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Old 24-08-2009, 20:27   #16
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Talking Blue Water (and extreme Blue Water) vs. Offshore vs. Coastal vs. Inland...

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Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
All these threads with Blue Water this Blue Water that! They always seem to go down the same paths after a few replies.
What does the term mean to you?
Don,
Thank you for asking such a great question, and trying to bring some rational thought to what usually ends in an "ego-fest"....

You asked for other's thoughts / opinions.....
So, here are mine.....
Unfortunately, I have a different way of defining these terms than most others do....as I don't see ANY correlation at all between "rescue services" and what defines "blue water"......nor do I find much use for qualifying the number of miles offshore as a determining factor.....
I'm not implying that I'm right, just a bit different.....
(In my opinion, nobody should ever leave a dock or anchorage assuming there are any way's out except for their own knowledge / expertise / vessel equipment, no matter how close to shore they'll be......)

Just to give you my "prospective":
I've sailed across the Atlantic a few times in my life (first time was 30 years ago, well before GPS, etc....and most recent times were just 1.5 to 2 years ago), raced / criused to and thru the eastern Caribbean over many seasons, gunk-holed thru the Bahamas on and off since the mid 1960's, and crossed the Gulf Stream dozens and dozens of time, under both sail and power.....


I don't really place any exact "mileage" limits on what constitutes "blue water" / "offshore" / "coastal".......but I will give some examples, just do NOT give my "mileage" ranges much emphasis, I'm including them only as examples.......

I thought listing my thoughts / definations of these terms would be the easiest way to show what "blue water" means to me.....

Inland: lakes, rivers, lagoons, protected bays and estuaries, etc...

Coastal: coastal ocean, open bays and gulfs, etc....inshore of continental shelf.....typically it's within sight of land, but not always......(perhaps out to about 20 miles offshore.....)

Offshore:
"near-offshore": definatively outside sight of land and typically offshore of continental shelf......perhaps up to half day's sail offshore.... (say out to 60 - 75 miles offshore....)
"far-offshore": offshore continental shelf and typically one or two days sail offshore......(out to about 250 - 300 miles offshore....)

Blue Water: crossing oceans, etc..... and certainly more than a few hundred miles offshore....

Extreme Blue Water / High-Latitude Blue Water: the Southern Ocean, the Artic, Bearing Sea, the furious 50's and screaming 60's, etc.....



I hope you can see my definations are not based on how many "miles" away from land you are, but rather based on the enviroment you'd be sailing in....

If you look at just the "miles offshore", most of those sailors who have "Rounded the Horn" (sailed around Cape Horn) would need to be considered "coastal" sailors.......and I can't think of anyone that would ever say that......
I'd say they're definately in the Extreme Blue Water category, in my opinion....

And, who would say that those crab fisherman on "Deadliest Catch" are "only offshore" experienced.......since I'd put them in the "extreme blue water" group as well.....

But, more common might be those who have sailed from the US East Coast and crossed the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas.....if leaving from South Florida (something I've done a lot....), they'd not be more than about 25 miles from land at any point......
In my opinion that is "offshore".....actually "near-offshore", in my opinion......but, if you used just a "mileage figure" they too would be coastal sailing.....

Again, these are just my opinions, others will be different.....but just thought I'd pass on my thoughts / perspective in order to put my opinions in context.....

Don, I hope this is what you were after.....


Fair winds....

John
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Old 25-08-2009, 02:25   #17
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Blue water - offshore or extensive inshore - where you can't dodge whatever the blue water throws your way - and you, and the ship, have to just bite the bullet and (at least) survive.

The ingredients may be numerous, but they will include:

1) a safe boat (well-designed, well-maintained, etc...),
2) a boat capable of carrying the necessary supplies without limiting her sailing ability (water, food, equipment, spares, diesel, etc.),
3) preferably above some lower limit of displacement/length - so that normal ocean conditions will not create unnecessary risks for the safety of crew and the craft,

* by 'normal ocean conditions' I understand anything other than a bad hurricane, freak waves, waterspouts and other such phenomena that we avoid if we know they are there,

b.
And you have taken the most important step of relying on your boat, your crew and yourself and NOT on some organization such as the USCG.
You are prepared to deal with almost any problem which may come up concerning equipment or gear on your boat or the wellbeing of it's crew.
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Old 25-08-2009, 21:20   #18
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What blue water means to me

To me blue water is that magic place, where the dolphins play, the flyiing fish are everywhere, and there is no sign of civilization anywhere. No radio, no telephone, no newspaper and NO TV. A place where you are totally on your own, having to solve all your problems with your wits, your skills and the parts you have with you.
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Old 25-08-2009, 23:34   #19
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Quote:
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To me blue water is that magic place, where the dolphins play, the flyiing fish are everywhere, and there is no sign of civilization anywhere. No radio, no telephone, no newspaper and NO TV. A place where you are totally on your own, having to solve all your problems with your wits, your skills and the parts you have with you.

I am with you…It is not so much a measure…but a mindset that is not controlled by shoreside concerns…. including time.
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Old 25-08-2009, 23:45   #20
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To me bluewater means long ocean passages -
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Old 26-08-2009, 01:17   #21
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In terms of boat saftey, "coastal" implies that if you have a day or two warning from an approaching storm, you go hide in a sheltered area.

Blue Water, on the other hand, implies that while you do try to avoid the storm, sometimes you have no choice but to put your head down and just keep going.

BIG difference in terms of safety requirements.
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Old 26-08-2009, 05:05   #22
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This is not a definition of Bluewater, but it's an important component when contemplating offshore sailing, in my opinion. So, along with some of the things already mentioned, I'd add "Fetch".

A significant difference between coastal sailing and bluewater sailing is fetch. When the wind has 200-300 nm to blow completely unfettered by land, the swells can build to their theoretical maxima. A sustained 40 kt wind in a near-shore environment might result in 6-8' waves, depending on where you are. Offshore, you'd be looking at perhaps 24'.
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Old 26-08-2009, 08:51   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nice N Easy View Post
To me blue water is that magic place, where the dolphins play, the flyiing fish are everywhere, and there is no sign of civilization anywhere. No radio, no telephone, no newspaper and NO TV. A place where you are totally on your own, having to solve all your problems with your wits, your skills and the parts you have with you.
i think this is one reason we get along well----add the color of the water and we are on!!!!!
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Old 26-08-2009, 08:55   #24
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bluewater (blwtr)
n.

1. The undefined percentage of the parcel of water found between major land masses and across vast bodies of water.

2. Water that has the same color as the light at the upper end of the visible spectrum.

3. A nautical term which starts endless debates in boating forums.


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Old 26-08-2009, 09:04   #25
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For me it's where you are far enough offshore so that when the **** hits the fan ducking into a harbor is not an option. Instead you must gain sea room and ride it out.
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Old 26-08-2009, 12:30   #26
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Blue Water

In South Mississippi its about 90 miles offshore (it moves). This is where the water turns from green to a beautiful Caribbean blue.
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Old 26-08-2009, 16:30   #27
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Being as I sail in Lake Ontario, I don't consider that to be blue water. My personal definition is two part. Its gotta be salty and I have to be out of sight of land.

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Old 26-08-2009, 20:59   #28
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Bluewater boat??

Lots of good thoughts here, but I agree most with those who define bluewater by the time away from the nearest sanctuary, which also implies the time period that you (and the boat) will have to deal with whatever the sea decides to throw at you.

20 NM offshore at 6 knots implies that you could reach land in less than 4 hours. If you can "duck in" when the weather starts to get dicey, you are coastal sailing IMO.

Once you are far enough out that you do not have the option of storm avoidance by ducking into a convenient storm hole you will have to deal with your poor weather prediction capability and whatever mother nature decides to send your way. At that point a well found boat built to a stronger design standard starts to become part of your survival equipment.

So how far out is that? How about 12-48 hours out of the nearest reasonable port? Note that you need not be very far offshore if barrier islands prevent you from entering a protected harbor such as along the Texas gulf coast. It won't do you much good to run from a storm only to put the boat on its side in the surf.

So 12hours x 6kts = 72NM (A storm can get pretty bad in 12 hours)

or 48hours x 6 kts = 288NM (A storm can get really bad in 48 hours!)

Don W.
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Old 26-08-2009, 21:32   #29
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Isn't Blue Water the stuff they flush aircraft toilets with?

As for me I think NNE said it best...AND with any motors off. Just the sounds of the wind and the water.
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Old 27-08-2009, 13:46   #30
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