Are Sailboats More Safe Than Powerboats?
For those who are thinking about their first purchase of a boat and are not yet sure whether to choose sail or engine, we will try to shed some light on such an important decision.
But not only those who are new to recreational boating can choose one or the other. There are thousands of boat owners who change sides for different reasons.
The decision is important but not definitive because that is what the second-hand market is for. We know of shipowners who have had a sailboat all their lives and who, after many years, switch to powerboats. They have already sailed all over the Mediterranean and part of the world and now they need a smaller boat that is easier to handle and maintain.
On the other side, we know many shipowners who after having a motorboat decide to switch to a sailboat and enjoy the advantages of sailing in silence without limits of their freedom.
Some switch from sails to motor, others from yachts to sailing catamarans, other sailing enthusiasts decide to forget the monohull for the catamarans… It’s not that simple!
WHAT IS A SAILBOAT?
A sailboat or sailing boat is a boat propelled partly or entirely by sails.
Advantages of Sailboats
- Sailboats are better for the environment when powered by wind and maintained properly.
- Sailboats are peaceful under calm conditions, just the noise of the wind and waves.
- Sailboats are steered from the helm so you don’t miss any of the action.
- Sailboats can cross oceans and become more cost-effective with longer trips.
- Sailboat engines are cheaper to operate than powerboat engines because they use less fuel.
- Sailboat are also safer and more reliable
- Sailing provides a sense of mastery and communing with nature.
Disadvantages of Sailboats
- Sailboats provide less space than a powerboat inside and out. The only way to get more space is to get a longer boat.
- Sailboat needs wind to travel any long distances. The engine is mostly just for getting in and out of port.
- Sails and rigging are expensive to maintain.
- Sailing requires a lot of learning and practice to master and most sailboats don’t sail themselves so you will be working hard while sailing a large portion of the time.
- Sailboats have a deeper draft, requiring you to stay further from shore and avoid shallow water.
How much do sailboats cost?
It turns out that owning a boat is pretty affordable. OK, it isn’t cheap, but it can be done on a budget. Sure, superyachts are expensive, but a modest, used sailboat can be as cheap as $1,500 and an additional $1,400 per year. How much does the average sailboat cost? The price of a new 26′ sailboat is roughly $80,000. A used one costs on average $20,000. The price of a new 36′ cruiser is about $150,000. A used one costs roughly $40,000. The annual maintenance cost is between $2,000 – $3,000 for most boats, but the actual total annual cost is $3,000 to $7,000.
WHAT IS A POWERBOAT?
A motorboat, speedboat, or powerboat is a boat that is powered by an engine.
Advantages of Powerboats
- Powerboats are typically more comfortable for living and sleeping because more of the boat is above water and most powerboats have more amenities including stand up galleys and heads/bathrooms.
- Powerboats are much easier to operate than sailboats. You just start the engine, steer the boat and control your speed the whole way.
- Powerboats are a lot faster than sailboats. You can’t waterski or wakeboard behind a sailboat.
- Powerboats are easier to fish from.
- Powerboats have shallower drafts so you can go through shallower water and sometimes park on the beach
Disadvantages of Powerboats
- Powerboats are expensive to refuel and if you run out you’re dead in the water.
- Long trips can be cost-prohibitive due to fuel costs.
- Powerboats have a high center of gravity compared to sailboats so they can be more susceptible to rough seas.
- Powerboat engines can be expensive to maintain and most powerboats have two engines.
- Powerboats make a lot of noise so if relaxation is what you are after they might not be the best choice.
How much do motorboats cost?
A powerboat with outboard motors and no cabin, also often designed for fishing, can cost anywhere from $20,000 if bought used, to many hundreds of thousands of dollars for new models of the fastest speedboats on the water. The high-performance models, even secondhand ones, will start around $30,000 or more.
Larger motorboats with inboard motors and cabins are often known as cruisers (these aren’t quite large enough to be considered yachts, for the record). These boats will often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even seven figures) if bought new, though many used cruiser motorboats in good condition can be had for less than six figures, of course.
To go sailing, however, sometimes all you really need is a hull, mast, rudder, and sail. To experience the pure joy of sheeting in and scooting off across a lake, bay, or even the open ocean, there’s nothing better than a small sailboat to go.
You can literally reach out and touch the water as it flows past. You instantly feel every puff of breeze and sense every change in trim.
Everyone must find their answer and what is certain is that whatever your decision, it is possible to enjoy all the options so much. But, before you make a decision, and commit yourself by buying a boat, you can always charter first, and make the decision based on your own experience.