Choose a sailing boat as a beginner, when you don’t yet know for sure what you need, should be done only after careful deliberations and after considering a few things that can restrict some of your choices. Below are some of those things that can tell you what kind of sailing boat you should be after.
Depending on the kind of activities you want to have on your sailing boat, some models might be better than others. Are you looking for a boat to go out during the day and come back in the evening, or are you looking to sail the oceans with it for weeks at a time? Do you want to use it as a fishing boat or do you want to have parties and you need to fit inside as many people as possible? For activities that mostly take you near the coast (fishing for example) a boat with a shallow draft would be a good fit.
If you intend to sail alone and especially if you don’t want to venture out too far, a smaller boat will be a better fit since it wouldn’t require hired crew to help you out.
Fast boats are in a category of their own, so if sailboat racing is your thing you will have to look at racing sloops or other types of boats designed to go fast.
The size of the sailboat serves you in a number of ways, but there are some cons as well. An advantage would be the extra space that comes with a longer boat, meaning you can take more guests with you when you sail out. During bad weather, you will find a big boat to be a safer choice as well, but only if you actually know how to handle it. Depending on the exact size, larger boats can require more people to handle them so you might have to hire crew members as well. They’re more expensive as well, both to purchase and to properly maintain.
As a beginner that’s just learning his way around a sailing boat, the smaller dinghies are probably your best bet. You can use them to go out whenever there is good weather, so you can learn how to sail and maybe fish or have fun with your closest friends. Eventually, you will probably want to upgrade to a bigger boat, but by that time you will know exactly what suits you best and you will be able to handle a big vessel.
Ease of use
For a beginner that’s just getting his first boat, the ease of use would be one of the main things to consider. A smaller ship with a sail setup that is easy to control and efficient is the cat rig, which allows you to easily control the sails. The sloop is the most common type of boat these days though, as long as you’re looking at small or medium sized sailboats.
Used vs New
There are obvious advantages to having a new boat, the main one being that you know what you’re getting and the odds of having something break on you while you’re out on the open sea are much smaller. The cost of maintenance should be smaller at the same time, since a used boat would require more costly repairs and more maintenance work. Used boats will cost you less at the beginning though, they might come with a lot of extra gear that would be expensive to buy new, but if you don’t make the right choice you might end up sinking a lot of money into it, in order to fix it up.