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Beneteau First 36, Sailing World 2023 Boat of the Year

  • By Dave Reed
  • December 16, 2022

Boat of the Year

Sailing World Magazine’s  annual Boat of the Year tests are conducted in Annapolis, Maryland, following the US Sailboat Show. With independent judges exhaustively inspecting the boats on land and putting them through their paces on the water, this year’s fleet of new performance-sailing boats spanned from small dinghies to high-tech bluewater catamarans. Here’s the best of the best from our  2023 Boat of the Year nominees »

The Total Package

  • Beneteau First 36 2023 Boat of the Year
  • Stated purpose: Shorthanded racing, club racing, coastal cruising
  • Crew: Solo to six
  • Praise for: Build quality, deck layout, versatility
  • Est. price as sailed: $345,000

Like a runaway, the Beneteau First 36 careens across a westerly-whipped Chesapeake Bay. The boat’s big-shouldered spinnaker and mainsail are silhouetted in the early October morning light. It’s making trees on the Eastern Shore as we peg the throttle down to keep chase in a 19-foot RIB. The four crewmembers on board are having a casual conversation—like no big deal—when a cold and meaty gust fills the spinnaker. The leech flickers, and the boat surges forward onto plane. Twin rudders zipper the slick streaming out from the transom as the helmsman, hands at 10 and 2 on the carbon steering wheel, effortlessly weaves the boat across waves tops. The boat is, as the saying goes, on rails.

“Wicked,” is how senior Boat of the Year judge Chuck Allen summarizes his experience when he steps off. “That boat is going to be hard to beat.”

Three days and 10 boats later, nothing comes close to usurping the Beneteau First 36 as the obvious and unanimous Boat of the Year, a boat that has been a long time coming and overdue. It’s a boat that will serve many masters.

J/45

Beneteau initiated its First 36 project in 2019 by surveying a broad focus group of First “Point 7” owners and dealers about what they wanted in the marketplace, and the takeaways were: 1) Not another ­displacement boat—it had to plane. 2) They wanted a lounge, not a dining room. 3) They wanted their nav station back, and 4) for that, they were OK with having a smaller head.

Beneteau First 36 berths

Given the boat was to meet all three of its club racing, shorthanded and cruising demands, the brain trust assembled inside and outside of Beneteau focused on No. 1—keeping it light and fast. Naval architect Samuel Manuard, the new hot talent of the IMOCA 60 and Class 40 scenes, did the hull, keel and rig. Pure Structural Engineering took care of the structure, and the weight-obsessed glass slingers at Seascape’s factory in Slovenia ensured the boat came in at not a pound more than 10,580. At that weight, of course it’s going to plane.

The entire boat is ­vacuum-infused with CoreCell (hull) and PVC (bulkheads) from the deck down, inside and out, and everything, except the fridge, is somehow a piece of the structure puzzle.

Beneteau First 36 V-berth

“We are saving big weight there, as furniture is also part of the structure, and all of it glued together makes the boat extremely stiff and very light,” says Beneteau’s Tit Plevnik. “What is special is how calculated it is. In mass-production building, you can’t rely on precision, but we do. The boat is built to the same standard as a pure ­racing boat.”

“The moment I saw it, I knew it would be good. It’s a great-looking boat at the dock and even better with the sails up.” —Greg Stewart

Built like a race boat, the judges all agree it sure sails like one. “It’s a big 36-footer,” says veteran BOTY judge and naval architect Greg Stewart. “It’s a full-ended boat that has a hint of a scow-type bow with a lot of buoyancy forward. Looking at the numbers, what they achieved with the weight and its placement is impressive—10,000 pounds for a 36-foot waterline length is a very good number. I could tell the minute we put the spinnaker up it was a slippery boat.”

Stewart set the day’s top speed at a tick over 18 knots and says: “I remember feeling the puff hit and load the rig, and the boat just scooted off with really nice steering. It felt like a Laser when you get it in that groove and it just levitates. With the dual rudders, which are pretty long, the boat has more of a power-steering feel upwind, so it lets you do a lot of things. There’s so much control, which is a good thing because you can drive out of situations, but at the same time, it’s easy to oversteer.”

Beneteau First 36 sink

Multiple cockpit mock-ups done at ­different heel angles produced a workspace that the judges could find no flaw with. “It’s all legit, easy and clean in the pit,” Allen says. “With the four of us in the ­cockpit, we had plenty of space to move around and were never into each other.

“I was doing a lot of trimming downwind,” Allen adds. “You can feel the boat take off. It was really stable and easy to handle. The thing is light and fast, and we did push it to try and wipe it out, but it was hard to do.”

All the judges praised the clever location of the primary winches on sloped coamings, which were easier to trim from than a traditional winch-on-the-coaming setup. “They’re at the perfect height,” says judge Dave Powlison, “and with them angled like that, you don’t have to crane your neck to see the sail, and the lead is virtually override-proof.”

Beneteau First 36 nav station

Also noteworthy is the generous space between the high carbon wheels and the cockpit walls that allow the helmsman to slide forward without having to step up and around the wheel. The jib trimmer has easy access to the three-dimensional clue adjustment systems, and for the pit, there’s plenty of clutches, redirects and cleats to keep everything sorted and tidy.

Beneteau First 36 judges

The standard spar, and that on the demo boat, is a deck-stepped Z Spars aluminum section with Dyform wire rigging that carries 860 square feet of upwind sail area, which Stewart says is considerable for the displacement of the boat. The mast is well aft, which really stretches out the J dimension and opens the foredeck for a quiver of headsails—for this, you’ll find two tack points on the foredeck. There are four halyards total: one for a masthead gennaker, a 2-to-1 for a code sail, a fractional gennaker, and a 2-to-1 staysail. Allen, a semi-retired sailmaker, put an estimate for a complete race inventory at $60,000, which would put the boat on the racecourse for roughly $400,000. (Base boat is priced at $345,000.)

When the race is done, however, how about that interior?

Step down the wide companionway steps into a space of design simplicity and efficiency, some of which makes you say, “Duh, of course.”

Beneteau First 36 during sea trials

For example, there’s no ­traditional L-shaped galley to port or starboard. There is, however, a tall and slender fridge smack in the middle of the boat (that you connect to the galley with a removable cutting board to complete the L). Walk on either side of it to get forward, past the proper nav station, the fold-down dinette table in the middle with roomy 6-foot berths on both sides, a jetliner-size head with a stowaway sink to starboard, and then a gigantic V-berth that benefits from all that volume in the bow. Back aft, under the cockpit, are large quarter berths as well that easily cruise-convert into storage space for water toys, like kites, wings and foils, all of which takes us back to survey result No. 2. This is where the post-race party begins and ends.

With the usual supply-chain delays, compounded with the build and design team’s obsessive and calculated approach to getting the Beneteau First 36 perfect at Hull No. 1, its debut got off to a later start than hoped. But with early boats landing at eager dealers worldwide, Plevnik says the goal is 32 boats per year for the next two years. The BOTY judges assure us it’ll be worth the wait and give you plenty of time to start planning what you can and will do with it.

  • More: 2023 Boat of the Year , Beneteau , Boat of the Year , Print Winter 2023 , Sailboats
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We built with you in mind for over 138 years. We’ve transformed living spaces and the list of innovations in hull design and navigation continues to grow at a rapidly increasing pace. Since 1884, BENETEAU's philosophy of building the strongest, safest, most beautiful boats on the water is alive and well. The BENETEAU family’s pride in craftsmanship and passion for performance can easily be recognized in every FIRST, FIRST SE, FIGARO, OCEANIS, and OCEANIS YACHT built today.  

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The  world reference  in cruising. Oceanis is our range of long-distance, blue water cruisers that for years has set the standard for sailboat design and construction, with a hull that is a marvel in hydrodynamics,  Oceanis delivers superior performance  while providing stability and safety while under sail. Despite her strong sea legs, she doesn’t sacrifice luxury and comfort. You can choose your layout based on different configurations below deck and also have  your choice  of interior finishes. Your Oceanis will be a joy to sail and be  your home away from home . The Oceanis range continues to  appeal to all sailors  around the world.

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The  Oceanis Yacht  is the culmination of our Oceanis philosophy where cruising comfort, performance, and customization reign supreme. Her elegant design and luxurious interiors add a new dimension to life at sea with an enormous salon, impressive galley, spacious staterooms, and plenty of ambient light from the many large windows and skylights. Despite her lavish details, our Oceanis Yacht maneuvers as easily as a smaller yacht thanks to a perfectly centered sail plan and twin rudders. She is a yacht that represents the  art of sailing  at its regal best.

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40 years of iconic  brand heritage. The signature features of the FIRST range have not changed since its conception in 1977 – these boats have always been designed for  sailors  who enjoy club racing as much as cruising, joining them into one cohesive product line, the proverbial  best  of both worlds. Today, BENETEAU takes another step in this direction with the launch of the new FIRST range.  These boats offer simplicity, performances, and comfortable interiors and cockpits geared towards daysailing and coastal cruising. Renewing the competition spirit of the brand, they represent a true adaptation to the  needs and expectations  of the widest variety of sailors.

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High-tech performance from the cutting edge of racing into the hands of the recreational sailors.  First SE - Seascape Edition encourages and empowers sailors to expand their comfort zone by joining competitive one-design racing and adventure sailing . It grows a community of owners linked by shared values and a drive to strengthen their sailing skills. Whether owners are racing against others in one-design classes or are engaging in adventure sailing, the First SE connects them to the elements and helps them experience nature in the most authentic way. A carbon rig, laminate sails and other technological features give sailors the ultimate sailing experience, performance and control.

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Are you looking for a  sailing yacht dealer ? Leisure boating, short trips, competitive sailing, regattas – whatever type of sailing you like, BENETEAU has a wide range of  sailing yachts  and  luxury yachts , so there’s bound to be a boat to fulfill your dreams. 

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We built our first sailboats over 138 years ago and many things have changed since then. The oak we once relied on has been replaced with strong but lightweight resin and carbon fiber. Where canvas once caught the wind, now it’s Kevlar and Vectran. We’ve transformed dark, confining salons and cabins into bright, open living spaces. And the list of innovations in hull design and navigation continues to grow at a rapidly increasing pace.

However, some things haven’t changed and never will. Benjamin BENETEAU’s philosophy of building the strongest, safest, most beautiful boats on the water is alive and well. The BENETEAU family’s pride in craftsmanship and passion for performance can easily be recognized in every FIRST, FIGARO, OCEANIS, and OCEANIS YACHT built today.  

Knowing what to keep and what to change – that’s why BENETEAU continues to set the bar in sailing.

OCEANIS: THE BEST SELLER

Oceanis is our range of long-distance, blue water cruisers and for years has set the standard for sailboat design and construction. With a hull that is a marvel in hydrodynamics, Oceanis delivers superior performance while providing stability and safety under sail. Despite her strong sea legs, she doesn’t sacrifice luxury and comfort. You can choose your layout based on different configurations below deck and also have your choice of interior finishes. Your Oceanis will be a joy to sail and be your home away from home.

OCEANIS YACHTS:LUXURY YACHTS

BENETEAU is also there to help you buy a top-quality boat. The OCEANIS Yacht line delivers  luxury sailing yachts  that satisfy this requirement perfectly. The line comprises two luxury craft of over 50 feet, designed by renowned architects and designers. 

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 Our 7th generation of the First range offers you the experience of pure sailing joy while staying true to our standards for safety and stability. She is lightweight with a streamlined design, making her highly adaptable to whatever the wind and water have in store. The First is fast but forgiving, spicy but safe – perfect for the thrill-seeking novice or seasoned competitive sailor alike.

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First SE - Seascape Edition encourages and empowers sailors to expand their comfort zone by joining competitive one-design racing and adventure sailing. It grows a community of owners linked by shared values and a drive to strengthen their sailing skills. Whether owners are racing against others in one-design classes or are engaging in adventure sailing, the First SE connects them to the elements and helps them experience nature in the most authentic way.

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Best Sailing Racing Compasses

Best Sailing Racing Compasses | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 7, 2023

‍ Key Takeaways

  • A boat compass is ideal for any sailor out on the water in the event that you become lost
  • Calibrating a compass is not difficult but you should consult with the manual beforehand
  • A boat compass can damage over time so be sure to check reviews for good ones
  • Some sailing compass brands come with brackets while others have various options
  • It is important to understand how it works before attempting to purchase one

‍ A sailing racing compass is an important tool in sail races and on the water in general. But what are the best sailing racing compasses?

The best sailing compasses for racing would be TurnOnSport, Plastimo, Ritchie Navigator, and Detuck. Sailing compasses vary in mounted types or handhelds. You can find a perfect compass for racing since there are plenty of options to consider.

Base on my previous experience a lot of marine compasses vary in style and their intended use so each brand will cater to a certain sailor. Depending on the type of boat and racing you are conducting then the type of boat compass will likely differ.

Table of contents

‍ 10 Best Sailing Compasses for Racing

Sailors need a trustworthy boat compass for a variety of reasons but especially in racing. There are many different types of sailing compasses that could work for you based on your budget and desired sailing goals.

TurnOnSport Boat Compass

TurnOnSport Boat Compass

If you have never used a boat compass before you will be pleased with the quality of TurnOnSport’s boat compass. It can stick or be mounted virtually anywhere but is ideally meant for marine use. It is corrosion resistant and it comes with a shield to block out sunlight.

  • 12V power supply to light up
  • Magnetic and easy to install
  • Might not be sticky enough to stay in place
  • Needs a flat surface when trying to stick

Plastimo Contest 130

Plastimo Contest 130

Plastimo offers an easy to read boat compass that can be seen from just about any angle. You do not have to worry about it getting beat up since the dome is scratch resistant and is also UV protected. It is ideal for boats over 30 feet but can still accommodate smaller ones.

  • Scratch resistant
  • Easy to read with a crystal clear display
  • Can fit to bulkheads
  • Might be difficult to find at times
  • Higher price point

Ritchie Navigator BN 202

Ritchie Navigator BN 202

Ritchie Navigator makes an excellent compass like the BN 202 for example. It is proven to withstand a variety of sailing conditions and is arguably one of the best designs among sailing compasses. It is also equipped with an inclinometer to help with steering and windward.

  • Comes with night light so that you can travel long distances overnight
  • Inclinometer to help with steering
  • Five year warranty
  • Might be an expensive compared to other brands
  • Slightly larger than other compasses

Boat Compass by Detuck

Boat Compass by Detuck

Detuck enters the boat compass game with a cost-effective alternative to other major boat brands. At just under $20 you can have a good quality tactical compass without having to break the bank. It also arrives with a magnetic declination capability so that you can improve the compass accuracy over time.

  • Has magnetic declination to be more accurate
  • Comes with a money back guarantee
  • Backlight enables you to see in multiple lighting conditions
  • Cannot be left in the sun for too long
  • Plastic might not hold up in rough conditions

Lewmar 135

Lewmar has a few options for racers trying to find a top quality compass in their boat. Their 135 model comes with a hood that helps protect it from sunlight. It also has a sapphire jewel pivot to allow you to read it from any angle clearly.

  • Two different options to mount it
  • Ideal for larger sailboats that use 24 volts
  • Easy to read compass card
  • Might take a while to get it

COSTIN Compass

COSTIN Compass

Costin is one of the best marine compasses out there for the price point. This is a great tactical compass that can also be used in marine conditions which is perfect for sail racing. It is easy to carry and store when not in use.

  • Rugged and sturdy even if dropped
  • Less than $16
  • Comes with pouch for easy carrying
  • Might not be the most accurate
  • Instructions can be difficult to understand

100BC Compass by Silva

100BC Compass by Silva

Silva might have the sleekest and smooth design for a sailboat compass. It can be mounted in a variety of positions and read from nearly any angle. It also has illumination capabilities so that you can see it in dark environments.

  • Multiple mounting options
  • Has protected cover
  • Easy to read no matter the angle
  • Price might be a little high for some
  • No angle for heeling

Clipper Compass

Clipper Compass

The Clipper compass system is an electric tool that helps with direction. It has seven different levels of lighting so that you can see in all light conditions. It also has an alarm that will go off if you stray off your preset course.

  • Various lighting options to read in any condition
  • Easy to read
  • Alarm to help you stay on course
  • Need to keep on battery supply
  • Cannot see it in some angles

Odowalker Marine Compass

Odowalker Marine Compass

Odowalker is another entry level compass that you can use for a variety of applications. It comes with an incandescent light to help you see in dark conditions and is easy to read. It is also made out of ABS material and can withstand some shock.

  • Adjustable to see from various angles
  • Multiple uses outside of sail racing
  • Need power supply in order to use backlight feature
  • Might need to adjust accuracy when it arrives

Autonautic Deck Mount Compass

Autonautic Deck Mount Compass

The Autonautic CHE-0074 model provides accurate directions on larger boats. It is designed to allow more graduations so that you can see the numbers better. It is also one of the more durable and reliable boat compasses.

  • Fairly expensive but has five year warranty
  • Has graduation markings to see better
  • Best for a steel boat
  • Fairly expensive
  • Meant for a larger boat

What to Look for in a Sailing Compass

There are various factors you should take into consideration when attempting to buy a sailing compass. You would likely want to read user reviews and potentially test one out yourself to get a feel for what you need.

In addition you should also narrow down your sailing goals to determine what is going to work best for your situation. Buying a sailing compass simply because you think it looks cool is not going to help your situation out on the water.

Size of the Compass

In my experience you should aim for a sailing compass that has a large diameter. It needs to be able to fit properly onto your dashboard at the helm so that you have and easier time reading it.

If it is large enough you can read the numbers easier when the boat is in rough conditions. It does not necessarily have to have a backlight but that would help especially at night.

Various Mounting Options

Depending on the type of boat and the sailing compass you choose it might have different options for mounting it. Various mounting options exist for those that want to mount it a certain way.

Space on the Dashboard

This installation is simply on the dash of your boat if applicable. You will need to cut out and fit a section of the dash in order to keep it secure and it makes it permanent.

Flat Surface Areas

Installing on the surface is likely the easiest and quickest since you can simply place it and be done. A surface mount can either be flat somewhere at the helm or horizontally at the best spot. This also prevents you from having to cut out a section of the dash.

Using Brackets

If your sailing compass comes with brackets this will allow you to place anywhere you desire with some installation required. A bracket mount will typically allow you to move the compass slightly to get a better read and is ideal for placing in vertical spots.

Mounting it Flush

A flush mount installation is where you cut a hole in your dash and expose just enough of the compass to read it. Some sailing compasses are more attractive looking when you install it this way but it does take a little more time than standard surface installations.

Binnacle Mounting

Choosing a binnacle mount is another option that is referred to as a “little house” for the compass. This helps keep it out of the elements or sunlight and are typically larger.

A majority of the sailing compasses you see on the market have a backlight and it is a handy feature if you are in lower light conditions. You will likely need to have it close to a power supply for a lot of these but some come equipped with a slight illumination already to make it easier to read.

Various Types of Dials

There are a few dial options to consider when selecting your sailing compass. Each one could appeal to you based on the way you prefer to read it.

Direct Dial for Upright View

A direct dial has the lubber line in an aft position and are best suited for helms that are closer to eye level when sailing. It is recommended that you have plenty of experience reading this type of dial since it requires some knowledge beforehand.

Dial with Flat Card

A flat card dial has to be read while you are standing or sitting in a seat above the helm since it features a horizontal face. The lubber line is forward so you would need to have the right angle when looking at it.

Hybrid dials are likely what you are thinking which is a mix between direct and flat. These allow you to read the compass from nearly any direction. These are best if you are needing to see the direction from any part of the boat and if you are newer to reading a compass.

Your Knowledge

If you have never used a compass before it will likely take a slight learning curve to get used to it. Consider purchasing one that you can either read from any direction or has simple but precise markers in order to get an accurate reading. Sailors that have plenty of experience might be able to read any compass no matter the quality.

How Does a Sailing Compass Work?

A compass is an essential tool for your boat to help guide you safely during any event at sea. This is especially important because if your power fails on your boat you can use your compass to help navigate back to safety.

How it Operates

Beneath the compass card is a tiny magnet that keeps north and south in line with the help of the Earth’s magnetic field. The compass is encapsulated with a fluid to help keep it stable upon moving on the boat. These are typically an analogue compass but some digital ones do exist usually as a handheld version.

Deviation Process

Deviation is a term used to describe when a compass is thrown off of its accurate reading due to other magnetic influences or too much metal interfering with it. You will need to read the manual or check with a qualified professional to help get it back in check.

Various Styles

Your boat will likely need a specific compass to make it worth the investment. As mentioned a binnacle compass is best for when the view is above and it is likely mounted on the wheel.

Smaller boats that utilize tiller steering are best suited with bulkhead mount that are located at the front of the cockpit. These also generally help with determining the angle of the heel the boat is experiencing.

In other words you should conduct the proper amount of research to best fit your needs. Your budget and boat type will play a crucial role in determining the best one. Your sailing experience can also make an impact on the buying process to help find the best tactical scale on the water.

Related Articles

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

by this author

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Home  News  US Sailing Resolves All Legal Matters With America One Racing

US Sailing Resolves All Legal Matters With America One Racing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BRISTOL, RI (22 May, 2024) – US Sailing, the National Governing Body for the sport of sailing, announced today that it has come to a final resolution of terms settling all legal and other matters between US Sailing and America One Racing.  US Sailing is pleased that this matter is resolved so that the greater sailing community can join us and be focused on fully supporting the 13 American athletes that will be representing the United States in the  2024 Paris  Olympic Games .

Copyright ©2018-2024 United States Sailing Association. All rights reserved. US Sailing is a 501(c)3 organization. Website designed & developed by Design Principles, Inc. -->

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U.S. Sailing settles with Paul Cayard and America One, drops suit

S AN DIEGO -- U.S. Sailing has settled its federal lawsuit against veteran sailor and executive Paul Cayard and the America One Racing foundation, the sport's governing body announced on Wednesday.

Dropping the lawsuit removes a major distraction that had overshadowed the once-dominant American squad that has won just one medal in the last three Olympics.

The governing body, which had been criticized by medalists Anna Tobias and JJ Fetter for suing one of sailing's biggest financial supporters, didn't release specifics of the settlement.

America One Racing said in a statement that no money changed hands, both parties agreed to release all claims and established a mutual non-disparagement agreement.

Cayard, one of the United States' most successful sailors, resigned as executive director of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team in February 2023. He told The Associated Press then that he couldn't work under a restructuring that would have him focus on fundraising while someone else ran the team. When he left, many donors followed him or paused pledges to the national governing body.

America One Racing had been a partner and financial supporter of U.S. Sailing but switched its focus to directly supporting athletes. U.S. Sailing sued in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island on Jan. 16, seeking damages from America One Racing and its three principals, including Cayard.

In late February, Fetter, a two-time Olympic medalist, called for the resignations of U.S. Sailing's CEO, president and any other board member who supported the lawsuit.

Professional sailor and coach Tony Rey resigned from the board in the wake of the lawsuit, saying he was starting a new career opportunity within the sailing industry and that while he supported the litigation, "the controversy that continues to reverberate on the ground will not be helpful to my career."

Tobias, the last American to win an Olympic sailing gold medal, at the 2008 Beijing Games, emailed U.S. Sailing president Richard Jepsen and board members on April 24 asking them to drop the lawsuit. She called it "a frivolous and embarrassing side show for U.S. Sailing" and "a distraction from the goals."

"Let's broker peace and get the USA Olympic program back to a level where my name is in the history books and not the last USA sailing Gold Medal winner," her email concluded.

Tobias said she was so convinced that the U.S. team was on the right track under Cayard's leadership and America One's financial support that she gave up her job as coach for the ILCA 6 squad in the middle of the current quad and tried to make the team. Although she lost at the trials, she said she wouldn't have gotten to the starting line without America One's support.

"The leadership change was a shock to many athletes and the reasons for the organizational changes didn't ring true to many of us, however funding was a concern so many chose to walk the path without 'rocking the boat' as it were keeping a low profile during the resulting fallout," she wrote.

In an embarrassment on the English Channel in 2012, the United States failed to win an Olympic sailing medal for the first time since the 1936 Berlin Games. San Diego's Caleb Paine won a bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but the Americans were shut out again three summers ago in Tokyo and have been overtaken by Britain on the sailing medals table.

Some of the biggest names in sailing won Olympic medals for the United States. They include the late sailmaker Lowell North; the late Buddy Melges, who co-helmed the 1992 America's Cup winner with industrialist Bill Koch; sailmaker Mark Reynolds; and even Mr. America's Cup himself, Dennis Conner.

U.S. Sailing settles with Paul Cayard and America One, drops suit

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Best Sailing Watches: 6 Top Picks from Racing to Adventuring

Sailing Watches

Looking for a sailing watch but don’t know where to start? We’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s six top sailing watches for racing, cruising or all out adventuring.

Sailing watches.

Sailing watches today range from housing the latest tech and modern functions, catering to your every need, to being simply a clock and timer on your wrist. Have you been scrolling through pages of watches, trying to work out what’s best for you amidst long lists of fancy functions? Don’t fret, you’ve come to the right place… We’ve done the work for you and selected the top sailing watches from dinghy racing to lifetime voyages. 

Whether you’re a beginner skipper, experienced sailor , or globe explorer , here’s some of the top sailing watches out there from Garmin to Suunto. All the information you need… on your wrist!

Our Selection Process

How we selected these top-quality, top-performance sailing watches…

Brilliant durability.

Top water resistance.

Great visibility.

Exciting functionality.

Ronstan ClearStart Race Timer Sailing Watch

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Buy Now: £107 on Amazon

Why we chose it:

  • Racing specific watch 
  • Easy to press silicon buttons, great visibility 
  • Robust design with ‘bumper’ around display
  • 50m water resistant
  • Includes ‘5-4-1-0’ and Match Racing start sequence programmes

Optimum Time Series 12 Sailing Yachting and Dinghy Watch

Optimum Watch

Buy Now: £70 on Amazon

  • A sailing-specific watch
  • Water Resistant to 50m
  • Large number display
  • Comfortable silicone strap
  • Boom/mast mount bracket supplied
  • Elasticated strap for wrist or over sleeve wearing

Suunto 9 Baro

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Buy Now: £519 from Suunto

  • Advanced watch for adventurous sailors 
  • Over 80 sport modes
  • 100m water resistant
  • Touch screen sapphire glass
  • GPS tracking and navigation 
  • Additional functions: Sleep tracking, weather, multiple sport modes
  • Four predefined battery modes – Performance, Endurance, Ultra and Tour – ranging from 25 hours to up to 170 hours while recording time, with GPS on.
  • Withstood several extreme tough tests
  • Connects to Suunto app for easy data viewing, and connecting to partners like Strava and Adidas

Casio Lithium Quartz (WS-1300H-2AVEF)

Casio Watch

Buy Now: £40 on Amazon

  • Great value 
  • Sailing specific watch 
  • High quality plastic strap 
  • Tide graph and moon phase

Garmin Quatix 7 Smartwatch (Standard)

sailboat racing price

Buy Now: £899.99 from Goldsmiths

  • Sailing specific watch
  • 16 days of battery life/ 42 hours in GPS mode
  • Rugged and large 1.3″ always-on AMOLED display
  • Traditional and touchscreen buttons
  • Connects with select compatible Garmin chartplotters and remote control of key MFD features, including chart zoom, layout shortcut, Fusion® stereo, autopilot and more.
  • Autopilot control from your watch 
  • Stream data including wind, water depth, and engine RPM
  • View coastal charts and freshwater maps from your wrist 
  • Also designed for deep water and inland fishing
  • And so much more…

Casio G-Shock (GA-100CF-1A9ER)

Casio G-shock

Buy Now: £119 from G-Shock

  • 200m water resistant 
  • Average speed display 
  • Automatic Illuminated display
  • Low temp resistant (-10 degrees centigrade) 
  • Anti-slip oversized buttons
  • Maiden & Tabarly Put Women at Top: Ocean Globe Race Results
  • Boat Test: C-Cat 48
  • Entries for the 2024 Round the Island Race are open

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U.S. Sailing drops federal lawsuit in settlement with Paul Cayard and America One Racing

FILE - Sailor Paul Cayard, of the United States, is interviewed by the Associated Press on the sidelines of a conference on the preservation of oceans, in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. U.S. Sailing has settled its federal lawsuit against veteran sailor and executive Paul Cayard and the America One Racing foundation, the sport's governing body announced on Wednesday., May 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File)

FILE - Sailor Paul Cayard, of the United States, is interviewed by the Associated Press on the sidelines of a conference on the preservation of oceans, in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. U.S. Sailing has settled its federal lawsuit against veteran sailor and executive Paul Cayard and the America One Racing foundation, the sport’s governing body announced on Wednesday., May 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File)

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. Sailing has settled its federal lawsuit against veteran sailor and executive Paul Cayard and the America One Racing foundation, the sport’s governing body announced on Wednesday.

Dropping the lawsuit removes a major distraction that had overshadowed the once-dominant American squad that has won just one medal in the last three Olympics.

The governing body, which had been criticized by medalists Anna Tobias and JJ Fetter for suing one of sailing’s biggest financial supporters, didn’t release specifics of the settlement.

America One Racing said in a statement that no money changed hands, both parties agreed to release all claims and established a mutual non-disparagement agreement.

Cayard, one of the United States’ most successful sailors, resigned as executive director of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team in February 2023. He told The Associated Press then that he couldn’t work under a restructuring that would have him focus on fundraising while someone else ran the team. When he left, many donors followed him or paused pledges to the national governing body.

America One Racing had been a partner and financial supporter of U.S. Sailing but switched its focus to directly supporting athletes. U.S. Sailing sued in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island on Jan. 16, seeking damages from America One Racing and its three principals, including Cayard.

Tom Slingsby, CEO and driver of Australia SailGP Team, and Kyle Langford, wing trimmer, celebrate as they win the KPMGAustralia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney, Australia. Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. (Felix Diemer/SailGP via AP)

In late February, Fetter, a two-time Olympic medalist, called for the resignations of U.S. Sailing’s CEO, president and any other board member who supported the lawsuit.

Professional sailor and coach Tony Rey resigned from the board in the wake of the lawsuit, saying he was starting a new career opportunity within the sailing industry and that while he supported the litigation, “the controversy that continues to reverberate on the ground will not be helpful to my career.”

Tobias, the last American to win an Olympic sailing gold medal, at the 2008 Beijing Games, emailed U.S. Sailing president Richard Jepsen and board members on April 24 asking them to drop the lawsuit. She called it “a frivolous and embarrassing side show for U.S. Sailing” and “a distraction from the goals.”

“Let’s broker peace and get the USA Olympic program back to a level where my name is in the history books and not the last USA sailing Gold Medal winner,” her email concluded.

Tobias said she was so convinced that the U.S. team was on the right track under Cayard’s leadership and America One’s financial support that she gave up her job as coach for the ILCA 6 squad in the middle of the current quad and tried to make the team. Although she lost at the trials, she said she wouldn’t have gotten to the starting line without America One’s support.

“The leadership change was a shock to many athletes and the reasons for the organizational changes didn’t ring true to many of us, however funding was a concern so many chose to walk the path without ‘rocking the boat’ as it were keeping a low profile during the resulting fallout,” she wrote.

In an embarrassment on the English Channel in 2012, the United States failed to win an Olympic sailing medal for the first time since the 1936 Berlin Games. San Diego’s Caleb Paine won a bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, but the Americans were shut out again three summers ago in Tokyo and have been overtaken by Britain on the sailing medals table.

Some of the biggest names in sailing won Olympic medals for the United States. They include the late sailmaker Lowell North; the late Buddy Melges, who co-helmed the 1992 America’s Cup winner with industrialist Bill Koch; sailmaker Mark Reynolds; and even Mr. America’s Cup himself, Dennis Conner.

Follow Bernie Wilson on X at http://x.com/berniewilson

AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports

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  1. Intro to Sailboat Racing

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  3. Types of Racing Sailboats

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  4. Introduction to Sailboat Racing

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  5. Olympic Sailing: How to Watch the Sailboat Racing

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  6. Yacht racing & regattas

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VIDEO

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  2. Saturday racing clinic 5 5

  3. Used sailboats HUGE price drops coming

  4. Racing sailboat ⛵️ #sailboat #boatlife #race #raceboat

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  6. Sailboat Racing: An Exciting World on Water

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    Sailing World is your go-to site and magazine for the best sailboat reviews, sail racing news, regatta schedules, sailing gear reviews and more.

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    Beneteau First 36 2023 Boat of the Year. Stated purpose: Shorthanded racing, club racing, coastal cruising. Crew: Solo to six. Praise for: Build quality, deck layout, versatility. Est. price as ...

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    All you need to know about the 2024 New York Sail Grand Prix, including Ticket Information, Live Stream and Broadcast Details ... intense races at iconic stadium-style venues across the globe. The high-tech, high-speed action features sailing's best athletes racing in identical hydrofoiling F50 catamarans, flying at speeds approaching 100 km ...

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  24. U.S. Sailing settles with Paul Cayard and America One, drops suit

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