6 Best Sailboat Under 40 Feet (Style, Cost, Features)

Can you find a great sailboat under 40 ft? You bet you can. Just under 40 ft is big enough to offer liveaboard functionality but small enough that it can likely be single-handed or sailed by a couple of people without trouble. Many boats in this size range can also be trailered. This is an excellent size range to choose from.

What is the best sailboat under 40 ft? The Beneteau Oceanis 40 is definitely the most stylish option. If you’re looking for affordability, check out the Catalina 38. If a multi-hull sailboat is what you want, the Main Cat 38 or Corsair 37 may be perfect. If you want to motor, the Seawind 1160 is a great choice.

Here’s what you need to know about how to choose the best sailboat for your needs that is under 40 ft as well as the best options depending on what you’re looking for in a sailboat.

How to Choose the Best Sailboat Under 40 ft for You

40 ft gives you a lot of room to play with when you’re picking out a sailboat. You can choose a liveaboard sailboat that can travel around the world or you can use this kind of space to entertain all of your friends. Some boats make it easy to do both. Here are a few things to look for to help you choose the best sailboat for you:

  • Stability. Are you worried about getting seasick under choppy conditions? You may want to choose a multi-hull rather than a monohull. A catamaran or trimaran does a much better job of providing a stable ride than a monohull.
  • Livability. Some sailboats under 40 ft are designed to be lived on, while others are really more of a daysailer. Granted, most of the sailboats of this size have a galley and head to give you the comforts of home, but some are more designed to give you room to stretch out than others.
  • Motoring. You want a sailboat so that you can enjoy moving under wind power, but when the wind isn’t blowing, are you okay with chugging along at only a couple of knots or do you want a sailboat that can also motor with some power?
  • Style. A beautiful sailboat out on the water under full sail is a sight to be seen. Some of the boats you’ll find under 40 ft are highly functional, but not all of them have that wow factor.

Best Sailboat Under 40 Feet

Most stylish Beneteau Oceanis 40
Most affordable Catalina 38
Best catamaran Maine Cat 38
Best trimaran Corsair 37
Best interiorMarlow-Hunter 33
Best motor sailboatSeawind 1160

Best Stylish Sailboat: Beneteau Oceanis 40

If you’re looking for a sailboat that offers a classic feel with all of the modern amenities, this may be the one for you. These boats aren’t cheap, averaging between 100,000 and 150,000 for a used model. 

However, you get a lot of boat for your money. For one thing, this yacht is beautiful. Wood deck and trim make for a lovely feel. Contemporary lines are streamlined and stylish. 

The Beneteau Oceanis 40 is designed with a comfortable cockpit that makes it fairly simple to handle without having to go out on deck. Two steering stations allow you to choose the most comfortable place to steer regardless of how the boat is listing and where the sails are.

At the stern, there are convenient steps down so that you can easily take a swim without having to climb a long ladder to get back in the boat. Inside, it feels truly luxurious, with stylish wood accents, big bunks, a full galley, and plenty of natural light.

Best Affordable Sailboat: Catalina 38

If you don’t want to spend too much on your sailboat but want a boat that looks good, can achieve excellent sailing speeds, and is comfortable to be aboard, the Catalina 38 might be right for you. It was originally built as a racing boat, but as time has gone on, it has been redesigned to be a great cruiser. 

Fans of the Catalina 38 rave about how great this boat is. With prices from $25,000 to $75,000, it is one of the most affordable sailboats you’re likely to find in this size range. 

Older boats will cost less, but you may be surprised by how well they can perform. The solid fiberglass construction with teak trim and veneer can hold up to the years without any trouble at all.

Best Catamaran Sailboat: Maine Cat 38

If you’re looking for a catamaran sailboat under 40 feet, this may be the one for you. The Maine Cat is unique because it offers a wide-open cockpit that lets you do most of your living up on deck, even when the weather is less than ideal. 

The Maine Cat 38 is easy to sail even single-handed, and practically everything can be done from within the cockpit so you don’t need to worry about walking around on deck in bad weather. A full galley with a refrigerator, freezer, propane stove, oven, and microwave lets you live in the convenience and comfort you need for full-time cruising. 

This is a superb live-aboard sailboat that can take you just about anywhere you want to go without all of the pitching that you’d expect from monohull sailboats. 

Best Trimaran Sailboat: Corsair 37

Do you want a sailboat that’s under 40 ft that lets you really get moving and maintain a stable ride at the same time? The Corsair 37 might be the ideal boat for you. If you’ve been leaning away from a multi-hull because you want a boat that you can trailer and store on drydock easily, you’ll love the fact that this trimaran can fold its amas so it has the footprint of a monohull but the stability and space of a multi-hull when on the water. 

These boats are also fast, much faster than most other monohull sailboats. They can be sailed or motored right up to the beach so you can hop off and enjoy being on land without needing a dinghy. 

This is one of the few boats that you’re going to find that is seaworthy and spacious enough to be a liveaboard sailboat but can also able be conveniently towed and run up directly onto a beach without concern. 

Best Interior: Marlow-Hunter 33

Do you want to be able to go below deck without feeling like you’re in a refrigerator? The Marlow-Hunter 33 might be the boat for you. 

This little sailboat features an absolutely beautiful interior with plenty of wood to create a classy feel but not so much that you’ll feel like you’re in a tree. A large wrap-around couch and an additional couch provide seating for plenty of people, while the comfortable table provides space for dining without everyone feeling like they’re on top of each other. 

The standalone couch also features a fold-down table so it can easily turn into two comfortable chairs with an end table between. The primary table can also fold down to provide an additional bunk in the living area. 

There is a complete kitchen with a sink, a range, an oven, and a refrigerator. Lots of headroom ensures that you don’t feel locked in. Tons of natural light makes for a very comfortable space to be in. 

Best Motor Sailboat: Seawind 1160

You want to sail when you can, but on days when the wind isn’t blowing, you don’t want to feel stranded. The Seawind 1160 features powerful outboard and inboard motors and a design that makes for smooth motoring as well as pleasant sailing.

If you don’t feel like putting up the sails or the wind isn’t blowing, you can still make great headway and have a lovely trip on this catamaran. Like most multi-hulls, this boat offers more stability than you would find on a monohull. 

Plenty of deck space surrounded by a safety rail enables you to enjoy soaking up the sun on deck or tending to the rigging without fears of going overboard. This boat also features a stunning interior with enough living space to keep you from feeling pent up even when the weather is bad.

Have Fun With a Sailboat Under 40 Ft

Under 40 ft is a great size for a sailboat. These boats are small enough to handle easily and even trailer but big enough to live aboard. Just decide what you want most in a sailboat and you’ll likely find that one of these options under 40 feet is an ideal choice for you.