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Sailing Songs – The Best Yacht Rock Playlist

I am on an endless quest to create the perfect sailing songs playlist. These are the tunes that are meant to be jamming when we’re boating:  the sun’s out, the sails are up, and the trolling lines are in the water. 

Our yacht rock playlist – Yacht Warriors Rock – is the culmination of multiple edits over the last 9 years since we embarked on our first sailboat adventure. It’s not perfect, but we think it’s pretty close and keeps getting better with age.

The name, Yacht Warriors Rock, is a play on the Yacht Rock genre which was coined in 2005. It features primarily soft rock bands from California that produced music in the 1970s and 1980s. 

We honor a few of those artists, but our playlist is intentionally much more diverse in style. You’ll find something for everyone – classic rock, country (mostly Zac Brown Band), reggae, caribbean soca, sea shanties, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and more.

Here are some of the best sailing songs that are included in our playlists below.

  • Rich Girl – Hall & Oates
  • Southern Cross – Crosby, Stills, & Nash
  • Peaceful Easy Feeling – Eagles
  • Africa – TOTO
  • Steve Winwood – Higher Love
  • Running on Empty – Jackson Browne
  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
  • Smooth Operator – Sade
  • Come Sail Away – Styx
  • Vahevala – Loggins & Messina
  • Sailing – Christopher Cross
  • Carolina in my Mind – James Taylor
  • Sailing – Rod Stewart
  • Sail Away – David Gray
  • Knee Deep – Zac Brown Band (featuring Jimmy Buffett)
  • Banana Boat – Harry Belafonte 

There are a couple other playlists with links below that you should add to your arsenal. In the morning, we love starting our day on the catamaran with the soft sound of steel drums in the background. In the evening, nothing is more appropriate than eating a meal (hopefully something freshly caught) with Boccherini from Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Dancing to sailing songs in the British Virgin Islands
Getting in that yacht charter trip mood

Yacht Warriors Rock Sailing Songs

Check out the latest version of our hand curated Yacht Warriors Rock selections. Play these sailboat tunes with a cold beverage in hand and no other sound besides the water lapping against the sides of the hull.

Yacht Rock Starter Playlist

If you’d prefer to take a DIY approach with your sailing songs, check out this starter playlist. We pulled together the top 40 songs that should be on anyone’s sailing playlist. If you want to go heavy on the Jimmy Buffett, copy these tunes over in the Spotify desktop app and build the rest out in your own style!

Morning Jams - Summertime Steel Drums

Everyone’s got their own morning routine on the boat – ocean dip, yoga, breakfasting, etc. While everyone gets ready for the day, this Spotify playlist is the perfect background music to energize the crew for another great day on the water.

Dinner Music Playlist - Master and Commander

The film Master and Commander with Russell Crowe is one of my favorite movies of all time, so perhaps I’m biased with my recommendation here. But, you should give it a shot – this Master and Commander inspired playlist is an excellent choice for dinner music while rocking gently and lying at anchor. Close your eyes and you can picture yourself aboard the HMS Surprise listening to a Boccherini duet by the main characters Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin.

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