To some people, freedom is a fast car or financial security, to others freedom is only a sail boat away.
Imagine being rocked gently by the waves as you sail across a sea-blue bay and onto an ocean of adventure. Watch the gulls dive as you picnic on board. This is possible with a sail boat.
The type of sail boat you choose depends upon a number of factors. First, consider your finances; next, examine the purpose of the sail boat. Is it to be used daily or seasonally? Do you plan to daytrip or spend days away from land. Are you alone in this venture or part of a group? Finally, look at the physical aspect. Are you going to sail on a river, lake, stream or sea? Will you hug the shoreline or strike out across deep water?
Once you have decided, it is time to consider the other important factors. While “sail boat” generally refers to any craft using wind as the primary means of propulsion, the term is associated with two basic types: the cruiser and the racer. In some instances, the typology becomes blurred and a racer/cruiser or cruiser/racer sail boat is the result. In the end, the defining aspects of what is what is determined by size, hull, keel type, number of masts and their composition and the rig or sail plan.
Simplistically speaking, cruisers are meant to sail on the ocean, cruise off coasts and explore shallow waters. They usually feature permanent living quarters. The sloop, cutter, yawl and ketch are all sail boats in the cruiser category.
The sloop is the most common sail boat. Its varieties include a small ship originating in Bermuda called the “Bermuda Sloop”. A sloop is characterized by a single mast and two sails, a foresail and a normal mainsail. This sail pattern proves to be very efficient for sailing towards the wind.
The cutter is similar to a sloop with its single mast and mainsail. The configuration of the system makes this sail boat versatile, particularly in high wind conditions.
Ketches are similar to a sloop but with two masts. The second is called the mizzen mast, its sail, the mizzen sail.
A yawl, like the ketch, has two masts. The mizzen mast, however, is much shorter than the main mast but the mizzen mast is carried astern of the rudder post.
Racers are the second major category of sail boat. These are generally lighter than cruisers, spartan in extras and frequently dependant on “rail meat” or human ballast to maintain balance. Schooners can fall into this category. With two or more masts and the mizzen the same size or taller than the foremast, they can skim across the water. Schooners are on the large end of the spectrum of racers. At the small end is the two or one-person dinghy. Dhingies are compact, fast and exciting to sail.
Whatever you’re fancy, be assured, there is a sailboat for you.