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How Fast Can A Sailboat Go? Answered

How Fast Can A Sailboat Go?

Wondering how fast a sailboat can go at a given distance?

A sailboat is a type of boat that is mainly propelled by sails and they are usually smaller in size than a sailing ship.

They are mostly used for recreational purposes, you know, for pleasure.

They are over 5 types of sailboats in the world and each one of them has their specific uses and what they are good for.

In the past sailboats were mostly used for developing international trade routes, but that doesn’t happen anymore or that much.

Now, sailboats are for fun, racing, and most pleasurable pastimes; and if you are thinking of getting one or being in one, it is not uncommon to want to know how fast it goes.

In this guide, you will learn how fast all the different sailboats can go; at a given distance or on average.

How Fast Can a Sailboat Go?

The speed of a sailboat is best determined by the type of sailboat in question; so, we will be classifying each speed by the type of sailboat you might own.

And one thing you should also note before we dive into today’s topic is that all the different types of sailboats come in sizes that varies not just in their purposes.

So, this means that racing sailboat has an average speed of 17 mph (about 15 knots).

High-performance racing sailboats, like catamarans and hydrofoil boats, can reach speeds of 20 knots (about 23 miles per hour or 37 kilometers per hour) or more. 

Some specialized racing boats, such as the hydrofoil AC75 used in the America's Cup, can reach speeds well over 50 knots (about 57.5 miles per hour or 92.6 kilometers per hour).

Sailboats that are specifically for cruising will have a speed of 5 -8 mph (7 knots +).

Note: 1 knot is equal to 1.15 mph.

Smaller sail-powered vessels like the windsurfers and kitesurfers can reach speeds of 20 to 30 knots (about 23 to 34.5 miles per hour or 37 to 55.5 kilometers per hour) or even higher in strong winds.

Large ocean racing yachts, like those used in events such as the Volvo Ocean Race (Ocean Race), can sustain speeds of 20 to 30 knots when conditions are favorable.

The reason for the glaring difference is because cruising sailboats are usually designed to be bulkier and house more people than a racing sailboat.

In other words, the bulkier the sailboat the slower it is due to the drag and sometimes friction.


The speed of a sailboat can also depend on other factors too.

Sailboats rely on the wind to propel them, so their speed is greatly influenced by wind strength and direction.

Additionally, the design of the boat and the skill of the crew play a significant role in how fast a sailboat can go.

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