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Old 23-04-2014, 21:26   #1
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What constitutes coastal cruising?

Simple question that will certainly have many answers. I have a definition that works for me, but a friend disagreed with it.

I usually day sail with a longer trip thrown in here an there. The other day, we were out for a few hours and made our way off shore some distance. Land was still in sight, but far enough away that we could not see the shore or make out any detail. We were picking up VHF traffic without much issue, so we were still close enough to be in touch with help if it were needed. He started to say that we were out in to open water...this is where our definitions and thoughts started to differ.

My definition for distance out while "coastal cruising" is "within sight of land, even if optics are required". Once land is below the horizon, but VHF is still fairly consistent we are in "open water". "Blue water" to me is when VHF comms are lost. I know that there is a lot of room for interpretation here.

So when is one coastal cruising? Just looking for some opinions. Is it a specific distance, a certain goal or activity?
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Old 23-04-2014, 22:13   #2
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by klmmicro View Post
"Blue water" to me is when VHF comms are lost. I know that there is a lot of room for interpretation here.
What a strange definition. VHF lost with what? You can be water sailing">blue water sailing with plenty of VHF traffic, or coastal cruising with none in more remote areas.

To me, blue water sailing is defined as more than 24 hours of sailing time to get back into sheltered waters. In more populated areas this definition is roughly equal to "out of helicopter range". In other words: there is no immediate possibility of outside help. This equates to roughly 200 mile offshore in most cases but if you cruise the higher latitudes you could say that even within sight of the coast you are no longer coastal cruising.


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Old 23-04-2014, 22:19   #3
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
You can be blue water sailing with plenty of VHF traffic, or coastal cruising with none in more remote areas.
How weird. Above is what I typed but after editing CF publishes the strange sentence you can see in my post. Ghost in the machine?


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Old 23-04-2014, 22:52   #4
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

My husband says we went to the ocean last weekend, I say we went to the entrance to the bay.

I believe that PDF and life raft manufactures claim 25 miles, while insurance covers up to 75 miles.

We are always out of VHF range, because we never remember to take it with us on our 18 footer. That will change when we take delivery of our 39 in the next few days
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Old 24-04-2014, 00:49   #5
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by klmmicro View Post
Simple question that will certainly have many answers. I have a definition that works for me, but a friend disagreed with it.

I usually day sail with a longer trip thrown in here an there. The other day, we were out for a few hours and made our way off shore some distance. Land was still in sight, but far enough away that we could not see the shore or make out any detail. We were picking up VHF traffic without much issue, so we were still close enough to be in touch with help if it were needed. He started to say that we were out in to open water...this is where our definitions and thoughts started to differ.

My definition for distance out while "coastal cruising" is "within sight of land, even if optics are required". Once land is below the horizon, but VHF is still fairly consistent we are in "open water". "Blue water" to me is when VHF comms are lost. I know that there is a lot of room for interpretation here.

So when is one coastal cruising? Just looking for some opinions. Is it a specific distance, a certain goal or activity?
I'm not sure there is a "definative" definition. My definition is when ever you are so far from land that it is impracticale to reach harbour/anchroage for the night. Then you are ocean sailing
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Old 24-04-2014, 01:18   #6
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

This is becoming a kinda pedantic discussion, but what the hell... here's my take on cruising, coastal or otherwise:

Cruising for me has a first requirement... ending up somewhere other than where you started out on that sailing day. When we first were sailing in our new to us Oday Osprey dinghy we did our first "cruise", sailing from San Leandro marina to Pete's harbor in Redwood City (all in the southern part of SF Bay). Spent the night there and sailed back the next day, learning about tidal currents, shallows, and trying to beat upwind and upcurrent in a 15 foot dinghy when we hardly knew how to hoist the sails. That was a VERY educational day that I still remember with some horror! But it was a start, and I learned that "going somewhere different" was important to me... and it still is!

So, I reckon that coastal cruising is not so defined by how far off shore one is, but rather by sailing to a distant (relative to time available and boat size) destination, along a coastline rather than by making a crossing of some body of water.

Back then (1969) almost no one had VHF radios on board, and we had no thoughts of summoning a rescue if we stuffed things up. So, all this talk of daring to go out of VHF range, or helicopter range or whatever seems contrived. Counting on outside efforts to save your ass was poor judgement then, and still is today.

But I digress. It doesn't matter how you define these terms, going out there and sailing to somewhere else is cruising to me, and I still enjoy it after all these years.

Cheers,

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Old 24-04-2014, 01:43   #7
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

I'd like to add to what Jim said, 'cause I think what JazzyO said is extremely relevant---to where he cruises.

But Encinitas, is Southern Calif. So Cal is characterised by light airs, except in winter storms. Most folks don't go cruising in winter storms unless they're shaking down to go offshore. So, From Encinitas, there are limited destinations for day sails and long weekends, and all of it is green water.

My two cents.
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Old 24-04-2014, 04:49   #8
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

In past the distinction was defined by depth. I.E. : Coastal waters were "on soundings" which meant a depth of less than 100 fathoms (600 ft). when the sounding lead did not reach the bottom "off soundings" then the ship was no longer in coastal waters but in blue waters. Not sure however, if the "blue " part was used as loosely then as it is today.
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Old 24-04-2014, 04:54   #9
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

It's 2014, time to update definitions to fit the times. So, you're coastal cruising when you can still get a WiFi and/or a cell phone signal.
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Old 24-04-2014, 05:09   #10
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

I think it's fair to take the direction the thread has: not to ask what IS coastal cruising but, rather, what is NOT coastal cruising - access to VHF/WIFI/access to the Kardashians or not shouldn't come into it. Insurance companies differ in their treatment too. I took me a couple of weeks to get my own insurance company to define what they meant by "within US waters".. 12miles or the much larger Economic Exclusivity Zone. I finally got them to concede that the EEZ is under the control of the US so that's "US waters". However, if I was 200 miles offshore and a storm hit which I couldn't avoid, then I wouldn't be feeling very "coastal".

As mentioned above, the quorum typically appears to define the limit of Offshore as being "if weather comes along and you don't have enough time to get back to a safe harbor then you just have to deal with it, by yourself".

I believe the concept of starting off one place and ended up somewhere different isn't a clean enough definition: one could always run 3 straight days and nights in clear sight of the coastline without stopping, it'd still be coastal!
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Old 24-04-2014, 05:44   #11
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pirate Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

For me... a non stop run from Falmouth to Gib would constitute Coastal sailing... never more than 200 miles from land..
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Old 24-04-2014, 06:07   #12
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

I agree with Jim Cate on all points. For us also, if we started in one place and ended up somewhere else we had cruised. If we started in our slip at the marina and returned to our slip we had been out for a day sail.

Likewise, if you start out and end on the coast of the same landmass, regardless of how far you ventured off shore to get from, say, San Francisco to San Diego, you are still coastal cruising. Crossing a body of water = offshore/blue water cruising. (But....even when we sailed from Long Beach to Catalina Island, to me that was still coastal.)

We also agree with his view that the call range of your electronics has no bearing on the definition.

That's just my take on it.
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Old 24-04-2014, 06:21   #13
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

To me, I'm blue water sailing as soon as I clear Basilisk Passage and am in 1000+ meters of water in the Coral Sea (that's about 5 miles from the marina).

More generally, blue water is anything beyond a continental shelf and more than a couple of hundred metres deep. In some parts of the world, you hit blue water almost as soon as you leave the dock - in others you have to go several hundred miles to find it.

That said, I am also "coastal cruising" while in "blue water" anytime I track outside the reefs along the South Papua coast to Milne Bay.

(and even if only a couple of miles offshore, there ain't no VHF land stations anywhere on that coast, so there goes another "definition" ).

IOW, the terms are not mutually exclusive.
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Old 24-04-2014, 06:28   #14
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

I can swim from the beach here and be in a thousand meters of blue water within a few hundred yards of land without a VHF radio. Does that make me a blue water cruiser?
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Old 24-04-2014, 07:06   #15
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Re: What constitutes coastal cruising?

The way I see the terms used typically (there is no formal definition):

If you return to your home port the same day, it's day sailing.

If you anchor/dock for the evening or at least have the option to do so while traveling to new ports, you have moved up to coastal sailing.

If there is no option to anchor/dock for the evening, it's blue water.

Then you have gray areas such as an overnight run, a faster boat could do a hop could make port in a day but your boat can't, you are within a few miles of shore but there is nowhere to anchor/dock, etc...

Just going out on the open ocean for the afternoon is not typically considered blue water sailing.
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