The "Offshore Special Regulations" are managed by the International Sailing Federation, ISAF. There are 6 different "categories" recognized in these rules:
Trans-oceanic races, including races which pass
through areas in which air or sea temperatures are
likely to be less than 5 degrees Celsius other than
temporarily, where yachts must be completely selfsufficient
for very extended periods of time, capable of
withstanding heavy storms and prepared to meet
serious emergencies without the expectation of
Races of long distance and well offshore
yachts must be completely self-sufficient for extended
periods of time, capable of withstanding heavy storms
and prepared to meet serious emergencies without
the expectation of outside assistance.
Races of extended duration along or not far removed
from shorelines or in large unprotected bays or lakes,
where a high degree of self-sufficiency is required of
Races across open water
, most of which is relatively
protected or close to shorelines.
Short races, close to shore in relatively warm or
protected waters normally held in daylight.
Category 5 - for inshore racing
Substitute the word "cruises" or "voyages" for the word "races" and these guidelines work just as well for non-racing sailors. The Regulations
specify standards for the design and construction of yachts, the safety equipment
that should be carried, and training programs for the crew. They cover both mono and multi-hull boats.
ISAF : Offshore Special Regulations