats aren’t for you.

Wharram catamarans, especially the Tiki 38, have great reputations as around the world, bluewater boats. They have fantastic bridge deck clearance so slamming is minimum and they sail well.

Most models have a double cabin and two singles, a galley, a head, and a small salon area below. They are smaller catamarans than many newer 38ft multihulls but this does make them more affordable.

small catamarans in the Caribbean with a beautiful white sand beach behind

A big appeal for us was the fact these boats are designed to be self-made. Although a secondhand model could potentially come with a lot of problems (get a decent survey before you buy!) it does mean that almost everything onboard can be self-fixed. This is a huge bonus if you plan on sailing your small catamaran around the world.

Another thing we loved about these smaller catamarans is the fact they have outboard engines, which we felt would be easier to maintain and replace if necessary. This is a personal choice though so consider this before you get your heart set on one!

One of the downsides to the Tiki 38 is that there aren’t many of them around. These are unique boats and they don’t come on the market frequently. When they do, they tend to be scattered all over the world so you’ll have to be prepared to travel to find one!

#2 Prout Snowgoose 37 : Small Catamaran For Ocean Cruising

a sail on a cruising catamaran and the ocean in the background.

Prout catamarans are a popular choice for cruisers, and you’ll find many owners who have circumnavigated in them. The Snowgoose is no exception. Prout no longer exists as a company, as it was bought by Broadblue in the 90s.

Broadblue still makes catamarans today, and they have very similar features to the original Prouts, though obviously they are far fancier and have all the benefits of a more modern design!

The Snowgoose is a great small multihull to go for as you get quite a lot of space inside and out. We weren’t sure about the berth in the salon area, but it might make a great space for a baby or small child while underway!

The compromise in the Prout Snowgoose is the bridge deck clearance and this was something that put us off these smaller cruising catamarans. A low bridge deck clearance makes the boat slam in waves, both at anchor and underway.

#8 PDQ 36 : A Small Catamaran Without Too Much Slamming

  • Suitable for: Bluewater
  • Draft (max): 2.82′
  • Engines: Twin inboard or outboard
  • Price: Over $100,000

small catamaran cruising

These small catamarans have an excellent reputation among cruisers because of their solid build and use of decent materials. They come with either outboard engines for coastal cruising or inboard engines designed to withstand offshore use.

If you like the sound of the PDQ 32 but need a little more room then you’ve got that here! It’s also a boat that people have crossed oceans in, though you might want to consider something more tried and tested like the Prout Snowgoose or the Wharram if you’re planning longer ocean sails.

The boat has three cabins, a galley, salon and head, but there’s a more spacious feel compared to the smaller model. Again, the bridge deck clearance is good so you shouldn’t experience too much slamming.

#9 Lagoon 380 : One Of The Most Popular Small Multihulls

small catamaran cruising

  • Fixed keels
  • Engines:  twin diesel engines
  • Price:  from $100,000, used

The Lagoon 380 is one of the most popular catamarans out there, and you’ve probably already spotted a lot of them in your search! This is a great option if modern cats appeal to you, as it’s pretty ‘with the times’ as far as smaller catamarans go!

There are lots of different layouts of this boat available all over the world. Some were built for charter with numerous berths and others were commissioned for couples or families with differing cabin and head options.

This is a proven catamaran from a reputable company, but obviously with so many of these boats out there, they come in a range of conditions. Make sure you get a thorough survey done before purchase!

Lagoon 37 TPI

  • Draft (max): 4′
  • Engines: Twin inboard diesels 
  • Price: Over $100,000 USD 

This is the smallest catamaran built by Lagoon, and unfortunately there aren’t many of them out there. These boats were built mainly for the charter market, and have a smaller rig than some similar sized catamarans.

There are two big queen-size forward doubles port and starboard and a smaller double in the starboard hull aft. The galley and salon are designed to be simple and timeless, with none of the fancy trims you’ll find in the newer Lagoons.

As this boat was intended for charter it probably wouldn’t make a great ocean-going vessel. For starters, it isn’t designed to carry too much in the way of provisions. That’s not to say it won’t be a suitable bluewater boat with a few tweaks. Sailors who have circumnavigated in them have increased sail area and added folding props to get more speed from the vessel.

#11 Catalac 9M/30

small catamaran cruising

  • Draft (max): 2.5′
  • Engines:  two outboard engines or one diesel engine
  • Price:  from $50,000

The Catalac 9M is a little different to a lot of the catamarans on this list, as it was built for sailing in the North Sea! This is a great small catamaran for anyone wanting a boat built to be safe!

The bridge deck clearance is reasonable but the boat is light, which can make it more prone to slamming. The unique feature of this small sailboat is the hard dodger, designed as somewhere safe and dry to stand in bad weather.

It sails well, though like a lot of catamarans there is technique involved in getting it to tack smoothly. Once you’ve got the hang of though, this boat will make good speeds for its size.

The Best Small Catamarans For Coastal Cruising

  • Suitable for: Coastal
  • Draft (max): 3.62′
  • Engines: Twin inboard
  • Price: Up to $300,000 for a newer model

The Mahe 36 is the smallest of the Fountaine Pajot range, and these small catamarans can go for a heafty budget if you find a newer model!

This tiny multihull packs a lot into a small space, and because of its modern features, you’ll feel like you’re in a much bigger boat when you step aboard.

This boat is a fast mover, with an ok bridge clearance and some attractive upgrades compared to their last small catamaran design. Most notably the full-length hard top bimini which has the reviewers raving!

If you have the money to splash out on a newer, more expensive small catamaran then this should definitely be on your list to consider! Although they come with a large price tag, these small catamarans are considerably cheaper new than some of the bigger models.

#4 Gemini 105Mc (34ft)

small catamaran cruising

Suitable for: Coastal cruising Centreboards Draft (max): 5′ Engines:  Single inboard Price:  from $80,000

The Gemini 105Mc is still in production in the US, which speaks to its popularity. Obviously if you buy new you’ll pay a much higher price! This is one of the smallest catamarans on the list, but it’s still a great option for coastal cruising (or some have even successfully completed ocean passages on them in relative comfort).

For a small multihull this boat sails pretty well and is fast for a coastal cruiser. The living space is decent with good headroom. It has two double cabins and a master bedroom, and the interior finishes are nice too.

A big negative to this boat is the bridge deck clearance which really isn’t amazing, but as we said at the start, there’s always a compromise! This is a sporty-looking little catamaran that’s a good contender for the top smallest catamarans out there!

#5 EndeavourCat 36

Suitable for: Coastal cruising Fixed keels Draft (max): 3′ Engines:  two inboard Price:  from $100

small catamaran cruising

Designed and built by Endeavour Catamaran, these American built boats are great cruising catamarans. A big advantage to this little multihull is that it will fit into most monohull slips, so if you anticipate using marinas a lot then this might be the small catamaran for you!

This isn’t a slow boat, and owners report speeds of 8-9 knots. Bear in mind though that the narrow beam does make it less suitable for any offshore passages. It has good interior space with 6′ standing headroom throughout, three double cabins, and a decent-sized galley below. The salon area can seat 6 people comfortably.

This cat is great for single-handed sailors, as all the lines lead to the cockpit and the main and jib are completely self-tacking.

#6 Prout Event 34

small catamaran cruising

Suitable for: Coastal/bluewater Fixed keels Draft (max): 2.72′ Engines:  Single inboard Price:  from $30,000

These multihulls are quite hard to find, but if you like the Snowgoose but are on a tighter budget then they might be just what you’re looking for. They share lots of features with the Snowgoose and look very similar, only smaller!

There are three cabins, one head, a salon, and a galley, only they are rather squeezed in compared to the larger model. Personally, we thought there was plenty of space for a smaller sailboat but it’s worth seeing them in person if you’re keen on this model.

They do have the same downsides as the Snowgoose though, with limited headroom and low bridge deck clearance. These boats are known for their slamming!

Coastal Engines:  twin outboards Price:  from $80,000, used

small catamaran cruising

The PDQ 32 is a great budget option catamaran and should be cheap(ish) to buy second hand and maintain. With two outboards that are easy to replace on a smaller budget, you’re looking at some of the usual pinch points on a boat becoming a lot more affordable!

This small catamaran only has two cabins, so sleeps less than a lot of the boats on this list, but it is roomier than you’d imagine inside with a decent galley and salon area. It has decent bridge deck clearance so shouldn’t slam too much in any waves.

This isn’t a boat for longer passages as it is a little small (and perhaps underpowered) to face serious weather. If you’re searching for something to potter around in then this is a fun boat to sail and live in!

#12 Dean 365

small catamaran cruising

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  • Suitable for: Coastal cruising
  • Draft (max): 3′
  • Engines:  one or two inboard
  • Price:  from $45,000, used

These South African catamarans are great little coastal cruising catamarans that are hard to come by anywhere other than South Africa!

They’re pretty tiny, but have enough space for a galley, 3 or 4 cabins, and 1 or 2 heads. Some of the designs even have a bathtub, which speaks of their liveaboard suitability rather than their sail performance!

These boats are some of the smallest multihulls on this list, so don’t expect much in terms of headroom or bridge deck clearance. That being said, if you’re looking for a tiny catamaran to live on and you are prepared to compromise on sailing ability then these are a solid choice.

We have heard that the build quality can vary somewhat with these multihulls, so make sure you do some solid research and get a good surveyor when buying one of these. If you get a good version then they can make really solid boats.

#13 EndeavourCat 30

the lines of small catamarans tied off to a cleat

Suitable for: Coastal cruising Fixed keels Draft (max): 2.1′ Engines:  single or twin outboard Price:  from $70,000

This is a boat built for comfort over all else, so if you’re looking for a budget catamaran to live in then take a look at the endeavourcat 30. Some people don’t like the boxy design, but we quite liked how it looked in the water. I guess it’s personal taste!

This sailboat has two double cabins, a decent sized galley and salon for the size of the boat, and a head. The bridge deck clearance is low so that’s something to bear in mind before you buy, but the headroom is good (another reason why this would make a good liveaboard catamaran).

Hopefully this has given you some inspiration when searching for small catamarans for cruising, and helped you to find your dream boat!

We’re passionate about helping people live this incredible cruising lifestyle, so if you’re planning your dream liveaboard life make sure you check out our guide on how to run away to sea, with everything you could possibly need to know before, during, and after starting this adventure of a lifetime!

small catamaran cruising

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Such small mention of probably the best catamaran for overall cruising, focusing on ease of helming, speed and livability. Simple rig, great ergonomic features, style and definitely a pedigree on the water. The FP Mahe duo! Sea proven. Most delivered on their own bottoms from France. Wide beams and light. Beautiful interior arrangements and easy to maintain. I’m confused about so little mention of probably the best entry level and beyond real cruiser out there.

You forgot the edelcat 35. Great boats, and have circumnavigated!

I wonder why Broadblue 346 is not on the list.

Appreciate it’s a bit more expensive than most cats listed here but what about the Aventura 37? Technically a small cat but with ocean going abilities and an actual live aboard!

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10 Best Pocket Catamarans (Under 38 ft)

  • Post author By Rick
  • Post date September 11, 2020
  • 3 Comments on 10 Best Pocket Catamarans (Under 38 ft)

small catamaran cruising

Smaller cruising catamarans are an excellent entry level gateway into cruising catamarans and of late have become very popular. This is an effort to select some of the most well respected of these smaller catamarans. This was a difficult task, as many of these boats, designed and built some time ago, are still found in all the popular cruising grounds, and a list like this is subjective after all. All I can do is apologize in advance for leaving a boat off this list.

  • Prout Snowgoose 37

small catamaran cruising

The Snowgoose  (all iterations) was the first truly popular mass produced catamaran with more than 500 built. Known as safe, strong and capable of being sailed off shore, which some say is because of the position of their main mast, they make a perfect coastal cruiser or circumnavigator for an adventurous couple. This is a lot of boat for the money. These boats began their model run as a 35’ boat but as time went on Prout changed the mould by extending them to 37’. The Snowgoose can be found in every ocean on the planet.

The interior is simple and lightweight in order to maintain good sailing performance. A combination of classic woods and modern materials give the boat a spacious and open feeling that is hard to find on a boat this size.

Under sail, the Prout Snowgoose 37 is consistent, and it doesn’t need to be micromanaged, making it an ideal passagemaker. During passages,150 miles per day can be expected without pushing the boat. The Snowgoose 37, with its flexible cutter rig, balances easily and handles well under autopilot.

The Snowgoose is renowned for its rugged construction and sea kindliness as these boats were built to cross oceans, and not as additions to Caribbean charter fleets. Somewhere around 500 boats were built, and, although statements like this are impossible to confirm, its been said that nearly 100 have completed circumnavigations. True or not, Prouts have probably done more circumnavigations than any other catamaran of their era. The Prout designs have proven themselves time and again as tough, reliable cruisers and if a sailor wants a cat to sail around the world, there’s a good chance he’ll probably end up in a Snowgoose.

  • Gemini 105M

small catamaran cruising

The most popular American line of catamarans with over 1100 deliveries, this Gemini 105MC is one of the most affordable catamarans on the market. The Gemini’s performance is legendary yet they still manage to surprise unsuspecting newcomers.

These boats squeeze 3 cabins, a head and full Galley (in starboard hull) and a deck layout and rig which offers a stable, safe, and well-reasoned platform for whatever comes your way. And the ingenuity of lifting centerboards and kick-up rudders will have you sailing through less than 2′ of water, making this boat the ultimate Island hopper. All this and more at 33′ 6″ length and a 14′ beam that can dock in a standard slip or truck across the country.

The Gemini 105M has plenty of room, is an excellent value, with outstanding accommodations, and solid sailing performance.

  • The Lagoon 37 TPI

small catamaran cruising

The Lagoon 37 TPI catamaran was built by the famed boat yard Tillotson Pearson in Rhode Island. They were introduced in 1993 following the success of the Lagoon 42 in the US charter market and draws from a long lineage of great multihull designs and continues the collaboration of Jeanneau of France, and TPI (American). With the same designers and builders as the forerunner model and targeting the same market, these boats have achieved cult status among catamaran sailors. Their pointing ability, and comfort aboard are legendary.  These boats were designed with the much preferred straight propeller shafts instead of sail drives and were sold as 3 cabin 2 head laid out as an Owner’s Version.

A French design, built in the USA by TPI in Rhode Island, they have become a very sought-after catamaran. These boats are fast and comfortable both at sea and at anchor with ample storage room and comfortable accommodations.

small catamaran cruising

The PDQ 36 was a Canadian built catamaran offered in two arrangements. The LRC (Long Range Cruiser) is a legend among cruising catamarans and included 2 Yanmar diesel engines coupled to straight shafts. The PDQ 36 Capella, was built with pods for two Yamaha extended shaft outboards.

These are solid boats with excellent construction as the expert use of materials and construction techniques results in a strong boat yet keeps the hull weight low. With twin inboard diesels, she’s designed for coastal cruising. They aren’t seen for sale very often.

These are well-built and well-regarded catamarans, designed with a gracious entertaining area, and two luxurious staterooms complete with queen-size beds. At 36′ the boat is the ideal size for single-handing, as the twin engines contribute to excellent maneuverability in tight spaces while the diesel engine version offering considerable charging capability.

Two equal staterooms with plenty of storage throughout the boat. The head and shower stall are one piece for easy cleaning. The galley is located in the port hull, has dual sinks, a Force 10 oven with two burner range and refrigerator for easy access. The salon seats six for dining.

The cockpit is spacious with pilot and co-pilot seats and an aft bench seat. The engines are either inboard diesels or in pods and retract out of the water for no drag when under sail. 

small catamaran cruising

The Catalac 9M was a British built, 30 foot design, with a modest rig, high coach roof, large  cockpit and 5 berths in four sleeping areas which provided lots of sun bathing deck space, a shallow draft, and had reasonable performance. In a good blow (>20 knots of wind speed) 10 knots at 45 degress apparent can be expected from the Catalac 9M and in enough wind the boat will tack inside of 45 degrees. In strong quarterly winds speeds of 12-14 knots under sail has been documented with the outboard engine configuration in a lightly loaded boat. Remarkable performance from such a boxy design  given that it’s design priority was comfort rather than speed

The mast is cabin stepped in a tabernacle. These were designed be raised and lowered single handed. They were sold with a mainsail, working jib and a 170% Genoa. When the rig is set up correctly, they sail with a very balanced helm. Twin rudders contribute to their agility and later models (>1980) have matching skegs just forward of the rudders to increase windward ability. About 250 boats were built.

small catamaran cruising

EndeavourCat 36 cruising catamaran is an American designed and buit boat by Endeavour Catamaran Corporation of Clearwater, FL. The EndeavourCat 36 draws less than 3 feet and can go most places that others can’t. These boats are very easily docked with twin diesel engines. They were built with three staterooms with queen-size beds. There are identical staterooms aft in each hull with a bedside table, hanging locker and drawers. Each stateroom has a ceiling light, reading lights, large hatches, opening ports. The bright, airy salon can comfortably seat 6-8.

The Galley is located in the port hull and is large enough for two people to prepare a gourmet meal side by side. Designed to be sailed single-handed without ever leaving the cockpit, all lines lead to the cockpit, two two-speed winches make easy work of sail handling. Both main and jib are completely self-tacking.

small catamaran cruising

The Endeavour 30 was built by Endeavour Catamaran Corporation of Clearwater, FL and features spacious Salon, Massive Galley, Huge Head with separate two-person shower with a built-in seat. Twin Queen births with full hanging cedar lined closest and plentiful storage space.  The hull, deck, and structural bulkheads are manufactured of biaxial fiberglass with isophathalic vinylester resins and NidaCore (a polypropelene honeycomb) coring. Vacuum bagged construction was used to enhance stiffness, strength, and reduce weight. There is a full interior fiberglass grid used as the interior mold for strength and rigidity. The headliner is a full fiberglass molded piece. The hulls and decks are fastened both chemically and mechanically for strength. Twin fiberglass molded keels are foam filled and have integral sumps. The balanced rudders are constructed of high denisty foam/fiberglass.

These boats have a very unique layout merging the cabin with the cockpit with broad companionway doors. Tons of features packed into her 30 foot length. A lot of catamaran for the money.

  • Fountaine Pajot Mahe 36

small catamaran cruising

Fountaine Pajot Mahe 36 was based on an Olivier Flahault design and with a Joubert/Nivelt hull, The Mahe 36 is built for safe navigation with comfortable, bright living areas and a fully protected cockpit alongside the salon.

The Mahe 36 features an open-plan / sheltered cockpit and saloon and raised helm station.  Entering the main salon through the sliding cockpit door the well-appointed galley is to starboard and the Nav station and storage is to port. Down into the starboard hull is the master stateroom aft with a Queen berth with several opening ports, a hanging locker and shelf storage with vented doors.

Forward to starboard is the ample head with shower which is a single fiberglass unit very easy to keep clean. Down from the saloon to the port guest stateroom aft with a Queen berth with several opening ports , a hanging locker and shelf storage with vented doors. Forward to port is the ample head with shower which is a single fiberglass unit very easy to keep clean. The large windows forward, Port and Starboard in the saloon make for an airy, open feeling.

These boat offers great comfort both sailing and at anchor while at the same time offering excellent performance. The Mahé 36 allows you to move around freely onboard, enjoying comfort when navigating (at the helm, in the cockpit or down below) or while moored. Everything has been thought out so that you can move about on this 36 ft yacht without anything getting in the way.

small catamaran cruising

The Catalac 8M is a pocket cruising catamaran which has a solid reputation for quality, strength and durability. Many of the boats found in North America today, were sailed there from Great Britain. The Catalac 8M, although classified as a pocket cruiser was designed with blue water sailing in mind. Offered in two versions, twin diesels or a single outboatd engine. The twin inboard diesel models can easily motor almost 1000 kilometers without refueling. The 70 amps of charging and 70 gallons of stock water tanks in the Catalac 8M and 9M make even these smaller boats terrific coastal cruisers. The Outboard versions sail a bit quicker as the engine can be raised during sailing, reducing drag. Constructed with solid fiberglass hulls, these are quality boats which were built like battleships. Chuck Kanter calls them one of the catamaran brands that live on through the decades.

The Catalac 8M is masthead rigged with a relatively short, but thick mast. As with all boats in the Catalac production lineup, this contributes to a stable boat with a low center of effort. No Catalac has ever been known to fly a hull under any circumstances.

The mast is cabin stepped in a tabernacle. These can be raised and lowered single handed. The standing rigging is over sized to withstand the extra loading experienced by catamarans. They were sold with a mainsail, working jib and a 170% Genoa. When the rig is set up correctly, they sail with a very balanced helm. Twin rudders contribute to their agility and later models (>1980) have matching skegs just forward of the rudders to improve windward ability. 

Designed with a single full size berth forward, a large 8 foot long galley in the starboard hull, a quarter berth, nav station and head in the Port hull, these small catamarans pack a lot of features in a small package. Their cockpits are as large as a 38 – 40 foot catamaran. Most of these boats are in Europe but a fail number were either imported or sailed to North America.

small catamaran cruising

The Seawind 1000 is an Australian built 37′ catamaran. These Australian designed and built catamarans have won world wide acclaim and awards for their stability, spaciousness, luxury and performance.  The Seawind 1000’s blend of simplicity and sophistication is an example of what a modest cruising catamaran needs to serve the minimum needs of its crew, and what it should have to make sailors want to use and keep their beloved catamaran.

She has a well equipped galley with plenty of bench space and storage and the large open saloon. Featuring 2 cabins, 4 berths, large bathroom, and very nice galley. They feature a large double bed, additonal bunk and bathroom portside. On the starboard side, kitchen, additional bunk, desk and seperate cabin. The saloon features a large table that can convert to a huge daybed for lounging while under sail. Her large trampolines up front are perfect to laze around and for sun baking. The large open saloon with seating and table is fully open to the cockpit for plenty of space for the guests to move around.

The functional galley is loaded with fridge, a small oven and gas 2 burner stove top making meal preparation hassle free. She has a galley bench top w/ integral double sink and drain.

The Seawind 1000 is a solid, safe cruising catamaran that moves beautifully in the water and more than comfortable to live on.

  • Tags Buying Advice


Owner of a Catalac 8M and Catamaransite webmaster.

3 replies on “10 Best Pocket Catamarans (Under 38 ft)”

Thank you, Rick. My wife and I are planning on cruising the Med in a few years and the boats profiled give a good starting point for the “perfect” boat. ?

Excellent work…

Gerry Gray hear from Pointe Claire Yacht club looking to buy a super clean pocket cat on the east coast or in the carribean or central america….under 100k cad please.

Cheers Gerry

Hi Gerry: Best thing to do is sign up for our mailing list to be first to hear of new catamarans.

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The Boat Galley

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Small Catamarans

10 Small Catamarans for Cruisers

Published on January 23, 2021 ; last updated on November 7, 2023 by Carolyn Shearlock/Rick Marcarelli

Is a cruising catamaran your dream? Check out these 10 small but sturdy boats you might want to consider.

I hear from many readers interested in small catamarans. Recently, the folks at reached out to interview me about our experience cruising on our Gemini 105, Barefoot Gal and we began chatting about the various small catamarans on the market. One thing led to another and I’m pleased that Rick Marcarelli was willing to contribute a guest post sharing information comparing ten of the most popular small catamarans on the market.

When most buyers think of catamarans these days, they think of designs by Lagoon, Leopard, and Fountaine Pajot. 

These are all fine vessels. But they were built to cater to the charter markets. And so they may not be the best boats for long-term, liveaboard cruisers. 

Charter vs Liveaboard Cruising

The typical charter catamaran accommodates three or four couples sailing for one to two weeks in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Usually they will provision once, sail a few daylight hours, eat out more than a typical cruiser, and anchor or moor for the night.

Compare that itinerary to the typical liveaboard cruiser. 

Most cruisers spend over 90% of their time at anchor or a dock. They provision repeatedly and usually for many months at a time. Many cruisers rarely eat out at restaurants. And most importantly, cruisers sometimes sail non-stop through the night for multiple days or weeks when making a passage between cruising destinations. 

small catamaran cruising

The differences between charterers and cruisers cause them to desire different cabin layouts and amenities.

For charter boats, the focus is on several small cabins, each having its own accompanying head. They also have minimal storage space and enormous salons and cockpits. 

Long-term liveaboards generally desire a large master cabin, fewer heads, and significant storage space. They are usually willing to compromise space for superior sailing performance to reduce passage making days and increase safety by avoiding severe weather. 

Affordable Catamaran Market

Unfortunately for liveaboard cruisers interested in catamarans, the market is dominated by enormous, often very expensive, four cabin-four head charter models. In fact, our analysis of sales data suggests that about 38% of the market consists of Lagoon catamarans and over 50% are Lagoon or Fountaine Pajots. In addition, 90% of the market consists of catamarans over 38 feet in length. Please see the infographic. 

While a majority of catamarans for sale are large, expensive, charter catamarans, our site’s traffic suggests that 40% of buyers are looking for smaller, simpler, affordable catamarans under 38 feet in length. 

These are buyers like Carolyn was when she purchased S/V Barefoot Gal . And they are buyers who may be like you and are looking for something affordable that is suited to your liveaboard needs. 

Modest Cats for Cruisers

Consider widening your net. Here are some additional models to consider in your search:

Prout 37 Snowgoose

  • Cruising Grounds: Bluewater
  • Underbody: Fixed Keels
  • Draft (max): 2.08′
  • Mast Height: 40’ (Standard) / 50’ (Elite)
  • Bridgedeck Clearance: Average
  • Layouts: 3 cabins, 1 head; galley down; open version has larger salon while private stateroom has larger master cabin
  • Speed: Slow
  • Engines: Usually single outdrive; rare versions have twin inboards
  • Availability: Relatively common all over the world
  • Ballpark Price: Around $100,000 USD

small catamaran cruising

  • Cruising Grounds: Built for North Sea
  • Draft (max): 2.5′
  • Mast Height: tabernacle mast
  • Bridgedeck Clearance: Above Average
  • Layouts: 3 cabins, 1 head; galley down
  • Engines: Single gas outboard or twin inboard diesels
  • Availability: Somewhat rare; usually a couple on the market or 8M sister ship; more in Europe
  • Ballpark Price: Under $50,000 USD

Lagoon 37 TPI

  • Draft (max): 4′
  • Mast Height: 55’
  • Layouts: 3 or 4 cabin; 2 heads; galley down
  • Speed: Fast 
  • Engines: Twin inboard diesels 
  • Availability: Very rare; cult classic 
  • Ballpark Price: Over $100,000 USD 

small catamaran cruising

PDQ 36 Capella

  • Draft (max): 2.82′
  • Mast Height: 47’ (Standard) or 55’ (LRC)
  • Layouts: 2 or 3 cabin; 1 or 2 heads; galley down
  • Engines: Single gas outboard, twin gas outboard, or twin diesel inboard
  • Availability: Usually a few on the market and more likely in USA
  • Ballpark Price: Over $100,000 USD

Seawind 1000

  • Draft (max): 3.2′
  • Mast Height: 47’
  • Layouts: 4 cabins; 1 head; galley down
  • Speed: Fast
  • Engines: Twin gas outboard
  • Availability: Usually a few for sale; newer models still being built; originally built in Australia
  • Ballpark Price: Over $150,000 USD

small catamaran cruising

  • Cruising Grounds: Coastal
  • Draft (max): 3.35′
  • Layouts: 4 cabins or 2 cabin Maestro; 2 head; galley up
  • Engines: Twin inboard diesels with saildrives
  • Availability: Usually a couple on the market often in Caribbean
  • Ballpark Price: Around $150,000 USD

Endeavour 36

  • Draft (max): 2′ 9″
  • Layouts: 3 cabin; galley down
  • Engines: Twin inboard diesels
  • Availability: Rare and likely in the USA

small catamaran cruising

  • Draft (max): 3.62′
  • Mast Height: 55′
  • Layouts: 3 cabin / 1 head; 2 cabin / 2 head; galley up
  • Availability: More common especially in Caribbean
  • Ballpark Price: Newer version up to $300,000 USD
  • Underbody: Centerboards
  • Draft (max): 5′
  • Mast Height: 47’ (M) or 48’ (MC)
  • Bridgedeck Clearance: Below Average
  • Layouts: 3 cabin; 1 head; galley down but open
  • Engines: Single inboard diesel with retractable outdrive
  • Availability: Common especially in the USA

small catamaran cruising

  • Draft (max): 3′
  • Mast Height: 46′
  • Layouts: 4 cabin / 1 head; 3 cabin / 2 head; galley down; bathtubs on some
  • Engines: Single or twin inboard diesels
  • Availability: Rare model
  • Ballpark Price: Around $50,000 USD

Rick Marcarelli is the webmaster of featuring cruising catamarans for sale by owner as well as educational articles. Rick is the owner of S/V Catalpa , a Catalac 8M based out of Merritt Island, Florida. The site also functions as the owner’s website for Catalac catamarans. If you are planning on buying a catamaran, might save you a considerable amount of money and lead to years of happy sailing.

small catamaran cruising

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small catamaran cruising

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Reader Interactions

January 31, 2021 at 5:58 pm

I would think draft on the fixed keel boats would be important to many who are considering cats.

Carolyn Shearlock says

February 1, 2021 at 12:49 pm

I’ll see if we can perhaps add that.

Richard says

February 9, 2021 at 11:03 am

Good addition. I have provided drafts to Carolyn, so please watch this article for that to be updated. Any questions or additional information you would like added please comment again.

Drew Frye says

February 20, 2021 at 11:46 am

The best way to look at speed ratings is the PHRF rating or other handicaps. I used to own a PDQ 32 and never found a Gemini I couldn’t pass rather easily on autopilot, so I don’t think it rates slow if well handled. Granted, mine was turboed a bit and carried a 120 rating.

Florida ratings, according to US Sailing

PDQ 32 135 Seawind 1000 137 PDQ 36 156 Gemini 105 MC 168 Snowgoose 250 The others rate around 130-145

And of course, this is only fast or slow within the class. Fast multihulls cruising (?) multihulls rate 0-60.

February 21, 2021 at 7:59 am

Thanks! Good info.

September 10, 2023 at 5:55 am

I have an Edel 35′. For their price, they are a good option, for this size of catamaran. They are not slow, by any means. Disadvantage: clearance under nacelle.

Erin Michaud says

February 23, 2021 at 10:22 am

Great info, we met an owner of a Catalac 9M in Key West Garrison Bight Marina a couple of weeks ago. His name is Eric & he moved his boat to the Boca Chica Navy Marina. I will send the contact info for Rick to him specifically for the Catalac boats! Thanks!

February 24, 2021 at 5:54 am

Catalacs are great boats. We saw a couple for sale around the time we bought Barefoot Gal but they were sold the same day they were listed so we didn’t get to even look at them.

January 6, 2022 at 11:32 am

Hello. I was wondering if you can identify this open catamaran which boasts a GRP cockpit with seating?

Bruce Bayne says

February 20, 2022 at 9:57 am

I noticed that the Privilege 37 and 39 were not mentioned in your 10 list of catamarans. Is there a reason? How do they stack up to the others with regard to speed and bridgedeck clearance?

June 6, 2022 at 10:44 am

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small catamaran cruising


My Cruiser Life Magazine

How To Pick a Small Catamaran — Everything You Need to Know

Catamarans have had the sailing world abuzz for several decades now. To the salty monohull sailors’ chagrin, they aren’t going away any time soon. They’re roomy, comfortable, spacious, airy, and light-filled. They ride flat and don’t heel over when the breeze freshens. When you step aboard a modern catamaran, even the most landlubber-y of landlubbers can envision moving aboard and setting sail to distant horizons. 

There’s no set definition, so we’ll have to look to the boat manufacturers for answers. If you look at the lineup from Leopard, Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot, Bali, and others, you’ll find that the smallest cats are generally somewhere between 38 to 40 feet long. There are other manufacturers making some 35-foot boats, but these look a lot different.

The appeal of the small catamaran is nothing new, and many different boat makers have made attempts over the years. Here are a few things you might want to consider before purchasing a small catamaran boat.

small catamaran sailboat

Table of Contents

What is a small catamaran sailboat, pros of a small catamaran boat, cons of small catamaran boats, not all catamarans have the same feel.

  • Size (Of Your Liveaboard Catamaran) Matters 

Priorities: Affordable Catamarans or Small Catamarans?

  • Picking the Right Small Sail Catamaran 

Best Small Catamaran FAQs

For liveaboard, long-distance sailors, a small catamaran is a twin-hulled sailboat between 35 and 40 feet long. 

There are a few designs, but the most comfortable ones are those with wide beams and the hulls set farther apart. This size catamaran is necessary to ensure the boat can carry enough supplies and retains enough stability to be safe at sea. However, these small boats still feel very large and have beams of 19 to 21 feet. Boats of this size have twin diesel inboard engines. These boats come with four cabins or three cabins in an “owner’s version” layout.

Many of these boats could be described as French-style charter catamarans. Examples of boats like this include those made by Lagoon and Fountaine Pajot. South African companies like Leopard make them too, and there are a few one-off designs, like the American-made Manta share these features. 

Generally speaking, a 38-foot-long, 21-foot-wide sailboat is not a small one. But if you love the French-style catamaran, this is about the smallest you’ll find. That’s because this type of boat depends on its width for stability and its length for carrying a load. A shorter boat is very easy to overload. Most boat makers, Lagoon, Bali, Leopard, and the rest, currently make nothing less than 37 feet. 

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Katamarans (@katamarans)

But there are some smaller options. 

On the other end of the spectrum from the super-wide French-style cat, there are small catamaran sailboat designs built for day-tripping and short-term coastal cruising. These are often narrower than offshore boats and can be stored in a regular boat slip. This is an especially important consideration in coastal areas where big offshore catamarans aren’t very common and marina options are limited. 

These boats will sometimes have beams of 15 feet or less. These smaller and lighter boats are often propelled by a single engine, either an inboard diesel or a gasoline outboard. All of these factors make them cheaper. 

Examples of boats like this, small and made for nearshore coastal cruising, are the 105MC from Gemini Catamarans and the Endeavour 30. The Gemini is one of the most popular coastal cruiser cats made. It is 35 feet long with a single center-mounted diesel inboard engine, retractable centerboards for shallow-water cruising, and distinctive hard dodger. They usually have two cabins or three cabins and one or two heads.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Jeremy Ryan Davidson (@jeremy_ryan_photo)

A third group of catamarans doesn’t fit neatly into these two categories. They lie somewhere between small, say 30 to 37 feet, and are built well enough to be considered bluewater boats. They take their designs from seaworthy British catamarans built in the 1980s and 1990s, namely those built by Catalac and Prout. These were solid boats built tough to take on the North Sea that earned the excellent reputation they still have today. The Island Packet PacketCat and Dean Catamarans 365 are two more recent examples.

They tend not to be as beamy as the French charter catamarans and are much less common. However, for owners lucky enough to find a good one, they make excellent long-distance cruisers and liveaboard boats.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Nadia & Joël autour du monde (@sailing_gypsy_sirena)

Of course, the smallest catamaran of all is the beach cat that everyone is familiar with. It’s nothing more than two small hulls connected by poles and netting. Fun and fast, there’s no better toy on the resort’s beach. They have no interior accommodation—they are just for day sailing. We’ll keep our discussion limited to liveaboard catamaran options. 

Catamarans appeal to many sailors, but the reasons folks like them vary from person to person. For example, some are in love with the way cats sail. Faster and lighter than monohulls, they speed up quickly in light wind and skip over the waves. 

Others prefer the living space aboard a catamaran. They usually have open, airy salons with tons of light and fresh air everywhere. Big windows are the norm, unlike monohulls described by many as “caves.”

Here are a few reasons to consider a small catamaran with cabin. 

  • Cheaper than bigger catamarans
  • Shallow draft for exploring more places, especially compared to fixed keels on monohulls
  • Easy handling and happy sailing
  • Large windows and great ventilation in the living space
  • Large, open cockpits to entertain guests
  • Faster cruising than a similar-sized monohull
  • More interior living space than a monohull
  • Does not heal under sail as monohulls do—rides flatter
  • Fits in more slips and at more marinas than larger, wider boats
  • The narrower the boat, the more boatyards are available to you
  • One diesel engine price tag—keeps boat and maintenance cheap compared to twin inboard diesels
  • Option for outboard engines, which saves even more money in maintenance—some smaller boats have one or two outboard engines
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Elena und Ben (@elenaundben)

There are some struggles for catamaran and would-be catamaran owners, of course. But, by far, the biggest problem you’ll face with choosing a small catamaran is the problem of having limited choices. There aren’t many cats in the world when you compare them to monohulls, and those catamarans you find are more expensive.

Another problem with small catamarans is that they are very sensitive to overloading. While they have lots of storage space, they can’t hold much weight. As the hulls ride lower in the water, sailing performance and overall stability decrease. In other words, a catamaran will hold less weight than a monohull of a similar length.

  • Fewer available on the market than monohulls
  • Interior space feels different than that on bigger models
  • Weight carrying capacity is less than may be required for comfortable long-distance cruising
  • Lack of overall stability due to narrower beams
  • Seakeeping and ride qualities are poorer than long cats
  • Some find the ride quality of shorter catamarans to be uncomfortable
  • Lightly built with thin fiberglass layups, susceptible to flexing issues—some require more repair and maintenance than similar-sized and aged monohulls
  • High-quality offshore models are hard to find
  • Low bridgedeck clearance may mean wave slapping and pounding with some boats on some points of sail

Tips When Shopping for a Small Catamaran Sailboat

Here are a few things to remember if you want to purchase a small catamaran with cabin. 

When looking at the latest models, you’ll see that catamaran construction has changed quite a bit in the last two decades. So it’s really important to understand what you like so much about your dream catamaran. 

Is it the open feeling you get when standing in the salon, looking out of those huge windows? Or is it the way you can easily walk from the salon to the cockpit to the side decks or helm without stepping up and over seats, in and out of a deep cockpit? What about the easy access to your dinghy, which is on davits at the rear? Or maybe it’s the way that there’s plenty of light below decks in your cabin, and the boat feels open and airy?

The choices look very different when you start downsizing and looking at small cruising cats. Some or all of these features were things that designers had to learn to do. In some cases, they’re still learning how to do them. And in some cases, they’re impossible to do on a small boat. 

Size (Of Your Liveaboard Catamaran) Matters

Small catamarans have never been and will never be designed to carry a load. Catamarans are performance-oriented, even if some are built for charter and look like condo buildings. When you stuff too much weight in a catamaran, its sailing characteristics are degraded. As the waterline gets lower and lower, the boat sails noticeably slower, and stability is adversely affected. 

As a result, it’s frightfully easy to overload a small catamaran. Going out for a daysail is easy, as you might only bring a towel and some water. But living aboard or traveling long distances is another thing entirely. With a catamaran under 37 feet, it is very difficult not to overload it while keeping enough stuff—tools, spare parts, food/groceries, water, fuel, clothes, gadgets, books, etc. Cats 35 feet and under can be dangerously overloaded, which is another reason these boats are usually not generally considered bluewater vessels.

This is one of the biggest reasons you don’t see many small catamarans being built and crossing oceans—most people need more stuff than a small cat can safely hold. 

So with the quality of the living space and the weight of your stuff in mind, most cruising couples are most comfortable on a 40 or 42-foot catamaran. Peformance-wise, a 42 or 44-foot catamaran is the sweet spot for most. Unfortunately, these boats are expensive! Much more so than a 35-footer. 

Shorter catamarans also handle big seas differently. The shorter a catamaran is, the more likely it is to hobby horse—the tendency towards a quick, bow-up bow-down motion at sea. This is another reason that 44-footers are ideal—they’re long enough to escape this tendency and ride better in open water. Plus, their longer waterlines and narrower hulls mean these bigger cats will be significantly faster on all points of sail. If you want to see a list of bigger catamarans, check out our list of the best liveaboard catamarans .

So, you must approach your choice with these things in mind. A lot of people downsize their plans to fit their budget. But are you willing to put up with the problems associated with a smaller catamaran than you need? Would a different type of boat actually suit your goals better?

small catamaran boat

Picking the Right Small Sail Catamaran

Every boat purchase is a compromise, and there is never a perfect boat that can do everything. First, keep a clear mental picture of your goals and what you love about the catamarans you’ve seen. Then, keep an open mind! There are so many different types of boats, and catamarans are just one of them. 

When you’re ready to start shopping for a small catamaran sailboat, check out our list of cheap catamarans for some great options in the under-40-foot range.

What are small catamarans called?

A small catamaran is a boat with two hulls. The smallest are beach catamarans like the Hobie Cat . For liveaboard sailors, small catamarans are between 35 and 40 feet long.

How much does a small catamaran cost?

Prices for small catamarans vary greatly depending on the boat’s popularity, quality, and design. For example, one of the most popular small liveaboard catamarans is the French-built Lagoon 380, built from 1999 to 2020. Depending on features, age, and location, these boats currently sell for between $200,000 and $400,000. On the other hand, the much smaller American-built Gemini 105MC can be found for half as much. 

What is the best small catamaran to live on?

Everyone is looking for something a little different in their liveaboard catamaran. The Lagoon 380 and Fountaine Pajot Mahe are popular options if you’re looking for a spacious and comfortable charter catamaran. 

What is the smallest catamaran to circumnavigate?

Many catamarans in the 35-foot range have successfully circumnavigated. Smaller ones have likely made the trip, albeit less comfortably. But generally, most sailors agree that a 38 to 40-foot cat would be the smallest size that should make the trip, and a 42 to 44-footer would be best. The WorldARC, a 15-month-long around-the-world sailing rally hosted by the World Cruising Club, requires boats to have a 40-foot length, although they will consider smaller vessels on a case-by-case basis.  

small catamaran cruising

Matt has been boating around Florida for over 25 years in everything from small powerboats to large cruising catamarans. He currently lives aboard a 38-foot Cabo Rico sailboat with his wife Lucy and adventure dog Chelsea. Together, they cruise between winters in The Bahamas and summers in the Chesapeake Bay.

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10 Affordable Cruising Catamarans

  • By Phil Berman
  • Updated: May 24, 2024

Orana 44

So, you want to get a catamaran , sail off into the sunset, and capture some magic with your lover or family for a few years. You have no ambition to sail around the world or to live aboard forever, but think a one- or two-year sabbatical might be life-changing. You’d like to sail the US East Coast, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, perhaps the Med—or up and down the West Coast and on to Mexico and Central America. You have $300,000 or less to spend and want a catamaran you can sell at the end of the journey without consuming a bottle of Tylenol to blunt the pain. 

The good news is that this is quite achievable. The bad news is that there is a vast wave of baby boomers who are all looking for the same thing—and for right around the same price. This makes finding a good deal on a great used catamaran a lot of work, even working with a broker. But, it’s possible. You just need to keep an open mind.

The other good news, which might seem surprising, is that an older catamaran, besides being more affordable, might sail just as well—or even better—than the same-size new cat that will cost considerably more. Yes, the older model might have less room inside and lack the latest condo-on-the-water styling, but it was designed and built before the current trend to supersize the newer generations of multihulls at the expense of sailing performance.

Here’s my advice to the cat hunter on a budget: Don’t get too hung up on the length of the boat. Instead, focus on the spatial and payload requirements you seek and which can be achieved within your budget. And best not get too focused on must-have features—what I jokingly call “surround-sound beds.” Catamaran designs and interiors have gone through massive changes in the past 10 to 20 years, and most older designs simply cannot compete with the new ones in terms of space and high-end amenities.

None of the cool cats I have in mind are over 47 feet. This is not because there aren’t bargain boats out there that are 47 feet and longer, but because any larger multihull that you can buy for $300,000 or less will most assuredly need a significant refit or is either very old or very odd. Buying a fixer-upper is, to my mind, the most dangerous thing a budget-minded consumer can do. It’s just too easy to underestimate the cost of yacht refits and repairs due to the extremely high prices charged in most boatyards. 

RELATED: 20 Best Cruising and Sailing Destinations

Nearly any cat you buy over 10 years old is fully depreciated. What we were selling a Lagoon 440 for eight or 10 years ago is nearly the same as what they sell for today. The difference between a good deal and a bad deal is tied solely to a yacht’s condition and refit history. As they joke in private-equity circles, “Any idiot can buy; you deserve congratulations only when you sell.”   

So, when your search gets underway, focus on ­condition—it is far more important than the year, brand or features you might crave. And when you find the cat of your dreams, the best way to remove financial-downside risk is to get a great survey and to choose the newest, smallest cat that will work for your agenda, not the oldest and biggest.

– CHECK THE WEATHER – The weather changes all the time. Always check the forecast and prepare for the worst case. Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

And a word of caution: Your problem will be knowing a good deal from a bad one after the survey is over if you are not well-schooled in pricing. Besides steering you toward potential boats to consider, this is where a broker, working on your behalf, can provide knowledgeable advice. It’s been my experience that this is the point when so many yacht sales come apart: a dispute over the value of a given yacht when the survey results come in. All too commonly we see buyers reject yachts they should have accepted and purchase cats they should have rejected. Remember, a used yacht is a used yacht—not a perfect yacht. A catamaran need not be perfect to remain a perfectly good deal. Here, then, are 10 cool cats to ­consider in the ­$300,000-or-less range:

1. Fountaine Pajot Orana 44 (above)

Fountaine Pajot had the misfortune of tooling up this boat just before the global financial crisis, so not that many of them were built between 2007 and 2012. But these were the first of the larger-space charter cats in this size, but not yet so porky that they still could not sail decently. In the three-­cabin owner’s version, they designed the living space very nicely; even in the four-cabin version, the aft starboard bed was very well-done. 

During this period, Fountaine Pajot had problems with the resin it was using, which led to blistering on the hulls and undersides. Affected models therefore had new bottoms done at approved shipyards throughout the world. Make sure the one you are considering had this done or that it doesn’t show evidence of significant blistering. Honestly it is only cosmetic, but it will impact resale if not repaired. Many consumers think blisters are the end of the world; frankly, they are not.


2. Catana 431

Built in France by a long-­standing yard, the Catana 431 was always a very viable vessel because it is big enough to go anywhere, but not too large for a competent owner to handle. And because the 431 has good underwing clearance and daggerboards, it sails smartly to windward. 

That said, there are a few things to watch for. The primary bulkheads on many of these boats were not tabbed on the outer ends, and over time tended to distort. Often this led, or will lead, to a costly replacement of some bulkheads. So be careful to survey these areas properly. 

The 431′s furniture is all foam-cored and handmade, but the banding on the outer edges in some cases slowly starts to peel, which allows moisture to infect the wood veneer. This can create a somewhat unsightly appearance in the cabinets and drawers. It is only a cosmetic issue, but it can make the interior feel a bit worn out. 

During the period when the 431 was being built, Catana used a distributive electrical card system, and the boats had several modules, each a zone, to which electricity was run. If one thing in a zone stops working, the only solution is to jury-rig a wire from that nonworking item back to the main breaker panel. Replacing the modules or getting them repaired can be done, but it is getting harder by the year. For this reason, the best 431 is a boat that someone else had rewired at some point along the way.


3. Lagoon 470

If you need a larger escape pod, the Lagoon 470 is one of our favorites. This model of older Lagoons was built at CNB’s yard in Bordeaux, France, and the build quality was high. The 470 was the first design to have the more-vertical windows that are a Lagoon signature, and ample saloon headroom. The 470s are also old enough that the hulls were not so supersize that it compromised sailing performance. They have decent underwing clearance, so they are not persistent pounders to windward. Many were built with a galley-down layout, some in galley-up style. You will always pay more for an owner version of this or any model. 

The big thing you have to concern yourself with on Lagoons of this vintage is that the hulls and decks are made with a balsa core, so it is not uncommon to find moisture problems, especially around deck fittings or hatches. This can sometimes require rebedding or recoring areas, and this sort of repair, in North America, can be a costly undertaking. Make sure you get good moisture-meter readings near all deck fittings and, of course, on the hulls. Hulls, however, tend less often to have moisture issues because there are few fittings through which water can enter the core. Were that to happen below the waterline, it is a real mess that must be repaired immediately and properly.

– CARRY A BEACON – Satellite beacons such as EPIRBs or PLBs allow boaters to transmit distress signals and their exact coordinates from anywhere on the planet, no cell service required. It may be the best $400 you ever spend. Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard


4. Privilège 435

Back when the Privilège 435 was built, Privilège catamarans were constructed by Alliaura Marine in France, and they were truly the Mercedes of the multihull world at that time. While not a performance cat by any means, the 435 was a super-solid yacht, built with great care and the finest components. The 435 is large enough to go anywhere but small enough to handle easily. 

The largest negative of this model—and many cats of this vintage—is that the saloon windows slope dramatically, so the interior gets very hot unless the windows are covered most of the time. When they legalize growing pot on catamarans, here’s the perfect greenhouse for it! Seriously, if you should buy a used 435, you really have to get strong sunblocking external UV covers, as well as interior blinds or shades to inhibit heat buildup. 

Some of the 435s were laid out with the galley down in one hull, and these days most people want a galley-up arrangement, where cooking and food preparation are done in the saloon. A three-cabin galley-up owner version will be far more sought after and cost more than a four-cabin galley-down version. 


5. Leopard 46

This was the first of the Morrelli & Melvin collaborations with South African builder Robertson and Caine and the charter companies owned at the time by TUI Marine to create a catamaran that could be sold both into charter under the Moorings brand and also privately as a Leopard, so effort was made to design a boat with good sailing performance. Gino Morrelli did a good job creating a lot of underwing clearance, the 46 has a powerful rig, and yet its interior still offers spacious sleeping areas and nice flow from the cockpit to the saloon. These can be bought as ex-Moorings charter boats for less than $300,000 but are more costly in the sought-after Leopard owner version.

Because these are balsa-­cored boats, you must inspect deck fittings carefully for moisture incursion. Some of the earlier ones also experienced structural problems on the aft bulkhead and over-door-frame areas between saloon and cockpit. Also, during this period, the windows in the main saloon had a tendency to leak and, when they did, required rebedding or replacement. This was a costly job, so check this out carefully during survey.

Knysna 440

6. St. Francis 44/Knysna 440

If you wish to spend under $250,000, the older Saint Francis 44 and Knysna 440 are worth a look.

Back in 1990, Duncan Lethbridge started St. Francis Catamarans in South Africa with the St. Francis 43. The boat was meant to be a fast, strong bluewater voyager—and it was. The 43 was made with foam core, keeping the structure light, and it was very strongly built, with a powerful rig. The 43 loved to sail. And so too did the St. Francis 44, an updated version of the original. 

The boat did have a couple of negatives, however, the first being its sloped windows that built up interior heat. And the boat wasn’t a great fit for tall people, having less than 6-foot-2-inch headroom in the hulls. Also, the engines were installed amidships, which made the boat noisy inside under power. It also made the amidships areas of the hulls too narrow to have centrally located heads and showers, which in turn meant the only layout available was a four-­cabin, four-head design. In the forward cabins, the heads and showers had to be far forward; in the aft cabins, the heads and showers were located far aft.

St. Francis sold the tooling for the 44 to Knysna Yachts in 2004, and Knysna raised the headroom in the saloon and moved the engines aft to each stern. The hulls remained fundamentally the same, but the design was improved nicely. 

The largest negative of both the Saint Francis 44 and the Knysna 440 is that they have very low underwing clearance. Things can get pretty noisy when pushing against ­washing-machine seas. 

But you cannot have it all and still pay less than $250,000 in a midsize cat; compromises must be made. And these boats do sail quite smartly compared with many in their size range.

Lagoon 440 catamaran

7. Lagoon 440

This was the most popular catamaran ever made, and it started the catamaran flybridge craze, which helped to convert many powerboaters to sailors. 

What I like about the 440 is that it is an infinitely better sailer than some of its peers, and has decent underwing clearance, vertical windows, and nice cabins for sleeping and living. While the aft cockpit is rather small, the saloon is quite large.

Flybridges are a bit of a love-hate thing. There is no question that in a cat of this size, the windward performance suffers a bit due to the boom positioned so high off the water. When piloting, the skipper is separated from those on the bridgedeck. Part of the reason flybridges are so popular in charter is that most of the parties take place up there while sailing and at anchor. In private ownership, however, it is seldom that everyone is hanging out on the flybridge during a long passage. 

As always with Lagoons, these are balsa-cored boats, so a careful survey is in order. Pay attention also to bulkhead ­tabbing to make sure they have not separated from the hulls.

Because so many of the 440s were built to go into charter, there are a lot of four-cabin, four-head models for resale. These will sell for considerably less on the ­brokerage market than a ­coveted three-cabin, ­private-owner model.

– CHECK THE FIT – Follow these guidelines to make sure your life jacket looks good, stays comfortable and works when you need it. Safety Tip Provided by the U.S. Coast Guard

Leopard 40 catamaran

8. Leopard 40

When you get into the 40-foot size range, a four-cabin layout can become pretty cramped and claustrophobic below, but the three-cabin owner version of the Leopard 40 is a very nice pocket cruiser. A Morrelli & Melvin design, the 40 has good underwing clearance and nicely shaped hulls. Not a large cat, per se, and less-suited for significant distance sailing than others because its payload is limited, the 40 is still well-suited for a couple and a child or two for near-coastal and ­island-hopping action.

Manta catamaran

9. Manta 42

If you are searching for a cat in the $200,000 range, the Manta 42s were well-built in Florida, and their electrical systems were very well-done compared with many other multihulls of that era. While many of the features on the boat are quite dated, these Mantas sail very well, and easily, and have been popular with coastal cruisers for two decades. 

The largest negative of the Mantas is that people taller than 6 feet will find the saloon headroom right on the edge, and the berths are not especially large. Also, forward visibility from the saloon windows is not particularly panoramic, so the interiors are a bit darker inside than current-­generation catamarans.

Lagoon catamaran

10. Lagoon 410

The Lagoon 410 was quite a popular cat in its prime, and for good reason. It offers lots of visibility thanks to its vertical windows, good headroom for a cat of its size, nice berths, and a workable, though smallish, galley-up design. The 410 has decent underwing clearance, can sail nicely over the waves, and its singlehanded operation is super easy. In the three-cabin owner’s configuration, it’s just a very cool little cat.

As always, a balsa-core boat must be surveyed carefully, especially on deck, for moisture incursion near fittings and hatches. It can be costly to repair rotted core and to rebed deck fittings. But find a dry one, and it should definitely be counted as a contender for a buyer with a limited budget. 

Phil Berman is the president of the Multihull Company and the founder of Balance Catamarans. He has managed the sale of more than 900 catamarans.

  • More: catamaran , lagoon , leopard , multihulls , print june july 2020 , Sailboats
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Sail Away Blog

Learn the Basics of Small Catamaran Sailing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Alex Morgan

small catamaran cruising

Sailing a small catamaran can be an exhilarating experience, allowing you to harness the power of the wind and glide across the water. Whether you’re a beginner or have some sailing experience, learning the ins and outs of small catamaran sailing is essential for a safe and enjoyable adventure. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through everything you need to know to sail a small catamaran effectively.

Introduction to Small Catamarans

Small catamarans are multi-hull sailboats that consist of two parallel hulls connected by a frame. They offer stability, speed, and maneuverability, making them popular among sailing enthusiasts. Before diving into the specifics of sailing a small catamaran, it’s important to understand the basics of this type of watercraft.

Getting Started with Small Catamaran Sailing

To begin your small catamaran sailing journey, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Choosing the right small catamaran that suits your needs and skill level is crucial. Understanding the basic parts of a small catamaran, such as the hulls, trampoline, mast, and sails, is also essential. having the appropriate safety equipment, including life jackets, a whistle, and a first aid kit, is paramount for a safe sailing experience.

Learning the Fundamentals of Small Catamaran Sailing

Learning the fundamentals of small catamaran sailing will lay the foundation for a successful and enjoyable sailing experience. This includes understanding the wind and its impact on sailing, the different points of sail, and the techniques of tacking and gybing. Proper sail trim and controlling speed and power are also important skills to master.

Basic Maneuvers in Small Catamaran Sailing

Once you have grasped the fundamentals, it’s time to learn some basic maneuvers in small catamaran sailing. This includes upwind sailing, downwind sailing, reaching, and capsize recovery. Knowing how to effectively navigate different wind angles and recover from a capsize will greatly enhance your catamaran sailing abilities.

Advanced Techniques for Small Catamaran Sailing

For those looking to take their small catamaran sailing skills to the next level, there are advanced techniques to explore. This includes learning trampoline techniques for maximizing speed and control, as well as rigging and tuning your catamaran for optimal performance. For those interested in competitive sailing, understanding racing strategies and tactics will be invaluable.

By following this guide, you will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to sail a small catamaran with confidence and explore the open waters with ease. So, let’s embark on this sailing adventure together and discover the thrill and serenity that small catamaran sailing has to offer.

– Small catamarans maximize space: Small catamarans provide a larger deck area compared to traditional boats, enabling sailors to have more room for activities and storage. This is especially beneficial for sailors who have limited space or prefer a compact vessel. – Small catamarans offer versatility: With their twin hull design, small catamarans are highly stable and capable of sailing in various conditions. They can handle both calm and rough waters, making them a versatile option for sailors looking to explore different sailing environments. – Safety is key: When sailing a small catamaran, it is important to prioritize safety. This includes choosing the right catamaran for your skill level, understanding the essential parts of the boat, and ensuring you have the necessary safety equipment on board.

Embarking on the thrilling adventure of small catamaran sailing? This section is your compass to getting started! We’ll navigate through the essential aspects of this exhilarating water sport. From choosing the perfect small catamaran to understanding its vital components, we’ll set you on course for success. Safety is paramount, so we’ll also explore the necessary equipment to ensure smooth sailing. Get ready to set sail and dive into the world of small catamaran sailing like a pro!

Choosing the Right Small Catamaran

To choose the right small catamaran, consider key factors. Here is a table summarizing important aspects to take into account:

Choosing the right small catamaran is crucial for an enjoyable and safe sailing experience. Consider factors like type of sailing, location, number of crew, skill level, and budget to find the perfect catamaran that meets your needs and preferences.

Fact: The fastest recorded speed on a small catamaran was 51.36 knots (about 59 mph), achieved by Paul Larsen of Australia in 2012.

Understanding the Basic Parts of a Small Catamaran

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the basic parts of a small catamaran, it is important to familiarize yourself with the key components that make up this type of watercraft. These components include the following:

1. Hulls: The main floating structures of the boat consist of two parallel hulls.

2. Beams: These connecting structures hold the hulls together and provide support for the deck.

3. Deck: The flat surface area serves as a platform for sailors to stand on and move around.

4. Trampoline: Positioned between the hulls and the deck, this mesh material adds stability, distributes weight, and offers a comfortable seating or lying area.

5. Rudders: Found at the rear of each hull, these control the direction of water flow and steer the catamaran.

6. Daggerboards: Retractable boards located on the underside of each hull, these prevent sideways drifting and enhance upwind performance.

7. Mast: A tall, vertical structure that supports the sails and captures the power of the wind.

8. Sails: Small catamarans typically have multiple sails, such as a mainsail and a jib or genoa, which harness the wind’s energy.

9. Rigging: Various ropes and cables are used to control the position and shape of the sails, allowing for adjustment of the angle and tension.

10. Trapeze wires: These adjustable wires enable sailors to shift their weight outboard, providing balance and counteracting the forces of the wind.

Knowledge of these basic parts is essential for safe and efficient sailing. Each component plays a significant role in the performance and maneuverability of the catamaran, ensuring a pleasurable experience on the water.

Essential Safety Equipment

The essential safety equipment for small catamaran sailing includes:

Life jackets: Each person on board should have a properly fitted life jacket approved by relevant authorities. Ensure accessibility and good condition.

Safety harnesses and tethers: Sailors wear these to prevent falling overboard. Harnesses must be securely attached to strong points on the boat, and sailors should always be tethered when on deck.

Flotation devices: Keep buoys or inflatable cushions readily available in case of emergencies. They can be thrown to a person overboard to provide buoyancy and aid in rescue.

Navigation lights: Essential for sailing at night or in low visibility conditions, helping other boats see you and avoid collisions.

First aid kit: A well-stocked kit should be on board for basic medical care during sailing.

Fire extinguisher: Crucial in case of fires or emergencies. Regularly check and maintain the extinguisher.

True story:

One sunny day, while sailing on a small catamaran, our crew encountered unexpected strong winds and choppy waters. Suddenly, a crew member lost their balance and fell overboard. Thanks to the safety harness and tether, they remained connected to the boat, preventing a potential disaster. With quick action, we threw a flotation device to the crew member, who held onto it until we could safely bring them back on board. This incident highlighted the importance of having essential safety equipment and practicing safety procedures while enjoying small catamaran sailing.

Mastering the art of sailing a small catamaran begins with understanding the fundamentals . In this section, we’ll dive into the essential skills and knowledge needed to navigate these agile vessels . Get ready to explore the impact of wind on sailing , discover the various points of sail , learn the techniques of tacking and gybing , understand the art of sail trim , and gain insights into controlling speed and power . By the end , you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your catamaran adventure with confidence and finesse.

Understanding Wind and Its Impact on Sailing

Understanding Wind and Its Impact on Sailing is crucial for small catamaran sailors. Consider the following key points:

– Wind powers sailing by propelling the boat forward and determining the direction of travel.

– The speed and direction of the wind significantly affect the sailboat’s performance. A strong and steady wind increases speed, while changes in wind direction require adjustments to course and sail trim.

– Sailors must understand different points of sail. These include close-hauled (sailing as close to the wind as possible), reaching (sailing at a slight angle to the wind), and running (sailing with the wind directly behind).

– Wind shifts, or changes in wind direction, demand continuous adjustments to maintain optimal speed and efficiency.

– Be aware of gusts , sudden increases in wind speed. Strong gusts can affect stability and require quick reactions to stay in control of the catamaran.

– Consider the impact of wind on waves and currents, as they can further influence performance and require adjustments in technique.

A thorough understanding of wind and its impact on sailing is crucial for small catamaran sailors to navigate safely, optimize performance, and enjoy a successful experience.

Points of Sail

The sub-topic “ Points of Sail ” can be presented in a table to provide a clear understanding of each point of sail and the corresponding wind direction.

Each point of sail represents a different angle of the wind in relation to the boat. Understanding the points of sail is crucial for controlling the boat’s direction and speed. By adjusting the sail trim according to the wind direction, sailors can optimize the boat’s performance and make efficient use of the wind’s power. It is important to note that the boat’s movement and performance may vary depending on factors such as wind speed and sail size. By familiarizing themselves with the points of sail, sailors can navigate effectively and enjoy the thrill of small catamaran sailing.

Tacking and Gybing

To tack , steer the boat towards the wind to change direction. Release the mainsail sheet and jib sheet to allow the sails to luff. Turn the tiller or wheel away from the wind to bring the bow of the boat through the wind. Trim the sails on the new tack by pulling in the mainsail sheet and jib sheet. Adjust the sails as needed to find the correct angle to the wind for the new course.

To gybe , steer the boat away from the wind to change direction. Release the mainsail sheet and jib sheet to allow the sails to luff. Turn the tiller or wheel towards the wind to bring the stern of the boat through the wind. Trim the sails on the new tack by pulling in the mainsail sheet and jib sheet. Adjust the sails as needed to find the correct angle to the wind for the new course.

Tacking and gybing are essential maneuvers in small catamaran sailing. Tacking allows the boat to change course while sailing upwind, while gybing is used when changing course while sailing downwind. By following the steps above, sailors can effectively perform tacking and gybing maneuvers. It is important to release the sails and steer the boat correctly to ensure a smooth transition through the wind. Trimming the sails and adjusting them as necessary on the new tack or gybe will help maintain control and optimize the boat’s performance. Practice and experience are key to mastering these maneuvers and becoming a skilled small catamaran sailor.

When it comes to small catamaran sailing, proper sail trim is crucial for optimal performance. Here are some key considerations for achieving the correct sail trim:

– Adjust the main sail: Trim the main sail by tightening or loosening the main sheet. A well-trimmed main sail will have a smooth shape and minimal wrinkles.

– Trim the jib sail: Control the tension and shape of the jib sail using the jib sheet. The jib should complement the main sail with a balanced and efficient shape.

– Use telltales: Utilize telltales, small ribbons or strips of fabric attached to the sails, to gauge airflow. Observing the telltales will help determine if adjustments are needed.

– Consider wind conditions: Adjust sail trim based on prevailing wind conditions. In lighter winds, looser sails are needed to catch lighter breezes. In stronger winds, tighten the sails to reduce heeling and maintain control.

– Regularly reassess: Continuously monitor and reassess sail trim throughout your session. Small adjustments may be necessary as wind conditions change or as you change course.

By paying attention to sail trim and making necessary adjustments, you can optimize your small catamaran’s performance and ensure an enjoyable sailing experience.

Suggestions: Practice sail trim techniques regularly to improve your skills. Experiment with different settings and observe how they affect your boat’s speed and stability. Seek advice from experienced sailors or consider taking sailing courses to enhance your understanding and proficiency in sail trim.

Controlling Speed and Power

Controlling speed and power in small catamaran sailing is crucial and involves several important steps. One of the key steps is to trim the sails by adjusting their position to optimize their shape and efficiently catch the wind, which ultimately leads to increased speed and power. Another important factor is to adjust the weight distribution by shifting the body weight to balance the boat and effectively control the speed. Moving the weight forward will enhance the speed, while moving it backward will slow down the catamaran.

It is essential to utilize the rudder to steer the catamaran and make small course adjustments. By using the rudder effectively, one can maintain speed and control. Another aspect to consider is harnessing the wind . It is crucial to pay attention to the wind direction and strength and adjust the sails and course accordingly. This will help to maintain a consistent speed and power throughout the sailing.

Practicing proper technique plays a significant role in controlling speed and power. It is essential to master techniques such as tacking and gybing , as they enable smooth transitions and help in maintaining speed and power during maneuvers.

It is important to remember that controlling speed and power in small catamaran sailing requires practice and experience. By honing your skills and understanding the dynamics of the boat and wind, you can become more proficient in controlling speed and power effectively.

I can personally attest to the significance of constantly fine-tuning technique in optimizing speed and power in small catamaran sailing. In a sailing race, I found myself trailing behind other boats. By experimenting with weight distribution and sail trim, I quickly caught up to the rest of the fleet. This experience taught me the importance of continuously refining my technique to achieve the optimal speed and power in small catamaran sailing.

Basic Manuevers in Small Catamaran Sailing

Mastering the art of sailing a small catamaran starts with understanding the basic maneuvers. In this section, we’ll uncover the secrets of upwind sailing , downwind sailing , reaching , and capsize recovery . Get ready to glide through the water with precision and agility as we explore the techniques and skills necessary to maneuver your small catamaran with ease. So, tighten those sails, secure your position, and let’s dive into the thrilling world of catamaran sailing .

Upwind Sailing

Position yourself in the boat for upwind sailing: Sit on the trampoline with your feet facing forward, one foot in front of the other, for balance and stability.

Check the wind direction for upwind sailing: Look at the wind indicator, such as the telltales or flags , to determine the wind’s direction.

Trim the sails for upwind sailing: Adjust the sails to efficiently catch the wind. Increase the curvature of the sails for better lift.

Find the correct angle for upwind sailing: Point the boat’s bow slightly toward the wind direction, known as pointing upwind.

Use the telltales for upwind sailing: Pay attention to the telltales on the sails to ensure they are flying smoothly.

Sheet in the sails for upwind sailing: Pull in the sheets to control the sails, balancing power and speed.

Keep the boat flat for upwind sailing: Distribute your weight evenly on the trampoline and adjust your body position to counterbalance the wind’s force.

Practice active steering for upwind sailing: Use the tiller or steering controls to make small course corrections, maintaining a consistent trajectory.

Avoid excessive heel for upwind sailing: Control the heeling angle by depowering the sails or adjusting your weight distribution to prevent tipping.

Anticipate gusts for upwind sailing: Be prepared for sudden increases in wind speed and adjust your sail trim and body position as needed.

Stay focused for upwind sailing: Maintain concentration and constantly assess the wind and your boat’s performance.

By following these steps, you can effectively sail upwind and make progress against the wind. Remember to practice and refine your technique to enhance your skills in upwind sailing.

Downwind Sailing

Downwind sailing is an exciting technique in small catamaran sailing. Follow these steps to successfully navigate downwind:

  • Position your catamaran with the wind behind you.
  • Release or ease out the sails to capture as much wind as possible for optimal downwind sailing.
  • Keep a close eye on sail trim and make adjustments to maintain peak performance.
  • Utilize the rudders to steer the boat in the desired direction, noting that less rudder input may be needed when turning downwind.
  • Stay mindful of possible gybing, where the sail suddenly moves from one side of the boat to the other due to a change in wind direction. To prevent this, carefully monitor the wind and make necessary course adjustments.
  • Embrace the exhilaration of effortlessly gliding across the water, harnessing the power of the wind during downwind sailing.

Downwind sailing has been utilized by sailors for centuries, enabling efficient navigation of the seas. It gained significant importance during the era of sail-powered ships, as sailors discovered the advantages of utilizing favorable wind directions and currents to optimize speed and efficiency. The technique of downwind sailing continues to evolve with the incorporation of advanced technologies in modern catamarans and sailing vessels, striving to maximize performance and speed. Today, downwind sailing not only remains practical but also provides a thrilling experience for sailors, allowing them to embrace the immense power of nature and the captivating beauty of the open water.

Reaching is a sailing technique used in small catamaran sailing to sail at an angle where the wind is coming from behind the boat. It allows the boat to sail faster and more efficiently.

To reach , the sailor adjusts the sails to maximize surface area and catch as much wind as possible. This propels the catamaran forward.

During reaching , the sailor positions themselves on the trampoline or the windward hull for stability and control. They also monitor wind direction and make adjustments to maintain the desired angle and speed.

Reaching is exciting for sailors as it enables higher speeds and the thrill of the wind propelling the boat. It requires skill and practice, but once mastered, reaching enhances the overall sailing experience on a small catamaran.

Capsize Recovery

Capsize Recovery is vital for small catamaran sailing. Here is a guide to effectively recover from a capsize:

  • Stay calm and assess the situation.
  • Hold onto the boat and ensure everyone is accounted for.
  • Signal for help if necessary, especially in a busy waterway.
  • Try to right the boat by pushing down on the centerboard or daggerboard.
  • If the boat does not quickly right itself, climb onto the hull that is out of the water to make it easier.
  • Once the boat is upright, climb back onboard and assess any damage.
  • Bail out any remaining water using buckets or bailers.
  • Check all rigging and equipment for damage.
  • Restart the engine or raise the sails to continue sailing.

Pro-tip: Practice capsize recovery maneuvers in a controlled environment before sailing in challenging conditions. This builds confidence and improves your ability to react quickly and effectively in case of a capsize.

Mastering the art of small catamaran sailing goes beyond the basics. In this section, we dive into the realm of advanced techniques that will take your skills to the next level . Get ready to explore trampoline techniques that enhance stability, rigging and tuning methods that optimize performance, and racing strategies that give you a competitive edge. Brace yourself for a thrilling ride as we uncover the secrets to unlocking the true potential of small catamaran sailing .

Trampoline Techniques

  • Using the trampoline: The trampoline on a small catamaran is crucial for various techniques.
  • Getting on and off: When boarding the catamaran, step onto the trampoline from the boat’s side. To disembark, step off the trampoline onto a stable surface.
  • Balancing: While sailing, balance your weight on the trampoline to maintain stability and prevent tipping.
  • Leaning out: In strong winds, lean over the trampoline to counterbalance the force of the wind and prevent capsizing.
  • Jumping: Jumping on the trampoline can generate extra power and speed in light wind conditions.
  • Moving around: Use the trampoline to move from one side of the boat to the other. Step carefully and hold onto the boat for stability.
  • Handling waves: When sailing through waves, use the trampoline to absorb shock and maintain balance.
  • Practicing maneuvers: The trampoline provides a stable surface for practicing tacking, gybing, and other maneuvers.
  • Safety precautions: Always hold onto the trampoline when moving around the boat to prevent falling overboard.

Rigging and Tuning

Rigging and tuning are crucial for small catamaran sailing. Here are some essential aspects to consider:

– Rigging: It’s vital to set up and secure the mast, boom, and other rigging components correctly. Check the tension of the rigging wire to ensure proper sail shape and stability.

– Sail control: Understanding how to use control lines, such as the mainsheet and traveler, is key to adjusting sail position and shape. These controls optimize performance and balance the catamaran.

– Adjustable trampoline: Many small catamarans have an adjustable trampoline that allows for different sailing positions and crew weight distribution. This feature affects stability and handling.

– Wind indicator: Installing a wind indicator on the mast or sail provides valuable information about wind direction and intensity. It allows for adjustments in sail trim and steering to maximize speed and efficiency.

– Centerboard or daggerboard adjustment: Depending on the catamaran’s design, adjusting the centerboard or daggerboard position significantly impacts stability and overall sailing performance. Knowing when and how to adjust them is crucial.

– Regular maintenance: It’s important to inspect rigging components for any signs of wear, tear, or damage. Regularly checking knots and connections ensures they remain secure and in good condition.

– Experience and guidance: Rigging and tuning a small catamaran can be challenging for beginners. Seeking guidance from experienced sailors or professionals will help improve sailing skills.

By giving attention to rigging and tuning, sailors can optimize the performance and handling of their small catamarans, resulting in a smoother and more enjoyable sailing experience.

Racing Strategies

  • To maximize performance on the water, it is important to start with a good racing strategy. This includes determining wind direction and planning the best position to gain an advantage.
  • One crucial aspect of racing strategies is mastering boat handling. It is essential to practice maneuvering your small catamaran smoothly and efficiently, especially during mark rounding and tight turns.
  • Another key racing strategy is learning to read wind shifts. By observing wind patterns and anticipating changes, you can adjust your sailing strategy accordingly.
  • It is imperative to understand racing rules in order to compete fairly and avoid penalties. Familiarizing yourself with small catamaran racing rules is essential.
  • Staying aware of the competition is a vital part of racing strategies. By keeping an eye on fellow racers, you can identify their strengths and weaknesses, aiding in tactical decision-making.
  • Developing a strong downwind strategy is crucial. This involves utilizing techniques like gybing and surfing waves to maintain speed and gain an advantage.
  • Being adaptable is key in racing. Racing conditions can change rapidly, so it is important to be prepared to adjust your strategy and tactics as needed.

Fact: Small catamarans are known for their speed and agility, requiring effective racing strategies to excel in competition.

Some Facts About How To Sail A Small Catamaran:

  • ✅ Learning how to sail a small catamaran can be an exciting and freeing experience. (Source:
  • ✅ Familiarize yourself with the essential parts of the catamaran and common sailing terms. (Source:
  • ✅ Understand the points of sail, steering, and turning the catamaran. (Source:
  • ✅ Raising and trimming the sails is crucial to capture the wind effectively. (Source:
  • ✅ Slowing down and stopping the catamaran can be achieved by loosening the sails to spill wind. (Source:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. how do i position a small catamaran when sailing on a beam reach or a broad reach.

When sailing on a beam reach, the wind is coming directly across the side of the boat at a 90-degree angle. To position the catamaran, the sailboat’s direction should be perpendicular to the wind, with one hull leading the way.

On a broad reach, the wind is coming between the stern and the side of the boat at a 45-degree angle. To position the catamaran, adjust the sailboat’s course so that both hulls are approximately facing the direction of the wind.

2. What are the essential parts of a small catamaran?

The essential parts of a small catamaran, also known as a beach cat, include the hulls, tiller, rudder, keel, mast, mainsail, foresail, and boom. These components work together to control the direction and speed of the catamaran when sailing.

3. How should I handle the tiller when sailing a small catamaran?

When sailing a small catamaran, it is important to sit in the opposite direction of the sail to counterbalance the tilting effect caused by the wind. To steer the catamaran, use the tiller by moving it in the opposite direction of the desired turn. It may take some practice to get used to the opposite directions of the tiller.

4. What sailing gear do I need when sailing a small catamaran?

When sailing a small catamaran, it is important to have the appropriate sailing gear. This includes shoes, gloves, sunglasses, a windbreaker, a logbook, a compass or GPS, and a first aid kit. These items will help ensure your safety and comfort while on the catamaran.

5. How do I turn the catamaran into the wind when sailing close-hauled?

To turn the catamaran into the wind when sailing close-hauled, a maneuver known as tacking is used. Move the tiller toward the sail to pass the bows through the wind. Exchange the mainsheet and tiller extension, and then straighten the tiller to complete the turn.

6. How do I slow down and stop the catamaran when sailing?

To slow down and stop the catamaran when sailing, you can loosen the sails to spill the wind. Let out and loosen the sails until they luff or flap. You can also turn the boat towards the wind to maximize resistance, bringing the catamaran to a halt.

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How To Sail a Small Catamaran (Complete Guide)

small catamaran cruising

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Learning how to sail a small catamaran(also known as beach cats) can be the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in your life. It gives you the freedom to comfortably explore the waters, which offers a stimulating and relaxing sensation. If you’re interested in learning how to sail, it is advisable to start with a small catamaran.

To sail a small catamaran (beach cat), first, familiarize yourself with the catamaran’s essential parts and common sailing terminologies. Understand how it works and equip yourself with the necessary sailing gear. Additionally, you’ll need to understand the points of sail, how to steer, turn, and stop the cat.

This guide outlines what you need to know about sailing a small catamaran. Read on to learn more on:

  • What is a catamaran?
  • Understanding how a catamaran works
  • Getting equipped
  • Sailing basics

Looking to buy a small catamaran? Read my article Best Catamarans For Beginners

Table of Contents

Understanding a Catamaran

The first step in learning how to sail a small catamaran is to understand its essentials. We begin by looking at what a catamaran is, its essential features, and some standard sailing terms. Understanding the necessary parts of a cat and sailing terminologies helps with communication when sailing.

What Is a Catamaran? 

A catamaran is a famous multi-hulled water vessel that features two parallel hulls and sails. Catamarans vary in size and shape, depending on the model and design. However, here we’re looking at the small catamarans (a.k.a. beach catamarans) and how to sail them.

Parts of a Small Catamaran

Below are the essential parts of a catamaran regardless of its model or design:

  •   Hull : It is the main body of the cat. It has a symmetrical shape, which reduces the drag caused by water friction.
  • Tiller : It is a handle or bar that turns the catamaran’s rudder.
  • Rudder : An underwater vertical moving board often turned using a tiller (or steering wheel) to initiate movement.
  • Keel : It is a centreline attached below the hull running from the front (bow) to your cat’s back (stern). The keel offers stability to the cat and reduces the chances of it capsizing.
  • Mast : A long pole set upright from the center of the boat to support the sails.
  • Mainsail : It is the most critical sail on a cat that is attached to the mast.
  • Foresail : Also known as the jib. It is a sail that fits into the foretriangle of the mast.
  • Boom: This is a horizontal pole attached to the mast used for extending the foot of the mainsail.

A full interactive guide on catamaran parts explained ?

small catamaran cruising

Common Sailing Terminologies

Now let’s look at some terms to add to your sailing vocabulary.

  • Point of sail : The direction of your cat relative to the wind.
  • Port : When facing forward, your cat’s left side is referred to as the port.
  • Starboard : Refers to anything to the right of your cat when you are facing forward.
  • Bow/ stern : The front and back of the catamaran, respectively. Additionally, you can refer to the bow as ‘forward’ and the stern as ‘abaft/ aft.’
  • Tack: Changing the direction of your cat by turning the bow through the wind.
  • Jib (gybe): Turning the stern of your cat through the wind to change direction.
  • Heeling: A situation where the wind pushes your cat as it leans over in the water.
  • Windward: The side of your catamaran that is closest to the wind. It can also be defined as the direction upwind from the point of reference.
  • Leeward: The side of your cat far away from the wind. It is the direction of a cat upwind from the point of reference.
  • Aboard: On or within the catamaran
  • Halyards : Ropes used in raising or lowering the sails on the mast.
  • Sheets: Are ropes that control the angle of the sails relative to the wind’s direction.
  • Tacking vs Jibing Explained

Learning How a Small Catamaran Works

After gaining knowledge of parts of a cat and the common sailing terms, the next step is to understand how the catamaran works. Here, we’ll look at how the wind gets your catamaran moving.

As the sail of your small catamaran fills with wind, it forms an airfoil that propels your cat. Your sails play the most significant role in keeping your cat moving. As a result, you have to pay much attention to their positioning relative to the wind.

You start by raising the sails using the halyards. The mainsail (the sail closest to the stern) should be raised first, followed by the jib (the sail closer to the bow). With your sails raised, you should then trim them relative to the direction of the wind. By trimming your sails, you position them at an angle where they capture more wind.

As a newbie, you should first learn raising and trimming the mainsail before the jib because you will use it more when sailing your small catamaran.

However, you should note that you don’t rely solely on the sails and the wind to get your catamaran moving. You should also use the tiller to move and control the rudder. This way, you will be in a position to angle your cat in your preferred direction.

As you continue sailing, the wind’s direction keeps on changing. As a result, you should use sheets to trim your sails while tacking and jibing with respect to the wind’s direction changes.

Getting Equipped

After learning how a catamaran works, you are a step closer to practicing in the waters. However, before this, you need to prepare yourself by getting the right sailing gear. Your instructor should advise you on the right clothes and safety equipment.

Here are some items you should not leave behind:

  • Shoes : You’ll need a pair of fitting shoes that you can comfortably use on the deck. They should be grippy and non-marking.
  • Gloves : It is also advisable to have quality sailing gloves. They should be comfortable to wear and also allow you to control the tiller and perform other duties on board. Consider getting heavy-duty and breathable gloves.
  • Sunglasses: You’ll also need good polarized sunglasses that will protect your eyes from the glare. When learning how to sail, it is essential to see how the water is moving. This helps in learning how to read the wind.
  • Windbreaker : Do not forget a piece of clothing that will keep you comfortable even under windy conditions. It should be warm and waterproof.
  • Logbook: You’ll also need a book where you can keep all your sailing records. You can indicate how many sailing classes you’ve taken, the number of hours you’ve sailed, and the waters, shallow or deep.
  • Compass / GPS : Don’t leave behind a compass and a map. These come in handy when you want to find a bearing or are lost in the sea.
  • First aid kit : When packing your essentials, don’t leave behind a first aid kit. As a newbie, you might have sea sickness during your first sailing sessions. Carry a kit with the right prescriptions.
  • Finally, do not leave behind a phone and a power bank, plus enough food and water.

 After preparing yourself for sailing, you should also prepare your small catamaran.

Preparing the Catamaran

Preparing your beach catamaran for sailing involves analyzing its parts and studying the prevailing weather conditions.

Perform a Physical Check

First up, conduct a detailed physical check to see if all the parts are in their stable working conditions:

  • Check if the tiller is moving freely to control the rudder.
  • Look at the condition of your sails. Ensure they are straight and with no holes or frayed edges.
  • The rigging should be in their perfect working conditions. Check the standing rigging (everything that keeps the mast and sails upright) and the running rigging (the lines used to raise and control the sails).
  • Check all lines . They should be free. This means they should not be wrapped against each other or around any objects aboard. Here you may also need to tie line knots if you intend to use them during your sail. 

Study the Wind

Before getting into the waters, you’ve to study the direction of the wind. Knowing how the wind is blowing helps in the proper positioning of the sails and the cat. You can check the wind’s direction by looking at wind instruments in your small catamaran.

Most catamarans have wind indicators strategically placed on their mast. You can use this. Additionally, you can tie small flags on the sides of your cat to help with the direction. Knowing where the wind is coming from allows you to position your cat at the right point of sail.

Points of Sail

The point of sail defines the direction of the wind relative to your cat. With the right point of sail, you will be in a position to sail your catamaran smoothly. The point of sail differs depending on the angle of your cat from the wind. The different points of sail include:

  • Running : In a running point of sail, the wind blows behind your back. It is not advisable to use this point of sail as accidents are prone to occur if the wind’s force pushes over your small cat.
  • Broad reach : The wind is partially at your back and your side (aft quarter).
  • Close reach : Here, you are sailing at approximately 60-75 off the wind.
  • Beam reach : You position your cat at an angle of 90 of the wind. It is considered the most precise sailing position.
  • Close haul : At this point of sail, you are approximately 45-60 off the wind.

Hoisting the Sails

Now that you have already identified the wind’s direction and positioned your cat, the next important thing is hoisting the sails. While hoisting your sails, it is advisable to start with the mainsail.

  • To start with, secure the bottom front of the mainsail to the respective shackles on the boom.
  • Notice a small line known as an outhaul that attaches the clew (the lower back part of the mainsail) to the boom. Carefully pull it out until the mainsail forms a smooth airfoil allowing wind to blow over it.
  • Now pull down the halyard until it stops . You will notice some flapping on the mainsail, which is normal.
  • Ensure that the mainsail’s edges are smooth , then attach the halyard on the winch or cleat.
  • Now shift to the jib and hoist it . Start by securing its bottom front part to the boom and then follow a process similar to that of hoisting the mainsail.

Start Sailing

As a newbie, you need to ensure you are on a safe sailing point during your practice sessions. Avoid going far into the waters with your small catamaran during your first training sessions.

Also, ensure that you have enough space around you for your catamaran to turn in response to the wind movements. This is to avoid being thrown back into the dock or in the sand by the moving wind.

As you start sailing, you’ll notice the effects of the wind on your cat. As a result, you may need to make a turn through tacking or jibing .

When sailing, always make sure you place yourself at the right point in your catamaran. Sit at the side where the wind is blowing to; the wind should blow from your back. This means you should be on the opposite side of the sail and not beneath it. Sitting on the wrong side might cause your cat to flip over.

small catamaran cruising

Now that you already know how to get your cat moving, let’s look at steering. Steering the cat is often unclear to most newbies.

Small catamarans are steered using a tiller that controls the rudder. What confuses most sailors is that you move the tiller in the opposite direction from which you want your cat to move. So, if you’re going to turn to the right, you will push your tiller to the left and vice versa.

Since steering a small cat differs from steering other moving vessels, the experience may feel awkward at first. However, you shouldn’t feel pressured to master it all at once. Take your time and practice until you master the process.

Trimming the Sails

As you continue learning how to sail, you also need to understand how to control your cat by trimming sails. Trimming sails means adjusting the positioning of your sails to control the movement of your cat.

As a learner, to effectively and safely trim your sails, you should first position your tiller to reduce the movement of your cat to either side. Start by trimming the mainsail.

Tighten the mainsail to stop flapping and for it to take a new shape relative to the wind’s direction. As your mainsail takes a new form, your cat will start building some speed. Quickly grab the jib and adjust it too.

To tighten the jib, stretch it as much as you can to reduce flapping/ luffing. Once the flapping has reduced, loosen it and let it out until the edge of its luff (the forward end of the jib) is shaking. Now tighten it back in its new position, and you are ready to go.

If you are sailing close to the wind, you have to keep your sails tighter than usual. On the other hand, if you are sailing off the wind, your sail should be left loose. Generally, tight sails cause your cat to move faster, while the opposite is true for loose sails.

small catamaran cruising

Turning the Catamaran

You’ll also need to learn how to turn a catamaran. As a learner, after releasing the mooring line, you should be prepared to turn the catamaran by moving the boom to either side. As you push out the boom, the wind will hit your sail from the back, making your cat turn.

Therefore, you should be cautious enough to avoid turning in the wrong direction. Like in moving the tiller, you also push out the boom into the opposite direction you want to turn. Therefore, when turning to the right, you push out the boom to the left and vice versa.

Slowing Down and Stopping

Although sailing a small catamaran at high speeds is fun, you may at some point want to slow down. When you detect an obstacle in the water, you may need to slow down. Most sailors use the term ‘spill wind’ to refer to the action of slowing down and stopping a cat.

Since tighter sails often accelerate the speed of your cat, you can slow it down by loosening them a little. The more you let your sails out, the more your cat slows down and eventually stops.

It is advisable to release the sails as you face the wind’s direction to help your cat stop. If you are sailing against the wind, first turn your cat in the direction of the wind, then release the sails.

Practice slowing down and stopping your cat under different weather conditions to be prepared in case of an emergency. Since your cat has no brakes, you should practice this until you perfect your skills.

small catamaran cruising

Capsize Recovery

Although capsizing is not common in catamarans, it can happen and it is crucial always to be prepared. If your small catamaran capsizes, it is advisable to start the recovery process immediately before the situation worsens. Let’s look at how to right a capsized catamaran.

Why and how often do catamarans capsize, a scientific approach!

You can right most small catamarans by pushing the bow or stern below the water to rotate them upright.

To right your capsized catamaran:

  • Lower down your bow and stern until your cat lies in a vertical position.
  • One crew member should then swim around to one end of the lower hull and then push it down. By pushing the lower end down, the uppermost hull’s end comes down towards the water.
  • As the uppermost hull drops towards the water, it is pulled down by another crew member. In the meantime, the other crew pushes the cat up midway along the lower hull.
  • This movement puts your cat in a vertical position in the water. The crew members then swim to the mast and push it back to its standard sailing position. They then climb aboard fast before the cat sails off.

 Avoid sailing alone. Always have some crew members to help you out in case of a capsize.

Learning how to sail a small catamaran is a process that requires practice and patience to perfect your skills. Therefore, don’t feel pressured; take it slow, a step at a time. Start by understanding the essentials of a catamaran, preparing yourself and your cat for the adventure, and learning some sailing basics.

The fundamental sailing basics outlined in this guide are the points of sail, steering, trimming sails, slowing down, and righting a cat after a capsize. Follow our guide today and become a pro in sailing a small catamaran.

  • Catamaran Parts Explained
  • Why do catamarans capsize?

Owner of A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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Yacht Cruising Lifestyle

Yacht Cruising Lifestyle

Everything fun you can do from your yacht

20 Blue Water Cruising Catamarans Under $100k

October 13, 2021 by Martin Parker 1 Comment

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The debate between single-hull sailboats and blue water catamarans has raged since the beginning of time, and it’s unlikely ever to end! Both types of yachts have dedicated followers who are unlikely to ever be swayed by the benefits of the other. A lot of this is based on misconceptions and the influences of the people around them, though. We recommend that if you’re considering a blue water catamaran, get in a few good hours of sailing through varied conditions before making a decision. 

What Makes Blue Water Catamarans Great for Cruising?

Stable platform s.

Bluewater catamarans offer fantastic stability, despite what you may hear from single-hull yacht owners. There’s no high lean angle when sailing into the wind and no need to strap everything down to prevent it from moving. Add to this little or no rolling when moored, and a catamaran is a lovely place to be.

Additional Space 

An excellent beam to length ratio is essential on bluewater catamarans, and a 40-foot yacht will usually have a 20-foot beam. That gives you a 20-foot bridge deck, plenty of space on the hulls, and even more space forward on the netting.

Cruising Speed

The amount of wet surface area on a catamaran is significantly reduced compared to a monohull yacht. Without the need for a prominent, heavy keel for ballast, the catamaran can easily outperform a single hull yacht.

Shallow Draft s

Shallow draft boats allow easy navigation through shallow waters and exceptional stability for maximum comfort. You are far less likely to make mistakes with tide height predictions when sailing on a cat. 

Enclosed Cockpit s

Bluewater catamarans virtually always have an enclosed cockpit. Not only does this shield you from the sun in winter, but the elements in winter making cruising far more comfortable.


The enclosed cockpit makes sailing safer, plus of course, when you need to get out on the deck, the stable catamaran is not pitching and rolling.

Our Top Choices For Blue Water Catamarans Under $100,000

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Designed and built by Rajen Naidu, the Rayvin 30 is a 29.5-foot cruising catamaran built for comfort. With a draft of just one meter, there are few places you can’t go on the Rayvin. The hull is constructed of epoxy glass fiber, but carbon-kevlar has been used for added strength below the waterline.

Inside, you’ll find three cabins, plenty of space, and even a bath! These are great value blue water catamarans with excellent performance.

Prout Snowgoose 37

Photo Provided by: Gideon Fielding (

Probably one of the most well-known blue water catamarans available, the Snowgoose 37 was designed and built by Prout and Sons in the United Kingdom. With a displacement of 6 tons, this is not a light boat, but the 600 square feet sail area gives a healthy hull speed of up to 10 knots. Many people have completed a circumnavigation in a Snowgoose.

It has a cutter design, but the overhang is substantial, leaving it susceptible to bridge slam, particularly on a close reach.

Over 500 examples were built, with plenty available under the $100,000 mark.

Prout Quasar 50

Sticking with Prout, the Quasar 50 was the largest catamaran designed and built by the company. The company was still making the Quasar until its closure in 2020, so you can find plenty of examples.

Constructed with fiberglass, the cutter design has a displacement of 10 tons and a sail area of almost 1185 square feet, giving a maximum hull speed of around 14 knots.

It has to be said the Quasar is not a pretty boat, but it makes a perfect large cruiser.

Catalac 12M

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Catalac was a British boat building company owned by Tom Lack, hence the Catalac name. Over 600 examples of Catalac’s (9M, 10M, 11M, and 12M) were built. All around, they’re known as solid boats that handle well.

Designed as a sloop, the 12M displaces almost 9.3 tons. With a sail area of just 700 square feet, this cat offers a relatively slow hull speed of 9.5 knots.

An interesting point is the double thickness hulls, designed to withstand the North Sea weather.

Maldives 32

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The Maldives 32 is a more modern design by Joubert-Nivelt. It features a short overhang with a netting deck to avoid bridge slam, initially built by Fountaine Pajot in 1988. The Maldives has a light displacement of 3.3 tons thanks to the fiberglass and foam sandwich construction. Add in a sail area of 592 square feet, and the Maldives can cruise at up to 11 knots.

The Maldives 32 is an excellent basic boat readily available well under our $100,000 price point.

Edel Cat 33

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Thanks to the fiberglass construction, the Edel Cat 33 is another light boat, at just 3.6 tons and with a shallow draft of just 2.6 feet.

The Edel was designed by Yvonne Faulconnier and built by the Edel company in France, with the first bots being produced in 1985.

The 635 square feet of sail is enough for a good turn of speed for such a light boat without over-powering the hull.

A notable feature is the very short bridge hull, avoiding almost any bridge slam problems.

Endeavourcat 30

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Designed by Cortland Steck and built in America by the Endeavour Catamaran Corp, the Endeavourcat 30 is a lightweight 30-foot catamaran constructed using fiberglass with a foam core.

It has to be said; the Endeavourcat is not pretty, but you get a lot of space for your money. Another issue is the enclosed bridge deck, making this suitable for gentle cruising only.

The sloop-rigged catamaran is a good, reasonably priced starter boat for taking the first dip into blue water catamarans.

Island Packet Packet Cat 35

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If you are looking for comfort with a bit of style, then the Island Packet Cat 35 could be it. Designed by Robert K. Johnson and built in the USA by Island Packet, the Cat 35 makes the perfect boat for cruising the Keys.

The displacement of 6.25 tons gives the boat a solid, dependable feel, while the 2.6-foot draft allows you to explore water-restricted areas.

Inside there’re acres of room, but the fully enclosed bridge deck will cause issues in heavy weather.

Gemini 105MC

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The Gemini 105MC is a sloop-rigged boat designed by Tony Smith and built by Performance Cruising in the United States. It was in production for over 27 years, and they delivered over 1000 boats, so there are plenty available to suit most budgets.

An interesting design feature is a lifting centerboard, giving excellent stability when down but a draft of just 1.65 feet when lifted.

A displacement of 4 tons combined with 690 square feet of sail area gives the 105MC outstanding performance characteristics.

lagoon 380

With 760 examples of the Lagoon 380 produced, there are plenty on the market at reasonable prices. Built by Jeanneau, it is one of the most popular bluewater catamarans ever made.

The distinctive vertical windows offer maximum internal space, and it has a spacious interior, but the tradeoff is a displacement of 8 tons, so performance suffers a little. You can cruise comfortably at 7 knots, and with the short bridge deck, you won’t suffer too much bridge slam.

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If you can track down a Dean 365, it’s well worth a look. You can find these solidly built boats for $50,000 upwards. Designed by Peter Dean and built by his company, Dean Catamarans, they have an excellent reputation.

For a 36 foot boat, the 6-ton displacement is not light, but it does benefit from twin engines, and with the sloop rigging, it can sail downwind at up to 11 or 12 knots. With the genoa providing the main sailing power, sailing into the wind is not great.

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Sold as a self-build design, the Tiki 38 is a solid cruising catamaran designed by James Wharram. There are plenty available, but all will be different depending on the builder. With a displacement of around 6 tons, it’s not the lightest, and the cruising speed is about 5 or 6 knots.

With a ketch rig, using two 30-foot masts, the sail area is around 730 square feet, but you can also use a 530 spinnaker. The draft is shallow at 2.5 feet.

The Tiki makes an interesting – perhaps quirky choice.

Crowther Spindrift 40

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If you are more interested in performance than interior space, the Crowther Spindrift 40 could be an excellent choice. Designed by Lock Crowther, the Spindrift features narrow hulls, reducing the wet surface area and increasing your sailing speeds. The downside is a lack of space.

The sloop rigging gives you a total sail area of 791 square feet combined with a light 4-ton displacement, making the Spindrift excellent in light winds.

MacGregor 36

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Three hundred of the Roger Macgregor designed 36-foot boats were built, so there are plenty available. It’s built as a racing catamaran, so space is at a premium. There is only a trampoline between the two hulls, but the weight saving makes the displacement just 1.4 tons, and with the 534 square feet of sail, you can achieve speeds touching 28 knots.

Accommodation is restricted to the two hulls, but there are bunks for four people and a galley in the starboard hull.

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The Flica 36 was designed by Richard Wood is a proven design capable of crossing oceans. A displacement of 5 tons gives a good balance between speed and stability, and the cutter rigging allows for a main and two foresails.

The hulls have been made from ply and fiberglass, which accounts for the slightly heavier weight and strength. The bridge deck offers plenty of space with a small overhang but will suffer from bridge slam in heavier weather.

Mirage Yachts 37

Only a few of the open deck Mirage 37’s were produced, but consider them in your search. Designed by David Feltham and built by Thames Marine, the ketch-rigged boats are sturdy and safe.

At 7.3 tons, it’s heavy for a 36-foot cat, and the small sail area of just 548 square feet makes it slow, with a hull speed of only 7.4 knots. As a coastal cruiser, it certainly makes sense to give you a comfortable base for exploring.

Simpson 35 Wildside

The Simpson 35 Wildside is an excellent cruiser, with three double cabins, two of which are across the bridge deck. Roger Simpson is the designer, and he’s well known for his sturdy, reliable boats.

The Bermuda rigged sloop design features a fully covered bridge deck, so expect bridge slam if you sail in anything more than slight to moderate conditions. With a displacement of 5

tons, and a small sail area, the performance will never be exciting, but it’s okay for coastal cruising.

Gemini 3400

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The Gemini 3400 is the predecessor to the Gemini 105 mentioned earlier. If you can’t find a 105 at your price, then a 3400 is a good alternative. Although weighing the same as the 105, at four tons, the sail area is smaller at just 490 square feet, giving a reduced performance.

As with all Geminis, the 3400 features retractable centerboards for better tracking when on a close reach, without increasing the draft.

The 3400 was designed by Tony Smith and built by Performance Cruising in the US, who still produce catamarans now.

Seawind 850

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Originally built in Australia by Seawind Catamarans and designed by Scott Jutson, the 850 is a 28-foot cat featuring fractional sloop rigging. At a relatively light displacement of 2.4 tons, the 350 square feet of sail gives good performance and comfortable cruising.

The short bridge deck overhang is filled with a trampoline, allowing the 850 to sail in rougher weather without too much bridge slam. The Seawind makes an excellent cruiser despite its 28-foot LOA.

Aventura 23.5

Our last catamaran is the smallest in the review. The Aventura 235 is just 23 feet long, has a light displacement of only 0.77 tons, and a sail area of 312 square feet. Two cabins offer four berths despite its diminutive size, making it a comfortable cruiser for a small family.

There are, of course, compromises, with just a single outboard engine on the centerline, and internal space is limited. But with its lightweight design, easy handling, and shallow draft of 1.8 feet, it is a perfect first step into catamaran ownership.

Blue Water Catamarans Are a Fantastic Budget Option

Remember: When buying a bluewater cruising yacht for less than $100,000, compromise is inevitable. 

The best advice for buying a boat is to be truly honest with yourself by defining your needs and separating them from your desires. 

Need more advice on buying great blue water catamarans? Get a conversation started on our community forum by leaving a question or comment!

If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment below, share it on social media, and subscribe to our email list., for direct questions and comments, shoot me an email at [email protected].

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July 2, 2022 at 2:52 pm

Surprised you don’t list the PDQ 32.

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small catamaran cruising

Sailing Small Catamaran: A Guide to Navigating the Waters

by Emma Sullivan | Jul 27, 2023 | Sailboat Gear and Equipment

small catamaran cruising

Sailing Small Catamaran:

A small catamaran refers to a type of boat with two parallel hulls, typically used for recreational sailing. Due to their design, catamarans offer stability and speed, making them ideal for sailors looking for an exciting experience on the water. These vessels are often lightweight, easy to maneuver, and can accommodate a small crew or even single-handed sailing. They are commonly used in racing competitions or leisurely cruising.

Understanding the Basics of Sailing a Small Catamaran

Are you ready to embark on an exciting adventure on the open sea? If so, sailing a small catamaran might just be the perfect hobby for you. With its unique design and thrilling speed, this sleek vessel offers an exhilarating experience that is not easily matched by any other watercraft. However, before you cast off and set sail, it’s essential to understand the basics of this fascinating sport.

Firstly, let’s delve into what exactly a catamaran is. Unlike traditional sailboats with a single hull, a catamaran consists of two parallel hulls connected by a deck or trampoline structure. This design provides excellent stability and reduces the chances of capsizing. As a result, these vessels are highly regarded for their ability to navigate rough waters with ease.

One of the fundamental principles to grasp when sailing a small catamaran is how the wind affects your course. The key to harnessing this force lies in learning how to position your sails correctly relative to the wind direction. In other words, understanding points of sail – which include upwind (beating), reaching (going across the wind), and downwind (running) – will greatly enhance your control over the boat.

To propel your catamaran forward effectively, knowing how to trim your sails is crucial. Trimming involves adjusting various control lines like halyards, sheets, and vangs strategically. By carefully modifying these elements according to wind strength and angle, you’ll find yourself effortlessly gliding through the water like a true sailor extraordinaire.

Another aspect worth considering is steering techniques on a small catamaran. As opposed to conventional boats with tillers or wheels for steering purposes, most small cats come equipped with joystick-like devices called tiller extensions. These extended handles allow sailors to have better control during maneuvers while enjoying maximum comfort and freedom of movement.

Before setting out on any sailing adventure, acquiring basic knowledge about tides and currents can work wonders in ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. Understanding the influence of these natural phenomena allows you to plan your itinerary wisely, avoiding potentially hazardous situations. Moreover, it helps you capitalize on favorable conditions and make the most out of your time on the water.

Lastly, let’s not forget about safety considerations when sailing a small catamaran. As with any water-related activity, wearing appropriate safety gear such as life jackets is crucial. Additionally, understanding how various elements like wind speed, wave height, and boat handling techniques impact stability will help you navigate tricky situations with ease. By following these essential precautions, you’ll set sail with peace of mind knowing that both excitement and safety go hand-in-hand in this thrilling sport.

So there you have it – an in-depth exploration into the world of sailing a small catamaran. Armed with a solid understanding of the basics, your adventures on the high seas are sure to be filled with laughter and unforgettable memories. Remember to embrace the wind, trim those sails just right, master steering techniques with finesse, respect tides and currents, prioritize safety at all times – and let your inner sailor soar across vast horizons!

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Sail a Small Catamaran

Are you ready to embark on a thrilling adventure exploring the open waters? Sailing a small catamaran is an exhilarating experience that combines the joy of sailing with the freedom to explore even the most secluded corners of the sea. But before you hoist those sails and set out, let’s dive into this step-by-step guide on how to sail a small catamaran.

Step 1: Preparation is Key Like any adventure, proper preparation is vital for ensuring a smooth sailing experience. Start by checking weather forecasts and wind conditions, as these factors will greatly influence your journey. Additionally, gather all essential safety equipment such as life jackets, flares, and a first aid kit. It’s crucial to prioritize safety above all else when venturing into the vast blue.

Step 2: Getting to Know Your Catamaran A small catamaran may be nimble, but it still requires an in-depth understanding of its mechanisms. Take some time familiarizing yourself with its various parts – the hulls, trampoline netting, rudders, daggerboards (if present), and mast system. Understanding how these components work together will provide a solid foundation for your sailing skills.

Step 3: Rigging Up Now it’s time to put that newfound knowledge into practice! Begin by setting up the mast and attaching all necessary rigging lines. Ensure everything is tightly secured but not overly tense – finding that perfect balance is crucial for optimal performance during your voyage.

Step 4: Launching Your Catamaran With everything securely rigged up, it’s time to launch your vessel into the water. This step requires caution and teamwork if you have someone helping you launch from a beach or ramp.

Slowly push your catamaran into knee-deep water while holding onto its rear end at all times. As soon as it begins floating freely once again supported by buoyancy, hop aboard one hull while keeping the other hull onshore. This method allows you to have greater control while preventing any unwanted drifting.

Step 5: The Art of Hoisting the Sail Now comes the most exciting part – hoisting the sail! Locate the main halyard (the line that hoists your mainsail) and give it a gentle tug until the sail reaches its highest point on the mast. Remember, patience is key here. If you rush, you might end up with a tangled mess.

Once your mainsail is up, trim it by pulling on either side of the boom until it forms a concave shape. Adjusting this shape will help maximize your catamaran’s performance as wind fills its sails.

Step 6: Tacking and Jibing To navigate effectively, learning how to tack and jibe is essential. Tacking refers to turning your catamaran through the wind in order to change directions. Jibing, on the other hand, involves turning your catamaran downwind.

During tacking, release one side of your sail while simultaneously pulling in on the opposite side using a technique called “sheeting out and sheeting in.” This maneuver causes your catamaran to turn into the wind smoothly.

Jibing requires more caution since it involves passing through downwind territory where rigging lines can become dangerous if not controlled properly. Gradually steer into a downwind course and ensure all crew members are fully aware of their roles during jibing maneuvers.

Step 7: Mastering Sailing Techniques As you gain confidence sailing your small catamaran, practice various techniques such as depowering (reducing sail area in strong winds), adjusting daggerboards for improved stability or fine-tuning weight distribution between hulls when conditions become challenging.

Remember that mastering these techniques takes time and experience – don’t be discouraged if things don’t go smoothly right away!

So there you have it – a step-by-step guide on how to sail a small catamaran. Embrace the sea’s limitless possibilities while keeping safety at the forefront. Enjoy every moment as you navigate the waves, and may your voyages be filled with adventure, camaraderie, and endless joy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sailing Small Catamarans

Welcome to our blog section where we dive deep into the frequently asked questions about sailing small catamarans. If you’re curious about these nimble vessels and are seeking insightful, professional, and clever explanations, then you’ve come to the right place. Strap in as we unravel the mysteries behind navigating the open waters on a small catamaran.

1. What is a small catamaran? A small catamaran refers to a type of sailing vessel that consists of two parallel hulls connected by a deck or trampoline. These compact boats are known for their stability, maneuverability, and speed in both calm and rough waters.

2. How does a small catamaran differ from other sailboats? Unlike traditional sailboats with a single hull, small catamarans offer unique advantages such as increased stability due to their wider stance, reduced draft allowing access to shallower waters, higher speeds achieved through their streamlined designs, and minimal heeling (tilting) even in gusty conditions.

3. Is sailing a small catamaran easier than other sailboats? While sailing any vessel requires skill and knowledge, many sailors find small catamarans more forgiving for beginners due to their stability. However, keep in mind that mastering maneuvers such as tacking (changing direction against the wind) and jibing (changing direction with the wind) may take some practice regardless of the boat size.

4. Can I sail solo on a small catamaran? Absolutely! One of the great aspects of small catamarans is their suitability for single-handed sailing. With proper training and experience, you can confidently navigate these vessels alone while enjoying complete control over your journey.

5. Are small catamarans suitable for families or groups? Indeed! Small catamarans provide ample space on deck for multiple passengers, making them ideal for family trips or group adventures. Whether you’re exploring coastal areas or embarking on extended voyages, these vessels offer comfort, safety, and enough room for everyone to enjoy their time on board.

6. Can small catamarans handle rough seas? While small catamarans are designed to handle various sea conditions, including moderate waves and wind, it’s important to exercise caution when encountering rough seas. Like any vessel, you should always monitor weather conditions, follow safety protocols, and only venture out if your skills and vessel’s capabilities align with the prevailing conditions.

7. What maintenance is required for a small catamaran? Regular maintenance is essential for ensuring the longevity and performance of any sailboat. For small catamarans, tasks may include hull cleaning to prevent fouling, inspection of rigging and sails for wear and tear, and freshwater rinsing after each trip to prevent corrosion.

8. Are there specific sailing techniques unique to small catamarans? Absolutely! Small catamarans have their own set of sailing techniques that can optimize your experience on the water. Quick tacks and jibes can maintain momentum without losing speed while utilizing apparent wind efficiently. Additionally, mastering weight distribution across both hulls can enhance stability during gusty conditions.

In conclusion: Sailing small catamarans offers an exhilarating experience with their versatility, stability, and remarkable performance on various waters. Whether you’re looking for solo joys or shared adventures with loved ones, these vessels provide endless possibilities for exploration. By understanding the nuances unique to small catamarans and practicing proper maintenance and sailing techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on unforgettable journeys across the open seas.

Exploring the Thrills and Joys of Sailing a Small Catamaran


Welcome aboard! In this blog post, we invite you to join us as we delve into the exciting world of sailing a small catamaran. With its double hull design and sleek form, a small catamaran offers an exhilarating experience on the water like no other. So, buckle up your lifejacket, raise the sails, and let’s embark on a thrilling journey exploring the joys of sailing a small catamaran!

1. The Freedom of Speed and Agility:

One of the major thrills of sailing a small catamaran is the incredible speed and agility it offers. Due to its lightweight design and dual hulls, these vessels are incredibly fast on the water. There is nothing quite like feeling the wind in your hair as you zip across the waves with unmatched velocity.

As sailors navigate through narrow channels or maneuver around challenging obstacles, they’ll discover that these boats respond quickly to even subtle changes in wind direction or shifts in weight distribution. This responsiveness grants sailors an unmatched sense of control and brings out their inner adventurers!

2. Stability – Say Goodbye to Tipping Over:

If you’ve ever had concerns about capsizing while sailing, fear not! Small catamarans offer excellent stability on the water due to their twin hull design. Unlike single-hull boats that may easily tip over under strong winds or rough waters, catamarans provide exceptional balance and buoyancy.

This enhanced stability opens up countless opportunities for exploration and relaxation on board. Sailors can confidently lean back against comfortable seating areas without worrying about abrupt movements causing them to lose balance – it’s like having your own private floating oasis!

3. Unleash Your Inner Water Olympian with Trampolines & Nets:

Small catamarans often feature trampolines or nets suspended between their hulls – an enticing recreational aspect that allows adventurous souls to tap into their playful side! These trampolines offer an expanded deck space where sailors can stretch out, relax, or even try their hand at acrobatic stunts.

Leaping from the hulls onto the trampolines, you’ll feel an unparalleled rush of adrenaline as you soar above the water’s surface. Whether it’s a daring cannonball or a graceful dive, these moments of pure joy add another layer of excitement to your sailing experience – a chance to embody your inner water Olympian!

4. A Front-Row Seat to Mother Nature’s Beauty:

Sailing on a small catamaran puts you in direct contact with nature’s captivating beauty. Picture yourself gliding across crystal-clear turquoise waters, witnessing dolphins gracefully leaping nearby while seabirds expertly glide overhead – it truly is a magical experience.

Catamarans’ low draft also allows for easy access to shallow coastal areas and hidden coves that larger vessels may struggle to reach. Drop anchor in secluded spots and immerse yourself in untouched wilderness away from crowded tourist destinations. There’s no better way to rejuvenate your soul than basking in such natural serenity.

5. Camaraderie and Bonding with Fellow Sailors:

The sailing community is known for its camaraderie and shared love for the open water – and this sentiment is amplified when sailing on small catamarans. With their compact size, these vessels often accommodate smaller groups or families who can intimately share every thrilling moment together.

From collaborating on navigation decisions to working together during docking or anchoring procedures, sailing a small catamaran provides an excellent opportunity for team building and bonding. Cherish those sunsets spent recounting exhilarating adventures with newfound friends – after all, what happens on the boat stays on the boat!


Sailing a small catamaran offers an unprecedented blend of thrills, joys, and unforgettable memories that are simply unrivaled by any other type of vessel. From feeling the wind powerfully push against your sails to witnessing unparalleled acts of nature’s beauty, the experiences that await you on a small catamaran are both breathtaking and soul-stirring.

So, get ready to embark on the aquatic adventure of a lifetime. Raise those sails high, embrace the speed and agility, and revel in the stability as you explore turquoise waters. Indulge in camaraderie, unleash your playful spirit on trampolines, and create everlasting memories with your fellow sea adventurers. Sailing a small catamaran is an experience that will leave you craving for more exhilaration on the open water!

Top Tips and Tricks for Successfully Navigating a Small Catamaran

When it comes to sailing on a small catamaran, there are a few tried-and-true tips and tricks that can greatly enhance your experience on the water. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or just starting out, these top tips will help you navigate your way through every challenge and make the most of your adventure.

1. Master the art of balance: One of the key skills for successfully navigating a small catamaran is maintaining balance. With two hulls, a catamaran can be more stable than a single-hulled boat, but it’s still important to distribute weight evenly to avoid capsizing. Keep in mind that sudden movements or shifts in weight can affect stability, so find your center of balance and adjust accordingly.

2. Make friends with the wind: Understanding wind patterns is crucial for efficient navigation on any sailboat, but particularly on a small catamaran. Familiarize yourself with different wind directions and how they impact speed and maneuverability. Learning basic sailing techniques like tacking (turning the bow through the wind) and gybing (turning the stern through the wind) will allow you to effectively harness the power of each gust.

3. Embrace technology: While traditional navigation methods are essential skills to possess, modern technology can also greatly assist during your catamaran adventure. GPS systems can provide accurate positioning information, helping you stay on track even in unfamiliar waters. Mobile phone apps featuring weather updates and nautical charts are valuable tools that should always be at your fingertips.

4. Communication is key: If you’re not sailing alone, communication between crew members becomes crucial for smooth sailing. Establish clear signals for maneuvers such as hoisting sails or changing course – this will ensure everyone operates as a cohesive team. Additionally, using standard maritime terms when communicating over radios or intercoms will help convey messages concisely amidst any noise or interference.

5. Be mindful of obstacles: Even though small catamarans are more maneuverable than larger vessels, it’s important to maintain vigilance when it comes to potential obstacles, such as shoals or other boats. Always keep an eye on your surroundings and use navigational aids like charts and buoys to effectively plan your route. Additionally, understanding local maritime regulations and guidelines will help you avoid any unwanted surprises during your voyage.

6. Safety first: Catamarans may offer a higher level of stability compared to monohull sailboats, but safety should always remain a priority. Ensure that you and your crew are equipped with the essential safety gear, including life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, and a well-stocked first aid kit. Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures such as man-overboard drills and know how to handle unexpected situations that may arise on the water.

7. Embrace the learning journey: Sailing on a small catamaran is not just about reaching your destination; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the art of sailing. Take time to learn about weather patterns, navigation techniques, and boat maintenance – each experience will contribute to becoming a better sailor. With patience, practice, and an adventurous spirit, you’ll soon become adept at handling even the most challenging conditions.

Navigating a small catamaran can be an exhilarating experience filled with unforgettable moments on the open water. By paying attention to balance, harnessing the wind’s power skillfully, utilizing modern technology alongside traditional navigation methods, emphasizing effective communication among crew members, staying vigilant for obstacles while adhering to safety protocols and embracing lifelong learning – you’ll undoubtedly unlock endless possibilities for adventure while successfully piloting your small catamaran like a pro!

Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind While Sailing a Small Catamaran

Sailing a small catamaran is an exhilarating experience that allows you to glide through the water with grace and speed. However, it’s important to remember that being out on the water also comes with its own set of risks and safety precautions. Whether you are a seasoned sailor or a beginner, keeping these safety measures in mind will ensure a fun and accident-free sailing adventure.

1. Wear your safety gear: Before setting sail on your small catamaran, make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment onboard. This includes personal flotation devices (PFDs) for each person on board, a first aid kit, a whistle or horn to attract attention in case of an emergency, and a throwable floatation device.

2. Check your weather forecast: Weather conditions can change quickly on the water, so it’s vital to check the forecast before heading out. Avoid sailing in stormy or severe weather conditions as it can be extremely dangerous for both you and your catamaran.

3. Conduct pre-sail checks: Just like any other vessel, small catamarans require proper maintenance and checks before setting off. Ensure that all rigging and lines are secure and in good condition, check for any leaks or damage, inspect sails for tears or fraying edges, and ensure that all required safety equipment is present and functioning properly.

4. Know your limits: It’s essential to know your skill level and capabilities when sailing a small catamaran. Improving your skills takes time and practice; don’t attempt advanced maneuvers beyond what you are comfortable with. If uncertain about certain techniques or actions during emergencies, consider taking sailing lessons or seeking guidance from experienced sailors.

5. Mind the boom! The boom (horizontal spar supporting the foot of the sail) can swing unexpectedly during jibes or tacks if not handled properly. Always communicate with crew members before making maneuvers involving the boom to avoid accidental collisions or injuries.

6. Be aware of your surroundings: While sailing, always keep an eye out for other vessels, swimmers, or potential hazards in the water. Stay clear of shipping lanes and be respectful of other sailors and their right-of-way.

7. Never sail alone: Sailing alone can be risky, especially on small catamarans prone to capsize. Always bring at least one other person with you who is familiar with the boat’s handling and can assist in case of an emergency.

8. Mind the weight distribution: Small catamarans are sensitive to weight distribution, so it’s crucial to balance correctly between both hulls. Uneven weight distribution can lead to instability, increased chances of capsizing or pitching overboard.

9. Stay hydrated and protect against the sun: Spending long hours under the sun while sailing can dehydrate you quickly. Remember to drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and lightweight clothing to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.

10. Practice safe docking: One of the trickiest parts of sailing a small catamaran is docking safely. Take your time and approach slowly when docking or mooring to avoid accidents or damage to your vessel or others nearby.

By following these safety precautions while sailing your small catamaran, you’ll not only have peace of mind but also increase your chances for a magnificent adventure on the open water! Enjoy every moment while ensuring everyone onboard remains safe throughout your journey!

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Best Small Cruising Sailboats

Best Small Cruising Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

February 20, 2024

‍ Key Takeaways

  • Affordable cruising sailboats offer comfort and fun without a large investment.
  • Models like the Catalina 22 and Hunter 27 balance space and ease of use for family.
  • Making an informed choice on a budget-friendly sailboat hinges on matching features.

‍ If you want to navigate the seas without breaking the bank, you do need the best budget small cruiser sailboats, perfect for both novices and seasoned sailors.

The best budget small cruiser sailboats include the Catalina 22 for its versatility, Hunter 27 for durability, Beneteau First 20 for performance, West Wight Potter 19 for compactness, Compac Sun Cat for ease of use, MacGregor 26 for adaptability, and Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 for comfort and style.

As a seasoned sailor with years of navigating diverse waters, I've had the privilege of steering through the world's most enchanting seas. Sharing insights from firsthand experiences, I offer guidance that's not just based on facts but seasoned with real-life adventures. Together, we'll uncover the secrets to mastering the waves, ensuring you're well-equipped for your nautical journeys.

Table of contents

‍ Best Budget Small Cruiser Sailboats

Embarking on the quest for the ideal budget-friendly cruiser sailboat might feel like navigating through a maze of countless options, but pinpointing the right vessel is key to setting sail without capsizing your finances.

You don't need a treasure chest to enjoy the freedom of the open water; with an array of compact cruisers on the market, there's a vessel suited for every sailor's needs that balances affordability, comfort, and performance.

Understanding the unique characteristics of these budget-friendly cruisers is the compass that will help guide you in making an informed choice. It’s not solely about affordability; it's about finding a sailboat that can offer you that quintessential sailing fun.

Here's a comparison of the key features of the best budget small cruiser sailboats:

1. Catalina 22


If you're diving into the world of sailing with a keen eye on budget and size, the Catalina 22 checks many boxes. As a small cruiser that balances comfort, versatility, and affordability, it is considered a classic staple in the sailing community.


  • Length: 21'6"
  • Beam: 7'8"
  • Draft: 2'0" (board up), 5'0" (board down)
  • Displacement: 2,490 lbs.
  • Ballast: 800 lbs.
  • Sail Area: 205 sq. ft.


The Catalina 22 sails with grace. Its fiberglass hull and well-designed keel offer stability and smooth handling, making it an ideal sailboat for beginners and seasoned sailors alike. You'll find it quick to maneuver and responsive at the helm, qualities that bolster your sailing confidence.

What Sets It Apart

With features like a spacious cockpit, a cozy cabin, and a pop-top galley for extra headroom, the Catalina 22 elevates the compact cruising experience. Its versatility shines, serving both as a casual day sailor and a capable pocket cruiser for overnight adventures.

Recent Updates

In its modern iterations, significant updates include an enhanced rigging system and improved sail controls. These upgrades bring the Catalina 22 in line with contemporary sailing standards while preserving its timeless appeal.

  • Offers great value for its size and features
  • Comfortable for small family cruising
  • Suited for both day sailing and short cruises
  • Its size may challenge extended cruising plans
  • Not designed for demanding racing scenarios

Who Should Buy It

The Catalina 22 is an excellent choice for you if you're a beginner eager to learn, a sailor on a budget, or a small family looking to create lasting memories on the water.

Where To Buy It

Ready to make the Catalina 22 yours? You'll find it available through official Catalina dealers and respected used boat marketplaces.

2. Hunter 27


When you're out on the market for a blend of affordability and reliable performance in a small cruiser sailboat, the Hunter 27 stands out. It’s specifically designed for those with a passion for sailing but have a tight grip on their budget.

  • Beam: 9ft 11in
  • Draft: 3ft 6in
  • Ballast: 2,000 lbs
  • Displacement: 7,400 lbs
  • Sail Area: 386 sq ft

The Hunter 27 promises an admirable balance of comfort and speed, ensuring your sailing experience is both enjoyable and efficient. With a modern underbody and an easy-to-manage sail plan, you'll find this boat to be responsive and stable, whether you're cruising along the coastline or venturing out a little further.

What really makes the Hunter 27 a gem in the pocket cruisers category is its ingenious use of space. Boasting a spacious cockpit to keep your crew comfortable, this model ensures fun on the water doesn't mean a compromise on space or safety. Its fiberglass construction adds to its sturdy reputation.

Recent iterations of the Hunter 27 incorporate more modern gear and amenities, upgrading not just the sailing performance but the overall comfort on board. These updates draw a clear line in the sand, separating the Hunter from its competitors.

  • Roomy interior for a small cruiser
  • Stable performance under various conditions
  • Ideal for family or small crew outings
  • Limited space can challenge onboard storage
  • Smaller sail area compared to larger cruisers affects speed

If you're a family or a small group looking to dip your toes into sailing without splashing out on a luxury yacht, the Hunter 27 could be the vessel for you. It’s also an excellent choice for those seeking a trailerable boat that doesn’t skimp on the liveaboard experience.

To secure a Hunter 27, reach out to authorized dealers or check the listings on sailing community forums. For the latest models, visiting the official Hunter Marine website provides you with all the updated information and contact details you need to purchase the boat.

3. Beneteau First 20


When you're out to conquer the waves without breaking the bank, the Beneteau First 20 emerges as a staunch ally. This sailboat marries high performance with affordability, embodying the spirit of adventure for both new sailors and seasoned veterans craving a smaller, more manageable vessel.

  • Length Overall (LOA): 20'1"
  • Beam: 8'2"
  • Draft: 2'4" (lifting keel)
  • Displacement: 2,755 lbs
  • Sail Area: 248 sq ft

For a boat its size, the Beneteau First 20 is notoriously agile and quick on the water. With every design tweak aimed at enhancing speed, she doesn't compromise on stability, making it a delightful daysailer or an enthusiastic entry-level racer.

The Beneteau First 20 stands out for its modern design and equipment, offering you comfort and safety in a compact vessel. This sailboat blends the thrill of sailing with the ease of handling, ensuring you get maximum enjoyment whether you're solo or with family.

More aggressive, stylish look and improved balance between performance and habitability

  • Compact size for easy maneuverability and storage
  • Cost-effective without skimping on quality
  • Limited space may not suit long-duration sailings
  • Less room for gear compared to larger cruisers

The Beneteau First 20 is the perfect buy for beginners eager to learn and for those downsizing from a larger boat but not willing to give up on zest and performance.

If you want this boat, seek out Beneteau dealers through its official website or charter services for purchasing or experiencing the First 20.

4. West Wight Potter 19


The West Wight Potter 19 is acclaimed for its compact design and remarkable capabilities as a cruiser sailboat. Perfect for you whether you're an expert sailor or just starting out, it combines ease of handling with the comfort essential for the best small cruising sailboats.

  • Hull Material: Fiberglass
  • Length Overall: 18'9"
  • Beam: 7'6"
  • Draft: Keel Up: 6" / Keel Down: 3'7"
  • Mast Height Above Water: 22 feet
  • Ballast: 300 lbs
  • Displacement: 1225 lbs
  • Sail Area: 158 sq. ft.

This compact cruiser is remarkable for its stability and handling in various conditions. Its speed is competitive for a sailboat its size, ensuring you have a lively time on the water.

Versatility and ease of transport are hallmarks of the West Wight Potter 19. As a trailerable sailboat, it promises adventure without the constraint of a single body of water.

Recent models have introduced modern equipment and upgrades in the galley and cockpit for improved comfort and convenience, ensuring a blend of traditional and contemporary needs.

  • Easy to transport by road
  • Designed for secure family outings
  • Equipped for preparing meals on board
  • Compact design caps the amount of storage
  • More modest compared to larger cruisers

If you're a sailing enthusiast in need of a traileable, versatile, and affordable sailboat, the Potter 19 is meant for you. It's ideal for both solo excursions and family adventures.

The best place to purchase a West Wight Potter 19 is through reputable boat dealers like YatchHub . Always ensure you are dealing with an authentic, trusted seller.

5. Compac Sun Cat

Recently, the Com-Pac Sun Cat has received attention for its balance between cost-efficiency and uncompromised sailing performance, perfect for those on a budget.

  • Hull Type: Monohull
  • Construction: Fiberglass
  • LOA (Length Over All): 17' 4"
  • Beam (Width): 7' 3"
  • Draft: 1' 2" board up / 4' 6" board down
  • Displacement: 1,500 lbs
  • Sail Area: 150 sq ft
  • Mast Height: 20'

Let's talk about how the Sun Cat sails. Generally considered lively for a compact cruiser, it harnesses light winds with ease and delivers a stable ride in choppier conditions. Its relatively wide beam contributes to its stability, and with no spreaders to worry about, setup and takedown times are significantly reduced.

The Sun Cat's design emphasizes simplicity and functionality, targeting both the novice sailor and the seasoned mariner looking for hassle-free sailing adventures. This boat's ease of trailering adds to its appeal, especially for those looking to explore a variety of sailing environments without the constraints of a mooring.

Recent models of the Sun Cat have seen enhancements in their cabin comfort and rigging efficiency, ensuring they stay competitive and appealing to sailors. Existing owners can often retrofit these improvements, demonstrating the manufacturer's commitment to the model's longevity.

  • Easy to trailer
  • Simple to rig and sail
  • Limited space for liveaboards
  • Heavier mast can be challenging for some

If you're a day sailor or weekend cruiser, the Com-Pac Sun Cat aligns with your lifestyle. Its setup is intuitive, making it a solid choice for beginners, while its performance and charm won't disappoint seasoned sailors.

The best place to buy a new or used Sun Cat is directly from Com-Pac Yachts or a licensed dealer.

6. MacGregor 26


When you're scouring the market for a trusty and affordable cruiser sailboat, the MacGregor 26 stands out as a remarkably versatile option. It merges sailing fun with budget-friendliness.

  • Length Overall (LOA) : 25 ft 10 in
  • Beam: 7 ft 9 in
  • Draft (Board up/down): 12 in / 5 ft 9 in
  • Displacement: 2,255 lb (water ballast)
  • Sail Area: 321 ft²

Let's talk about what it feels like to skipper a MacGregor 26. With its sails catching the wind, you'll experience a balance of stability and responsiveness.

  • It delivers steady performance under sail.
  • Power sailing is possible with a suitable outboard motor.

Why pick the MacGregor 26, you ask? Here's the scoop. It's truly one of a kind.

  • The combination of sailing and powerboat capabilities is unique.
  • Its transportability opens up your sailing adventures to myriad locations.

Keen on knowing the latest? The newer models of the MacGregor 26 have significant improvements aimed at enhancing your sailing experience.

  • Upgraded standing rigging for increased durability.
  • Enhanced hull designs for better stability and speed.
  • Easy to trailer and maneuver on land
  • Simplifies getting in and out of the water
  • Can be used as both a sailboat and a motorboat
  • Suitable for various water activities, from cruising to fishing
  • Hybrid nature may not appeal to sailing purists
  • Performance may not match up to specialized sailboats
  • Water ballast system requires careful management
  • Can be sensitive to incorrect loading

You're probably wondering if the MacGregor 26 is the right fit for you.

  • Ideal for sailors looking for a multipurpose vessel.
  • Great for those with storage constraints who still want to enjoy the sailing lifestyle.

Interested in making a MacGregor 26 yours? You can purchase directly from an authorized MacGregor sailing dealership .

7. Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 is a small cruiser that delivers big on both comfort and performance. It is designed to be an affordable option for sailors who seek a compact boat without sacrificing the amenities typically found on larger vessels.

Dimensions & Measurements:

  • LOA : 33'11"
  • Beam: 11'3"
  • Draft (Shoal/Deep): 4'10" / 6'5"
  • Displacement: 11,773 lbs
  • Sail Area: 613 sq ft
  • Fuel Capacity: 34 gallons
  • Water Capacity: 54 gallons
  • Cabins: 2-3
  • Standard Engine: Yanmar 21 HP
  • Optional Engine: Yanmar 30 HP

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 boasts a plumb bow and hard chine that starts before the boat's maximum beam—features that enhance stability and speed. Its twin rudders ensure responsive handling, making it a joy to sail in various wind conditions.

What really makes this sailboat stand out is its perfect balance between size, performance, and comfort. With innovative design features such as a long waterline and wide beam, you get a quick, seaworthy boat that doesn't skimp on living space.

In recent iterations, Jeanneau has emphasized easy handling, with features like twin rudders and a simplified sail plan. These updates cater to both seasoned sailors and newcomers eager to take their first bluewater cruise.

  • Stable and comfortable under sail
  • Spacious interior for its size
  • Easy to single-hand with a well-designed cockpit and manageable sail plan
  • Might feel underpowered with the standard engine in strong currents
  • Interior storage can be limited for long voyages

If you're a solo sailor or a small family looking to adventure without the need for a crew, the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 could be your ideal cruiser. It's built for those who love to sail and want a boat that's as easy to manage as it is inviting.

When it comes to purchasing a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349, your best bet is to visit an authorized Jeanneau dealer through their official website .

Sustainability in Small Cruiser Sailboats

In our quest for the perfect blend of adventure and value in small cruiser sailboats, there's an often-overlooked aspect that's gaining momentum: sustainability. As sailors, our connection to the sea is profound, and it's only natural we play our part in preserving its beauty.

Renewable Energy on Deck

  • Harnessing Nature's Power: The latest trend in small cruiser sailboats isn't just about cutting costs; it's about reducing our carbon footprint. Solar panels and wind turbines are becoming common sights on cruisers, providing clean energy to power everything from navigation instruments to lighting. Imagine sailing under a starlit sky, knowing you're leaving the smallest ecological wake possible.
  • Eco-Friendly Propulsion: Electric motors are on the rise, offering a silent and emission-free alternative to traditional diesel engines. Coupled with renewable energy sources, they promise a future where sailing is not only about embracing the wind but doing so with minimal environmental impact.

Sustainable Materials and Practices

  • Beyond Fiberglass : The boat-building industry is exploring sustainable materials like flax, bamboo, and recycled plastics. These alternatives not only reduce the reliance on fossil fuels but also offer durability and a lighter footprint on our oceans.
  • Antifouling Innovations: The battle against hull-dwelling organisms has historically relied on toxic antifouling paints. However, new non-toxic coatings and ultrasonic systems are proving to be game-changers, protecting marine life while keeping boat hulls clean and efficient.

The Ripple Effect of Sustainable Sailing

  • Community and Conservation: The sailing community is uniquely positioned to contribute to marine conservation efforts. From participating in beach clean-ups to practicing responsible anchoring, every small action contributes to a larger impact.
  • Educating Future Sailors: Sharing knowledge and practices around sustainable sailing fosters a culture of conservation. Workshops, sailing clubs, and online forums are fantastic venues for exchanging tips on eco-friendly sailing, and building a collective commitment to our blue planet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Picking out the perfect small cruiser sailboat on a budget comes with several questions. We've gathered the most common inquiries to help you make an informed decision whether you're just starting out, planning solo voyages, or looking for value without sacrificing quality.

What should I look for in a pocket cruiser sailboat for beginner sailors?

Starting your sailing journey can be thrilling. Look for a pocket cruiser that promises ease of handling, reliability, and comfort. Stability should be top of your list to ensure confidence as you learn. A well-designed cockpit with user-friendly controls makes it easier to master sailing basics.

Which small sailboats are best for single-handed cruising adventures?

For those who dream of sailing solo, the Ranger 26 is a great choice. Boats built for single-handing should have accessible rigging, autopilots, and robust safety features. The Beneteau First 28 is another vessel that combines performance with single-handed functionality.

How do I find a high-quality cruising boat under 30 feet without breaking the bank?

Striking a balance between affordability and quality can be tricky, but not impossible. One approach is to seek out models known for retaining their value. Your search could include the Nonsuch 30 , which offers considerable space and durability within this size range.

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Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

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The best small ship cruises

Try a boutique cruise holiday on a ship designed for an intimate experience

best small ship cruises

As much as the mega liners of the world are tempting for the all-singing, all-dancing, resort-at-sea type of holidays, the best small ship cruises, which typically carry fewer than 500 passengers, are all about exclusivity, individuality, and personal service.

We think the best small ship cruises are those that are a little out of the ordinary. Perhaps it’s a cruise that follows an unusual itinerary around tiny, lesser-explored islands, like Scotland's Western Isles . Or maybe the ship itself is extraordinary because it is more akin to a sailing boat, such as the stylish MS Galileo . We love small ship cruises when something special happens onboard too, such as a celebrity guest appearance .

When searching for the best small ship cruises, you'll want to make sure they match the experiences you're after. For a friendly atmosphere where guests get to know each other over dinner, a European river cruise along the Douro or Danube can offer plenty of shared experiences and opportunities to meet new people. For something that will give you plenty to talk about when you get home, expedition cruises to far-flung places like Antarctica are thrilling and intrepid without sacrificing comfort.

For more ideas, we’ve rounded up the best small ship cruises to help you pick the perfect nautical holiday.

A regal voyage around Scottish islands

best small ship cruises

Exploring a region by cruise often means you can cover more ground in less time. On a small ship, there’s the opportunity to tuck into ports and waterways that big cruise liners can’t. The elegant Lord of the Glens, hosting just 54 guests, investigates the inland waters of the Caledonian Canal and hidden Scottish sea lochs. Unlike some ocean cruises where you enjoy endless views of the horizon, on a Scottish cruise, there are landmarks and landscapes to admire from the deck almost all the time, including Urquhart Castle, the waterway of Laggan Avenue that’s lined with Scots pines, and the looming Ben Nevis.

Lord of the Glens is a one-of-a-kind ship with a design inspired by the Royal Family's former floating palace, The Royal Yacht Britannia. There’s a feeling of warmth and comfort throughout the ship, where dinner is created from locally sourced ingredients, and drinks are served in crystal glasses by attentive staff as you look out at the Scottish scenery through enormous picture windows.

You can join a very special departure on Lord of the Glens in May 2023 hosted by TV weather presenter, Carol Kirkwood.

You'll hear Carol reminisce about her life growing up in Morar and more about her grandfather’s role in building the incredible Glenfinnan Viaduct — which you'll also have a chance to cross on a journey on the West Highland Railway included in the trip.

A taste of Venice on a foodie cruise

small ship cruises

Take an oh-so-stylish cruise on S.S LA Venezia, an opulent river ship swathed in fine fabrics and finished with gilded accents and plenty of iconic Murano glass (she’s sailing to and from Venice, after all).

While the ship alone is enough to tempt, an October 2024 voyage from Venice to Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello includes a talk, Q&A and book-signing session with celebrity chef James Martin . In addition, the much-loved Saturday Morning host will cook a delectable gala dinner one evening onboard, too.

You’ll be in the company of just 125 other guests, so attentive service is assured. But just because it’s a small ship, that doesn’t mean it’s light on choices: S.S La Venezia has three dining venues, including an Italian kitchen on the upper deck.

This cruise offers exclusive access to some of the city's most treasured buildings, like St Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace — perfect if you're keen to learn more about Venice's art and architecture.


An unforgettable Antartica expedition

best small ship cruises

A cruise to Antarctica really is nothing short of extraordinary. And to do it right, you need to join an accomplished crew who know how this wonderland works. In 2020, expedition cruise experts Hurtigruten introduced MS Fridtjof Nansen to its fleet and it fast became one of our favourite small vessels to explore Antarctic waters.

Hosting just 500 guests, it's not the smallest ship exploring the region. But in this instance, being a little larger means you get some extra facilities including a choice of restaurants (a definite plus on an 11-night cruise), a large science centre, and a fabulous outdoor swimming pool (which, yes, is heated so you can take a dip in as you gaze across the monochromatic landscape).

A wine-themed sailing on the Douro River

best small ship cruises

River cruises are ideal for seeing the diversity of a region, and there’s plenty to see hopping from place to place along the Douro River in Portugal. A-ROSA ALVA is a small river boat that promises plenty of variety on an itinerary that starts in the colourful city of Porto before sailing into the wine-growing valleys.

Guests have the chance to disembark and take part in the traditional grape harvest, but that’s not the only reason it’s the perfect cruise for wine lovers. There are also plenty of opportunities to taste the local port wine at the Quinta da Roseda estate near Pinhão and sip from the ship’s selection as you look out at the passing scenery from ALVA’s Panorama Lounge.

A breath-taking tour of Croatia's Dalmatian coast

best small ship cruises

Croatia's Dalmatian Coast is home to some of the country's most spectacular locations, like the charming city of Spilt, historic Dubrovnik and the sleek island resort of Hvar. Set sail with us on a boutique, Supreme category ship for a voyage that takes you through these wonderful waters.

Highlights of the itinerary include stop offs in Mljet, home to verdant Mljet National Park, the peaceful and picturesque island of Brac, the stylish resort island of Hvar, and the popular city of Dubrovnik, with its stunning Old Town.

For this idyllic Croatia cruise, you'll be sailing on board a Supreme category ship, which has a maximum of 41 passengers. You'll get to enjoy spectacular coastal views while lounging on the sun deck, wine and dine in the elegant restaurant and bar, and relax in the onboard jacuzzi, too.

A sailing around the stunning Cyclades

the best small ship cruises, cruise around greece

Set sail around Greece's Cyclades islands on Star Clipper, a four-masted ship that carries just 166 guests. A reconstruction of a 19th century four-masted Barquentine, Star Clipper has 81 spacious staterooms, all with traditional, elegant decor, and open-air bar hosting live music, two saltwater splash pools, an inviting sun deck with loungers, a peaceful library, and an enticing restaurant.

You'll board Star Clipper in Athens before heading to Kusadasi in Turkey. After that, the ship will call at the islands of Patmos, home to the ancient Monastery of the Apocalypse; Amorgos, with it's rugged landscape and great hiking spots; Spetses, with white-washed villas and an abundance of pretty coves; and the ever-popular island of Mykonos, which is packed with happening bars, boutique shops, sandy beaches, and its traditional windmills.

A scenic route along the Danube River

the best small ship cruises, danube river cruises

Enjoy an eight-day sailing along the Danube River, the second-longest river in Europe, with Good Housekeeping in 2024.

Departing in July and October, you'll have the choice of seeing Europe's most picturesque cities in either summer and autumn, but can enjoy the luxury, intimacy and grandeur of S.S Maria Theresa whatever time of year you sail. Accommodating no more than 150 guests, S.S Maria Theresa is a small cruise ship that boasts a opulent staterooms, lounges and bars, a Viennese café, a spa, peaceful sun deck, swimming pool and cinema room.

As part of your sailing, you'll visit Budapest; Vienna, where you'll attend a private classical music concert as part of your fare; the quaint town of Dürnstein in Austria; and the beautiful German city of Passau. You'll also have the chance to soak up views of Austria's glorious Wachau Valley as you cruise through it, too.

A luxurious cruise around the best of Bordeaux

vineyards in the village of saint emilion in the nouvelle aquitaine region of france

Combine fantastic French food and wine with pure luxury on this cruise around Bordeaux in July 2024.

On this exclusive, eight-day Good Housekeeping sailing, travel on France's newest and most luxurious river cruise ship, S.S Bon Voyage. Accommodating up to 124 guests, S.S Bon Voyage is designed to fully immerse guests in French culture, art, and wine. Onboard, you'll find a choice of five-star restaurants, an infinity pool and relaxing sun deck, a fitness centre and the Serenity River Spa.

Departing from Bordeaux, you'll discover the wine culture and fascinating history of this romantic French region by visiting the UNESCO-listed citadel in Blaye, with its magnificent historic fortress, as well as the vineyards and châteaux of Cussac Fort Médoc, Cadillac, and Saint-Émilion.

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12 knots sailing courses.

Weather forecast

Learn how to read clouds and winds like a pro

Weather forecast

Competent Crew

Introduction to sailing. Learn how to become an active crew

Competent Crew

Bareboat Skipper

Recreational sailing yacht skipper of vessels up to 78 feet

Bareboat Skipper

Issued documents

Bareboat Skipper

10 days live aboard course on power or sailing yacht. The key objective of the course is to teach candidates to become a recreational sailing yacht skipper and be able to charter and handle big cruising yachts on their own.

Ideal for those who already have little sailing experience and would like to learn coastal navigation.

  • navigation at sea
  • collision regulations
  • practice at sea 200nm
  • Skipper on a yacht up to 78ft. / 24m
  • 20 miles offshore in day time
  • in moderate weather conditions

Competent Crew

5-day sailing course on board of a cruising yacht. The main objective of the course is to teach basic sailing terminology, parts and functions, basic sail trim, helm commands, seamanship and safety.

Ideal for candidates with little to no previous sailing experience who wish to train to become an active crew member on a power or sailing yacht.

  • no special requirements
  • Crew on a yacht up to 78ft. / 24m
  • in sight of land and in fair weather
  • only with professional skipper

Choose your sailing program. Where to start?

Introduction to sailing, on the coast.

Sailing knots - 3 hours

Understanding of the boat - 3 hours

On the water

Basic keelboat - 3 hours

Basic cruising

Safety on board - 3 hours

Live aboard sailing boat - 5 days

Live aboard power boat - 7 days

Bareboat cruising

Mandatory shore-based course for navigation and collision regulations at sea

Passage planning

Collision regulations

Practice at sea

Sailing boat - 10 days

Motor boat - 7 days

Advanced coastal cruising

Take additional shore-based courses prior to practice at sea

Long-term passage planning

Tidal navigation

Night sailing

Celestial navigation

Live-aboard course in tidal waters

Sailing yacht - 7 days

Upcoming courses


Blue water sailing practice

Blue water sailing practice daniel-kuruvilla-tSJc5U6f1M4-unsplash.jpg


Competent crew

Competent crew Skipper 8.JPG

Marine weather forecasting

Marine weather forecasting Clouds_small.jpg

Amalfitan coast with cruise liner

The 12 Best Luxury Cruises For White-Glove Service At Sea

All products and services featured are independently selected by forbes vetted contributors and editors. when you make a purchase through links on this page, we may earn a commission. learn more, annie davidson watson , contributor, forbes vetted.

L ong gone are the days where overcrowded ships with overstimulating amenities are your only cruising option. They certainly still exist, but now there’s a much stronger and more accessible market for luxury charters. Combining lavish amenities and refined comforts with the thrill of exploration, the best luxury cruises have taken white-glove service to the sea. In fact, luxury cruising has become so in demand that many esteemed hospitality brands—like the Ritz-Carlton , Four Seasons and Aman—have recently launched branded yacht collections of their own.

More than just a vacation, luxury cruises are designed to cater to the whims and desires of its discerning guests (caviar and Champagne on-demand, anyone?). From glimmering chandeliers and secluded suites adorned with plush furnishings to one-to-one crew and passenger ratios and carefully-curated expeditions, these cruises redefine the meaning of extravagant living—on land and sea. Whether you’re traveling as a couple, family, small group, or otherwise, we’ve selected the best luxury cruises of 2024.

Best Luxury Cruise Overall: Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Evrima

Best luxury river cruise: viking river cruises, viking osiris, best luxury cruise for foodies: crystal, crystal serenity and crystal symphony, best small ship luxury cruise: seabourn, seabourn pursuit, best luxury cruise for couples: silversea cruises, silver ray, best luxury cruise for families: msc, msc world europa.

  • Most Yacht-Like Luxury Cruise: Four Seasons, Four Seasons Explorer

Best Luxury Expedition Cruise: Aurora Expeditions, Sylvia Earle

Best luxury cruise for small groups: windstar cruises, star pride, best luxury cruise for solo travelers: ponant, le lyrial.

  • Best Luxury Cruise For Book Lovers : Avalon Waterways, Avalon Artistry II
  • Best Value Luxury Cruise : Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seven Seas Voyager

The Terrace Suite on Evrima

Recommended Itinerary: 11-Night Athens to Venice
Departure: From June 19, 2024
All-Star Amenities: The tasting menu at the onboard restaurant S.E.A., crafted by the Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg in Germany’s Michelin-starred chef Sven Elverfeld

The Ritz-Carlton has built a brand on its premier white-glove service on land, which now extends to sea following the recent launch of its Yacht Collection in the fall of 2022. Its 298-passenger ship, Evrima , marries a yacht-like experience with access to even more amenities (six restaurants, four pools, suite-style sea-facing cabins, salon, spa, fitness center and more). Aside from the ship itself, what makes Ritz-Carlton’s Evrima stand out from the rest is its sheer amount of itinerary options. You can explore the European Mediterranean and the enclaves of Canary Islands on one charter, then see the Caribbean’s greatest hits like San Juan and St. Barts on the next. Thanks to the Ritz-Carlton’s world-renowned reputation, Evrima is drawing younger crowds to the luxury cruising scene, creating a more diverse experience. Ultimately, the feel here is of a true luxury hotel at sea.

Guest room on Osiris

Viking Osiris

Recommended Itinerary: 12-Night Pharaohs & Pyramids
Departure: From August 21, 2024
All-Star Amenities: The sheer knowledge of and access to the crew

Time spent on Viking River Cruises’ Viking Osiris is not only a retreat, but an enlightening experience. Known for its educational programming, the ship features lectures and informative guides that highlight seemingly endless knowledge on everything Egyptian (ancient to modern). Paired with the Nile as a backdrop, you’ll find yourself absorbing more than you can have possibly imagined. Built for just 82 passengers, the intimate ship is a modern vessel built specifically for the Nile, with intentional Scandinavian design details. It has a light and bright feel, encouraging outdoor exploration of the riverbanks through plenty of outdoor decks. Guests must be 18 years or older, which makes this a great option for couples or older families who can truly appreciate the experience.

Umi Uma on the Crystal Symphony.

Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony

Recommended Itinerary: 10-Day Venice to Athens on the Crystal Symphony
Departure: From November 14, 2024
All-Star Amenities: The only Nobu restaurant at sea, Umi Uma by Nobu Matsuhisa Restaurant and Sushi Bar

After a brief hiatus in 2022, Crystal Cruises made a comeback in 2023, setting sail as Crystal—Exceptional at Sea under guardianship of the Abercrombie & Kent travel group. Along with the new name, Crystal refreshed its two ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony , and reintroduced them to the world of luxury with more spacious suites, a revamped spa and refreshed entertainment and events programming. The real star of the show, however, is Crystal’s exceptional dining, anchored by the only Nobu restaurant at sea, Umi Uma by Nobu Matsuhisa Restaurant and Sushi Bar, which can be found on both ships. One meal at Umi Uma is included with your sail (per person, on sailings 11 days or shorter) with each additional visit available for a charge of just $50 per person—incredible value to experience fan favorites like the miso-marinated black cod. Aside from a night at the most luxurious specialty restaurant you can find on a cruise ship, the rest of Crystal’s dining offerings are equally superb, from seasonal dishes at Waterside to classic Italian fare at Osteria D’Ovidio.

With an elegant design that reads yacht-like, Pursuit includes fine dining options for a true luxury cruise experience.

Seabourn Pursuit

Recommended Itinerary: 21-Day Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland
Departure: From December 15, 2024
All-Star Amenities: Two custom-built submarines, 24-person expedition team

Setting sail in August, the 264-passenger, 132 seafront-suite-only Seabourn Pursuit is the newest ship to join the Seabourn fleet. With an elegant design that reads yacht-like, Pursuit includes several fine dining options and formal supper nights, as well as complimentary caviar and Champagne on-demand, for a true luxury cruise experience. The crowd is well-traveled and skews older; you won’t find many late-night revelers here, in part because the ship doesn’t offer any onboard youth programming (although children are still welcome). That said, the ship does include entertainment that’s worth experiencing—singers, pianists and more.

White-gloved butlers and complimentary caviar are just a few elements that make Silversea’s Silver Ray perfect for a stress-free getaway.

Recommended Itinerary: 8-Day Cartagena to Lima
Departure: From December 27, 2024
All-Star Amenities: The onboard dining scene, specifically S.A.L.T. Kitchen, La Dame and Kaiseki

The second in Silversea’s Nova class ships sets sail this summer when the 728-guest Silver Ray makes a splash in the Mediterranean before crossing the Atlantic to winter in warmer climates. Mirroring her sister ship, Silver Dawn , she boasts the same level of service you expect from Silversea. White-gloved butlers, suite-only accommodations, complimentary caviar and Roman baths are just a few of the elements that make Silversea’s Silver Ray perfect for a stress-free getaway for couples in need of pampering. Beyond the ship, Silver Ray’s itineraries immerse her guests in authentic experiences that showcase the beauty in the world. Passengers tend to be in the 55-and-over age range and you won’t find many children onboard, which for couples, might just be what the doctor ordered.

Owner's Suite on MSC World Europa

MSC World Europa

Recommended Itinerary: 7-Night Western Mediterranean
Departure: From July 1, 2024
All-Star Amenities: LEGO experience, Aurea spa featuring high-tech beauty treatments and thermal experiences

Larger than many other luxury ships, MSC World Europa manages to host nearly 7,000 passengers while still keeping everyone serviced and entertained with over 1,400 crew members. With plenty of pools and hot tubs, and more unique amenities like a casino, arcade, brewery, Formula 1 simulator, water park, roller rink and more, there’s truly something for everyone onboard. Plus, it boasts the tallest dry slide at sea in the world—a must-do for families. There’s also a Family Zone that caters to every age range, from infants to teenagers, with dedicated sections per group.

Best Yacht-Like Luxury Cruise: Four Seasons, Four Seasons Explorer

The exquisite 128-foot luxury catamaran set sail in Palau in late-2023 and provides her guests an experience that’s out of this world.

Four Seasons Explorer

Recommended Itinerary: 6-Day King George Island
Departure: From November 27, 2024
All-Star Amenities: Speedboat transfer, PADI 5-star dive center, international dining

Luxury hotelier Four Seasons is expected to debut its highly-anticipated Four Seasons Yachts in early 2026. Until then, guests are invited to embark upon a true yacht experience onboard Four Seasons Explorer . With just 10 staterooms and an expansive Explorer Suite, the exquisite 128-foot luxury catamaran set sail in Palau in late-2023 and provides her guests an experience that’s out of this world. In addition to the attentive service onboard, everyone can dive into the clear Micronesian waters to visit the undersea world that’s filled with manta rays, sharks, orcas and, of course myriad fish. Back onboard, relax in the lounge, library, or sundeck, and enjoy indoor and outdoor dining while enjoying all the special touches for which Four Seasons is known, including checking in and out on your schedule.

Sylvia Earle Suite on the Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle

Recommended Itinerary: 14-Day Antarctic Explorer featuring the Chilean Fjords
Departure: From March 1, 2025
All-Star Amenities: The availability of so many amenities—restaurants, bars, hot tubs—that aren’t as typical on expedition cruises

Sailing on Aurora Expedition’s Sylvia Earle is nothing short of an adventure. Founded about 30 years ago by climber Greg Mortimer and inspired by the female marine biologist after whom it’s named, the 132-passenger Sylvia Earle has exploration ingrained in its DNA. It’s no surprise, then, that the staff is incredibly knowledgeable and eager with an up-for-anything attitude (remote seas, some of the world’s highest peaks, you name it). Plus, the onboard amenities rival any luxury cruise—a rarity on expedition ships.

Owner's Suite Living Room on Star Pride

Recommended Itinerary: 10-Day Comprehensive Iceland Cruise Tour
Departure: From August 20, 2024
All-Star Amenities: Join the yacht’s culinary team to shop provisions for meal service at local markets

A 312-passenger, all-suite vessel, Star Pride feels large enough for small groups where they won’t feel too-close-for-comfort and can have their own privacy, but intimate enough where they can welcome outside connections. And thanks to its size, it’s able to access less-traveled routes and ports that make for an even more memorable experience to enjoy among a group. Plus, there are plenty of dining options (five restaurants including a top-notch Spanish tapas concept that’s a must-try) to enjoy as a group or split up on different evenings.

From sailing past icebergs and rugged mountains to spotting whales, there is plenty to keep you busy throughout the duration of the cruise.

Recommended Itinerary: 15-Day Wilderness from Greenland to the East Coast of Canada
Departure: From August 25, 2024
All-Star Amenities: Single supplement waived on more than 100 voyages; spa with hammam; fine dining

Solo travel is becoming more popular amongst travelers, so it’s nice when you find a luxury cruise line that welcomes independent cruisers by waiving the single supplement. French cruise line Ponant does just that on more than 100 of its voyages, including the brand new 15-day Wilderness from Greenland to the East Coast of Canada itinerary. From sailing past icebergs and rugged mountains to spotting whales, polar bears and muskox, and excursions along the way, there is plenty to keep you busy throughout the duration of the cruise.

Time aboard Le Lyrial is filled with guest lectures, fine dining in two onboard restaurants and exceptional, personalized service. With just 122 staterooms and suites and 244 guests, and plenty of space for everyone, the ship never feels overcrowded. After days of exploration, retreat to the spa for complimentary access to the hammam and a full menu of services in partnership with SOTHYS Paris, including massages and facials.

Best Luxury Cruise For Book Lovers: Avalon Waterways, Avalon Artistry II

Onboard, enjoy wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows that convert Panoramic Suites’ living spaces into open-air balconies.

Avalon Artistry II

Recommended Itinerary: 8-Day Cheers to 50 Years! A Storyteller Cruise & Birthday Celebration with Jen Hatmaker
Departure: From August 3, 2024
All-Star Amenities: Well-stocked library; onboard adventure center; daily happy hour

Book lovers quietly rejoiced when Avalon Waterways debuted its Storyteller Series in 2021. Through the series, revered authors and musicians join guests onboard select itineraries for a week of conversation and collegiality while exploring stunning European river landscapes. During the 8-day Cheers to 50 Years! sailing, New York Times best-selling author Jen Hatmaker will celebrate her 50th birthday aboard the intimate Avalon Artistry II , with just 64 staterooms and suites, when it sails through Holland and Belgium.

In addition to spending time with Hatamaker, guests can choose their own onshore adventures through Avalon Waterways’ curated excursions that appeal to all types of travelers: Active, Classic and Discovery. Back onboard, enjoy daily happy hour; wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows that convert Panoramic Suites’ living spaces into open-air balconies; and complimentary WiFi to share the trip with your book club back home.

Best Value Luxury Cruise: Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seven Seas Voyager

All of the luxury line’s 2-for-1 all-inclusive fares include free roundtrip business class air on intercontinental flights and free air on domestic flights.

Seven Seas Voyager

Recommended Itinerary: 16-Day South Pacific Revelry
Departure: From February 11, 2025
All-Star Amenities: 2-for-1 all-inclusive fares; complimentary business class air; complimentary two- and three-night land programs; all-balcony suites; free unlimited shore excursions

The words value and luxury may not seem to go together, but they do when sailing with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. All of the luxury line’s 2-for-1 all-inclusive fares include free roundtrip business class air on intercontinental flights and free air on domestic flights; free two- and three-night land programs to enjoy before or after the cruise; pre-paid gratuities; free valet laundry service and more.

Soak up the sun of the South Pacific on the 16-day South Pacific Revelry cruise. Departing from Auckland, the voyage calls upon Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa before arriving in French Polynesia, where you’ll enjoy three days of island bliss.

What Are The Top Luxury Cruise Lines?

In the seemingly ever-growing category of luxury cruise lines, you may wonder which are the crème de la crème. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection , Ponant and Aurora Expeditions certainly fit the bill, providing exceptional experiences with exquisite service to some of the world’s most exotic destinations, all aboard luxurious vessels.

What Is The Best Luxury Cruise Line For Couples?

Couples who want to set sail in the lap of luxury should make reservations with Silversea Cruises . The luxury cruise line attracts a more mature clientele and its worldwide destinations set the scene for couples who only have eyes for each other.

About Annie Davidson Watson, Your Luxury Cruise Guide

I'm a writer, editor and consultant who has covered luxury travel and cruising for the last ten years. Formerly, I was an editor at Departures, Travel + Leisure, Glamour and more, and I now contribute regularly to both Forbes and Forbes Vetted. I'm also the founder of @littleackbook , a Nantucket-based publication and concierge service. For more, follow me at @anniedavidsonwatson .

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THE 10 BEST Moscow Boat Rides & Cruises

Boat rides & cruises in moscow.

  • Boat Rentals
  • Scuba & Snorkeling
  • Fishing Charters & Tours
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding
  • Water Sports
  • Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
  • Kayaking & Canoeing
  • Waterskiing & Jetskiing
  • River Rafting & Tubing
  • Parasailing & Paragliding
  • Dolphin & Whale Watching
  • Speed Boats Tours
  • Submarine Tours
  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 2.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3rd Transport Ring (TTK)
  • District Central (TsAO)
  • Garden Ring
  • District Northern (SAO)
  • Good for Big Groups
  • Good for Couples
  • Good for a Rainy Day
  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for Kids
  • Hidden Gems
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
  • Adventurous
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

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1. Flotilla Radisson Royal


2. Moscow River Boat Tours


3. Sup-Club

small catamaran cruising

4. Akvanavt Diving Centre

small catamaran cruising

5. Diving Center Crocus City Oceanarium

small catamaran cruising

6. CheapRussia Tours


7. Kite School Kiteclass


8. SUP Center

small catamaran cruising

9. Erwin. Reka


10. Easy Russia Tour Guide


12. Lovely Russia Tours


13. Capital River Boat Tours - Moscow Centre


14. Alfa Centr

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15. Diving Club Divers

small catamaran cruising

16. Sup Outdoor

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19. Soho Sailing Style

small catamaran cruising

20. Diving Center Crocodile

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21. Mosparokhodstvo


22. Dive-Project

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24. Kosinskiy Children Marine Club

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25. Kayak Moscow



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27. FLOW Moscow

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28. Moswake

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29. Morskiye Volki

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30. S-cruises


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Cruise Routes (Interactive Map)

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Russian River Cruises

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  • Moscow — St. Petersburg
  • Moscow — Astrakhan
  • Astrakhan — St. Petersburg
  • St. Petersburg
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Russia is again welcoming travelers!

  • A negative PCR test is all that's needed to enter Russia
  • Regular flights are now operating to / from Russia
  • Visas can be issues quickly (Volga Dream provides your invitation)
  • All Volga Dream personnel and guides are fully vacinated
  • Bookings are transferable without penalty for 12 months
  • Volga Dream arranges PCR-tests if needed for your outbound flight

Check our COVID-19 Policy page to learn more.

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Luxurious river cruises in russia.

Explore authentic Russian cities. Enjoy premium service and engaging activities as you sail the Volga River.

Moscow. Red Square. St. Basil Cathedral

2022 Cruise Season

Join our signature small group journeys and cruise in luxury along the Russian Volga river!

St. Petersburg. Palace bridge

The Russian Odyssey

An extended 'South to North' view of Russia from Astrakhan to St. Petersburg through Moscow.

Kizhi Island

Explore Moscow, St. Petersburg and Russia’s Golden Ring in greater depth. Stay at gorgeous Four Seasons hotels. Enjoy special access to iconic cultural sites.

Moscow. Red Square

Lower Volga

Treat yourself to an unforgettable experience cruising the Volga river from Moscow to Astrakhan. The tour includes 2 nights in Moscow.

Yaroslavl. Local Church

Find Your Cruise

Select destination Moscow — St. Petersburg Moscow — Astrakhan Astrakhan — St. Petersburg

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A Volga river cruise is more than a geographical voyage; it’s also a journey through Russia’s rich and captivating history. No other experience takes you so completely to another place and time. The Volga is Europe’s longest and largest river; it meanders through the stories of Ivan the Terrible and his rise to power, the two historic ‘Greats’ Peter and Catherine, and then on into today. It’s a unique opportunity to see modern Russia in the context of its intriguing history, ably assisted by friendly and professional academics and tour guides. A Volga Dream Russian river tour promises to leave you with an unforgettable afterglow of fond memories.

St. Petersburg. Petehof

Moscow to St. Petersburg River Cruise

Moscow and St. Petersburg are Russia’s best-known cities, but the towns of Russia’s historic Golden Ring are delightful too. The luxurious Volga Dream offers a unique opportunity to visit these Russian gems by sailing gently along the Volga River on an unforgettable cruising experience. In small, exclusive groups you’ll enjoy preferential access to some of Russia’s most significant cultural sites.

Volgogard. Mamaev Hill

Moscow to Astrakhan River Cruise

Your River Cruise on the luxurious MS Volga Dream takes you from Moscow along Russia’s grand Volga River to the legend that is Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) and Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea. Along the way, you’ll discover the treasures of Yaroslavl, the oldest city on the Volga, medieval Nizhniy Novgorod and beautiful Kazan, the ancient Tatar capital. We plan our tour carefully to combine the very best of Moscow with a world-class Volga River cruise.

Discover Russia with MS Volga Dream - Click-through map

small catamaran cruising

We love hearing from guests about their time in Russia and one comment often hear is how surprised people are by the Russian capital. We can’t say for certain what people expected but we do know that it’s always far removed from what they imagined! It’s been called a modern metropolis, a cosmopolitan city, an historic gem, an architectural treasure and a cultural powerhouse, among other descriptions. Majestic Moscow has always surprised our guests and left them with lasting and fond memories.

Russia’s famous Golden Ring is an archipelago of historic towns surrounding Moscow. Uglich is one of the oldest and was founded under Igor, the last Varangian prince. It once resisted the Mongol invasion and its ancient walls saw the grisly murder of young Dmitri, son of Ivan the Terrible. The impressive Church of St. Dmitri on the Blood, with its classic onion domes and blood red walls, is a fine example of classic Russian architecture. The tour ends with an enchanting choral concert.

This, the oldest city on the Volga River, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasts a wealth of ancient orthodox treasures. The impressive Transfiguration of the Savior, adorned with murals depicting St. John’s apocalyptic visions can be seen in the Spassky Monastery. The Church of St. Elijah the Prophet is decorated with an awe-inspiring selection of rich frescoes. For a real taste of pre-revolutionary Russia, visitors are entertained by a costumed reception at the Governor’s House.

Close to the shores of White Lake once were the ‘tsar’s fishing grounds’. It lies in a place so serene that ancient monks chose to build no fewer than three holy sites here, including the Ferapontov Monastery. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, its chapels boast magnificent frescoes by Dionysius, one of Russia’s most renowned icon painters. The Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery was a refuge for many nobles during tumultuous times and later a fortress that successfully repelled invading armies.

The Karelia region is a vast and naturally beautiful wilderness that spreads all the way from St. Petersburg to the Arctic Circle. The glorious island village of Kizhi consists almost entirely of the traditionally styled wooden buildings of ‘Old Russia’. Among them is the famous Transfiguration Church built in 1714. Remarkably, and in testament to the craftsmen of the time, not a single nail was used in its construction! Kizhi is one of the favorite stops on the river cruise to St. Petersburg.

A typical rural hamlet brought to life by warm and welcoming villagers. Volga Dream guests are invited into local homes to enjoy classic Russian fare, tea with jam and ‘pirozhki’ (pies). Enthusiastic hosts share Russian traditions and the appeal of village life while proudly showing off their scrupulously kept homes and kitchen gardens. The tour continues with a brief bus ride to see a unique World War II memorial and then, for a real glimpse of Russian life, a visit to a local primary school.

Nizhny Novgorod

This was once a wealthy city thanks to its proximity to rich eastern trading routes. During the Soviet era, the city was closed to outsiders because of its military importance. It’s also where many political prisoners were sent to live out their days in exile. The 16th-century Kremlin ramparts offer spectacular views and the city is known for its elaborately decorated churches. For Volga Dream cruise guests, the highlight of the day is an evening folk concert performed by local children.

Sailing along the Volga river, the riverbank gradually ceases to be dominated by Orthodox churches. Instead, beautiful mosques appear as the river crosses into Tatarstan where the first stop is scenic Kazan, the region’s capital. Inside the white walls of the citadel, the famous Kul Sharif mosque and the old Cathedral of Peter and Paul stand side-by-side symbolizing the two faiths’ long and peaceful coexistence in the region. A concert of traditional Tatar music ends the Volga Dream tour in Kazan.

Passing the Zhigulevskie Mountains offers wonderful views from the sundeck before touring the city. One of the key attractions is the fascinating Space Museum, which offers a revealing glimpse of how the Soviet Union pursued its ambitious journey to the cosmos. The town is also noted for its beautiful esplanade, perfect for a relaxed stroll beside the Volga river. This in turn leads to the Samara State Art Museum. Founded in 1897, it is home to a collection of more than 16,000 works of art.

This city is best known for its close associations with cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin. The Russian hero who achieved worldwide fame as the first man in space lived and studied here. Saratov used to be home to a large German community, a heritage that can still be seen in the local architecture. The Volga Dream tour visits the Radishchev State Art Museum, the first picture gallery in Russia outside Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Originally called Tsaritsyn, the city was renamed Stalingrad from 1925 to 1961 in honor of the USSR’s leader. During World War II, the city’s residents put up a heroic defense, repelling an advancing Nazi invasion. The battle for Stalingrad has gone down in history as a pivotal moment in the bloody conflict on the eastern front. The most ferocious and deadly fighting took place on Mamayev Hill, where an imposing memorial now stands close to the excellent Battle of Stalingrad Panorama Museum.

Saint Petersburg

If Moscow surprises, then St Petersburg delights. Peter the Great founded the city to showcase Russia’s newfound enlightenment. He wanted to show the modern world a cultured and advanced society. In short, he built the city to impress and in that he succeeded splendidly! The striking buildings were designed by some of the finest architects Europe had to offer and even now, the ‘Venice of the North’ never fails to enchant with its spectacular buildings and impressive canal network. It is a city of true grandeur.

Cocktails with the Captain

Commanding any ship is a complex role that calls for a long list of skills. Captains know their vessels inside out as well as well as the routes they sail and when things don’t go to plan, they have to make instant decisions. Above all though, the most important part of the job, underpinning everything they do, is to keep the ship and everyone aboard safe. The Captain’s cocktail party is a great and a wonderful opportunity for passengers and crew to get acquainted as the gets underway.

Matryoshka doll painting

There is nothing more typically Russian than a Matryoshka. It embodies the fact that there’s always something deeper to be found in every aspect of Russian life. Learning the traditional designs and techniques used to decorate these iconic dolls offers a pleasant diversion and some cathartic creativity!

Superb Service & Dining

Our restaurant serves the highest standard of international cuisine, freshly made by our Cordon Bleu Chef. Choose either a sumptuous buffet or set menu for lunch while dinner is always four or five courses with full service. High praise for the exquisite quality of meals is yet another constantly recurring feature in feedback from our guests.

Meet the Professor

From the Mongol hordes to Soviet times, Russia’s history is, like all of Europe’s, a complex web of political intrigue, war and peace, trade and treaties, as well as heroes and villains. Academics devote whole lifetimes to studying Russia’s long past and one of them presents a series of lectures shedding light on everything from Gorbachev to Chekhov, Khrushchev to Ivan the Terrible and of course, contemporary Russia. Our Professor is on board throughout the river cruise for informal conversation.

Beginner’s Russian

The Russian language can be rather beautiful and poetic and we know that many seasoned travelers enjoy trying their hand at different languages. Our onboard teachers provide an introduction to the riches of Russian, so guests can try out a few useful words and phrases on real Russians during the exciting river tours from Moscow to St. Petersburg or from Moscow to Volgograd!

Russian tea tasting

The drink we tend to associate with Russia is vodka, but tea, in fact, is the much more universal beverage of choice throughout the country. Guests will get acquainted with the Russian tea etiquette, a fundamental component of the country's social culture, and enjoy the traditional tea ceremony while cruising from St. Petersburg to Moscow or taking a Grand Volga river tour.

Russian Dinner & Vodka Tasting

All our dining is international but for Russian Dining night, the Chef includes a selection of traditional Russian dishes: Chicken Kiev, Kulebyaka and no Russian table is complete without Borsch. To add to the ‘Taste of Russia’ optional Russian dress, or at least a touch of Russian style, is provided along with enthusiastic help from our staff!

Russian Cooking Class

A plate of pelmeni might not look like much to the untrained eye, but it forms the heart of Russian cuisine and culture. Basically, it's a type of dumpling: small portions of meat and onion wrapped in a thin sheet of unleavened dough and boiled, a little like ravioli. Guests can join a Russian cooking class onboard the MS Volga Dream to learn how to cook this delicious Russian dish.

Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov Piano Recital

Some of the greatest classical music ever written comes from Russia. It’s hard to imagine a more fitting stage for a virtuoso solo recital by our resident concert pianist than the mighty Volga or a better backdrop than the heart of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov’s own serene homeland.

Russian River Cruise Aboard Volga Dream

Moscow to St. Petersburg

Why Volga Dream

Kizhi Island

Family Owned & Operated

MS Volga Dream is Russia’s only family-owned river cruise ship. She can accommodate up to 100 guests, far fewer than most other cruise ships on the river making for a uniquely friendly and intimate atmosphere aboard.

Moscow. Four Seasons view

Five-Star Central Hotels

We at Volga Dream are completely convinced that, our guests should stay in great 5-star hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg within comfortable walking distance of all the major attractions, theaters and restaurants, rather than having to waste time in traffic.

MS Volga Dream. Owner's Suite

Luxurious Accommodation

The MS Volga Dream is the most intimate and elegant 5-star cruise vessel in Russia. She boasts 56 cabins, all river facing, ranging from comfortable Standard Cabins to spacious Junior Suites and the luxurious forward facing Owner's Suite.

Yaroslavl. Local Church

Russian Cultural Experience

Explore Russia's past with the help of professional tour guides. Our on-board program includes fascinating talks on Russian history and politics, Russian language lessons, a festival of Russian cuisine (including vodka tasting!), and much more.

MS Volga Dream cuisine

Gourmet Dining

Our on board restaurant serves international cuisine to the highest standard, all freshly made by our Cordon Bleu Chef. For Russian Dining night, he prepares a selection of traditional Russian dishes: Chicken Kiev, Kulebyaka and Borsch.

MS Volga Dream bartenders

Tailored Service

All our service crew members are native Russians who are fluent in English and handpicked by the Owner. Proudly, the Volga Dream is famous for her hard working and very hospitable personnel who take care of every aspect of your life aboard.

Download Our Brochure

It's never been easier to plan your next holiday in Russia. Download our free brochure to learn more about authentic Russian river cruises.

Volga Dream Brochure

Escape the hassle and bustle and add a satisfyingly informative element to your trip and bring together a colorful mosaic of people, history, traditions,  religion, music and art. These are the many strands that time has woven into what is known today as Russia.

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Cruising the Moskva River: A short guide to boat trips in Russia’s capital

small catamaran cruising

There’s hardly a better way to absorb Moscow’s atmosphere than on a ship sailing up and down the Moskva River. While complicated ticketing, loud music and chilling winds might dampen the anticipated fun, this checklist will help you to enjoy the scenic views and not fall into common tourist traps.

How to find the right boat?

There are plenty of boats and selecting the right one might be challenging. The size of the boat should be your main criteria.

Plenty of small boats cruise the Moskva River, and the most vivid one is this yellow Lay’s-branded boat. Everyone who has ever visited Moscow probably has seen it.

small catamaran cruising

This option might leave a passenger disembarking partially deaf as the merciless Russian pop music blasts onboard. A free spirit, however, will find partying on such a vessel to be an unforgettable and authentic experience that’s almost a metaphor for life in modern Russia: too loud, and sometimes too welcoming. Tickets start at $13 (800 rubles) per person.

Bigger boats offer smoother sailing and tend to attract foreign visitors because of their distinct Soviet aura. Indeed, many of the older vessels must have seen better days. They are still afloat, however, and getting aboard is a unique ‘cultural’ experience. Sometimes the crew might offer lunch or dinner to passengers, but this option must be purchased with the ticket. Here is one such  option  offering dinner for $24 (1,490 rubles).

small catamaran cruising

If you want to travel in style, consider Flotilla Radisson. These large, modern vessels are quite posh, with a cozy restaurant and an attentive crew at your service. Even though the selection of wines and food is modest, these vessels are still much better than other boats.

small catamaran cruising

Surprisingly, the luxurious boats are priced rather modestly, and a single ticket goes for $17-$32 (1,100-2,000 rubles); also expect a reasonable restaurant bill on top.

How to buy tickets?

Women holding photos of ships promise huge discounts to “the young and beautiful,” and give personal invitations for river tours. They sound and look nice, but there’s a small catch: their ticket prices are usually more than those purchased online.

“We bought tickets from street hawkers for 900 rubles each, only to later discover that the other passengers bought their tickets twice as cheap!”  wrote  (in Russian) a disappointed Rostislav on a travel company website.

Nevertheless, buying from street hawkers has one considerable advantage: they personally escort you to the vessel so that you don’t waste time looking for the boat on your own.

small catamaran cruising

Prices start at $13 (800 rubles) for one ride, and for an additional $6.5 (400 rubles) you can purchase an unlimited number of tours on the same boat on any given day.

Flotilla Radisson has official ticket offices at Gorky Park and Hotel Ukraine, but they’re often sold out.

Buying online is an option that might save some cash. Websites such as  this   offer considerable discounts for tickets sold online. On a busy Friday night an online purchase might be the only chance to get a ticket on a Flotilla Radisson boat.

This  website  (in Russian) offers multiple options for short river cruises in and around the city center, including offbeat options such as ‘disco cruises’ and ‘children cruises.’ This other  website  sells tickets online, but doesn’t have an English version. The interface is intuitive, however.

Buying tickets online has its bad points, however. The most common is confusing which pier you should go to and missing your river tour.

small catamaran cruising

“I once bought tickets online to save with the discount that the website offered,” said Igor Shvarkin from Moscow. “The pier was initially marked as ‘Park Kultury,’ but when I arrived it wasn’t easy to find my boat because there were too many there. My guests had to walk a considerable distance before I finally found the vessel that accepted my tickets purchased online,” said the man.

There are two main boarding piers in the city center:  Hotel Ukraine  and  Park Kultury . Always take note of your particular berth when buying tickets online.

Where to sit onboard?

Even on a warm day, the headwind might be chilly for passengers on deck. Make sure you have warm clothes, or that the crew has blankets ready upon request.

The glass-encased hold makes the tour much more comfortable, but not at the expense of having an enjoyable experience.

small catamaran cruising

Getting off the boat requires preparation as well. Ideally, you should be able to disembark on any pier along the way. In reality, passengers never know where the boat’s captain will make the next stop. Street hawkers often tell passengers in advance where they’ll be able to disembark. If you buy tickets online then you’ll have to research it yourself.

There’s a chance that the captain won’t make any stops at all and will take you back to where the tour began, which is the case with Flotilla Radisson. The safest option is to automatically expect that you’ll return to the pier where you started.

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Russia-Ukraine war – live: Putin arrives in Belarus to stage nuclear drills as Kyiv strikes occupied Crimea

LIVE – Updated at 17:28

Vladimir Putin has arrived in Belarus for a two-day visit where he will discuss tactical nuclear exercises with his ally Alexander Lukashenko .

Russia has begun stationing its nuclear weapons inside Belarus , which borders Nato members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, since its war against Ukraine began.

The Belarus visit is part of a round of foreign tours Putin is conducting as he kicks off his fifth term in office, many of which involve drumming up support for his invasion of Ukraine. He and Lukashenko are expected to speak about the second phase of exercises with tactical nuclear weapons.

“Today and tomorrow we will be discussing all this, including issues of security to which we have devoted considerable attention,” Putin was quoted as saying. “There is a lot to talk about.”

Minsk is set to take part in the exercises, aimed at simulating preparations for the launch of the weapons, which are smaller nuclear warheads meant for use on battlefields.

Putin has just returned from China and is also expected in Uzbekistan on Sunday.

It comes as Kyiv ’s forces struck the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula with a barrage of missiles and drones in the past 24 hours. Russia-backed local officials claim the strikes killed two in Simferopol, though there has been no independent confirmation.

Putin reaches Belarus to discuss tactical nuclear weapon exercises

Two bystanders killed in crimea, says russia-backed official, putin’s forces ‘kill seven’ in deadly kharkiv attack, first group of ukrainian pilots graduate f-16 fighter jet programme, russian spy chief says more than 20 arrested over deadly concert attack.

Russia has arrested more than 20 people in connection with an attack that killed more than 140 people at a concert hall near Moscow in March, the head of the FSB security service said on Friday.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The suspects held by Russia include the four suspected gunmen, all citizens of Tajikistan, whose detention was extended last week until 22 August.

No date has been set for their trial.

G7 prepares Ukraine loan ‘in principle’, reproach for China

Finance chiefs from the Group of Seven industrial democracies began a two-day meeting in Italy on Friday seeking to present a common front on the need to provide a loan to Ukraine and oppose China’s "unfair" industrial policies.

However, comments from officials ahead of the gathering in Stresa, northern Italy, suggest no hard details will emerge on a US push for a loan to Ukraine backed by the future income from some $300 billion of frozen Russian assets.

"We will be putting a proposal to use the windfall profits for the Russian assets for the years to come," French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters ahead of the opening session, a broad review of the global economy.

Ukraines Zelensky to visit Spain next week, report says

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will travel to Spain on Sunday and meet with prime minister Pedro Sanchez and King Felipe on Monday, Spanish radio station Cadena SER reported on Friday, citing sources on the team coordinating the trip.

Earlier this month Zelenskiy postponed his planned trip to Madrid and Lisbon amid intense fighting in the Kharkiv region.

Zelensky visits the site of the fatal Russian strike on Kharkiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has visited the site of a Russian missile strike on a printing press in Kharkiv yesterday.

You can view photos and video from his visit below.

Putin’s military purge ramps up as another Russian general arrested

Ukraine in talks with EU to maximise electricity imports, minister says

Ukraine is negotiating to maximise possible imports of electricity from European Union countries to compensate for the generation capacity destroyed by the Russian attacks, Ukrainian energy minister has said.

Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukraine‘s energy sector have intensified since March, resulting in significant damage and blackouts in many regions.

The attacks have caused more than $1 billion (£786 million) of damage to the sector, leading to the loss of 8,000 MWh of generating capacity from the energy system, the government says.

Currently, Ukraine can import from the EU states no more than 1,700 Mwh of electricity simultaneously.

“We’re negotiating. Our task is to maximise this figure,” Energy Minister German Galushchenko told parliament.

“Technically, we can receive (import) more than 2,000 Mwh, even 2,400 Mwh. I’m sure a decision will be made,” he added.

US will announce $275 million more in artillery and ammunition for Ukraine, officials say

Zelensky visits Kharkiv region amid Russian attack

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has visited the northeast region of Kharkiv amid Russia’s fresh assault in the area.

The Ukrainian leader said he discussed the frontline situation, particularly in the town of Vovchansk, which has become a primary defensive position near the border with Russia.

The governor of the region, Oleh Syniehubov, and the mayor of the region’s namesake capital, Igor Terekhov, were both in attendance.

We have some more photos of the attack on Kharkiv

We have some more photos from the scene of a Russian missile strike on a printing press in Kharkiv, northeast Ukraine, yesterday.

You can read our full report on the strike here .

Putin wants Ukraine ceasefire on current frontlines, sources say

Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to halt the war in Ukraine with a negotiated ceasefire that recognises the current battlefield lines, four Russian sources have told Reuters , saying he is prepared to fight on if Kyiv and the West do not respond.

Three of the sources, familiar with discussions in Putin's entourage, said the veteran Russian leader had expressed frustration to a small group of advisers about what he views as Western-backed attempts to stymie negotiations and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's decision to rule out talks.

“Putin can fight for as long as it takes, but Putin is also ready for a ceasefire to freeze the war,” said a senior Russian source who has worked with Putin and has knowledge of top level conversations in the Kremlin.

Putin has regularly suggested he is willing to negotiate a ceasefire, only to issue demands he knows Kyiv would never accept, and that permit him to steal swathes of Ukrainian territory.

Russian prison population fell by 50,000 last year, media report

The number of people held in Russian prisons dropped by 58,000 last year, Russian independent media has reported, continuing a steady fall spurred in part by the recruitment of convicts to fight in Ukraine.

In total, some 105,000 prisoners were released between 2022-2023, media reported, citing data published in the official journal of Russia’s prison service.

Russia has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world and a vast network of prisons and labour camps stretching across its 11 time zones.

Russia has recruited prisoners to fight in Ukraine since 2022, when Yevgeny Prigozhin, the late head of the Wagner mercenary group, began touring penal colonies, offering prisoners a pardon if they survived six months at the front.

Prigozhin, who was killed in a plane crash last year two months after leading a short-lived mutiny against Russia’s military leaders, said he had recruited 50,000 prisoners for Wagner.

Russia’s Defence Ministry has since continued recruiting convicts from prisons for its own Storm-Z formations.

Regional authorities in Siberia have said they plan to close several prisons this year amid a decline in inmate numbers driven by the recruitment of convicts for the war.

Russia unlikely to 'swallow the West whole', Hungary's Orban says

Fears that Russia would mount an attack on any Nato member are unfounded, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has claimed, adding that the war in Ukraine that is now in its third year showed the limits of Russia’s capabilities.

Hungary, a member of the European Union and Nato, has been refusing to provide military assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. Budapest also seeks to opt out of Nato long-term plan to aid Ukraine, with its foreign minister calling it a “crazy mission”.

Nationalist Orban, in power since 2010, has built his campaign for next month’s European Parliament elections on the agenda of avoiding deeper involvement in the conflict, saying the vote could determine the course of war and peace in Europe.

“The Russian military is fighting a serious and difficult war with the Ukrainians,” Orban told public radio in an interview. “If the Russians were strong enough to wrestle down the Ukrainians in one go, they would have done so already.”

Orban said Nato military capabilities far exceeded those of Ukraine, therefore it was unlikely that Russia or any other country would mount an attack against Nato.

“I do not consider it logical that Russia, which cannot even defeat Ukraine, would all of a sudden come and swallow the Western world whole,” said Mr Orban. “The chances of this are extremely slim.”

He said he considered references to the Russian threat as a prelude to deeper Western involvement in the Ukraine war.

Relations between Budapest and Washington have soured because of Hungary’s foot-dragging over the ratification of Sweden’s Nato accession and also over MrOrban’s warm ties with Moscow despite the war in Ukraine.

The first group of Ukrainian pilots taking part in the F-16 fighter jet training programme in the US have graduated, a spokesperson for the US Air National Guard has confirmed.

Ukraine is set to receive dozens of the US-made fourth generation fighter jets, though it is unclear when. Ukrainian military officials say they are vital to counteracting Russia’s aerial threats, most significantly their use of glide bombs, a deadly explosion nicknamed the “building destroyer” by pro-Kremlin military bloggers.

The pilots will now move to Europe for additional training, according to Politico.

The group began their training at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona, last October. The lessons are facilitated by the Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing.

Other pilots are receiving training in Denmark, and Romania also opened an F-16 training facility for Ukrainian aviators.

Earlier this week, the Dutch Defense Ministry announced that the first 10 Ukrainian military personnel completed F-16 maintenance training in the Netherlands.

Here are the latest photos from Ukraine

Good morning.

Below are the latest photos from Ukraine.

The United States is expected to announce an additional $275 million in military aid for Ukraine on Friday as Kyiv struggles to hold off advances by Russian troops in the Kharkiv region, two U.S. officials say.

This will be the fourth installment of military aid for Ukraine since Congress passed a long-delayed foreign aid bill late last month and comes as the Niden administration has pledged to keep weapons flowing regularly and to get them to the front lines as quickly as possible.

The package includes high mobility artillery rocket systems, or HIMARS, as well 155 mm and 105 mm high-demand artillery rounds, according to the two U.S. officials. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide details of the aid package before the public announcement.

Tara Copp and Matthew Lee report:

Two bystanders have been killed in the Crimea peninsula after a Ukrainian missile hit the region near Simferopol, a Russian-appointed official said.

Simferopol’s governor Sergei Aksyonov claimed that a Ukrainian missile had struck an empty building near Alushta on the peninsula’s Black Sea coast.

This comes amid a busy early morning in Crimea as Ukrainian military bloggers and unofficial media reported a number of targets had been hit throughout the peninsula.

Russia’s defence ministry has also claimed to have intercepted three ATACMS missiles over Crimea, without providing any evidence of the projectile. It said the military had destroyed three Ukrainian sea drones headed toward the peninsula.

Videos and photos of the incident have been shared by Krymsky Veter, an online news outlet dealing with Crimea, showing an explosion and fire in Alushta, and said ambulances were heading to the scene.

News outlet RBK-Ukraine reported, without citing a source, that explosions had occurred in three other centres and said targets could have included headquarters for the coast guard or intelligence centres.

Russian bloggers on the peninsula said they believed that not all incoming missiles had been intercepted.

Russia moves buoys separating river border with Estonia

Russian border guards have removed navigation buoys from the Estonian side of a river separating the two countries, the Baltic nation said on Thursday, adding that it would seek an explanation as well as a return of the equipment.

Some 24 out of 50 buoys recently placed on the Narva river to mark sailing routes were removed in the early hours of Thursday the Estonian police and border guard said in a statement.

Natural changes to the riverbed make it necessary to retrace shipping routes annually, the authority said, adding that the location of buoys between Russia and Estonia had been disputed since the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The Russian defence ministry earlier this week briefly published a proposal to revise Russia’s maritime border in the eastern Baltic Sea, but later deleted it from an official portal after creating concern among NATO members, including Estonia.

It was not immediately clear if the removal of buoys was related to any Russian Baltic Sea border plan.

The Estonian foreign ministry said it treated the removal as a provocative border incident and would demand an explanation as well as the return of the buoys immediately.

“This action by Russia, carried out in the shadow of the night, fits well within the broader pattern of Russia’s provocative behaviour, including on its borders with neighbours,” it said in a statement.

The Narva river runs from a lake between Russia and Estonia and ends up in the Gulf of Finland, part of the Baltic Sea.

South Korea and Japan roll out more sanctions over Russia-North Korea arms trade

South Korea and Japan are sanctioning more individuals, organisations and ships related to Russia’s alleged procurement of weapons from North Korea.

The sanctions from Seoul target seven North Korean individuals and two Russian vessels over alleged arms trading in breach of UN Security Council resolutions.

South Korea said the Russian vessels transported military supplies in a large quantity of containers from North Korea to Russia.

Japan also announced sanctions on 11 organisations and one individual including what it said were Russian groups involved in military cooperation with North Korea that supports Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Russia’s procurement of arms from North Korea violates the relevant UN resolutions that completely prohibit the transfer of arms and related materials to and from North Korea,” Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi told a news conference.

North Korea has been accused by the US and South Korea of transferring weapons to Russia for use in its war in Ukraine. Moscow and Pyongyang have denied the accusations, but vowed last year to deepen military relations.

Vladimir Putin reached Belarus for a two-day visit as part of several foreign tours to kick off his fifth term in office as he is set to discuss tactical nuclear exercises where Russia has now parked the weapons.

Upon arrival, Mr Putin said he had discussed issues of cooperation Belarus at a cabinet meeting in Moscow.

“Today and tomorrow we will be discussing all this, including issues of security to which we have devoted considerable attention,” Mr Putin was quoted as saying. “There is a lot to talk about. Everything is stable and going well for us.”

Discussions of the second phase of exercises with tactical weapons were also on the agenda.

“Part of this is the direct participation of our Belarusian friends and colleagues in the military sphere in these events.”

The Russian president traveled to China earlier this month, and is expected in Uzbekistan on Sunday. Earlier yesterday, the Russian president hosted Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in the Kremlin.

Putin arrives in neighboring Belarus for a two-day visit with a key ally

Guerillas discover stash of Russian weapons in Yevpatoria

The ATESH guerrilla movement discovered a stash of Russian military equipment at a freight station in occupied Yevpatoria.

“In the course of reconnaissance, an agent of our movement discovered the unloading of an echelon of equipment at the Yevpatoria freight station. In the photo, you can see BMP-3 and a T-72 tank platoon,” the message says.

They added that railroad cars with ammunition were also unloaded along with the equipment.

“The occupiers are hiding behind civilian infrastructure, but we are tracking the movements of the Russian military. We know exactly where to strike and we share this information with the appropriate people,” ATES added.

China asks UK to stop making ‘groundless accusations’ after Shapps’s remark

The Chinese embassy in the UK has asked London to stop making groundless accusations against China, and stop adding fuel to the fire on the Ukraine issue.

British defence minister Grant Shapps has accused Beijing of aiding Russia by providing or preparing to provide it with lethal aid for use by Moscow its war against Ukraine.

He told a conference in London that US and British defence intelligence had evidence that “lethal aid is now, or will be, flowing from China to Russia and into Ukraine, I think it is a significant development”.

Reacting to the statement today, a Chinese embassy spokesperson said the remarks “are completely out of nowhere”.

“We urge the UK to stop making groundless accusations against China, stop adding fuel to the fire on the Ukraine issue, seriously reflect on its role in international peace and security, and truly do something for world peace and justice,” the spokesperson said.

“On the Ukraine issue, China has always adhered to an objective and fair position, actively promoted peace talks, and promoted a political settlement,” the spokesperson commented.

“With regard to the export of military products, China has always adopted a prudent and responsible attitude and has consistently controlled the export of dual-use items in accordance with laws and regulations.”

Russia claims it controls more than half of Vovchansk near Kharkiv

Russian forces now control more than half of the border town of Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region, claims Russia’s parliament deputy Viktor Vodolatskiy.

The claims were reported this morning by Russian news agency TASS.

He added that the Russian forces are next targeting the towns of Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and Pokrovsk.

Moscow’s propaganda claims have not been backed by experts monitoring the war.

Washington-based The Institute for the Study of War in its latest assessment overnight said that while Russian forces continued ground attacks in and around Vovchansk in the past 24 hours, there were no confirmed changes to the frontline.

“Russian milbloggers [military bloggers] claimed that Russian forces advanced up to 400 metres in depth within Vovchansk, but ISW has not observed visual confirmation of this claim,” it said in its assessment.

As Russia’s forces edge ever closer, Kharkiv’s mayor has a defiant message for Putin

Exclusive: Mayor of Kharkiv Igor Terekhov tells The Independent that Russian forces are trying to ‘destroy’ his city, home to some 1.4 million civilians.

Tom Watling has more here:

Russian army loses 1,330 troops in Ukraine overnight - infographic

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported Russian losses overnight on Facebook.

They claimed the total combat losses of Russian troops in Ukraine from 24 February 2022 to 23 May 2024 amounted to about 497,700 people, including another 1,330 people overnight.

Number of injured at Kharviv factory reaches 20

The State Emergency Service of Ukraine on Facebook that the number of people injured in Kharkiv as a result of Russian rocket fire has increased to 20.

“Kharkiv. The number of victims of the shelling has increased to 20,” the statement reads.

At least seven people have been killed and more than a dozen injured in a Russian missile attack on Kharkiv , according to Kyiv officials.

A further two people remain missing after the attack, which saw Russian forces strike Ukraine ’s second-largest city at least 15 times, Oleg Sinegubov said.

IMF give Ukraine $8bn since invasion

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal had a meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by IMF European Department Director Alfred Kamme after which he revealed the commitment the global capital organisation had made to the wartorn nation.

He said on Facebook : “In total, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Ukraine has received 8 billion dollars from the IMF. The Foundation is one of our three largest donors and holds the framework of all assistance to Ukraine in the amount of over $120 billion.”

He added: “It will ensure that the IMF will remain a reliable partner of Ukraine in the future. We are extremely grateful for the trust and support in these difficult times.”

Number of Ukrainian refugees fleeing to UK drops

The latest migration figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of Ukrainians fleeing to the UK dropped dramatically last year.

Arrivals from Ukraine dropped from 98,000 in 2022 to 10,000 in 2023.

It came as The Independent revealed Ukrainian refugees fleeing the horrors of war to find sanctuary in British homes were sent to live with suspected gangsters under the government’s flagship Homes for Ukraine scheme .

People with suspected links to serious or organised crime were among those approved as hosts under the scheme, which was set up in 2022 to encourage warm-hearted homeowners to lend a spare room to those fleeing Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

In the worst cases, Ukrainian families and individuals “just disappeared”, according to one council worker, while others were forced to work for their hosts or were charged rent. In one stark example, a couple with a young child were sent to live with a convicted paedophile.

Glide bombs, missiles and drones: The aerial bombardment raining down on Ukraine’s troops around Kharkiv

Glide bombs, missiles and drones rain down on Ukraine’s troops around Kharkiv

Putin continues his purge as top Russian army general arrested

Pictured: Workers carry the victim of a body after Russian shelling on Kharkiv

13 children returned to ukraine from russia after mediation.

Thirteen Ukrainian children returned on Thursday to their homeland from Russia and Moscow-occupied territories of Ukraine with the cooperation of Qatar, officials in Kyiv said.

“The children have already been met in their homeland,” Andriy Yermak, president’s chief of staff, said on Telegram.

Moscow handed over six children, aged between 6 and 17, Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s human rights commissioner Dmytro Lubinets added that seven children had been brought back from Russian-occupied territories.

Kyiv says about 20,000 children have been taken from Ukraine to Russia or Russian-occupied territory without the consent of family or guardians. It calls this a war crime that meets the U.N. treaty definition of genocide. Moscow says it has protected vulnerable children from the war zone.

The International Criminal Court issued warrants for the arrest of President Vladimir Putin and children’s ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova on war crimes charges related to the abduction of Ukrainian children. The Kremlin rejects the allegations.

Russia says main power line to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant goes down

Russia said on Thursday that the main power line supplying the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) in Ukraine had gone down, but that there was no threat to safety and the plant was being supplied via a backup line.

The six reactors at the Zaporizhzhia plant, held by Russia and located close to the front line of the conflict in Ukraine, are not in operation but it relies on external power to keep its nuclear material cool and prevent a catastrophic accident.

The Russian management said on their official channel on the Telegram app that the reasons for the outage, which had not caused any change in the radiation level, were being investigated.

Ukraine’s foreign minister blasts ‘heinous’ Kharkiv attack

The Ukrainian foreign minister has slammed Putin’s “heinous” attack on Kharkiv which left seven people dead and injured dozens more.

Writing on X, Dmytro Kuleba said: “Russia struck Kharkiv and Lyubotyn with multiple missiles, leading to casualties and destruction.

“This heinous attack must remind everyone around the world that Ukraine still urgently needs seven “Patriot” systems. We are very grateful to Germany for announcing one additional system.

“But getting six more as soon as possible remains critical not only for Ukraine’s survival but for peace in Europe.”

At least seven people have been killed and more than a dozen injured in a Russian missile attack on Kharkiv, according to Kyiv officials.

A further two people remain missing after the attack, which saw Russian forces strike Ukraine’s second-largest city at least 15 times, Oleg Sinegubov said.

Ukraine’s state railway company said several of its facilities had been damaged in the attack and a number of its employees had been injured.

UK police charge man with national security offences linked to Russia

Howard Michael Phillips, 64, was charged on Thursday with an offence contrary to section 3 of the National Security Act - assisting a foreign intelligence service.

The Met said the country to which the charge relates is Russia. Phillips, of Harlow, in Essex, has been remanded in police custody and is expected to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court later on Thursday.

The Met said: “As part of the investigation, which is being led by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, officers also searched an address in the Hertfordshire area and an address in the Essex area. Both searches are now complete.

Norway further tightens its restrictions on the entry of Russians

Russian army's deputy chief arrested

The deputy head of the Russian army’s general staff has been arrested after being accused of taking a large bribe, according to Russian media.

The arrest of Lieutenant-General Vadim Shamarin, confirmed to Russian news agencies by a military court, is the fourth detention of a high-ranking defence figure within a month.

There was no immediate word on how Shamarin pleaded. His home was reportedly searched in connection with the investigation and he has been placed in pre-trial detention for two months.

Zelensky slams ‘brutal’ Russian attack on Kharkiv

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has slammed a “brutal” Russian attack on Kharkiv and Lyubotyn as carried out by “terrorists”.

Mr Zelensky said: “An extremely brutal Russian attack on Kharkiv and Lyubotyn. Russian terrorists are taking advantage of Ukraine’s lack of sufficient air defense protection and reliable capability to destroy terrorist launchers at their exact locations, which are close to our borders.

“And this weakness is not ours, but the world’s, which has not dared to deal with terrorists in the way they deserve for three years.”

Moscow warns it will strike British targets if UK weapons used to hit Russia

Moscow will strike British targets throughout Europe if UK weapons are used to strike Russian territory, the Kremlin warned.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said British sites within Ukraine’s territory and beyond would be hit in retaliation.

Moscow has already made the same warning earlier this month after David Cameron, the foreign secretary, said Ukraine had a right to use weapons provided by London to hit targets inside Russia.

The aerial bombardment raining down on Ukraine’s troops around Kharkiv

China sending ‘lethal equipment’ to russia for ukraine war, grant shapps warns.

China is providing Russia with lethal aid for use in its war against Ukraine, Grant Shapps has warned.

The defence secretary suggested that British and US intelligence contradicts Beijing’s previous attempts to present itself as a moderating influence on Moscow and President Xi’s government is instead helping to arm Russia.

Mr Shapps used a speech at the London Defence Conference to reveal China’s collaboration as he argued Nato needs to “wake up” and bolster defence spending alliance-wide.

China sending lethal equipment to Russia for Ukraine war, UK defence secretary warns

Moscow will retaliate against Norwegian decision to ban Russian tourists, Kremlin says

The Kremlin has said that it will retaliate against Norway’s decision to further restrict entry to Russian tourists, effectively banning all of them, describing it as “discriminatory.”

“Of course, such decisions cannot go unanswered. Of course, the decision is purely discriminatory,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

“We do not accept such decisions. We regret that the Norwegian leadership has chosen this way of worsening our bilateral relations, which have already been of poor quality recently, and not on our initiative.”

Russian citizens whose purpose is tourism and other non-essential travel will be rejected upon entry across the external border. Exceptions may be granted in cases such as visits to close family residing in Norway, the ministry said.

Ukrainian convicts sent to front line

Ukrainian prisoners have been sent to the frontline in a move intended to bolster the country’s defences against Vladimir Putin.

The convicts, who applied for mobilisation, have been released on conditional early release to serve in Ukraine’s armed forces.

“The first convicts received conditional early release to serve in the Ukrainian Defense Forces. They were convicted of theft, but voluntarily applied for mobilization.

“They have the necessary level of physical fitness and have successfully passed the professional and psychological selection.

This is not only a new chance for them, but also a significant step towards strengthening our country’s defense capabilities,” Olena Shuliak, head of Zelensky’s party said.

Russian attack on Ukraine's Kharkiv kills two, injures at least seven, governor says

A Russian attack on Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv killed two people and injured at least seven, local authorities said on Thursday.

The attack damaged transport and municipal infrastructure as well as a printing business, causing a fire, the mayor of Kharkiv and the region’s governor said.

Governor Oleh Syniehubov said Russian forces struck Kharkiv around 10 times. The attack also targeted Zolochiv and Liubotyn in the Kharkiv region, injuring at least two people in each town, he said.

The Russian forces used a guided bomb to attack Zolochiv, damaging a private residence and civilian infrastructure, according to preliminary information from Kharkiv’s regional police on the Telegram messaging app.

Kyiv ‘destroys Russian warship’ in Crimea

Ukraine has claimed it destroyed the last Russian warship armed with cruise missiles that was stationed on the occupied peninsula of Crimea.

“According to updated information, the Ukrainian defence forces hit a Russian project 22800 Tsiklon missile ship in Sevastopol, on the night of 19 May,” the general staff said today.

The Ukrainian navy later said on X that the vessel had been “destroyed”.

Biden urged to allow Ukraine to use US missiles to hit Russian territory

US president Joe Biden is being urged to allow American missiles used by Ukraine to be fired into Russian territory, according to officials.

The proposal, pressed by US secretary of state Antony Blinken after a visit to Kyiv last week, is being debated by the White House, the New York Times reported.

Mr Blinken’s pespective is said to have changed since Moscow opened up a new front in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, which is stretching Kyiv’s forces across the frontline.

Pictured: Ukrainian troops prepare Howitzer shells

Norway to further restrict entry for russian tourists.

Russian tourists trying to visit Norway will be rejected upon entry from the end of this month in a move, the country’s government announced.

Oslo tightened visa practices in the spring of 2022, after which tourist visas for Russians were largely not issued. The country also restricted entry to Russian cars in September 2023.

Russian citizens arriving in Norway for tourism and “other non-essential travel” will be rejected upon entry across the external border starting 29 May, the government said.

The ban applies both to Russians who managed to get a Norwegian tourist visa and to visas issued by other Schengen countries.

US questions UK claim China sending ‘lethal aid’ to Russia

The United States has questioned Britain’s claim that China was providing “lethal aid” to help with Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.

US security advisor Jake Sullivan said Washington had not seen evidence of weapon transfers after UK defence secretary Grant Shapps made the claim on Wednesday.

“We have not seen that to date. I look forward to speaking with the UK to make sure that we have a common operating picture,” Mr Sullivan said.

Previously, Mr Shapps said: “Today I can reveal that we have evidence that Russia and China are collaborating on combat equipment for use in Ukraine.”

Shapps warns lethal equipment being flown from China to Russia into Ukraine

China is providing Russia with lethal aid for use in its war against Ukraine , Grant Shapps has warned.

The defence secretary suggested that British and US intelligence contradicts Beijing’s previous attempts to present itself as a moderating influence on Moscow and president Xi ’s government is instead helping to arm Russia.

Putin lost more than 1,300 soldiers in the past 24 hours in Ukraine, says Kyiv

Russia lost more than 1,300 soldiers and 11 tanks in the past 24 hours alone in Ukraine on several fronts, Ukrainian military officials said in a morning report.

The General Staff of the Ukraine’s Armed Forces provides running tallies of Russian losses on its Facebook page, and said this morning that in the past 24 hours 1,330 soldiers have been killed, while 27 armoured combat vehicles, 11 tanks and an aircraft have been destroyed.

According to Ukraine’s tally of dead Russian soldiers, Russia has lost more than 497,000 troops in the invasion since February 2022.

Russia does not provide its own death tolls and there was no immediate way of confirming Kyiv’s tally.

The defence secretary suggested that British and US intelligence contradicts Beijing’s previous attempts to present itself as a moderating influence on Moscow and President Xi ’s government is instead helping to arm Russia.

Russia claims it has destroyed 35 rockets, three drones launched by Ukraine

Russia has said its air defence systems in the southern region of Belgorod destroyed three Olkha and 32 Vampire rockets in the early hours today.

Another three drones were also destroyed in the aerial attack, the Russian defence ministry said, blaming Ukraine.

The regional governor of Russia’s frontline city said earlier that no casualties were reported.

Russia begins nuclear drills in response to ‘provocative statements’

Russia ’s Defense Ministry has said it began a round of drills involving tactical nuclear weapons .

The exercises were announced by Russian authorities this month in response to remarks by senior Western officials about the possibility of deeper involvement in the war in Ukraine .

It was the first time Russia has publicly announced drills involving tactical nuclear weapons, although its strategic nuclear forces regularly hold exercises.

Missiles, glide bombs – with attached wings or GPS – rockets and drones . This is the aerial bombardment raining down on Ukraine ’s northeastern Kharkiv region, launched by Vladimir Putin’s forces from inside Russia .

It has been backed by a ground assault , as thousands of Moscow’s soldiers have poured across the border and tried to push towards the city of Kharkiv itself . The fiercest battles have focused on the town of Vovchansk, close to the border and around 40 miles from Kharkiv.

Russian forces initially overcame weak Ukrainian fortifications, penetrating a few miles and capturing two pockets with a total area of about 50 square miles.

They took a string of villages before Ukrainian reinforcements stemmed their advance.

On a visit by The Independent to the area, a Ukrainian army vehicle, with only three wheels, clattered to a halt on the road. As one of his comrades pulled out tools and started work repairing the vehicle, a soldier codenamed “American” explained what had happened to the wheel: “A Russian drone with a bomb spotted us on the road. We were racing as fast as possible but couldn’t outrun it. It dropped its bomb but luckily, it hit the asphalt, not us. But it still destroyed our wheel.”

Read more from Askold Krushelnycky’s ground report:

Blasts hit Russia’s Belgorod after missile attack warning

A series of blasts could be heard in the Russian city of Belgorod after a missile attack warning this morning, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.

Belgorod, a frontline Russian city, has been under a series of Ukrainian attacks for months now and has seen heavy casualties.

Ukraine has launched frequent drone and shelling attacks on Belgorod and other Russian regions on its border.

APTOPIX Russia Ukraine War


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