Sailboats elicit romantic notions of afternoons spent on a breezy bay, hardcore racing, historical re-enactment on tall ships or distance cruising to exotic shores—and all these visions are correct because sailboats today can do vastly different things.
Although sailing has fascinated us for centuries, time has brought specialization and segmentation of the sport with designs varying by function. Small sailing dinghies may be used on lakes or to teach the concepts of sailing while bluewater (or ocean crossing) boats can take you on a world circumnavigation. Sailboats in between can be raced in harbors or across oceans or alternately they can be cruised with friends or single-handed (sailed alone).
Monohull (single hull) sailboats come in sizes from 10 to 100+ feet. Multi-hulls (catamarans with two hulls and trimarans with three) also vary in size from fun day boats to 80+ foot platforms. Multihulls are gaining popularity due to their stability and in the larger cases, their ample living space.
Advanced construction technologies have made sailboats stronger but lighter so they can move in little wind but can also withstand the pounding of head seas (oncoming waves). Onboard equipment has also advanced so that it doesn’t take as much muscle to sail a large boat as it used to, and plus there are creature comforts abound.
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