Motorboat Expert

International Yachting Magazine

Transition from sail to motor. How it was

From sailboat to motor yacht

Updated on June 9th, 2024

We asked our readers who previously owned a sailboat to tell us why they decided to switch to motor yachts and how their expectations matched reality.

Mike, 44:

At the moment I am still looking for a suitable motor cruiser for myself, and before that I exclusively owned sailboats and even participated in major amateur regattas around the world. I never imagined I would want to give up sailing and go to the dark side until I spent a week on my friends’ motor yacht.

Of course, I have often been on motorboats of different sizes before, but these were short trips, so I could not fully appreciate all the delights of the absence of a sails and rigging, when every centimeter of a motor yacht is designed exclusively for your comfort. You can feel this when you are relaxing on deck, when you are standing at the helm, and even when you are servicing the engine.

Contrary to claims that sailing allows you to be closer to the water, I actually felt that this was more true for motor yachts, as half of my time at anchorage was spent on the stern swim platform, enjoying freediving and water toys. In addition, I returned to my work truly refreshed, whereas previously I needed extra rest after sailing.

Alexander, 28:

I tried my best to experience the joy of sailing, when in fact I hated it most of the time. I finally decided to sell my sailboat after cruising along the Adriatic coast on my own on a planing cruise boat that I rented. It was so unforgettable that sometimes I dream about it at night.

Imagine the mirror surface of the sea, the gentle rays of the rising sun and complete calm. These are conditions that are completely unsuitable for sailboats, but make cruising on a powerboat absolutely incredible. You understand exactly what I’m talking about. After this, the question of switching from a sail to a motor ceased to exist.

William, 54:

I grew up in a region of northern Europe where there are very few sailboats. Those people who own them mainly dream of long journeys in tropical waters without large financial expenses. I was also among them and even went around the entire Mediterranean on my sailboat.

However, I can’t say that it was really economical. I spent a lot of money on replacing rigging and various repairs specific to sailboats. And besides, it wasn’t comfortable at all, even when I was much younger. All the sailors I know have eventually switched to motoring, because it is much faster, more reliable and more comfortable, especially at high latitudes. And it may even be more economical.

Sofia, 34:

To be honest, I was the one who once asked my husband to try a charter motorboat vacation. This was enough for him to sell his sailboat and buy a normal yacht with a motor.

Mateo, 45:

I’ve never been a strong believer in one camp or another and I’ve always loved all types of boats. However, I consider sailboats exclusively for sport and short recreation. For long-term cruising and especially for living on board, I would never consider sailing yachts, regardless of their size.

Most of my free time and holidays I live and travel on my motor yacht, but at home I sometimes participate in small local regattas on friends’ sailboats. But living on a sailboat seems completely illogical to me. If it’s all about saving, then this is also mostly a myth and an illusion.

Riccardo, 27:

Today, buying a half-rotten sailboat with the last of your money and leaving “this cruel society” is a popular idea thanks to narcissistic beggars from social networks who paint a beautiful picture of an easy life in some tropical seas for young audiences. Of course, viewers do not see the worst sides that the “content creators” hide behind the scenes. Although sometimes it seems like it’s good to add a little drama to an episode to get your subscribers to donate more.

And what do you think happened? I also took the bait. A few years ago, I bought a cheap used sailboat with the money I had saved, upgraded the equipment on it, and began living and working on board instead of renting an apartment. I tried to travel around the Mediterranean, but as a developer I also had to do a lot of work on the laptop. And if the first days were amazing, then very quickly it turned into a routine.

Very soon my old sailboat turned into a money black hole into which all my income flew. Even when I stopped traveling to stay at anchor and be able to work more, a lot of my time was still spent on maintaining and upgrading the boat, as well as on normal household activities that we never think about on shore.

Then I realized from my own experience that in fact, due to their youth, the representatives of the sailing liveaboard club do not understand that they have not escaped from the rat race, but have just spent all their spare money that they could invest. And in the future it will be even more difficult for them. And of course, their subscribers don’t understand this either.

Even if these “influencers” have their own well-promoted YouTube channels that bring them a stable income, it’s still a game on someone else’s field, where they are teetering on the brink. A boat sinking or being blocked on social networks – and now you are already trying to return to your country to try to get unemployment benefits.

In addition, sailing loses its appeal over time and many even begin to hate it. This happens even faster when you live permanently on this uncomfortable boat, with a cabin that looks more like a dark cave. And yes, small sailing yachts do not have efficient heating and air conditioning systems, so dampness and mold are a constant problem. A specific smell is a distinctive feature of each sailboat.

As a result, you sell your sailboat to another dreamer and return to shore with a clear understanding that the first thing you need to do is earn capital, acquire assets and your own home, provide at least a minimum pension for the future, and then look towards boats. I love boats, but I love stability even more. And naturally, after implementing these points, I will never buy a sailboat again, but only a motor yacht.

However, everyone should do what makes them happy. And for some, perhaps it will be a sailboat bought with their last money.

Oliver, 64:

I still own a sailboat, but in recent years I have only used a cabin powerboat because of its simplicity, versatility and speed. I am also an avid fisherman. In fact, today I decided to post an advertisement for the sale of my sailing yacht. I hope it falls into good hands, because it probably already requires a complete refit.

Jan, 41:

In fact, I bought a motorsailer a month ago. I’ve only been sailing for years, but I’m just tired because it feels more like tedious work than a pleasant vacation. I was looking for a very seaworthy and economical motor yacht and found this superb motorsailer that is still very spacious but has a low mast with a small sail area. This is an excellent backup option in case the main engine breaks down to get to shore.

Beau, 39:

I switched to a trawler yacht because I never liked all the sticks, rags and ropes. I only owned the sailboat for one season and luckily sold it very quickly. It’s just not for me. I think I was initially captivated by the romance of sailing, but after a year I realized that a trawler with a dry and warm wheelhouse is much more romantic.

My boat is equipped with an active stabilization system, so in any sea condition I would prefer to be on it than on a sailboat. After several years of owning a trawler, I began to view owning a sailing yacht as a kind of masochism. This is especially true in northern Europe or Canada.

Mikhail, 43 and Christine, 32:

We switched from sail to motor five years ago for a very simple reason: we were missing speed, simplicity and freedom. We both prefer minimalism in everything. A sailing yacht is the complete opposite of our life philosophy.

However, in order to purchase a suitable motor yacht and maintain it annually without significantly compromising our budget, we had to step out of our comfort zone to create another successful business and diversify the risks. But we love boats and the sea so much that nothing can stop us.