Very often, those who want to buy a new vessel have a question – what kind of yachts are able to cross the ocean or the open sea? Below we will talk a little about it.
Let’s immediately decide that according to world standards, in particular in Europe, there is a clear division of yachts into classes, which is indicated by the shipbuilder when the ship is released. It is these types of sailboats for ocean that actually completely give you the answer to the above question.
Let’s consider how to choose sailboats for ocean crossing according to classes:
Class A – Ocean (ocean navigation vessel)
This includes yachts with specialized autonomous equipment that are designed for long journeys and are able to withstand winds over 8 and waves over 4 meters high.
Class B – Offshore
These yachts are also equipped with everything necessary for long journeys. But mostly in the sea. At the same time, they must withstand winds over 8 points and waves up to 4 meters in height.
Class C – Inshore (ship for coastal navigation)
Basically, these are yachts capable of traveling close to the coast, in bays, rivers (their deltas, estuaries), and lakes. Must withstand winds up to force 6 and waves within 2 meters.
Class D – Shelted waters (bay craft)
Only for waters protected from strong waves. These are mainly small rivers and lakes, as well as canals. They must be able to withstand winds up to force 4 and wave heights up to half a meter.
That is, when choosing a yacht capable of crossing oceans and seas, you need to focus on the first two options from the classification (A and B). Basically, in terms of overall dimensions, these are vessels over 35 feet long with appropriate autonomous equipment and provided with the necessary supplies of fuel and water. Of course, do not forget that such a trip will not be fast and time will have to be occupied with something (except for the case with a small sailing yacht, in this option you will be busy to the fullest). Therefore, we do not forget about our own comfort and space when searching for the appropriate vessel. In particular, you should pay attention to the spaciousness of the premises, the presence of a relaxation area, and luxury elements (such as a small pool, spa, or jacuzzi).
In recent years, the average yacht has increased somewhat, reaching an average length of 45 feet again. And this is despite the fact that the longer the yacht, the more expensive the insurance, maintenance, and equipment, the higher the parking fee. In addition, sailing on large yachts, you are unlikely to be able to experience the beauty of small fishing bays, islands, shallow lagoons.
The minimum size of a cruising yacht is due to another reason – the behavior of the yacht at sea. So, the region where the yacht is operated is of great importance. If in the Baltic with its short waves, then it is long enough for the best sailboats for ocean crossing is 35 feet. In the Mediterranean, the optimal length is 40 feet long. For the Atlantic, the best yacht for calm and safe navigation can be considered one whose length is not less than 42 feet.
Material choice: steel, aluminum, or fiberglass?
Once upon a time, wooden sailboats for ocean cruising were built, but today this is extremely rare. And we recommend buying a wooden yacht only to those who have a good idea of what it is – the process behind a wooden ship, especially when sailing in the tropics.
In the case of steel yachts, the situation is similar – the best small sailboats for ocean require constant and careful maintenance, and its hull needs a special anti-corrosion coating. Hence the conclusion: when buying a yacht, it is absolutely necessary that it be checked by a highly qualified expert, since only he will be able to detect all hidden defects.
Fiberglass has a lot of fans, but the use of steel is becoming more and more exotic and strange. Ultimately, the choice of one or another material should depend on where you are going to walk. In favor of fiberglass is that it absorbs the noise of a running engine, propellers, and wind noise better than aluminum. In addition, it is preferable on boats of small sizes because insulation, frames, and other elements of the set take up a lot of space in aluminum hulls. At the same time, aluminum has its advantages, for example, an excellent microclimate in the cabins. No fiberglass smell, no fumes provoked by it. In addition, metal sailboats for ocean cruising are themselves well protected from lightning, while plastic ones must be equipped for this, which is a significant expense. Another argument in favor of aluminum is that osmosis does not occur on such yachts.
Difficult choice: single or double hull?
It is quite obvious that there is no unambiguous answer to the question that causes controversy between entire generations of yachtsmen.
Each yachtsman must weigh all the pros and cons, set priorities, and, only after that, make a choice among the best sailboats for ocean sailing.
For example, monohull yachts are more economical in port, they just take up less space. And when overkill, they themselves return to their normal position. At the same time, the internal layout of a monohull vessel is almost always the same, which means it is boring: bow and stern cabins, a wardroom in the center, aft or center cockpit. Add to this a significant draft (with the exception of yachts with a lifting keel), and this is an increased risk of running aground, and it is not always possible to get closer near the shore.
Catamarans are very decent vessels, especially on courses close to the backstay. They have practically no heel, which is a significant advantage for long-distance transitions. They have large under-deck volumes, which can be divided into residential and technical compartments in any way with partitions. In addition, catamarans have a shallow draft, so they can enter shallow water without problems, and two propellers on two hulls provide easy maneuvering in harbors. True, due to the considerable width, catamarans are subject to higher port dues. It is true, and this is the main argument of their opponents, that catamarans are fraught with a hidden threat of capsizing during suddenly strong squalls and without any hope of returning to their natural position – up the mast.
Long or short keel?
Practice shows that a yacht with a long keel behaves much calmer at sea than a yacht with a short keel. It would seem that this is the best choice. However, if there is light, then there will be shadows. Long keel yachts are not very agile, while short keel yachts are excellent maneuverability, which is a definite plus when it comes to marinas, which are getting tighter every year.
When anchored, this feature plays a secondary role: a short-keeled yacht sways horizontally but lies in the direction of the wind. Long-keel yachts, on the other hand, rarely align themselves at the right angle to the wind.
Equipment: better to try than to learn
To create perfectly equipped best sailboats for ocean travel, the most useful thing is the experience gained during many years of sailing, say, during a vacation. After some time, some of the equipment from the yacht will most likely be removed, which means that it was bought in vain. But there is no other way than the empirical one. How else will you know what you really need and what you can safely do without?
Whether you are a seasoned sailor or just starting out, the best production sailboats for ocean crossing can make your travel experience comfortable and enjoyable. With so many options on the market, it is important to do your research before making an investment in a boat. Consider factors like size, type of hull material, deck layout, and quality of construction when selecting a vessel that fits both your needs and budget. Ultimately, choosing the best sailboat for ocean crossings requires careful consideration, but with some time and effort, you’ll be sure to find one that meets all of your requirements!