13 Popular Trailerable Sailboats with Lifting Keels

Written by Matej Stepan in Sailing Guides

Sailboats are awesome, but they do come with their drawbacks. Storage and transport, for one, tends to be a demanding matter, which excludes their owners from many ways of sailing - you are unlikely to store one in your garage and drive it anywhere you please on the weekends, so finding a long term berth and sailing in the near vicinity is what most do. Luckily, there are models designed with precisely this issue in mind - so without further ado, here are 13 sailboats that you can easily put on a trailer and drive to a body of water of your choice.

Now some of these are better at transport than others and some had to sacrifice space or performance for mobility. Let's have a look at them in detail so that you know which one fits your needs the best.

Hunter 22

This one has to make the list because it is immensely popular. Rightfully so. It is small enough to be transported on a trailer, plus it has a lifting keel that makes the draft only 30 centimeters when up - but over a meter when down, so it still has to say a lot in terms of performance.

It has a spacious, open cockpit for six people and a v berth in case you want to spend the night. It is then not just a daysailer, but a weekend cruiser.

And if it is too large for you, it even has smaller brothers, Hunter 15 and 18. Those won't let you sleep under a roof, but their dinghy-like character makes them even more mobile.

Beneteau First 18

I can't not mention a European brand - Beneteaus are made in all shapes and sizes, but this time, let's give a shoutout to their First 18, a tiny daysailer. It looks spectacular and has a significantly sportier character than the above Hunter - and even at 18 feet, it will let you sleep inside.

Just as is the case with the Hunter, First comes in more sizes - 14, 22, and 27 feet.

Make no mistake, this is not a boat to chill on. You can, technically, but its racing pedigree won't let you.

And thanks to its retractable keel, it is easy to pop out of the water and take back to your garage where you can admire its prettiness until the next time.

Catalina 22 Sport

Before we get into more unknown brands, let's get this one out of the way - also an incredibly popular model, that is, if you are in the USA.

With the board down, its draft goes all the way to 1.5 meters and retracted, up to 0.5. You can trailer it easily, but at the same time it sleeps four people, so it isn't just a one-day pleasure craft.

A nice thing about Catalina 22 is that the model has around five decades of existence behind it, constantly improving on its design. So you won't be getting into experimental waters, so to say. It is a bit conservative conceptually, but that is the price to pay for being on something that knows what it's doing - as it has been doing it for more than half a century.

N Fun 30

Now here is something you have probably never heard of if you are from the USA. A polish brand, established by former sailboat racers - and it shows.

For those unfamiliar with European geography, Poland borders the mighty Baltic Sea - so just as Scandinavian boats, their projects are properly seaworthy.

The N Fun 30 is a trailerable, lifting keel little vessel, in fact, the only model the company makes, but it is unlike any other boat in its class.

It looks gorgeous, has a racing pedigree, comes with a teak deck option (though it's not really teak, just a lookalike) which is so rare in the day sailing racers' class, and most importantly, is configurable to your liking.

Fully specced, this boat costs nearly $180,000. Yes, that. But if you can do without all the extras and are looking for something relatively traditional, it can be yours for $70,000. Even for this lowest configuration, you will still be getting one hell of a racer.

Yacht Yard Focus 750

Another Polish project - that's why the numbers here mean meters, not feet. This approximately 24 ft long boat gets in and out of the water easily and is similar to the above N Fun in its good looks and racing character.

It is a forgiving single-handed sailor but can accommodate up to four people both on and under the deck. Just as the N Fun, it comes with an optional 50 square meters gennaker.

This boat is modern both in terms of design and materials used. Multi-directional fiberglass with a foam core, spacious, light interior design - quite a contrast to projects like Catalina. Its aim is modernity and it does it well.

Norseboat 21

Back into more familiar territories. Norseboats are known for their rugged, bluewater designs. They can survive pretty much anything since they are made to withstand the North Sea formerly populated by Vikings and the Kraken.

Trailering is a breeze, as the keel can be taken out almost completely, it looks beautiful, especially if you get the all-wooden version, new, it costs around $35,000 and it was made with performance in mind.

What sets it apart from the rest is its seaworthy nature. You can take it across oceans if you choose so. Then there are the old-fashioned, rugged looks. This boat is serious about its abilities and it shows.

On the water, you will be envied by vessels much larger than yours.

BayRaider 20

This one's a project from Swallow Yachts, a company that focuses on a classic look with modern performance. Not my words, this is their tagline. But it is more than just a marketing gimmick.

An interesting feature with the BayRaider is its water ballast, giving you a choice between greater righting ability and lightness, thus speed. The company also offers a 17 ft version as well as a 23 ft one - all of which feature a lifting keel, making the trailerability uncompromised.

The aforementioned performance part is taken seriously here. All foils have been calculated and constructed so that their shape helps with windward performance. In other words, the rudder and centerboard aren't just flat - their cross sections resemble those of airplane wings. That's racing boat territory.

The draft variability is also quite unique. Board up gets you to some 8 inches, the smallest here yet, board down gets you all the way to 4 ft 4 inches - something rather rare with a boat this size.

Parker 235 Mini Cruiser

On the surface, this is just your normal, well-built, nicely designed trailerable family weekend cruiser. What differentiates it from, say, the above Hunter 22, is its interior.

Trailerable boats often have to compromise on space, but on this Parker, you will find enough space to sleep four, plenty of storage, and even a sink.

So if you wanted to cross an ocean on this boat with two people, you'd have enough space for all the equipment and crew. As well as a boat actually capable of such a crossing.

It is a vessel made well, it is sturdy enough for choppy waters and stiff enough to handle well in trickier conditions, all the while staying in the reasonably priced, small boat range.

Alubat Ovni 365

As I like to stretch limits, let's touch the length ceiling. This aluminum boat has everything you would expect from its size. Two cabins, salon, galley, heads, captain's corner… simply a nearly 40 ft cruiser. And a comfortable one at that.

But a trailerable one. Lift the keel up and you can put it on a trailer. You'll need a larger one, and a car capable of towing around 10 tonnes, but all that is still within an easily reachable range.

With a boat this size, you can expect versatility. Long crossings, weekend cruises, all that is possible. It performs very well, looks stylish, and the aluminum gives you extra sturdiness.

Lifting the centerboard up will give you a draught of 2.5 ft, putting it down results in nearly 8 ft. The total sail area with a spinnaker is 177 square meters, the water tank is hundreds of liters… this is a boat for all occasions.

Gunfleet 43

And as if that wasn't big enough, here goes another one. We won't go higher, because although even larger boats are trailerable, that would start to be unrealistic for the average Joe, so let's consider this the top.

As with the Alubat, you can expect everything you would from this size. It is roomier than you would think, comfort and good use of space was the aim here.

It features a center cockpit design, something rather unseen in boats this size these days, which makes for a pleasant on-deck experience.

Yes, trailering it might need some planning, but with its liftable keel, it will still be possible.

Franck Roy Solenn 27

The French always had an eye for design. Solenn is a brand making classically looking, classy boats, with, of course, modern features.

Solenn 27 is a retro-looking vessel that comes in three variants - weekend, day, and cabine, each for a slightly different way of use.

So whether you are looking for a daysailer or a small boat capable of several day journeys, you will get what you need. It comes equipped with a sink, stove, a few berths, and plenty of storage for a week-long journey.

Given its small size and weight, transporting it is not an issue, even without a big truck. It does come at a price, for around $150,000 you could certainly get a larger, or better-equipped boat, but as far as style goes, you can t beat the varnished mahogany cockpit.

Maree Haute Django 670

Seaworthiness is often an issue with these small boats since they are designed mostly for one-day coastal cruises. Not so Django 670. If you want to race it across the Atlantic, it will suffice. Both in its seaworthiness, and speed.

It is a pureblood racer but has comfort in mind too. From the saloon, you will get a panoramic view, which is something you usually find in much larger boat designs.

All that while still belonging on this list - that is being a boat that is easy to trailer, or beach. The keel up will get you to a draft of just below 2 ft, while 5.2 ft is what you get if you drop the keel down.

Nuva MS6

Now, this is a bit of a weird one. A divisive project, for sure. Nuva MS6 didn't want to decide to be a sailing yacht or a motor one. So it became both - a small, motoryacht-looking project with sails.

Of course, it has a fully retractable keel and is easy to pop on a trailer and take back to your garage. But what is the most curious about this boat, aside from its ambiguity, is that it can change shape.

Once you anchor somewhere, you can, with a push of a button, literally widen the cockpit area so that more people can enjoy the space than you would normally fit on a boat 19 ft long.

It has gained quite a lot of hate in the sailing community, because of its design ambiguity, but it definitely has a target audience.

Conclusion

Since the dawn of sailing, many things have changed as far as designs go. These days, the need for boats that can sail properly but fit on a trailer is there, so this list could be easily three times as long and one still would only touch the surface of the pool. So if you are in the market for one, you are in luck.


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