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What is a Day Sailer?

By Christina Edwards
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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A day sailer is a type of sailboat. It is often smaller than other types of sailboats. Although these boats usually have a cubby and a cockpit, these areas are typically much smaller than the ones found on other types of ships. Individuals who love sailing, but lack the funds or time for a large sailboat may find that owning a day sailer is much more convenient. The first day sailer became available in the 1950s.

Averaging 17 feet (5.2 meters), most day sailers will typically be larger than a dinghy, yet smaller than a yacht. In most instances, they are much more stable. While a dinghy will usually require the crew to shift constantly to maintain stability, a day sailer does not.

Like other sailboats, day sailers are usually powered by wind. Most are equipped with two sails, one main sail along with a smaller sail. Some larger day sailers may also come equipped with an outboard motor as an alternative propulsion source.

A cubby, or cabin, on a day sailer will usually be quite small. Many owners use this area for storage. It can also be used as a shelter from the sun or rain. Larger cubbies may be used for small sleeping quarters, despite the fact that there is usually little or no room to stand up in these areas.

Since there is little room in the cabin area, these types of ships are considered to be great for short day sailing trips, hence the name day sailer. Weekend trips are also quite feasible, especially if the cubby is large enough to be used as sleeping quarters. Owners will also often find that the expenses of owning such a boat are usually much lower than expenses of owning a yacht.

Besides the annual storage or dock fees, other maintenance fees are also much lower. Insurance, towing expenses, and annual registration fees can also be much lower for these types of sailboats. Their smaller size and simple accommodations mean day sailers are also usually much more inexpensive to purchase than a larger yacht. An affordable used day sailer can often be found, either online or in a boat trading publication.

Designed primarily by George O'Day and Uffa Fox, the first day sailer was available in 1958. This boat became very popular, very quickly, and was still being manufactured as of 2010. Since its introduction, any boat with similar specifications, regardless of who it is made by, is often referred to as a day sailer.

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