A Pocket cruiser, or Pocket yacht is a small sailboat with a cabin, whose length is at or under 20 feet (6 m), with some examples as short as 10 to 12 feet (3 to 3.7 m) in length. However the largest pocket cruisers can reach up to 25 or even 30 feet in length. Pocket cruisers are different from day-sailers in that the cabin makes it practical for one or more people to sleep in the boat, meaning it can be used for trips of more than a day.
Pocket cruisers are often fanatics about their boats. There are a number of reasons for this:
They are inexpensive; popular designs such as the Montgomery 15 or West Wight Potter 15 sell new, with trailer, for around US$10,000 or less.
They are easy to build out of easily obtained materials such as plywood, using stitch and glue or more traditional methods.
They are small enough to sail single handed, yet the wide beam gives them the capacity to hold more people.
They usually weigh less than 2000 pounds (900 kg). This is light enough to be towed behind most cars.
They are suitable for overnight trips.
The wide beam and common use of ballast makes them very stable.
The small size means they can be stored out of the water, which negates the need to rent expensive marina slips.
One of the smaller commercial pocket cruisers was the Guppy 13, made by Melen Marine Ltd. in California. They made about 300 of them in the period between 1974 and 1975. The Guppy was a fiberglass boat with a shoal draft keel, and would sleep 2 adults in a 6 ft 8 in (2.0 m) cabin. Overall length was 12 ft 6 in (3.8 m), beam was 5 ft 7 in (1.7 m). This is the design for those set on sailing to faraway places in a minimum boat, what could be termed a "vest pocket cruiser". Every man has his own ideas about his perfect yacht. The boat of one man's dreams is that of nightmares to another.
The largest pocket cruiser is a boat that borrows some good ideas from the golden age of working sail, as well as some new wrinkles from space-age materials and power systems. It's a project that combines the best of both worlds-the classic lines of the seaworthy pocket cruiser of the turn of the century-and the quick-to-build, lightweight, low maintenance of modern materials.
When someone said that it couldn't be done, others driven by customer demand created the largest pocket cruiser of the time, a 25-foot, rugged, tabloid, cruiser of traditional lines carrying a full keel and full headroom, designed for the long voyage. It is possible to purchase a small boat suited to limited coastal cruising without much difficulty, but when one begins to think of extended off-shore cruising, it is difficult to find a small boat that is suitable.
The concept was to provide a traditional looking vessel that is seaworthy, safe, sturdy and simple. A boat with good sailing qualities of relatively shallow draft with a full keel and headroom for easy day-sailing or comfortable cruising. One that can be custom designed and built with the owners desires in mind. The owner specifies the rig, interior design, wood to be used, type of head, number of berths, water tankage, etc., depending on the type of sailing that is planned to be done.
Many people who wanted to move down from a larger sailing vessel thought that 25 foot was a bit too cramped for extended weekend sailing. These requests prompted designers to work out a traditional 30 foot boat that would soon be the largest pocket cruiser of the family. Many features set it apart from the competition, such as a committed navigation station, fixed floor table, and large galley with extra room for cooking and storage. Even though she has all of the conveniences you could want, the deigners kept all of the dry sea keeping qualities that the traditional style is legendary for. This traditionally designed, clipper bowed 30 footer, is a full keeled sea-going vessel with all characteristics, but with twice the interior volume of 25 foot boats.