Cruising to new shores, lounging in the sun on a warm day, racing – these are all experiences those with sailboats get to take part in. Sailing is a worthwhile and exhilarating experience, but it can’t be done without someone who knows about their sailboat – especially its weight.
How much does a sailboat weigh? The average sailboat weighs about 8850 pounds by itself – not including equipment or gear. The weight of a sailboat varies per vessel, and there are a few different types of weight measurements for sailboats, including dry weight, displacement, and tonnage.
Because so many different factors go into how much a sailboat weighs, we’ve compiled all the important information for you to know in one place. We’ll walk you through a breakdown of sailboat weights with 10 examples so you can take your sailboat and get to cruising, lounging, racing, or whatever else you desire!
Sailboat Weights: A Breakdown and 10 Examples
As you just read, the average sailboat weighs about 8850 pounds – but that’s an average, and that’s also just the vessel without any equipment, gear, fuel, or other necessary things on it.
Not only that, but there are three different types of weight measurements for sailboats. So, as you can probably tell by now, there’s a lot that goes into calculating the weight of sailboats!
No worries, though, because we’re going to break it all down here. We’ll discuss what we mean by the weight of sailboats, why weight matters, the three sailboat weight measurement methods, and even the average weight of sailboats with 10 real life examples. Let’s sail into it.
Sailboat Weight Meaning and Why It Matters
When it comes to the weight of sailboats, it’s not as simple as just dropping a sailboat on a scale and seeing how many pounds are racked up (if that were possible, that is).
When we discuss the weight of sailboats, we’re discussing three different categories of weight measurements: dry weight, displacement, and tonnage. Each measurement method has a significant meaning and importance, which we’ll discuss later in its own section.
There are a lot of logistics that are involved with sailboats and their weights, and those logistics are why the weights of sailboats are so important. Why else is sailboat weight so important, though?
It’s almost imperative to know the weight of a sailboat if you plan on towing it. The weight of a sailboat will determine if it can be towed and what type of vehicle(s) it can be towed with. If you want to transport your sailboat to different areas with a vehicle, you need to know the sailboat’s weight.
The weight of a sailboat also determines the capabilities of that sailboat, like if it can handle rough seas, if it can take part in racing, how fast and far it can go, and other capabilities. In order to use your sailboat for the purposes you want, you’ll need to know its weight.
How Much Can Be Taken Abroad
Sailboat weight also matters because it can determine how much can be taken abroad. For example, how many people can be taken on the vessel? How much gear and equipment can you take abroad? How much fuel and other fluids can be added to the vessel? When you know the weight of your sailboat, you can answer all those necessary questions.
Measurement Methods of Sailboat Weights
Dry weight, displacement, and tonnage. We’ve already mentioned these weight measurement methods several times and stressed their importance. Just what do those different methods mean and entail? Why are they so important? Let’s find out.
Imagine, taking a sailboat and placing it on a scale. The number that pops up on the scale would be what we consider dry weight.
Dry weight is essentially how much a sailboat weighs when it’s both empty and dry – meaning there are no other types of equipment, people, or fluids on board.
Dry weight is the type of measurement that’s especially important if you plan on transporting or towing your sailboat with your vehicle. The dry weight of a sailboat will be the weight you’ll have to tow.
Other factors come into play to determine the dry weight of a sailboat, too. Things like the hull material (wood vs. fiberglass), mast and rigging type, and deck equipment all contribute to the dry weight of a sailboat and can make a significant difference.
Displacement is the most common form of weight measurements in sailboats. When you see the weight of a particular sailboat listed, it’s commonly the displacement method.
Opposite of dry weight, displacement is the weight of a sailboat in water with everything on board at the time of measurement. That means the weight of the vessel itself plus any equipment, gear, people, and fuel.
This measurement method is called displacement because it measures the amount of water that the sailboat displaces; a vessel needs to weigh less than the water it displaces or else it could sink.
What is water displacement? Sounds technical. However, here’s an example to help you understand it.
Think of a swimming pool filled to the rim. Now, picture someone taking a cannon ball into the swimming pool, and think of how much water comes out of the swimming pool when that person cannon balls in. The weight of the water that’s spilled over (or displaced) is considered the displacement of the person who jumped in.
Additionally, the displacement of a sailboat differs depending on if the boat is in saltwater or freshwater. Saltwater weighs more than freshwater, so a sailboat will displace more freshwater than saltwater. This is because saltwater is heavier and “pushes harder” on the sailboat.
The third and final measurement method of sailboat weights is tonnage. Unlike dry weight and displacement, tonnage and displacement are directly related.
The tonnage of a sailboat is the amount of volume of enclosed space on a sailboat. Tonnage helps you know how much cargo can safely be carried on your sailboat.
Tonnage will differ in saltwater versus freshwater for the same reasons as it does with displacement.
Average Sailboat Weights: 10+ Examples
Now that you know why the weight of sailboats are so important and what the three different sailboat weight measurement methods are, we can move on to 10 real life examples of average sailboat weights.
Remember, there’s a lot that can affect a sailboat’s weight, like its length, hull type, mast and rig setup, and onboard equipment. So you know the differences between the sailboats we discuss, we’ll give you a brief overview of each sailboat and its characteristics before discussing the weights.
First, let’s look at the average sailboat weights by sailboat type.
Examples of Weights of Common Types of Sailboats
There are five common sizes of sailboats that we can break down the average lengths and weights of. This can give you a general idea of the size of sailboats.
Next, when we discuss specific models of sailboats, you’ll be able to discern if the sailboat is a dinghy, small sailboat, medium sailboat, and so on.
|Size/Type||Average Length in Feet||Average Weight in Pounds|
|Dinghies||Less than 12 feet||100 to 200 pounds|
|Small Sailboats||15 to 20 feet||400 to 2,500 pounds|
|Medium Sailboats||21 to 25 feet||2,500 to 5,000 pounds|
|Cruising Sailboats||27 to 32 feet||7,000 to 12,000 pounds|
|Large Sailboats||35 to 40 feet||12,000 to 30,000 pounds|
Sailboat #1: Siren 17
The Siren 17 is a Canadian sailboat designed by Vandestadt & McGruer. This sailboat is compact with a foam-filled interior to prevent sinking. Its length is 17.17 feet, and it weighs in at (has a displacement of) approximately 430 pounds.
As you can tell from our chart above, the Siren 17 is considered a small sailboat.
Sailboat #2: West Wight Potter 15
The West Wight Potter 15, another small sailboat, is renowned as one of the oldest and most recognizable sailboats. This sailboat is a beachable cruiser and can go ashore in remote areas, which is great for adventurous sailors.
The West Wight Potter 15 is 15.1 feet long and weighs in at approximately 475 pounds – a bit more than the Siren 17.
Sailboat #3: Catalina 22
The Catalina 22 is a popular and well known sailboat, and can be seen on all types of water – from oceans to lakes to rivers.
This classic sailboat is 21.5 feet long, with an approximate weight of 2,490 pounds. As you can probably tell, this sailboat is considered a medium sailboat.
Sailboat #4: Pearson Ensign
Next on our list is the Pearson Ensign. This sailboat was designed by Carl Alberg to be both a daysailer and a racer, and it is also what we’d consider a medium sailboat.
The Pearson Ensign has a length of 22.5 feet and a weight of 3,000 pounds – the heaviest on our list so far.
Sailboat #5: Cornish Adventure 19
Sailboat #5 on our list of real-world sailboat weight examples is the Cornish Adventure 19. This sailboat was designed to be not only a daysailer, but a coastal cruiser as well.
The Cornish Adventure 19 is 21.2 feet in length and weighs approximately 2,040 pounds.
Sailboat #6: TARTAN 28
The TARTAN 28 is what we’d consider a cruising sailboat, as its length comes in at 28.2 feet. This fairly large sailboat built by Tartan Marine weighs 7,450 pounds.
Sailboat #7: C&C 29
The C&C 29 is another Canadian sailboat, and first made its debut in the late 1970’s. The C&C 29 was built as a half-ton racer, and as of now, is out of production. Many can still be found for sale, though!
The C&C 29 is fairly long, with a length of 29.6 feet. It weighs in at 7,500 pounds.
Sailboat #8: Alerion Express 28
The Alerion Express 28 is a cruising sailboat with a fiberglass hull that was designed to be a day-sailor.
This sailboat is 28.3 feet long and weighs in at 4,500 pounds – which is much lighter than quite a few other cruising sailboats thanks to its fiberglass hull.
Sailboat #9: Newport 41
Number 9 on our list of real-life sailboat weights is the Newport 41. This sailboat was built by Capital Yachts of California specifically for cruising.
The Newport 41 is 41 feet in length (hence the name) and weighs approximately 18,000 pounds. This sailboat is definitely considered large!
Sailboat #10: Dufour F39
Last but not least is the Dufour F39, another large sailboat. The Dufour F39 was made by Dufour Yachts and has a length of 39.3 feet. This sailboat weighs in at approximately 14,690 pounds.
Recap: 10 Sailboat Examples and Their Weights
Now you know more about 10 real-life sailboats, along with their lengths and weights. Let’s compare their types, weights, and lengths in the table below.
|Name||Length in Feet||Weight in Pounds|
|Siren 17||17.17 feet||430 pounds|
|West Wight Potter 15||15.1 feet||475 pounds|
|Catalina 22||21.5 feet||2,490 pounds|
|Pearson Ensign||22.5 feet||3,000 pounds|
|Cornish Adventure 19||21.2 feet||2,040 pounds|
|TARTAN 28||28.2 feet||7,450 pounds|
|C&C 29||29.6 feet||7,500 pounds|
|Alerion Express 28||28.3 feet||4,500 pounds|
|Newport 41||41 feet||18,000 pounds|
|Dufour F39||39.3 feet||14,690 pounds|
Effects of Sailboat Weights
As we mentioned briefly, the weight of a sailboat can affect quite a few things, like if it’s towable, the capabilities the sailboat has, and how much can be taken abroad. Let’s visit these effects in detail.
Towing and Transporting Sailboats With Vehicles
For a lot of people, a huge part of having a sailboat is a means to transport it. Many wonder if the vehicle they currently have is capable of towing their sailboat – or, ultimately, if they will need a different vehicle or a different sailboat.
To know if you can transport your sailboat with your vehicle, you’re going to need to know two important things:
- The weight of your sailboat
- The tow rating of your vehicle
By now, you probably know enough about sailboat waits to either find the weight of your sailboat or get a baseline. Let’s check out the typical and average towing capacities of common vehicles.
How Much Can My Vehicle Tow?
|Vehicle Type||Typical Tow Rating||Example of Common Vehicle|
|Sedans||1,000 pounds||Toyota Camry Hyundai Sonata Honda Accord|
|Small to Midsize SUVs||3,500 pounds||Toyota 4Runner Dodge Durango Jeep Grand Cherokee|
|Full Size SUVs||5,000 to 7,000 pounds||Ford Explorer Chevrolet Suburban Nissan Armada|
|Biggest SUVs||8,000 to 9,000 pounds||Cadillac Escalade Lincoln Navigator Ford Expedition|
|Pickup Trucks||10,000 to 30,000 pounds||Dodge Ram 1500 Ford F150 Ford F350 Chevrolet Silverado 2500|
As you can see, it’s probably best to have anything from a mid-range SUV to a pickup truck to tow a sailboat, depending on the size of sailboat you have. Even if you’ve got a relatively small sailboat or dinghy, it’s recommended to use a midsize SUV for towing rather than a sedan.
How Sailboat Weight Affects Overall Sailing Experience
The weight of your sailboat can affect its capabilities, and therefore the overall sailing experience. Let’s visit some of the parts of sailing experience a sailboat’s weight can affect.
Naturally, the weight of a sailboat can indeed affect its speed. When a sailboat is heavier, it will have more stability, but it will also typically move more slowly.
This is because more weight means more buoyancy is needed to keep the sailboat afloat, which therefore means there is more of the hull under the waterline. When more of the hull is under the waterline, there is more wetted surface, and more wetted surface means more to move through.
Of course, there are other things that can affect the speed of a sailboat, like the size and types of the sails and the type and capabilities of motor.
The size of a sailboat can affect its fuel efficiency, too. Generally, the larger or heavier the boat, the less fuel efficient it is, and the more fuel is needed. This is because the larger the boat, the harder an engine or motor has to work in order to power it.
Risks Associated With Heavy or Large Sailboats
A lot of people wonder if there are any risks associated with heavy or large sailboats. When it comes down to it, heavier or larger sailboats are often safer than their smaller counterparts.
According to Sailing Virgins, boating, in general, is often safer than driving on the road, and the majority of boating accidents have to do with smaller, open boats.
Larger sailboats are designed against risks like capsizing, and larger boats often offer more stability and control than smaller sailboats.
There’s quite a bit more than meets the eye when it comes to the weight of sailboats, isn’t there? Luckily, you can always come back to this article for reference if you need help remembering things like dry weight, displacement, and tonnage – or even if you just want to check out the weights of the 10 different sailboats we discussed.
Just remember, above all, that you always sail safely into the sunset!