Sailing is the ultimate escape to the world of excitement and exclusive adventure. This lifelong sport provides both serenity of a family vacation and strong competitive instinct when racing. Sailing boats are used both for pleasure and for competitive sailing. Some have dominant race performances while other boats have dominant cruising nature. Some boats have dual purpose, that is, these boats have good performances in both disciplines, be it a family cruiser or a racer. What’s the difference then?
Racing boats are high performance boats which usually have open cockpit and sleek and light hulls to reduce the wetted area. Wide beam and flat bottom prevent from heeling too much. Their heavy keel supports a tall mast with a large sail area. Racing boats built only for this specific purpose sacrifice comfort of the crew for speed. Lack of the living quarters is one of their main characteristics, for they are built with only basic accommodation and as light as possible to achieve greater speed. Racing boats are built in various sizes and can be crewed accordingly. They are widely enjoyed by expert yachtsmen, families and friends, though they can be operated by a single person as well. Racing boats require extensive knowledge and skills in sailing and boat handling. There are two types of racing; one-design racing where all the boats feature the same performance and design and handicap racing where boats of different performances compete on equal basis.
Cruising boats are designed for leisure and are more stable than racers with high performance. These boats are also built in various sizes, but are usually designed to be handled by two people at the most. There are some considerable variations in their design, however always tending to provide comfort, quality equipment, functionality and good performances. Cruising boats provide accommodation for at least two people and some have rather luxurious living area. Below deck accommodation includes following: large saloon with galley and navigation area, head and cabins. Wide, flat bottom and deep single-fin keel provides stability. Most cruising boats have a single mainsail and a foresail; a single mast Bermudan sloop. Generally, they have smaller sail area than racers. Good equipment and great capacity of water and fuel tanks allow these boats for long passages.
Almost all cruising boats could be used as racers. Perhaps, these won’t have the highest performances as expected from a racing boat. However, modern equipment and technology will help you get the best performance out of your cruising boat. Perhaps some minor modifications could emphasize dynamics and racing performance of your boat, if you are more a competitive person. Whether you choose a racing boat or a cruising boat, be sure that sailing will give you enjoyment and a sense of freedom.