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Ahoy, young adventurers! Set sail on an epic quest to discover the shores that embrace sailing like no other.

Ready to navigate the waves of excitement and find out which ports are home to the world’s most passionate sailors?

Chart a course with us and let’s ride the winds!

Countries where sailing is most popular:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. France
  6. Spain
  7. Italy
  8. Germany
  9. Netherlands
  10. Sweden
  11. Canada

#1 United States

Joe Bielawa, Northwest View – Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis, MN, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

The United States boasts a strong sailing culture, thanks to its vast coastlines and iconic sailing destinations like the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes.

With prominent regattas such as the America’s Cup historically linked to the U.S., sailing is both a popular recreational activity and a competitive sport attracting sailors worldwide.

#2 United Kingdom

Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors, RS Vision dinghy (5701106149), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 2.0

Sailing is embedded in the British heritage with historic maritime exploration and naval power. The U.K. is home to prestigious events like the Cowes Week on the Isle of Wight, which draws sailing enthusiasts globally.

The nation’s numerous sailing clubs and schools perpetuate its strong tradition and popularity in the sport.

#3 Australia

Australian Paralympic Committee, 141100 – Sailing Australia 3 person keelboat action 9 – 3b – 2000 Sydney race photo, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 3.0

Australia’s affinity for sailing stems from its extensive and varied coastline, favorable weather, and a love for outdoor sports.

Events like the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race epitomize the country’s competitive sailing spirit and contribute to its widespread popularity, enhancing Australia’s reputation as a leading sailing destination.

#4 New Zealand

LBM1948, Lion New Zealand 2, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Renowned for its maritime prowess, New Zealand’s sailing culture thrives amid its stunning waters and strong Maori voyaging heritage.

As winners of multiple America’s Cup challenges, Kiwis consider sailing a significant part of their national identity, promoting widespread participation and excellence in the sport.

#5 France

Donan Raven, Sailing-yachts.Tuiga.Lulworth.Cambria.Cannes.2006-09-26, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 3.0

France is renowned for its deep affinity with sailing, boasting extensive coastlines and a rich maritime history. Events like the famed Vendée Globe highlight the nation’s passion for the sport.

With numerous sailing schools, clubs, and competitive sailors, the sport is woven into the cultural fabric, signifying France’s significant contribution to the global sailing community.

#6 Spain

Jonas de Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, Rio 2016. Vela-Sailing (29122846965), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 2.0

Spain’s Iberian Peninsula location with abundant coastlines makes it a natural haven for sailing enthusiasts.

Famous for prestigious regattas like the Copa del Rey and the Barcelona World Race, Spain has a storied sailing heritage. The sport is a lifestyle for many Spaniards, with sailing clubs dotting the coast and the Balearic and Canary Islands being hotspots for sailors.

#7 Italy

Terragio67, Cesenatico – Porto Canale (2023), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Italy’s romance with sailing is legendary, fostered by its picturesque Mediterranean coast and historic maritime republics like Venice and Genoa.

Italians partake in sailing as both a leisurely pastime and competitive endeavor. Iconic regattas such as the Rolex Giraglia Cup and the Venice Regatta Storica make sailing an integral part of Italy’s cultural and sporting landscape.

#8 Germany

VollwertBIT, German Sailing Grand Prix 2006 Germany-2, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 2.5

Sailing is deeply embedded in Germany’s maritime tradition, with the Baltic and North Seas providing ideal conditions for a variety of sailing experiences.

Germany has numerous yacht clubs and sailing schools that promote both recreational sailing and competitive racing. German sailors are active participants in international regattas and have a reputation for excellence in disciplines like offshore and Olympic-class sailing.

#9 Netherlands

Jonas de Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, Rio 2016. Vela-Sailing (29122529935), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Netherlands, with its extensive network of waterways and a rich history of maritime trade, naturally has a strong sailing culture. Dutch sailors are known for their skill in managing challenging waters, making them competitive on the international stage.

Sailing is a popular activity across all ages, supported by a wide range of sailing clubs and events, including the famous Sneekweek, the largest inland sailing event in Europe.

#10 Sweden

Ingwik, School children sailing outside Marstrand, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

In Sweden, the tradition of sailing is influenced by the country’s vast coastline and archipelagos, making it a preferred pastime during the summer months.

Swedish sailing clubs offer extensive training programs aimed at all levels, from beginners to advanced racers. Sweden regularly hosts international sailing competitions and Swedish sailors are known for their prowess in both Olympic sailing and ocean racing.

#11 Canada

Outer Harbour Sailing Federation OHSF from Canada, Sailing in the Outer Harbour, Toronto (48965343948), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

Canada’s extensive coastlines and numerous lakes make it an ideal location for sailing. The sport is popular across the country, with active communities particularly in areas like the Great Lakes and the coastal regions of British Columbia.

Canadian sailing clubs focus on promoting the sport through training programs and hosting regattas. Canadian sailors participate in a variety of sailing disciplines, from dinghy racing to long-distance cruising, reflecting the diverse water conditions available.


Which country is Sailing played the most?

Sailing is played the most in the United States, which has a vast coastline, numerous sailing communities, and a strong competitive sailing culture at both amateur and professional levels.

Which country watches Sailing the most?

Australia watches Sailing the most, with a long-standing cultural affinity for water sports and a history of success in international sailing competitions, which boosts viewership and fan engagement.

Where was Sailing originally played?

Sailing was originally played in the Netherlands. Here’s a link to our Sailing history article. The Dutch are credited with pioneering many sailing techniques and boat designs in the early modern period.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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