To go off cruising, most of us require a sailboat with a head, a galley, and bunks. The boat, likely a 30-footer and more often a 40-footer, will have electronics for navigation and entertainment, refrigeration if the trip is longer than a coastal hop, an engine for light wind, and, depending on our appetites for food and fun, perhaps a genset to power our toys and appliances.
To go sailing, however, all we 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 boat. 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.
The boats in this roundup caught the eye of CW editors as they made the rounds of last winter’s boat shows. Some are new designs, others are time-tested models, but every one is easy to rig, simple to sail, and looks like a whole lot of fun either for a solo outing on a breezy afternoon or to keep family and friends entertained throughout your entire sailing season.
"Boat Reviews" from the May 2012 issue of Cruising World.