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Old 28-11-2010, 19:11   #16
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I only want blue water and turquoise water sailing. Brown water sailing doesn't work for me.
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Old 28-11-2010, 19:15   #17
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I think the main difference is psycological. As has been mentioned, coastal cruisers can deal with just as much weather and rough seas as a 'Bluewater' cruiser. The main difference is knowing that even with a state of the art sat' link, etc. a bluewater boat in trouble may have to wait DAYS for help. At least with coastal, you know you're in range of either a safe haven or at worst, the rescue services.

For this reason, i've always found it a bit odd the way people talk about some boats not being suitable for 'bluewater cruising'. Surely it's more down to the skipper and the way it's kitted out, rather than the brand?
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Old 28-11-2010, 19:30   #18
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I like the discussion here. Generally speaking, sailing closer to land is more dangerous than sailing in the open ocean for the reasons outlined above.

However, the difference between "Coastal" and "Bluewater" has more to do with the fact that when you're coastal hopping from port to port, your fuel/water storage is far less critical than on, say, a 3,000 mile leg. Also things like spare parts, redundant systems, simplicity of operation and (generally speaking) motion stability are also factored into this equation.

Nobody wants to cruise in 50knots of wind, but there's not much choice if you get caught in something between the west coast and Hawaii, or between Guam and the PI. If you're going up and down the coast and bad weather looks incoming, it's not generally a big deal to find an anchorage with at least reasonable shelter and ride it out before continuing onwards.

Also, there are a few different 'classes' of sailors, at least as I see them.

1. Racers: How they behave and what they value has very little actual value to cruisers, but they're a vocal, important part of the community. Still, form follows function, and racing technology has long been the driving force in cruising sailboat design.

2. Day Sailors: This is the hobbyist who loves the wind, water and boats, but for whatever reason sticks to day trips, or weekenders at pretty much the most. Many powerboat owners in this group.

3. Coastal Cruisers: These people love their boats, and the sense of freedom/adventure that comes with living aboard for extended periods of weeks, or sometimes months at a time. Usually, it seems like these people enjoy traveling in their home, similar to an avid RV owner. A significant portion of this group still has a house, which they spend more than half the time at. Again, many power boat owners in this group.

4. Long Distance Cruisers: These are the people who essentially live on their boats. They're the crusty old buggers, the pleasant retired couple, and the wild-eyed, scraggly types who look like they haven't slept in three weeks when they pull into the marina. Their trips aren't measured in days, but rather months, with the various legs between stops being measured at the very least in weeks. This is almost entirely populated by sailboat owners.

(the above are all generalizations, and they may not be totally accurate, but the sense of division is well-conveyed, I think)

So I think what people are conveying when they talk about Coastal or Bluewater is not so much about sturdiness, or requisite seamanship skills, but they're talking about what they want in amenities and design. Obviously you can sail around the world in a 26' MacGregor if you wanted to, but I don't think even the most contentious among us would consider it a desirable "Bluewater" boat. However, for hopping up and down the coast it would be a marvelous little craft.

I don't think I could buy a boat that carried less than a hundred gallons each of water and fuel, but that's just a personal bit of dogma. I understand that people have gone farther than I have (and probably enjoyed themselves more than I have!) with less than that in both departments, as well as many other things I consider 'essential' which are really anything but, in the strictest sense of the word.
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Old 28-11-2010, 19:41   #19
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I like the discussion here. Generally speaking, sailing closer to land is more dangerous than sailing in the open ocean for the reasons outlined above.

However, the difference between "Coastal" and "Bluewater" has more to do with the fact that when you're coastal hopping from port to port, your fuel/water storage is far less critical than on, say, a 3,000 mile leg. Also things like spare parts, redundant systems, simplicity of operation and (generally speaking) motion stability are also factored into this equation.

...but they're talking about what they want in amenities and design.

I don't think I could buy a boat that carried less than a hundred gallons each of water and fuel, but that's just a personal bit of dogma. I understand that people have gone farther than I have (and probably enjoyed themselves more than I have!) with less than that in both departments, as well as many other things I consider 'essential' which are really anything but, in the strictest sense of the word.
thank you for saving me a long post (but let me post pad anyway).

A blue water boat must be able to carry provisions and fuel for the duration of a long voyage. A coastal cruiser does not but could be outfitted to do so but would still have to have enough displacement to accept the added weight w/o materially affecting safety, performance, (berths!) etc. The only real difference IMO unless sailing with a very small crew.
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Old 28-11-2010, 19:57   #20
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I will backpaddle a bit.

Then why do I know of 4 Islander 36's that needed structural modifications for long distant offshore travel - 2 of which were moving along mid lat circumnavigations? Why do I know 2 Catalina 35's that needed modifications as well - one for a circumnaviation (they also added a bowsprit =))? ps. I36 is a wonderful boat

At the same time - strong opinion here that coastal is much more a challenge sailing.
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Old 28-11-2010, 20:17   #21
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I will backpaddle a bit.

Then why do I know of 4 Islander 36's that needed structural modifications for long distant offshore travel - 2 of which were moving along mid lat circumnavigations? Why do I know 2 Catalina 35's that needed modifications as well - one for a circumnaviation (they also added a bowsprit =))? ps. I36 is a wonderful boat

At the same time - strong opinion here that coastal is much more a challenge sailing.
To your latter point, finding your way around in heavy fog and strong currents is no picnic, but the mental and physical toll of long offshore passages in bad weather can be rather arduous as well. Firmly ensconced on the fence here.

To your second, many good boats that are sailed hard will develope issues requiring overhaul in time whether its the cruiser racer with bulkhead doors that will no longer close after being raced hard inshore 3 times a week to the round the world voyager.
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Old 28-11-2010, 20:21   #22
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Think this had more to do with bulkhead structural and seperation issues than doors not closing, and additional structural improvements for twist and stress in the hull itself. Yes, the stresses of being on ocean 24/7 does take more of a beating than a coastal jaount. But I think the point was that some coastal cruiser / race cruisers DO need upgrading and modifications, and its not just a sailability or storage issue. Hard to tell which ones do or dont
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Old 28-11-2010, 20:23   #23
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A lot of it is needing to be VERY self reliant because of the lack of support services out here. And part of that is wanting a boat that will take it, year after year, without a lot in the way of repairs. That may be why those boats are in for modifications, but that's only a guess.

Sure coastal sailing can be challenging. The ocean isn't likely to hurt me much. Land can, so I try to stay away from the hard bits (he says, dodging between islands off Malacca). And the winds & currents near land are much more flukey than in the middle of an ocean. More challenging, & more interesting in many ways.

But I think the main difference is needing the resources (tools, materials, & knowledge) to repair any crucial system yourself, with minimal outside support. Any cruiser needs this to some degree, but world cruisers need it more.
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Old 28-11-2010, 20:41   #24
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Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey View Post
Think this had more to do with bulkhead structural and seperation issues than doors not closing, and additional structural improvements for twist and stress in the hull itself.
Sorry for not being clear, I am suggesting that the bulkhead doors issue is a result of the twist and stress on the hull and thus also required structural improvements.

In reality, I think I am agreeing with you.
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Old 28-11-2010, 20:50   #25
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ha! Maybe in the end it comes down to I am just lazy and don't want to do all that extra work =)
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Old 28-11-2010, 21:34   #26
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Is the Islander 36 on your boat list Salty? I have a soft spot for the boat ( I'm a butt-man myself, and love the a$$ end of the Islander) Just find one in good shape and she'll take you anywhere.
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Old 29-11-2010, 01:55   #27
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I36 was one of those off boats I liked. I was on one in SF bay and it just felt right and fit comfy - Didn't think I could handle a larger boat solo than say 32 ft. Felt reeeeel good in the cockpit and she can haul. Sadly though, didn't like the interior at all. Felt they designed it wrong.
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Old 29-11-2010, 04:16   #28
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I find it funny how this topic has changed tone in the few years I'm been reading CF.

Personally the difference to me has become just a degree of fit out and equipment as far as the boat goes. I have come to believe the boat itself is always going to be able to take more than I can and therefore I need to be sure I stay on it.
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Old 29-11-2010, 06:14   #29
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It's not a question of how rough the water is. The term "blue water sailing", which has been much abused, means sailing far enough away from land that you can't be sure of getting to shelter in case of a storm. Sailing along a coast you will generally never be more than a day from a decent port. So you don't need to equipped and prepared to the same extent. That's all.
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