Whether you are looking for your first boat or down-sizing from a larger cruising boat, there are plenty of pocket cruising boats out there that span the spectrum from traditional to the ultra-modern. In the following gallery, you’ll see that small is indeed beautiful.
Designed by Farr and built in Germany, the Bavaria 33 is one of the largest 33 footers ever created. Whether you are in the cockpit or down below you would swear you were aboard a 36 footer. Sensible German engineering has created a fine and sturdy coastal cruiser for a couple, a young family or an experienced sailor who wants a simpler sailing life. The boat will drink eight, feed six and sleep four in comfort. www.bavariayachts.com
Among a host of designs built by Beneteau are a handful of smaller boats that make great cruisers and race-cruisers. The Oceanis 31 is a roomy weekender while the brand new Oceanis 35 is a modern concept boat that you can design to your personal needs. The First 25 is a mini-speedster with accommodations while the First 30 is a radical machine that will take all the silver at regattas while providing living space for the crew. www.beneteauamerica.com
American as apple pie, Catalina has been building sensible smaller cruising boats for 50 years. The new 275 is a break from tradition and offers a fun performance package in a weekender that you and the kids will enjoy. The 315 is a proper little cruising boat that sails exceptionally well and has an interior of a much larger boat. And the 355 doubles down on that theme with fine performance qualities and an interior that is a true floating home. www.catalinayachts.com
Builders of a range of smaller sloops and cat boats, Com-Pac has three pocket cruisers that really stand out. The Com-Pac 23/IV is the fourth generation of this popular, trailerable cruiser; it just keeps getting better. The 23 Pilothouse adds a jaunty cabin from which you can steer the boat or get out of the rain in bad weather. The Com-Pac 27 is a solid little cruiser that can take you far and wide with an enclosed head, shower and six feet of headroom. www.com-pacyachts.com
Dehler has been under the wing of Hanse Yachts in Germany since 2010 but has rigorously maintained their market position as a leader in luxury performance racer-cruisers. The Dehler 29 is a popular one-design class in Europe and has proven to be a fast comfortable cruiser with a finely finished interior and two private sleeping cabins, a large head and a full saloon and galley. The Dehler 32 stretches this design style out three more feet with added interior volume and long waterline. For those who want to race actively and enjoy cruising between regattas, the Dehlers are a great choice. www.dehler.com
EASTSAIL ALL WEATHER 23
Built in Maine, in true Maine style, the new All Weather 23 provides a raised-doghouse cabin on their traditional full keel hull. The cockpit is large and the interior remarkably spacious. With her cutter rig, bowsprit and saucy lines, the All Weather will stand out in any anchorage, while keeping her crew warm and dry. www.eastsail.com
One of Germany’s largest boat builders, Hanse has two interesting and stylish Judel-Vrolijk-designed cruisers in the under-36 foot category. The Hanse 325 has a well thought-out cockpit for cruising and a simple, efficient self-tacking rig; below there are two sleeping cabins and a comfortable saloon and galley. The larger sister, the Hanse 345, has a similar layout but can be configured with two larger cabins aft. The 345 has the feel on deck and down below of a much larger boat. Both boats have bright, light, Euro-modern interiors. www.hanseyachts.com
Leaders in the racer-cruiser segment of the market and specialists in fast daysailers and one-designs, J/Boats also markets two pocket cruisers that will appeal to the non-racing set. But don’t be fooled, they are still great sailing boats. The J/95 is a shoal-draft centerboard design with twin rudders that is a shallow water gunkholer with accommodations for four adults—perfect for Southern New England, Chesapeake Bay and the Bahamas. The all-new J/97E is part of the new E series that emphasizes elegance and evolution in performance sailing. With accommodations for six and a handsome interior, the 97E is a proper yacht in a small, J/Boat package. www.jboats.com
Jeanneau has really pushed the big-boat cruising envelope with five boats in their current line over 50 feet. But, the smaller boats have not been neglected. The Sun Odyssey 33i is a modern family cruiser with a ton of interior volume, great accommodations and larger cockpit. A family of four fits aboard nicely. The new 349 has proven to be a huge success and is both a spirited sailing boat and a fine cruising home. The 349 is as quick and pretty as any cruiser in this size range. www.jeanneau.com
This small boat builder in Florida has been quietly building fun, safe trailerable cruising boats for the last 37 years. The Precision 21 is a simple, easy to sail boat that makes a good starter boat and a fine weekender. The Precision 23 has a large enough cockpit and accommodations below to be a solid family cruiser for weekends or longer getaways. Plus, both boats can be hauled behind a standard family SUV. www.precisionboatworks.com
W.D. Schock is a well known West Coast builder of capable, fast pocket rockets that are fun to race and even more fun to cruise. The Schock Harbor 25 is a classic daysailer-weekender with berths for four, a head and a small galley. The Schock Harbor 30 Plus is a bigger version that has the new “Plus” interior with fine trim, a proper galley and plenty of space for four adults. You could live aboard for weeks at a time. The brand new Schock Harbor 29 is the boat Matt Rutherford sailed from California to Japan on his Pacific Ocean eco-cruise so you know it is blue water capable. All of the boats have inboard engines and Hoyt Jib Booms. www.wdschock.com
Developed in Slovenia by a band of Mini-Trans-At sailors, the Seascape 27 is a finely tuned, completely modern racer-cruiser with a square-top mainsail, retractable keel and twin rudders that will plane at up to 20 knots. For the pure joy of sailing, this boat has almost no mono-hull peers. But it is also a capable pocket cruiser with berths for four adults, an ice box, head and folding table. If fast sailing, offshore racing and point-to-point cruising are your things, the Seascape 27 is for you. www.thinkseascape.com
Profiled in this issue (page 52), Seaward will celebrate its 40th year in business in 2016. Builder of two smaller cruisers, in addition to their 46, the company is known for innovative retracting keels, high quality and excellent value. The Seaward 26RK has a cockpit for four and an open interior that is airy and bright; it will sleep four in the V-berth and settees. The 32RK is a proper cruising boat with a forward cabin, a large quarter berth and a dinette that will seat four for dinner and, when folded down, sleep two for the night. For weeks along the coast or even a month in the Bahamas, the 32RK is a performance cruiser with a real difference. www.seawardyachts.com
In the last two years, Tartan has regrouped and solidified their position as a builder of high quality racer-cruisers in the smaller range and blue water cruisers in the larger range. The Tartan 101 started out as a C&C 101 but has been restyled with fine Tartan joinery, large quarter berths, a handsome galley and saloon and a good forward cabin. A proven performer the 101 is a modern classic. The Tartan 115 followed a similar path and now has all of the lovely Tartan woodwork and finish below decks. On deck it is still a quick and capable racer that has earned more than her share of silver. The Tartan 3400 was designed as a pure shorthanded cruising boats for a couple or small family and carries the traditional Tartan pedigree. A true small yacht that will turn heads, the 3400 does everything well. Tartans are built with epoxy hulls, cherry interiors and all carbon masts and booms.