My Top Yachts

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Before long many sailors start to dream about a long blue water adventure…and then the never ending discussions start about which is your “dream boat”. Perhaps you have it already, but perhaps you are like me and have a lovely coastal cruiser, but perhaps you know in your heart that it probably is not the one to carry you across oceans, or out run a storm for days on end.

Of course if you are the next Robin Knox Johnson these matters would not concern you – but if you have spent most of your life behind a desk earning the money to even contemplate such an adventure, then you will probably need a vessel that is far tougher than you!.. and will look after you when your strength, and perhaps you nerve, are beginning to fail. Years ago a 32ft boat would have been a world cruiser. There is a great summary of some of the best on the “Atom Voyages” pages here.

But times have changed  – and 40ft plus is now the norm for a cruising couple so my assessments below reflect this. This set of pages represent my research into trying to assess which boat that may be “The One”. The one that I could afford (!), and the one that will keep me and my wife safe when we are far from a safe haven…

Of course in making these selections I have left out so many beautiful ocean going yachts like the CAL and the Alden designs – they are stunning but I know they would not suit us “soft types” in terms of modern cruising comforts.

I have selected boats that have the following characteristics:

  • They can be bought in reasonable condition for about GBP150k (or less)
  • They are around 40ft LOA
  • They are already, or could be, cutter rigged
  • They have the load capacity for a blue water cruising
  • They could be handled by 2 people (husband and wife)
  • They score less than 1.99 on the “Capsize Ratio” see page on Ratios to see a full explanation.

There are three exceptions. I have included my first boat, a 32ft sloop (Compromis 999) and the Discovery 55 – just for the comparison of three worthy “outliers”. All are classed as CAT A in the CE classification. The Compromis 999 I have included just because it is a great coastal cruiser – well built in Holland – and its was my first boat! The Discovery I have included because it is meant to be a “dream” blue water cruiser for 2 people and it is made in the UK…and it costs GBP650k+ !…and the Regina 38 I have included just because it is a lovely looking boat, it perfectly exemplifies the modern, and increasingly popular, deck saloon concept and it is also an example of an under 40ft boat behaving and performing as well as many larger boats …see for yourself how it does in the ratings below.

All searches care of

Click on the images below to load the spreadsheet viewer…then click on the tabs along the bottom of the graphs for different calculations to be displayed. (works in IE and Firefox)

Click to see database of yachts Click to see graph of D/L Ratio Click to see graph of SA/D Ratio
TY_DB TY_D-L_1024 TY_SA-D_1024

I am in the process of reflecting on all this information. Of course there are limitations to the use of comparative ratios and their use to indicate the relative merits of one boat over another in the context of blue water sailing. …your contributions are gratefully received just email me

I have created a very comprehensive list of all the best known ratios on this page. But, for the sake of my sanity I used just two comparative ratios for my assessment here.The Displacement/Length ratios and the Sail Area/Displacement Ratio.

For each boat listed, I used the sloop and cutter rigged configurations for sail area, to see the impact on these two ratios. I also used the manufacturers quoted figure for displacement and then added 10% as an estimate for a “fully laden” displacement to represent the extra weight of equipment; spares; water; fuel; etc… needed for blue water cruising.

I have then listed all those boats that “qualify” within the optimal settings for blue water cruising as defined by leading yacht designers. Check out the sub-pages on Designers and also Ratios to see the full set of research that relates to this quest.

The summary of the results is set out below. The 4 criteria are

  • D/L (unladen)
  • D/L (cutter rigged + laden)
  • SA/D (unladen)
  • SA/D (cutter rigged + laden)

So boats that score “4 out of 4” have hit the optimal ranges for D/L and SA/D whether they are cutter rigged or not, and whether they are fully loaded or not.

4 out of 4 3 out of 4 2 out of 4
Ovni 385

Rustler 42

Bowman 42

Valiant 42

Regina 38

Oyster 406

Cambria 40
Bruckman 42
Christina 43
Moody 42 CC
Discovery 55
Nautor Swan 40
Gozzard 41
Sweden Yachts 41
Nordship 40 DS
Cabo Rico 40
Pacific Seacraft 40
Pearson 40
Najad 420
Malo 42
Jeanneau 42 CC
Southerly 42RS
Sabre 402
HR 42
Hunter 450
Saga 409
IP 420
Tartan 4100
Cambria 44
Morris 45



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