Dream boats. We all have them, for some of us our dream is a canoe, for others it's a small cruising boat, and some people dream of something grander. Whatever your budget, here are a few craft to dream about...

1. RS Aero dinghy

Singlehanded dinghies such as the Laser and Sunfish have been phenomenally successful, with these two designs alone having sold more than half a million boats to date. There are many good reasons for their popularity, but perhaps the most important are the simplicity of a boat that’s quick to rig and of having no worries or headaches around organising crew.

The downside is that the design of most single-handed dinghies designs dates from 40 years ago or more. Both boat design and materials technology have improved enormously in that time, with the result that it’s possible to produce a boats with significant benefits over older models. This is exactly the gap in the market that RS Sailing saw when it developed the RS Aero.

RS Aero

The Aero is a single handed dinghy that's enormous fun to sail.

The Aero’s hull is just half the weight of a Laser’s, yet the newer design has significantly more form stability, which makes it less prone to capsize and allows a sailor of a given size and weight to use a larger rig. Like the Laser the Aero is offered with three different sizes of sail, so the boat is suitable for a wide range of people of different heights and weights. No wonder that it has already become hugely successful and the class continues to grow.

Price: from £6,480.

See our First Look Video of the Aero, plus read about more dinghies in our  features 25 best beginner sailing dinghies and 10 coolest dinghies in the world.

10 top personal watercraft: Sea-Doo Trixx

The new Trixx adds extra features as well as uprated aesthetics.

2. Sea-Doo Spark Trixx personal watercraft

A personal watercraft is a fun way to get started on the water (see Jet Skis and personal watercraft: the guide). The Spark Trixx follows the entry-level Spark and is designed to bring to market “features that leverage the light and nimble handling of the Spark model to offer new ways to play.” It’s built from the same Polytec material and weighs just 192kg, but it includes some high-end features like Intelligent Throttle Control and Intelligent Brake & Reverse. It also offers a new low-profile handlebar with adjustable riser, alongside step wedges and an extended-range Variable Trim System, which means you can pull off the kinds of freestyle trick other personal watercrafts struggle to match.

Price: from £7,409.

For more personal watercraft options, see Ten top personal watercraft.

Ribeye's A600 is a very slick and modern package

Ribeye's A600 is a very slick and modern package.

3. Ribeye PRIME SIX19

A RIB is a great multi-use powercraft that has great popularity and plenty of dream options (see our RIB boat buying guide). Ribeye does good business from its base down on South Devon’s beautiful Dart Estuary and it’s easy to see why. It is responsible for some of the RIB market’s most attractively conceived and well-presented turnkey packages; and it has also created some of the most accessible and user-friendly customisation and upgrade routes around. That’s nowhere more evident than in the company’s original PRIME craft, the SIX19, which is superb to look at, extremely well finished and, with its new Adam Younger hull, a treat to drive.

Seair foiling Mini

The latest Minis use foils to boost performance even further, a dream boat for anyone aspiring to shorthanded or solo adventures.

4. Mini 650

No speed freak could fail to be drawn to these miniature ocean racing yachts that won’t break the budget. They are only 21ft in length, but the class’s signature event is a 4,000 mile dash across the Atlantic from the west coast of France to the Caribbean, with a single stopover in the Canary Islands. Interest in the race is such that the 84 places are perpetually over subscribed.

The latest designs use the very latest foiling technology to increase stability, which in turn allows more sail to be piled on, and helps the hull lift almost out of the water. Speeds of more than 20 knots are frequently achieved and massive shots of adrenaline are guaranteed, whether you’re out for an afternoon’s blast, or are 1,500 miles from land.

The ST30 is the smallest of Beneteau's Swift Trawlers.

The ST30 is the smallest of Beneteau's Swift Trawlers.

5. Beneteau Swift Trawler 30

A compact trawler that is the smallest in the Beneteau ST range. The ST recipe was all about safe, seaworthy, semi-displacement cruising boats that would sidestep inherited traditions in favour of optimised solutions for extended (or even liveaboard) adventures. It proved very popular with the UK boat-buying public. A big swim platform, flybridge and saloon comes with port galley and a starboard table that slides beneath the seating to preserve the open space. Read a full review of the Swift trawler 30 here.

Spirit 47CR

Stunning lines and expert craftsmanship are blended with up to the minute design knowledge and modern conveniences.

6. Spirit 47CR

This is the first boat in a new cruising range from this British builder of modern classic yachts and is simply stunning. As with the company’s existing models it’s hand built to the very highest standards, using high tech timber/epoxy construction to create a stiff yet lightweight structure.

A proportionately wider beam combined with greater freeboard means there’s significantly more accommodation volume than with Spirit’s earlier designs. The interior is arranged around the needs of up to six people for long distance sailing and living aboard for extended periods. In common with other Spirit yachts the underwater profile, rig and equipment reflect the newest technologies and equipment, creating a yacht that has enormous style yet has the speed, ease of handling and reliability of the very best of today’s designs. Watch our First Look Video of the Spirit 4CR here.

7. X-Yachts X6

The latest range of performance cruising yachts from this Danish boatbuilder provides an irresistible mix of space and style both above and below decks. But this is much more than a boat that’s intended to look great in any marina or anchorage – it’s designed for those who demand first class sailing qualities and top notch equipment. If your pockets are deep enough you can specify the boat exactly to your own requirements to create a genuine dream yacht.


X-Yachts' new X range combines style with space and pace - a winning combination.

8. Sunseeker Portofino 40

The smallest model offered by this manufacturer of premium luxury production and custom yachts makes this a dream Sunseeker that is more likely to become a reality. If you’ve always longed to wrap your hands around the leather-clad wheel of a sexy Sunseeker, this could be your chance. The Portofino possesses the key features that are hallmarks of the brand, namely Med-style lines with international appeal, swift performance, and a layout designed for plenty of outdoor play.

Standard power is a pair of Volvo Penta D6 330 sterndrives that push the boat to a top-end speed of 35 knots. For a faster ride, order the optional Volvo D6 400s and watch the speedometer climb to 40 knots. There are a few nice features on the standard equipment list, including a generator and hardtop with sunroof, making this a nice turnkey cruiser for a first-time Sunseeker owner, or first-time owner in general.

Sunseeker Portofino 40

Sunseeker Portofino 40: made for weekends on the water.

9. Hetairos

This 218ft ketch from Baltic Yachts dramatically pushed back the boundaries of yacht design, structural engineering and deck hardware when she was launched in 2011. Six years on she is still one of the most amazing yachts on the water.

Don’t be fooled by the distinctive classic style and acres of exposed timber on show – there’s nothing traditional about the concept of this yacht. To keep weight to a minimum most of the timber is in thin veneers encased in epoxy and laminated onto the carbon fibre structure. The ram for the 83 tonne lifting keel that reduces draught from a staggering 9m to a more manageable 3.5m is reputed to be made from the largest lump of titanium that has ever been used for a non-military purpose.

The result is a yacht that has a truly unbelievable amount of living accommodation – surpassing that of the most lavish of penthouse condos – yet sails at speeds that can otherwise only be achieved by the largest racing multihulls.


A wolf in sheep's clothing. Hetairos has stunning classic lines, yet embodies the best in technology and will sail at speeds of over 20 knots. Photo: Mats Sandström.

10. Riva 50m superyacht

Pretty much any craft from this iconic Italian brand could be classed as a dream boat, but this model is something else. Built with a steel hull and aluminium topsides, this new 50m Riva superyacht is a four-deck, 15-knot displacement yacht designed to deliver a smooth, quiet and graceful cruising experience. Capable of accommodating up to 12 guests and nine crew, she is designed to prioritise outside space, with alfresco lounging and recreation areas on three of her four decks, alongside the option of a plunge pool.

As you might expect, the decor, fittings and finish can all be customised to the owner's personal taste - and the interior layout can also be modified to a substantial degree, with a gym, spa, cinema, study, library, bar and music room all available upon request. Whichever model and whichever options you select, however, the consultancy service provided by Officina Italiana Design and Ferretti Group engineers, architects and designers will aim to make good on Riva’s promise of “slender, streamlined and dynamic profiles” with “a very sober, clean design.”

Riva superyacht

This twin-variant 164-footer is the first in a new series of Riva superyachts.

So there you have it, a real range of dream boats for you to drool over and even buy one day. For more beautiful boats, see Top 10 fantasy boats, Ladykillers: top yachts to get the girl and Babe magnets: boats to wow the ladies.

Written by: Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes has more than 70,000 miles of offshore cruising and racing experience, in waters ranging from the North Sea to the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular new boat and gear tests. He currently sails around 5,000 miles per year and in the past couple of seasons has cruised from the UK to the Azores, as well as winning his class in the 2014 two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. He also owns two yachts, one based in the Mediterranean and the other in the UK.