You’re probably reading this because you’ve come down with a bad case of the cruising bug. As it turns out, living on a sailboat is something just about anyone can do, but there are so many questions. Too many. Two of the questions you inevitably come to are “What kind of sailboat do I need?” and “How much does a liveaboard sailboat cost?”. The answers to these questions will depend on who you ask, what they do for a living, and what kind of boat they have. The good thing is, there’s more than one answer and they’re all reasonable.
Finding the right sailboat for liveaboard purposes can be a daunting task, especially if you're on a budget. Read on, and in no particular order, we'll explore a few of the best liveaboard sailboats available for around the $50,000 mark. All of these boats offer a comfortable and functional living space while being well-suited for long-term cruising.
The Tartan 37 is a well-regarded cruiser with a reputation for performance and quality craftsmanship. With its sleek design and moderate displacement, it's a capable coastal and offshore cruiser with a couple of them having circumnavigated. Inside, the Tartan 37 offers a roomy living space for the size with plenty of storage. Most of these boats came equipped with a centerboard allowing for a low draft of 4’2’’. You’ll have no problems gunkholing in the Bahamas on this boat.
No list of good cruising boats would be whole without The Tayana 37. This classic cruiser is known for its solid construction and bulletproof design. The full keel and overbuilt hull make it a more-than-capable bluewater cruiser to take you anywhere in the world. The interior of the Tayana 37 is as salty as they come with rich teak providing a warm and cozy atmosphere below. These boats were semi-custom, so the interiors vary a bit, but they typically feature a V-berth stateroom, a spacious saloon, a well-equipped galley, and one head with a separate shower stall. This boat is perfect for couples or small families looking for a liveaboard sailboat that can stand up to the demands of offshore sailing.
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey Series
The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey series offers a range of sailboats known for their modern designs and spacious interiors. While newer models certainly exceed the $50,000 budget, you can often find older models in good condition within this range. The Sun Odyssey series typically features comfortable cabins, spacious saloons, functional galleys, and heads with showers. These boats are suitable for those who prefer contemporary design and value the versatility of a well-rounded cruiser. They may not be the best boat in a squall, but they sure are comfortable at anchor where you spend 99% of your time.
Cape Dory 36
The Cape Dory 36 is a classic sailboat with a reputation for seaworthiness and comfort. Drawn by the legendary Carl Alberg, the design is characterized by a full keel and the elegant lines of the IOR boats. While there’s no such thing as a maintenance-free boat, owners of the 36 report very few major issues. This boat's interior offers a cozy and functional living space with teak cabinetry and enough storage for two and the occasional guest. The Cape Dory 36 typically features a V-berth, a comfortable saloon, a practical galley, and a wet head. It's a great choice for liveaboards who appreciate a traditional aesthetic and robust construction.
Beneteau Oceanis Series
The Beneteau Oceanis series is another popular choice for liveaboards on a budget. Known for their comfortable accommodations and sailing performance, Oceanis sailboats provide spacious interiors with modern amenities. Depending on the specific model, you can expect multiple cabins, roomy saloons, well-equipped galleys, and heads with showers. Beneteau's reputation for innovation and comfortable design makes their boats an attractive option for liveaboard cruisers.
What is the best liveaboard sailboat for you?
When searching for the best liveaboard sailboat for your needs, it's crucial to consider factors like condition, maintenance history, necessary upgrades or repairs, and your sailing experience. A survey by a qualified marine surveyor is highly recommended to assess the boat's overall condition before making a purchase (just don’t use one the broker recommends). Budget for ongoing maintenance and upgrades to ensure your liveaboard experience is comfortable and safe. If all of this research and decision-making seems too daunting, consider private sailboat consulting with Capt. Brady!
Cruisers Academy Liveaboard Sailing School
If you’re serious about living on a sailboat but want more experience, check out our Mexico Cruising Course, a liveaboard sailing course designed to teach you everything you need to know about cruising full-time. There will be 13 different trips for you to choose from from October 2023 to May 2024.
We'll be opening bunks for each leg, and accepting only 2-3 students for each passage to make sure every student gets the attention they deserve. This will be a dynamic learning environment, with the opportunity to put to work any sailing experience you may already have with lots of room to include new lessons and first hand experience of living the cruising lifestyle. Students will be taking part in every crew role, from sailing and navigation, anchoring, cooking, taking care of Lintika, and learning how to be the best crew member possible.