living on a sailboat

Want a Simple Life? Here are the 3 Best Sailboats to Live-Aboard

Written by Boatsetter Team
July 29, 2020

Last Updated on November 3, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

Try Living on the Water and Rent a Sailboat Today!

Living on a boat is a romantic dream, so most people think you have to be rich to travel the world on your own sailboat. This is understandable because so many movies over the years have promoted the images of rich couples on super-yachts sipping Martinis while watching the sun go down. While there is certainly room for those couples, we’re guessing you are not one of them. In this article, we will look at some of the pros and cons of living on a sailboat, consider the benefits of boat captains, and then examine which types of boats are the best choices. You’ll soon discover that it is easy to rent a sailboat, as well as many other types of boats, through Boatsetter.


Living on a Sailboat: Some of The Pros

The best thing about living on a sailboat is the simplicity. Because you have such limited space on board, you are often forced to be outside regardless of the weather, which means you can really become one with nature by enjoying amazing sunsets, rainbows, and even thunderstorms. On a boat, the weather plays a huge part in every decision you make. On a boat, you have to pay attention to how much water and electricity you use, which really helps you become a more responsible consumer. 

Another amazing thing about living on a boat is the freedom. If you don’t feel like staying where you are, you simply take your home and move. When you are out on the open ocean, it’s just you and miles of water everywhere. You can often see whales and dolphins, and generally eat delicious fresh fish most of the time.

It is also far easier to avoid other people and the annoyances of modern life when you live on a sailboat. You can simply say goodbye to big crowds and selfie-stick-wielding tourists when you have your own boat. Sure, some docks can get crowded, but there are so many to choose from. If someplace is too busy for you, simply sail off into the distance and find another one.

Living on a Sailboat: Some of The Cons

Sailboats take so much work. The projects when living on a sailboat are endless and tedious. Something always seems to be on the verge of breaking. This is especially true with the stuff you have on the boat: anything mechanical or electrical, any rigging or steering mechanism, any toilet, water pump, or holding tank will often break.

Something that can be an advantage can also be a disadvantage: the simplicity of the boat. Living conditions are often tiny and cramped, and you usually have to do without many of the modern appliances that have become pretty standard in most homes. Of course, it is often difficult to get wifi when you are out on the open water, so you can forget about endless streaming of movies!

One type of appliance (or furniture!) you will probably have onboard is a toilet. If you’re living on a sailboat in a marina, you will have to visit the pump-out station and use the little vacuum cleaner that is usually there. The nozzle can be attached to a small hole on deck, and all of the waste gets pumped out. Naturally, this is an unpleasant task and it can become a major chore for most people.


So Which Type of Boat Should I Choose – and What About a Boat Captain?

If you decide to rent a sailboat, it is best to choose a boat that you would consider living on in the future. Of course, different types of boats have different features. Some people consider extra space to be the most important factor in their decision, while others will value the performance and handling on the boat more highly. You may want to hold lots of celebrations like birthday parties on your boat. Take a look at some of the features that might come into consideration when you are choosing a boat. With all of that said, here are three of the best sailboats to try if you might want to live on one of them in the future.

Catalina 30

The Catalina 30 is one of the most common production cruising sailboats. Although they entered the market in 1972, thousands of these fiberglass boats still sail. They feature a modern and spacious interior and a large and useful kitchen, with running water supplied by electric pumps. The Catalina 30 also has a ‘suite’ layout, with a master bedroom and an enclosed shower closed off to the rest of the cabin by a door.

Islander 36

The Islander 36 has impressive cruising capabilities and comfortable cabins with elegant wooden interior trim. Like the Catalina 30, these boats include an enclosed shower and flush toilet. The interior layout is spacious and well-designed, with long port and starboard couches which can fold out into a double-berth for sleeping.

Contessa 32

Contessa produced these boats from 1970 until 1990, but custom boatbuilders still manufacture them today. They are good cruisers, but they offer a lot of amenities as well. The traditional cabin is thoughtfully designed, with a fold-up table in the center. The extra space of these boats make them good options for organized sailors. There is a separate master bedroom, as well as a shower in the hallway.

How to Live the Sailboat Life

We highly recommend that you read the book Get Real, Get Gone in detail if you are seriously thinking of buying a sailboat. It goes into great detail about what types of sailboat to look for and why. It also explains different safety feature options and gives readers a wealth of practical advice before they set out to live the sailboat life.

In fact, Tom Cunliffe, a legendary sailor and author of The Complete Yachtmaster, has said “don’t even think of buying a boat until you have read this book”. (That’s another must-read book, by the way!) It describes some of the characteristics of a good captain, the theory and practice of sailing and sail trim, the art of seamanship, practicing accurate navigation, comprehending ocean meteorology, preparing for heavy weather, understanding sailboat stability, and dealing competently with emergencies on board. Again, if you don’t want to take on all the responsibilities of captaining your ship, we have experienced boat captains available to do all the hard work for you.

Whether you choose to be completely in charge of your sailboat or whether you choose to hire a captain to help you get used to life on the water, we can help you book a really helpful trip if you decide to rent a sailboat. Boatsetter connects intrepid boat seekers with all types of sailboats in many docks all over the world. Remember, too, that here at Boatsetter, sailboats can be booked within a wide range of budgets. To start browsing the entire Boatsetter fleet of sailboats, visit Boatsetter and enter in your desired location.

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