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Old 03-08-2012, 09:47   #46
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

Just to muddy the waters even more, the free online dictionary defines it this way.
Quote:
Open Ocean: Ocean limit defined as greater than 12 nautical miles (nm) from shore, as compared with high seas that are over 200 nm from shore. See also contiguous zone.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:01   #47
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by terminalcitygrl View Post
Is sailing the PNW, maybe a trip to Alaska or down the US coast to Mexico considered open ocean or coastal sailing? Is the defining characteristic x # of nm from shore or something else?
Apologies if this has already been offered. A good functional definition might be this:

If you things get dodgy, and you have nowhere to go but more open water, that is open ocean.

Basically, we talk about them as being different because a coastal cruiser maintains constant access to the comforts and conveniences of the shore, while the ocean cruiser has only the sea at his immediate disposal
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:28   #48
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

Yes, there is no correct definition
Where do the people which write conventions look?
poor we)))))))))))
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Old 03-08-2012, 18:41   #49
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

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IIRC: coastal was indicated by "on soundings",ocean was indicated by "off soundings"
So what are soundings? Not sure anymore but believe that the lead line was usually 100 fathoms ,anything deeper was"off soundings".
Again ,this too seems imprecise , but here in the N. Atlantic when the water color changes from green to cobalt blue I have no doubts I'm in the ocean.
Especially poor definition I think. Loads of exceptions. "Off Soundings" simply means that your depth sounder, or lead line, can longer find the bottom. A lot of recreational vessel depth sounders only go to 200-300 feet. Mine loses the bottom at about 250ft.

In Belize for example, I can be "Off Soundings", even if you define that as over 100 fathoms, and still hit shore with a rock!

And there are banks where the water is relatively shallow, but even under USCG definitions (250nm from shore) you are "offshore". Loads of examples of such banks if you drop the distance from shore down a bit. The "Flower Gardens" off Texas for example, 160nm from shore, with depths of 60-80'.

I favor the USCG definition, and it carries legal weight, but of course there are reasonable exceptions to that as well. Under that rule there are surprisingly limited areas where you can be "offshore" in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, but 150 miles from the coast in the Gulf in a big storm sure qualifies as "offshore" in my book.
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Old 03-08-2012, 19:37   #50
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

If you meet the USCG and they don't want to investigate your bathroom facilities, you are probably in the open ocean.
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Old 03-08-2012, 19:37   #51
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I think that offshore means you are on your own and unlikely to be able to get help if you need it. Basically out of sight of land and a few hundred miles from a port of refuge. That said, you don't have to be necessarily a few hundred miles from land, just a few hundred from help. I do think that the navigation definition is sound though, and is where the term originally came from.
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Old 03-08-2012, 21:21   #52
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

It doesn't matter if your 5 miles off or 500, here in PNW from Cape Flattery- to SF Bay. When weather goes to hell, your best chance is to head off shore, harbor bars are a good place to lose your vessel and maybe your life. Treat this area w/ respect and concider it off-shore. NOAA weather is wrong more than right here. This is from many years experence as a commerical fisherman. Michael..
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Old 03-08-2012, 21:33   #53
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by terminalcitygrl View Post
Is sailing the PNW, maybe a trip to Alaska or down the US coast to Mexico considered open ocean or coastal sailing? Is the defining characteristic x # of nm from shore or something else?

It's interesting that the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) do not count anything less than 100 nmiles offshore towards the logged 2600 nmiles for an Offshore Yachtmaster Ticket.
Therefore; their definition of Ocean Sailing is 100 nmiles offshore.
The RYA has long been the standard for all things sailing.
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Old 03-08-2012, 22:12   #54
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

Interesting question, terminalcitygirl... after many deliveries north and south on the left coast over the years, i'm of the opinion (just that, an opinion) that 200 miles is open ocean vs coastal cruising. I've done both and there is a distinctly different feel to the ocean out past the continental shelf.
Someone else opined here that if you could run for cover on the coast, you were coastal cruising. i've had a couple of coastal passages north where it made much more sense to put as much distance between the shore and my self as I could so I headed for Japan on coastal passages.
No question to find consistent southerlies headed north from Mexico, you have to head at least 500-800 miles off shore. Headed south, northerwesterlies are more closer to the coast.
The only open water headed north to Alaska from the PNW you must cross is Hecate Strait which can get nasty during the winter months. Great question! Capt Phil
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Old 04-08-2012, 08:17   #55
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by terminalcitygrl View Post
Is sailing the PNW, maybe a trip to Alaska or down the US coast to Mexico considered open ocean or coastal sailing? Is the defining characteristic x # of nm from shore or something else?
For your trip, try putting it this way. Are you making this trip to enjoy the coastal features along the way, or do plan to stay off the coast until the end of your trip?

I think this question is more about cruising styles than definitions of "what is a coast"

Your question answered itself. "along the US coast to Mexico". That is coastal cruising, even more so if you plan to stay in coastal anchorages and marinas along the way, or visit towns and beaches. Less so if your plan is stay in the open water making continuous headway to your destination.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:44   #56
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

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...When weather goes to hell, your best chance is to head off shore, harbor bars are a good place to lose your vessel and maybe your life. ....
Very true in lots of places and something less experienced sailors don't get (seems a bit counter intuitive to them). I've seen a number of boating accidents in the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean because people thought of heading ashore as "safety".

I aborted a return to port once in the Gulf of Mexico due to sudden, unforecast, and especially nasty weather (65 knots sustained). A couple of recreational vessels got into trouble because they tried to return to port (nobody died fortunately, but boats damaged/lost).
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Old 04-08-2012, 15:39   #57
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

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If you meet the USCG and they don't want to investigate your bathroom facilities, you are probably in the open ocean.
I like that ...
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Old 04-08-2012, 15:54   #58
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

Given that a storm can last three days, what distance will you loose each day.
Off-shore is when you won't reach the shore in horrible conditions in three days, or any other number you choose as your safety factor.
Passage planning on that basis means a boat and crew fit for three days in heavy weather, or a weather report that will get you to port in time = Theyr?
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Old 04-08-2012, 17:34   #59
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

The first time they go offshore, many people report a strange experience.
They come up on deck, and all of a sudden their boat has shrunk 30%.

I don't recall this. Our first boat was already so small, I'm guessing some protective mechanism of the psyche kicked in.
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:40   #60
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Re: How to define open ocean vs. coastal cruising?

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Originally Posted by Eleven View Post
Given that a storm can last three days, what distance will you loose each day.
Off-shore is when you won't reach the shore in horrible conditions in three days, or any other number you choose as your safety factor.
Passage planning on that basis means a boat and crew fit for three days in heavy weather, or a weather report that will get you to port in time = Theyr?
Depends on how you choose to handle the heavy weather. If you choose to run with it (sail down wind) and can maintain course then you might get there sooner than expected, run drogue and slow down, deploy a sea anchor and stop, heave-to and drift....lots of options and a lot depends upon the circumstances and just how "heavy" the weather....40 knot blow -- keep sailing...hurricane...probably not.

Assuming you are hove-to in the storm, and drifting at no more than 1.5 knots, and assuming there is no current, then about 36 nm per day (24 hr) down wind.
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