Have you been dreaming of not only going for a sail but living on the water? A sailboat can be a very affordable way to live a luxury lifestyle close to nature, and you may be surprised to find that you don’t need as big of a boat as you expected to live a great life on a sailboat.
What is a good size sailboat to live on?
What is a good size sailboat to live on? In general, any sailboat that is longer than 30 feet and has a cabin for sleeping can be an acceptable sailboat to live on. Most people choose boats that are about 40 feet since this is a good compromise between space and maneuverability without incurring very large marina fees.
Here are some great sailboats that are perfectly sized for you to live on, as well as some points to keep in mind when you are choosing the right sailboat for your needs.
What to consider when buying a sailboat to live on?
The right size sailboat for you to live on might not be the same size as somebody else’s ideal boat. Every foot of length past a certain point is a compromise.
Larger boats offer you more space, yes, but they also cost more and often make sacrifices in maneuverability and in the amount of water that they draw.
In general, sailboats larger than 30 ft are appropriate for living aboard.
Features to look for in a live-aboard sailboat
Size isn’t the only thing you need to be concerned about when you are choosing a sailboat that will be appropriate for you to live aboard.
Here are a few other things to think about when choosing a live-aboard sailboat:
Unless you expect to be setting up a tent on the deck every night, you need a cabin to sleep in. How big the cabin is and what accommodations it offers are up to you. If you’ll be sailing by yourself, a very small cabin will probably suffice.
If you’ll be sailing with more people, you’ll want more places to sleep and more room to stretch out in inclement weather. If you want some privacy, you may prefer a layout that has a cabin on both sides of a cockpit.
Whatever size cabin you choose, make sure that there is somewhere you can stand up fully. Being stuck in a space where you cannot completely stand up can be claustrophobic, and you don’t want to feel that way about you are boat’s cabin.
If you never want to take your liveaboard sailboat out of the harbor, you may not need a seaworthy boat, but most people who are choosing to live aboard their boats want something that they can take for an adventure.
There are compromises between comfort and seaworthiness, so take serious consideration into whether you really need a seaworthy sailboat or not.
However, if you choose to go on an ocean adventure and don’t have the right kind of boat, it can be extremely dangerous.
The sailboat you live on maybe pretty bare-bones, having few amenities besides the sails, the deck, and the cabin. Other boats make it easy for you to control temperature, have extensive galleys with lots of cooking amenities, etc.
If you’ll be living on a boat, you want to know that you’ll be comfortable. Choose a boat that has accommodations for the kinds of things you’ll want to do.
A toilet and plumbing are things that most people living aboard a boat can’t do without. Depending on the marina or anchorage, you may also need a shower.
Perfectly sized sailboats to live on
Here are a couple of sailboats that you can find used at a reasonable price and which have proven themselves to be awesome choices for live-aboard sailboats.
1. Catalina 30
This is one of the most common of all cruising sailboats. It has a robust fiberglass frame which has helped many of these boats stay on the water since they were introduced in the 1970s. A spacious and surprisingly modern interior will keep you comfortable.
The kitchen is quite large and features amenities like running water and electric pumps. A master bedroom is closed off to rest of the cabin so you’ll have privacy even if you have gas.
This boat comes with an enclosed shower and toilet. A table can serve as your kitchen table and also is a great general workspace.
2. Islander 36
This boat is a great cruiser, so if you have ocean adventures in your plans, it might be the right choice for you. It was designed for island-hopping, but it will serve you well if you want to live aboard at a marina as well.
The cabins are feature-rich and very attractive, and charming wooden trim is not at all uncommon. You’ll find an enclosed head and a shower to keep you as comfortable as you are at home.
The spacious and well-designed interior layout also features a table that you can make into a double birth when you have guests.
3. Nautitech 44
If you want some room to move around, but you don’t want to give up too much in maneuverability, you’ll love this catamaran. The integrated hardtop bimini is raised up so that you have a beautiful view of the surroundings from your cabin.
There are two boat options in steering to give you a better view of the sails or more convenience accessing the steering. Even when the weather is terrible, you can leave the door open to the cabin to enjoy the weather without having water rush in.
These boats are built with moisture-resistant closed cell foam to keep them buoyant even if they fill with water, so you can put your mind at rest if you want to take this boat into implement conditions and are worried about sinking.
4. Contessa 32
This is not only a great cruising sailboat, but it is also an effective racing sailboat. If you want a boat that you can live aboard in comfort that is fast enough to get you to your destination in a hurry when you want to go somewhere, this might be the right choice for you.
It has a thoughtful cabin with a fold-up table that works well as a map table or as a general workspace.
This cabin doesn’t have as many frills as some other options, but if you want an efficient and fast choice at a great price, it might be the ideal boat for you to live aboard.
5. Lagoon 380
At only 38 feet, this is one of the smaller cruising catamarans that you can buy, but it is packed with features that make it an awesome choice for a live-aboard. The starboard hull has a full bath and a full queen birth. You can also choose a charter Edition with identical four cabins in the two hulls.
There’s lots of storage offered in hanging lockers as well as shelf space. You’ll find 6.5 feet of headroom in this catamaran, so if you want a boat you can stand up in even if you are on the taller side, this might be the best pick for you.
The cockpit is extremely spacious and connects to the galley for convenient cooking. You can chat with your guests while you’re preparing dinner.
6. Pearson 34
This boat features a great interior with lots of floor room, so if you expect to need to spend a fair amount of time inside in your cabin, it may be the right choice. This is a great option for people who are sailing in Northern climates or poor weather where they need to feel that they can safely and comfortably spend time inside.
The head is also very spacious in this boat, including a bathroom sink as well as a shower and toilet. A master bedroom has plenty of clothing storage so that you won’t have to give up your entire wardrobe to switch lifestyles.
If you don’t want to make too many compromises when changing from apartment living to boat living, this might be the right choice for you.
7. Nordic 40
This boat is quite a bit larger than some of these other options, so if you want a good-sized choice, it might be the right boat for you. It has a big interior that one or two people will comfortably live inside.
Even if you need to spend a lot of time indoors in inclement weather, this may be ideal sailing boat. This is also a good choice if you are on the taller side, since it offers more headroom than other options.
The master bathroom is quite spacious and there is almost an entire kitchen so you’ll feel as comfortable as you do at home. There’s lots of storage, so if you want to anchor out rather than just staying at a marina, you’ll be able to keep everything that you need conveniently on hand.
8. Nor’ sea 27
If you are by yourself and you want a compact boat that will get the job done without any bells and whistles, this might be the pick for you. It’s surprisingly large inside and has lots of amenities to give you comfortable living onboard.
Extra bunks that can be converted from the table give you somewhere for guests to stay. One of the best aspects of this boat is that you can tow it on a trailer, so if you don’t want to live aboard full-time, this boat will meet your needs nicely.
9. Hunter 33
This boat offers lots of sleeping and seating areas and a good interior. The head isn’t too far from the controls, so if you’re single-handing and don’t want to step away for too long, you will appreciate the layout.
It also has a toilet and shower, so you’ll have many of the luxuries of home in this sturdy boat with headroom throughout the cabin.