Sailboats can be very easy to operate without all the knowledge, crew and physical work as before.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel


Solaris 50
Solaris 50

GENERALLY IT IS THOUGHT that sailing is a matter of hard work, wet suits, water spray, physically demanding and very difficult. But this is not true, not any more.

The technologies in use on today’s modern sailing superyachts has been transferred to smaller boats in order to reduce workloads and simplify manoeuvres.

A modern 40-60ft sailing boat can be fitted with an easy concept system so that it can be fully managed even by one person: female or male, young or elder, big or slim without any problem.

These days, sailboats and powerboats are both relatively easy to operate. At the same length of 40-60ft, sailboats have generally less living volume than open or flybridge powerboats.

Budget And Running Costs

Generally, the buying price of a sailboat is higher than a powerboat. But with boats there are two types of costs: fixed, and variable or operational. With fixed costs, we can practically consider them to be the same amount (berth, insurance, boat crew, administrative, calendar maintenance, etc). But with the variable or operational costs, sailboats cost less than a tenth of powerboats to operate.

Environmental Issues

To protect the world for future generations, there has to be drastic reduction of our carbon footprints. The construction of sail or power yachts can be considered equal in terms of footprint, however the emissions of a sailboat are much lower than a powerboat.

Sailboats are equipped with diesel engines for docking manoeuvres and for navigation in no wind conditions. In the 40-60ft range, we are talking about engines that burn 4-10 litres of gasoline per hour. When sailing with the wind, you are not polluting the world or burning money in fuel.

Emotional Considerations

Emotions are extremely important in deciding what kind of boat is better for you, as well as your family and friends. Steering your own boat gives you pleasure. Steering requires concentration, and concentration gives us relaxation time, letting the mind get free from the daily issues. Steering equals relaxing.

Where To Go

There are many more feelings, but the one that amazes every sailor in the world: the sense of freedom of being able to control something (your boat) that can take you wherever you want.

With a sailboat, you can go practically anywhere in the world, without fully depending on the fuel and complex mechanical machines. You can go great distances with a sailboat. Motoryachts of 40-60ft cannot do long navigation.

Navigate Your Boat

The first step is learning how to steer perfectly straight. This is as important as a swing in golf – it is a specific movement, requiring you almost immediately to get to a concentration level that is deep enough to become pure relaxation. When you are steering perfectly straight the boat goes faster, and one of the strong feelings comes with gaining just a quarter of a knot.

When you need to navigate your sailboat from A to B, the pleasures are related to the process of planning your navigation that takes into consideration the wind and sea current. It is like playing chess, in a way.

Short or long navigations are full of emotional and unforgettable moments for sailors, and there are thousands of books written by people from all over the world describing these emotions.

Like Everyday Life

Sailing is a school of life. The interactions between sailing and life are enormous and especially metaphorical when we consider the business life.

Kids can start to sailing on Optimist around seven years old, learning how to manage their boat and themselves in the sea. Next, they will learn gradually how to work in a team, planning strategically every aspect in order to win the regatta, considering that there are even some unpredictable elements.

The majority of the most successful self-made businessmen in the world are sailors, even if they own also motoryachts.

Thrill Of Racing

Every sailing boat is also a racer that can participate in any open regatta in the world. Racing your own boat is just another of the emotional and exciting sides of sailing.

Regattas are the social events of this way to live the sea, these competitions are full of funny and serious moments.

Competing with your boat is absolutely one of the best aspects in sailing boats; it is a never-ending learning process that brings so much to those who practise the sailing discipline.

The biggest regatta in Europe is called Barcolana, held in Trieste in Italy once a year and the 2016 edition drew 1,756 boats and more than 25,000 sailors. Most of the boats are sailing cruisers with non-professional crew, just families and friends with the same passion for the sea.

These are just some of the aspects that sailing can bring to those who fall in love with sailboats.

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Enrico Zanella is an airplane pilot and avid sailor from Italy who has lived in Asia, including Hainan and Hong Kong, since 1999. After working in the corporate business jet industry, he’s been involved in the yachting industry in Asia since 2002 with a focus on China. Enrico has represented shipyards such as Wally Yachts and Perini Navi, and currently represents Solaris Yachts in Asia. egz@solarisyachts.com www.solarisyachts.com