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Old 16-06-2015, 09:51   #1
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Question Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

Although I love my little Catalina 22, I continue the search for my next boat that would take me further along the coastal routes and hopefully to the Caribbean. Would you consider the Caribbean blue water or coastal? Sure there's quite a bit of open ocean to get to it if you go around the Bahammas (one of Don Street's routes), but once there is it "coastal"?

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Old 16-06-2015, 09:55   #2
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

I guess I consider it coastal, although there can be some rough water and overnighters...... but you wont be exposed to weather systems caught out for day or weeks on the ocean.
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Old 16-06-2015, 10:01   #3
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

Its the right color for sure but with 40 miles between most islands its hardly offshore sailing. Most cruisers here sit in port and wait for ideal conditions just to sail 25 miles, something that is not an option offshore so I agree with the other poster... Coastal. Its not to say that it can't get boisterous because it certainly can and some sails are certainly longer but in almost all cases the distances are such that if you wait you will be able to pick and choose a reliable weather opportunity.
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Old 16-06-2015, 10:04   #4
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

well, then it sounds like using the term "blue water" to mean "far distance from land" is a misnomer. The water here is 5,000 ft. deep and as blue as it gets. And all within sight of the beach.
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Old 17-06-2015, 07:31   #5
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

John Vigor’s Trailerable Sailboat Seaworthiness Test
Seaworthiness Test
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Old 17-06-2015, 08:41   #6
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

Somewhat begs the interesting question...what is the definition of "blue water" when applied to defining sailing, passages, etc.

So what would be a succinct definition? Seems it would have to include/account for....

- Inability to seek/achieve landfall/shelter within 'X' amount of time to avoid approaching storm systems (ie, you're far enough offshore that you will still be at sea past the time window of the 3 to 5 day forecast that you cast off with)

A two day passage of 200 to 300 miles over cobalt blue water would not then be defined as blue water sailing although the water being crossed is clearly blue water....

Thoughts....
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Old 17-06-2015, 09:27   #7
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

Been over in my 46' LOA, 6'6" draft steel cutter gives a great ride over and yes it can be rough, I don't care how well you plan. It is limiting but not badly so re access to some places.
Buy the biggest boat you can afford, for me it would be buy heavy displacement (Bristol channel cutter at 28'is nice but small and big $$$) and buy shallow i.e 5' draft max.
I have 6 feet + but 5 would be nicer. Over 6' is wayyyy too limiting re access to harbors, marinas and even fuel/water. Ya, you still have go in with the big boat sometimes. russ
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Old 17-06-2015, 10:52   #8
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
John Vigor’s Trailerable Sailboat Seaworthiness Test
Seaworthiness Test
Some interesting things on that test. Cat boat and ketch rated higher than a sloop, Wooden boat rated higher than fiberglass, etc
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Old 17-06-2015, 11:12   #9
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

I consider the Caribbean like the Mediterranean to be protected waters, and not blue water; although, some of my worse storms have been encountered in both. You do have recourse for seeking safe harbour that you don't have for Ocean (Blue Water).
Many French yachts were designed for the Medi and did not perform well on Ocean passages; however, owners were unaware of their yachts limitations. To this end Europe set up standards to alert purchasers.
Since 1998, CE certification is required for all recreational boats entering or being sold in Europe obliging boat manufacturers to respect certain building and security standards. Therefore, yachts ( boats ) are classified into four categories depending on their aptitude to confront navigational conditions taking into account both force of the wind and height of the waves. The categories are not to limit the area and distance of navigation (that is defined by security equipment on board) but to sensitize the owner and/or captain of the boats capacities to navigate in complete security.

Let us start with the Beaufort Scale. A scale for classifying the force of the wind ranging from 0 (calm) to 12 (hurricane). It was devised by an admiral in the British Navy, Francis Beaufort, to uniform the description of the effect of different winds at sea.

There is a direct link between the Beaufort scale and boat classification. For discussion purposes, we will use only the 6, 7 and 8 forces.

A Class A yacht ( boat ) is a vessel that is built to navigate the open ocean and surpass a force 8 on the Beaufort scale and surpass waves higher that 4 meters. These yachts are constructed to be self sufficient in hostile seas and be self righting.


A Class B yacht ( boat ) is a vessel built to navigate on the offshore waters (200 miles and less) and can sustain UP TO force 8 and waves UP TO 4 meters.

A Class C boat is a vessel built to navigate inshore such as lakes, rivers, bays and close to the shore and can sustain UP TO force 6 and waves UP TO 2 meters.

A Class D boat is built for protected or sheltered waters such as canals, rivers, small lakes and sustain a force 4 and waves UP TO .3 meters (less that 1 ft).

With this said, you can understand that the Class A yacht ( boat ) respects a rigorous building code more so than a Class B and so forth. But regardless of the class, it is strongly discouraged to navigate in a force 7 for the reasons of safety and comfort as « pleasure » should always be on the agenda. Always consult the weather forecast prior to leaving any port and check hourly the weather situation.

Classification is very important and should be on your question list before purchasing any boat or yacht.
It should be said that nearly all French yachts required upgrading to attain Class A for Ocean; however, were satisfactory for the Medi.
To summarize the Caribbean is not considered Blue Water.
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Old 17-06-2015, 11:32   #10
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

Buy "Buy, Outfit, & Sail a Small Vessal Around the World" by Cap'n Fatty Goodlander he has great advice and stories
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Old 17-06-2015, 12:02   #11
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

I would consider crossing the Gulf Stream to get to the Carribean "Blue Water". Anyone disagree?
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Old 17-06-2015, 12:07   #12
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

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Originally Posted by medevicerep View Post
I would consider crossing the Gulf Stream to get to the Carribean "Blue Water". Anyone disagree?

Disagree entirely: You can be across in one day in day light and if need be select your weather window.
You will never encounter conditions found mid ocean.
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Old 17-06-2015, 12:53   #13
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ View Post
Been over in my 46' LOA, 6'6" draft steel cutter gives a great ride over and yes it can be rough, I don't care how well you plan. It is limiting but not badly so re access to some places.
Buy the biggest boat you can afford, for me it would be buy heavy displacement (Bristol channel cutter at 28'is nice but small and big $$$) and buy shallow i.e 5' draft max.
I have 6 feet + but 5 would be nicer. Over 6' is wayyyy too limiting re access to harbors, marinas and even fuel/water. Ya, you still have go in with the big boat sometimes. russ
I respectfully but completely disagree with this statement. The biggest boat you can afford with the shallowest draft?!?!? There are much more important things to consider than having a big boat. Shallow draft is invaluable in the Bahamas but not so important elsewhere in the Caribbean.

In response to the original question. I consider it absolutely coastal. Yes, you can get into trouble if you don't pay any attention to what's going on (especially in hurricane season) but you can almost make it from Florida to Venezuela without losing sight of land. Definitely coastal, and i would say a Catalina 22, although certainly at the smaller, lighter end of the scale, would be quite capable of cruising the Caribbean.
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Old 17-06-2015, 13:02   #14
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

Maybe it should be rated "Light Blue" 😎
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Old 17-06-2015, 13:12   #15
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Re: Is the Caribbean considered "Blue Water"

Quote:
Originally Posted by medevicerep View Post
I would consider crossing the Gulf Stream to get to the Carribean "Blue Water". Anyone disagree?
Since there is no hard and fast definition of what exactly blue water means in this context it's hard to disagree.

But in the way I think you're asking, yes I do disagree. My reasons:

You are never more than a few hours from safe haven.

It's only 50 miles more or less from FL to the Bahamas. I

t has been done a number of times on jet skis, Hobie Cats, windsurfers and the like.

South Florida boaters regularly cross in 20-25' open fishing boats. I've done it several times in a 25' fishing boat and once in a 21'.

Pay just the slightest bit of attention to the weather and it's about as easy a 50 mile trip as you can imagine.

The only thing blue water about it is the color of the Gulf Stream.
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