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Old 19-01-2015, 12:07   #16
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

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Doesn't the difference between coastal and blue water cruising really just come down to which internet forum you read?
Nah. Not meant to confront, but there's lots more to it than that. Just take a gander at this forum Cruising Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums where folks haven't a clue, or probably just don't care about what constitutes 'cruising' of any type.
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Old 19-01-2015, 12:34   #17
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

I've seen a bunch of threads like this & they typically devolve into fighting about brands but I think Bash's post about tankage is right on the mark. Storage area & tankage are crucial to blue water sailboats.
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Old 19-01-2015, 12:40   #18
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

Well - you can see by the variety of posts to your question that there aren't well-accepted, standard definitions for the terms.

We've been to Mexico from the US Northwest and across to New Zealand. That was offshore. We cruise extensively in local/coastal waters. This last year I helped move two boats - one from Portland up to Washington and the other from Washington to California. That was coastal-like in that we were within 10 miles of shore everywhere and could be reach by rescue in hours.

But ran out of fuel (or the skipper thought we would) 36 hours from a gas pump in any direction. That started to feel like non-coastal. But we were safe. We could sail. We could have been rescued if needed and we got, in fact, extra fuel from another boat that was within 10 miles of us at the time. (Don't ask why we ended up in the situation - it wasn't my faulty.)

The moral of the story is that you have an extra level of comfort and security if you are close enough to limp to port or get rescued in hours or at least a day or so. Anything beyond two days starts to look like open water if a medical or catastrophic emergency crops up. And it is much harder to get a rescue, a tow or otherwise salvage your boat. Your dink wouldn't make it for sure. So you feel more secure if you have some of the "standard" off-shore gear - spares, medical kit, liferaft, etc. etc.

We did a shake down cruise before pushing off to the deep blue to check out the other stuff, like provisioning for more than a few days or a week. We did a one month cruise around Vancouver Island. We still were close in and could get beer within two days of anywhere but were much more isolated and could have gotten in trouble with no help - no one nearby, no communications, etc. It provided a baby step before going farther.

Which BTW leads to "communication". When you are truly off shore your cell phone doesn't work. Your VHF is out of range. You don't have a sat phone unless (a) you have big bucks and/or (b) it is working when you need it. Also you don't have line of sight to anything. And you may or may not be run over by other boats like you would closer in. The biggest issue coastal sailing around here is truly getting hit by other boats, especially fishing boats. You have some extra security that you could signal one of those at day or night (with flares, VHF, etc).

So like many have said above, it depends on exactly where you are going and what conditions you might find that can change what your might think is safe and secure coastal. (like weather and currents) And, how prepared you are as skipper and crew to deal with things that do happen. If you are clueless about basic things on your boat and how to repair, restart, or whatever on your boat, you probably shouldn't even consider going beyond 20 miles out. And more rustic resources onshore impact how secure and safe you are even if closer in.

But we have all seen clueless people take off to places they shouldn't and got there OK. And we have all seen well-equipped, experienced, people get clobbered close in with disastrous results. You just have to be prepared to a reasonable state. You'll never be prepared for everything so just do your research, get experience that counts, prepare your boat, and go do it.
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Old 19-01-2015, 12:49   #19
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

Most of the eastern Caribe is overnighters or shorter. A well found sailboat of most any type should do the job. Although there are some spots where you could have an event that you will want a very strong boat. (Mona passage, Gulf Stream? etc on an ill timed crossing?)

As mentioned, the difference in these boats is up for debate. But for blue water /round the world I would think in terms of: "can the craft reliably and consistently take days or weeks of pounding by offshore waves with no Ill effect" as the dividing line.


A well planned voyage in the Eastern Caribe should lessen the odds of exposure to severe conditions as opposed to ocean crossings and would indicate that most well found boats can do it fine.
Boats are always a compromise... in many ways.
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Old 19-01-2015, 13:13   #20
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

There are so many great resources that will help you decide what kind of boat you need and which boat may be the best for you.

Sailing A Serious Ocean by John Kretschmer will help if finding a good offshore cruiser is your goal. In his book, he lists 25 boats and alternatives for those boats in all sizes, years and price ranges.

Surveying Fiberglass Sailboats by Henry Mustin is a great book both in helping you avoid certain designs that are prone to failure in heavy seas (and you don't have to be far offshore to encounter those) and to help you when you are checking out a boat you're interested in. You can weed out the lemons before paying for a survey. If you're in the Bahamas, you at least want a boat that won't lose the keel or cause major damage in the event of a grounding.

We recently attended seminars given by John and Amanda Neal and Pam Wall. The Neals have a website that has a great many boats listed and what their experiences with them have been in the 300K+ miles they have logged. Pam Wall has been cruising the Bahamas for decades and is a great resource.
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Old 19-01-2015, 13:19   #21
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

Gosh should I type a relly long explanation.. no. Confused yet. It's a definition that you well make up over time and it will change as you get more educated on all the boats out there in your opinion.

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Old 19-01-2015, 14:26   #22
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

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The most simple measure of a boat's cruising capability is its tankage. My boat carries 200 gallons of water and 100 gallons of fuel. That not only gives me offshore range, but also the ability to spend time at anchor.

A cruising boat isn't just a means of getting somewhere, it's also very much about being somewhere. Do you see yourselves ever spending a week or two at anchor? What will you do during that time?

When purchasing my last two boats, my starting point was the access the boats give me to swimming and diving, especially scuba diving. I wanted a large cockpit with a walk-through, sugar-scoop transom. I wanted a boat that would carry a RIB with a 15hp engine on davits, and two sea kayaks on the foredeck. And, being 6'3" tall, I insisted upon adequate headroom. I was confident that once I found a boat with those capabilities plus adequate tankage, I wasn't going to have to worry about whether the marketing department labeled it "bluewater."
Agree entirely. I bought for liveaboard, never intended to cross an ocean, but 250 gals of diesel, 150 gals water said I could, so I did.
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Old 19-01-2015, 14:39   #23
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

I think tankage & storage capacity is largely a function of displacement. Maybe not with new designs patterned after racing sailboats but with boats that the OP is interested in built in the 80's this is typically the case. It's a different way to measure the size of a boat but probably more accurate. Boats designed to be coastal cruisers typically displace significantly less per linear foot than boats designed to be blue water cruisers.
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Old 19-01-2015, 15:08   #24
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

I think tankage is only one potential aspect of a boat designed for coastal vs. offshore. I believe that a boat optimized for coastal cruising makes different trade-offs than one optimized for offshore work. There is no bright line between the designs, but rather on-the-whole one set of trade-offs are made for coastal cruising vs. offshore. I won't get into the build quality which might descend into a brand debate, but there are certainly differences between boats designed for coastal vs. offshore. A few examples I can think of, beyond tankage, are as follows:

* sailplan -- offshore a cutter and/or a ketch offers more options to configure for different conditions -- but if one only has a few-hour hop to the next harbor or needs to short-tack up a river it may not be worth the effort to manage the other sails.

* equipment -- SSB and liferaft are commonly desired for offshore passages, but coastal cruisers often opt not to put the money into them. If one is always within VHF range of others, the need for each is diminished.

* windvane -- whether as secondary steering or as electricity-free autopilot, you won't find too many of these on coastal cruisers

* hull (and here I may venture into controversial seas) -- since your risk of exposure to high seas is much higher when offshore, the hull may be designed to offer a higher limit of positive stability -- it does this, generally, at the expense of interior volume. for coastal cruising, the interior volume may be more important

* cockpit -- similarly, when offshore the risk of having the cockpit filled with seawater is higher, and thus having a smaller cockpit that drains faster may be desirable. on the other hand, if that is not deemed a large risk, and there is a preference for being able to entertain many guests in the cockpit of a coastal cruiser, then a larger cockpit may be chosen.

* ventilation -- usually when coastal cruising, one can open many hatches and port-lights at anchor, and potentially some in calm seas. Offshore, other means of ventilation, such as dorades, become important.

* redundant systems and spares -- this is more a local vs. distant cruising, which can be a proxy for coastal vs. offshore, but if you won't be somewhere you can get parts, which includes being far offshore, you will want to make sure you have redundancy in some systems. (we carry redundant autopilots, for example)

* heavy weather preparation -- a boat designed for offshore work generally would go through more pains to prepare for heavy weather, as sometimes it cannot be avoided. one example is the carrying of a sea-anchor or drogue. Not only is it less likely to be needed if coastal cruising (if the forecast is bad, one can stay put), but also one may not have the sea-room to use them that one would have offshore.

There are other criteria which may be more controversial. For example, the use of waterproof collision bulkheads fore and aft is something that is generally found more on long-distance cruising boats than on coastal cruisers, but I'm not convinced that they shouldn't be on a good coastal cruiser too.

This isn't a complete list, but it should help one understand a few of the general differences between a boat setup for coastal work vs. offshore.
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Old 19-01-2015, 16:02   #25
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

Accomplice - all that is very true but, since our boat had the big tanks it naturally had the other gear. (except wind vane)
Ater we bought our liveaboard boat I was amazed that different offshore sailers would come by and say "that boat could go anywhere." It wasn't ready but they could see at a glance. (Mast heights, rigging, dorades, hull & deck shape etc.)

But I still agree with Bash; it boils down to big tanks being the most simple measure to tell if your boat is designed for ocean sailing.
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Old 19-01-2015, 16:42   #26
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

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Accomplice - all that is very true but, since our boat had the big tanks it naturally had the other gear. (except wind vane)
Ater we bought our liveaboard boat I was amazed that different offshore sailers would come by and say "that boat could go anywhere." It wasn't ready but they could see at a glance. (Mast heights, rigging, dorades, hull & deck shape etc.)

But I still agree with Bash; it boils down to big tanks being the most simple measure to tell if your boat is designed for ocean sailing.
Lots of folks cross oceans safely with relatively small tanks -- catching and collecting rainwater for freshwater and metering out their small amount of diesel when becalmed on long passages -- sometimes sitting (more like bobbing and rolling) for days, if necessary. (For example, I'm reading Laura Dekker's book now, mentioned in another thread)

I consider myself fortunate to have a boat with relatively large tankage (390gal diesel, 240gal H20). But if I didn't couldn't afford that, and had the luxury of time instead, I wouldn't let the lack of tankage hold me back from offshore passages. However, I suspect those same passages would take me a lot longer!

Some cruisers plan/budget for 1gal fresh water per crew member per day for passages. Since we have large tanks and a watermaker, we usually use more than 10x that. If we didn't have the water, we just wouldn't use as much.
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Old 19-01-2015, 23:27   #27
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

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Nah. Not meant to confront, but there's lots more to it than that. Just take a gander at this forum Cruising Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums where folks haven't a clue, or probably just don't care about what constitutes 'cruising' of any type.
Yeah, you've nailed it, alright... Nothing but a bunch of wankers over there, for sure...

Exhibit A, check out the pics posted recently by this poseur, for instance...














This couple 'cruised' the Chilean canals and Patagonia without an engine... I mean, Seriously ??? What the hell could anyone sailing without an engine possibly know about REAL Kroozing, after all?
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Old 19-01-2015, 23:33   #28
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

Probably still got big tanks to keep the diesel heater going.
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Old 20-01-2015, 00:05   #29
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

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I interpret blue water cruisers as those whose passages outreach accurate weather forecasts.
Then all of Puget Sound is blue water.
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Old 20-01-2015, 00:12   #30
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Re: Difference Between Coastal And Blue Water Cruising

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post


This couple 'cruised' the Chilean canals and Patagonia without an engine... I mean, Seriously ??? What the hell could anyone sailing without an engine possibly know about REAL Kroozing, after all?
Made me splutter coffee all over the screen in the early morning before clinic.

Going to be a good day.........
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