Best Boats

The past year has been a good one for small boats and daysailers, but even in a crowded field, the Tartan Fantail stands out as something special—a boat that is elegant, practical and, best of all, a whole lot of fun.

Life at 55

by Dennis Caprio, Posted July 2, 2013
Is 55 the new 45—feet, that is? In much the same way that advances in healthcare have allowed us to feel younger than our years, technological innovations in sailhandling gear and mechanical propulsion have made yachts 50 to 60 feet long a breeze to sail, dock or anchor, even for sailors whose ages are approaching that of their boats’ LOA.

Best Boats 2013 Harbor 30

by Sail Staff, Posted June 13, 2013
Like W.D. Schock’s other daysailers, the new Harbor 30 is a tasteful blend of tradition and technology. At a distance, this boat looks good from every angle, and the visual pleasure continues as you step aboard and below into the cabin.

Best Boats 2013 Neel 45

by Tom Dove, Posted April 24, 2013
“Everything old is new again” is a common theme in yacht design, and the Neel 45 is a perfect example. Many sailors younger than 60 won’t remember that the very first trimarans were full-bridgedeck boats built in plywood, and to them this boat will seem revolutionary.

SAIL's 2013 Best Boat Winners

by Sail Staff, Posted November 20, 2012
There were many impressive nominees this year, and our judges had no easy task. In the end, a retro trimaran, a carbon-fiber racer and an ocean-capable lifting-keel cruiser are all among this year's winners. 

Best Boats 2013 McConaghy 38

by Sail Staff, Posted November 14, 2012
The Aussie-bred McConaghy 38 takes skiff sailing adrenalin and repackages it in a low-slung sport boat that redefines the genre. It came as no surprise that our Best Boats team found little not to like about this 7,000lb, all carbon, elegantly Spartan sloop.

SAIL 2013 Best Boats Nominees

by Sail Staff, Posted August 29, 2012
A strong lineup of new boats from domestic and foreign builders will be on display at the Newport International Boat show in September and the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis in October. SAIL’s judging team will be inspecting them closely for the 2013 Best Boats awards.
With their compact cockpits, full keels and narrow hulls, the cruising boats of old are like a lone watch-stander, bundled up in foul weather gear, head bowed, arms folded, tucked in under a dodger for shelter.

2012 Best Boats Winners

by Sail Staff, Posted November 21, 2011
Among this year’s 2012 Best Boats Award winners are a cat with two cockpits, another cat with two tillers, a variable-displacement daysailer and a pair of red-hot raceboats. Clearly it takes more than a little bad economic news to keep the boatbuilding industry down!
Among the many large, expensive sailing vessels at this year’s Annapolis show, the crowd-stopper was this diminutive 23-footer with a tall pilothouse. Something about it—perhaps the proportions, perhaps the novelty, perhaps the accessibility— made people pause, do double takes and smile.
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