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Why are Sailboats so Cheap? (All You Need to Know)

The price tag is a major factor before purchasing any boat. If you compare sailboats to other boats, you will notice that they are incredibly cheap. The used ones are even cheaper. Let’s find out why sailboats are so cheap. 

Why are sailboats so cheap? 

Sailboats are cheaper compared to other boats because of their parts, fuel usage, size, and engine. Sailboats tend to be smaller and run mostly on the wind. This saves fuel cost. Sailboats also have fewer moving parts. It has a simple design with less technology involved. 

Reasons why sailboats are cheap:

The number of moving parts:

Sailboats are very simple and not as complex as other boats. They don’t require as much technology and moving pieces when compared to motorboats. They are cheaper because of the reduction in these parts. 


The motor of boats is costly. Some boats come with 2 to 4 engines for power. This is why for some boats, the motors are more expensive than the boat itself. Sailboats also often come with motors. However, they are comparatively small and less expensive.

Fuel cost:

Since sailboats do not completely depend on fuel, they save a lot of money on fuel. They are dependent on the wind. This is why expensive motors are not mandatory for sailboats.

The case is different for motorboats as they completely run on fuel. They require good and expensive motors. 


Sailboats were originally made with wood which made them expensive. Wooden boats are harder to maintain and construct. But recent sailboats are made with fiberglass instead.

Fiberglass is inexpensive and lightweight. Wood, aluminum, and steel boats fall in the expensive category. 

The price will vary depending on the size, material, and condition of the sailboat. 

Are sailboats cheaper than powerboats?

Sailboats are a lot cheaper to buy and maintain. A powerboat is twice as expensive as sailboats.

You can get sailboats with as little as $1500. A powerboat of the same size will cost you more than double, around $5000 to $7000. This is because powerboats are bigger and more powerful. 

It is also cheaper to maintain because powerboats use plenty of fuel. Large and fast powerboats use about 25 gallons of fuel per house which will cost you $300.

But most powerboats only use 1 gallon of fuel per hour which will cost you around $30. Powerboats use so much gas because they are faster than sailboats. 

Sailboat Aluminum Vs. Fiberglass, which one is cheaper?

Aluminum sailboats are cheaper than their fiberglass counterparts. The reason for this is because fiberglass weighs more and has more accessories. The weight of fiberglass makes it more stable and they don’t get easily affected by wind. 

Since aluminum boats are lightweight, they don’t need as much power to go fast when compared to Fiberglass boats. It saves money on fuel.

Aluminum sailboats have fewer maintenance costs too as well as repair costs. Hence, it is cheaper to own an aluminum sailboat instead of a fiberglass one. 

Gas Vs. Diesel Sailboat, which one is cheaper?

Diesel engines run for 5,000 hours and gas engines run for 1,500 hours. It needs replacement after that and lasts about 20 years. The prices of gasoline and diesel keep fluctuating every year. There’s no fixed price and the prices in every state and region differ.

In some places, gasoline is more expensive per gallon whereas in some places diesel oil is more expensive per gallon. 

But if you consider the average fuel costs, diesel oil is slightly cheaper than gasoline. 

When it comes to engines, a common 20HP outboard gas engine will cost you around $5,500. But the size of the engine plays a role. The smaller, the better. This is because smaller engines use less fuel which reduces the overall cost. 

Sailboats Vs. Other Boats, which one is cheaper?

You can expect to pay around $15,000 to $70,000 for a good sailboat. 


Yachts are the most luxurious type of boats. They are more spacious and have enough space to allow people to live on them. This makes sailboats cheaper than yachts.


Catamarans are more expensive than sailboats because there are fewer catamarans in the market. Lower-cost catamarans cost around $50,000 whereas lavish models can go up to $6,000,000. They come with two separate hulls. 


Trawlers cost more than sailboats. Modern advanced trawlers can cost up to $7,000,000. Decent trawlers can be bought with around $25,000. 


Motorsailers are more expensive than many sailboats. This is because motorsailers run on the engine, unlike Sailboats.

The average cost of a new motorsailer is $500,000. This is very pricey when compared to sailboats. It is more expensive to maintain too. 


Cruisers are much longer than average sailboats which is why they cost more. They come in various shapes and sizes. Cruiser yachts are more expensive.  

Fishing Boats:

Fishing boats cost around $18,000 and $45,000. This is much cheaper than higher-end sailboats. 

Bow Riders:

Bow riders that are less than 25’ cost around $15,000 to $30,000. But advanced models go above $100,000. This makes them cheaper than many expensive sailboats.

Pontoon Boats:

Pontoon boats cost from $18,000 to $60,000. Average 22’ pontoon boats cost about $35,000 which is expensive if you compare it to 22’ sailboats.

However, longer sailboats can cost as much as $500,000, making them more expensive than pontoon boats.

Why are used sailboats so cheap?

Reasons why used sailboats are cheap:


This is one of the biggest reasons why sailboat owners try to resell their boats. Sailboats require a lot of maintenance, especially when they are old.

Some owners simply don’t know how to maintain it or don’t want to. Not everyone is capable of taking up this commitment. 

Change of mind:

Plenty of people change their minds after purchasing a sailboat. This can be because of numerous reasons. Sailboat companies mass-produce beginner-level sailboats everywhere.

It has led to more sailboats of entry-level than demand. With so many options, people buy more sailboats impulsively and realize it’s not for them. 


Boats take up a lot of space. Many people are tired of keeping it in their backyard. Other than that, large sailboats have halyard costs as well. Moving around with a large sailboat can be difficult. 

Regular expenses and financial issues:

Sailing is an expensive hobby that has monthly expenses. There are more costs other than just maintenance.

This is why a lot of people sell it when they are in a financial crisis. Due to urgent needs, some buyers sell it at very low prices. 

How much is a cheap sailboat? 

New boats can be expensive which usually cost more than $40,000. But you can get used sailboats for less than $10,000 depending on their condition, size, and age. The reason for this is because pre-owned sailboats make up 80 percent of the total market share. 

The lower the size of the boat, the cheaper it will be. Be cautious about buying used boats because many owners sell them because of damages that they don’t tell you about. It will cost you more to repair those damages than buying a new one.

You can buy a Catalina 22’ if you’re on a low budget because they can cost as low as $2,500. Besides the price of the boat, you will have to pay taxes and registration costs as well. 

Where can I find cheap sailboats?

You can find cheap sailboats in sailing centers such as Annapolis, MD, and the Chesapeake Bay, San Diego. Annapolis has been said to be one of the cheapest places because they have a large number of sailboats in that area. 

You can find cheap sailboats online too. Some even give it away for free. Sites such as Craigslist and Sailboat Listings offer sailboats at very affordable prices. You can find sailboats that cost only $1,500 on Craigslist. 

Why are sailboats better than powerboats? 

It’s not only the price tag that makes sailboats better than powerboats. There are numerous reasons and here are some of the main ones:

They make less noise:

Powerboats often make a constant high-pitched noise that can disrupt you on your sailing trip. It doesn’t bother everyone but there’s no end to the sound. 

Environmental friendly, unlike powerboats:

Many sailboats use wind power instead of gas which helps the environment. It is also cleaner and less smelly.

The smell of gas is not everyone’s cup of tea. You will be able to focus more on the smell of the ocean or nature. 

Running out of fuel is not an issue:

Sailboats only carry fuel to speed up sailing in light wind. Fuel is not necessary for sailboats, unlike powerboats which completely run on fuel.

If you run out of fuel on a powerboat, you’re doomed. Hence, sailboats are more reliable. 

Another reason why sailboats are better is that sailboats are comparatively safer than powerboats. We’ll get to that next. 

Are sailboats safer than powerboats? 

Surprisingly, yes! They are less likely to capsize due to their centerboard and they tend to be heavier. They are more stable compared to powerboats because they have a deeper draft and heavier hull material. 

Powerboats can be unsafe because of their high speed. They are way faster compared to sailboats which makes them prone to more accidents. They can go so fast because they are lightweight and their hull has less draft.

As powerboats are lighter, it enables them to plane which reduces the water resistance. It’s great when the weather is good. However, this can be risky, especially in heavy winds causing the powerboat to turn upside down.

You should not only focus on the one-time cost of buying a sailboat because there are plenty of other costs involved. Besides registration and taxes, there will be expenses on maintenance, safety equipment, insurance, fuel, and mooring costs.

You will also need to pay for an international license if you sail on international waters. 

Happy Sailing!

Frequently Asked Questions:

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Why Do Sailboats Have Two Steering Wheels?

Why Do Sailing Catamarans Have Trampolines?

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