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Old 08-10-2018, 21:34   #1
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What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

Hello, I'm back with another silly question. I am now in the process of getting rid of everything I own (except for tools and clothing), in preparation for getting out of my lease by January and looking for a boat.

I have spent the past several months combing over YW, Sailboatlistings, Craigslist, etc... and Using resources such as Bluewaterboats.org, to try and make an informed decision on the size and type of boat that I want... within my budget of course. I am currently looking for a 32-35' bluewater capable boat (Allied 32, 33, 35, Pearson 32, 35, Bristol 34, Westsail 32, etc...). These are at the top of my list, but there are other boats that have caught my eye, that aren't listed as "blue water boats" such as Endeavour 32, Islanders, Catalinas, C&C, etc.

I don't plan on a circumnavigation, but I would like to cross the Atlantic to Europe and the Mediterranean in about 7-10 years, and return a couple of years later.

My question is this: Do you NEED a blue water boat to make an occasional blue water passage? Or are "blue water" boats made to withstand continuous ocean passages. I would like to get the best built boat that I can afford, and I understand that I will probably have to put a LOT of sweat equity into any boat purchase in my initial price range ($10 - $20k).

I have done a fair amount of research, and I really like the old classic plastic boats anyway, but there are many other boats that I like, I just want to make sure that I would feel confident in the boat to brave a crossing, or heavy seas.

I appreciate any insight you can offer.

-Harrison.
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Old 08-10-2018, 23:11   #2
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

One way to consider blue water capability is to compare statistics. Check out https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/yach...atistics-30154.

“Bluewater” means lots of things but generally means capable by virtue of its design and build to withstand larger seas and stronger winds found offshore. This doesn’t have anything to do with the ‘software’, ie the sailor - anything that floats can be rowed, paddled, peddled, or sailed across oceans.
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Old 08-10-2018, 23:40   #3
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

Anything describing what is "needed" is actually describing personal degrees of safety and comfort. The Polynesians covered the Pacific in wildly unprotected boats using birds to find land.

For me, the main variable I look for in a Bluewater vessel is the helm. For monos, my preference is for a center cockpit and for cats, I prefer a raised helm. A raised helm is easily protected by clears for comfort, secures the watchman in relative safety especially at night, and doesn't have the weather exposure of an aft helm or the isolation of a flybridge while still providing excellent visibility.

You'll hear people speak in absolutes (e.g. the forward cockpit of a Leopard Cat is too dangerous to bluewater sail), but it's really just degrees of safety and comfort.
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Old 09-10-2018, 02:21   #4
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

I consider blue-water boats as vessels outfitted to sail in warm / tropical regions around the Equator (Caribbean, Australia, Pacific islands). They are very basic outfitted for bare foot sailing and island hopping.

They can be equipped for long-distance ocean passages with the trade winds too, with downwind sails, long range communication devices and water makers but this is an another category (for me) - I would call them world cruising blue-water vessels.

The opposite to the blue-water boats would be more rigid constructions (aluminum, steel) capable to sail the cold waters / roaring 40's, Greenland, north passage, Magellan strait, North Europe (Norway, Iceland), Canada, Alaska, Tasmania, South polar region etc. They would have furnaces instead of A/C installed and much better foul weather protection and insulation.

All three categories can be re-fitted to become a live-aboard capable to the life style and sailing preferences of their owners.

The forth category in my mind are "house-boats", they are any type of vessel that are not meant to be moved any longer distances and stay most of the time docked somewhere as stationary floating homes.
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:10   #5
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:27   #6
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

If you are doing the Atlantic run and the med you could basically use just about anything. My advice is get the biggest you can afford - Production or one-off, mono or cat.

Make sure it's sound (same with buying any boat) and well checked out.

One bit of advice - The object of cruising is not the passage. We sail from A to B in order to enjoy B. The piece (passage) in between is something you just have to do to get to B, and you should do it as quickly as possible. You will spend 5% of your sailing time doing the passages and 95% bolt upright in a marina or great anchorage, enjoying the boat and all the other things that we love about cruising.

So buy the boat that does the 95% great and the 5% just good enough.
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Old 09-10-2018, 03:54   #7
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

The common view is, that a blue water boat is designed to be offshore, and take bad weather for long periods of time, it has bigger water tanks and more storage than a production boat, it will also be heavier, slower, and built much stronger, a production boat is lighter, not built as strong, is not fitted out for extended cruising, they are usually fin keels, and the rig is not as robust as a blue water boat.

A lot of boats just don't have the component structure to take on an ocean, the designers and builders never intended them for a thirty day passage, in which they will encounter force eight gales daily, with anything up to the odd force ten, thats about the worst I have had my boat a Southern Cross 31 in, that was when I was crossing to Bermuda in October, and crossing from Bermuda to Europe in spring. I did once take an Irwin Citation 35 out to Bermuda in winter, the boat is still there, the two crew with me jumped ship in Bermuda, and I couldn't find anyone on the Island stupid enough to make the journey back with me (it was December) so I had to sell the boat in Bermuda. It was just too flimsy, the decks were opening due to strain on them, water was flowing in, the plastic frames of the hatches were breaking, on that eight day crossing, parts of that boat broke on a daily basis,

Last time I was in Bermuda I found the boat at anchor Sandy Feet was the name, still is the name, I looked at it, and I must have been mad to take that boat out into the Atlantic, its just so flimsy, the mast and rigging, is just so weak looking, its has half the amount of stays that my current boat has, and the rigging is just so thin compared to what I have now.

So if you are going to do an ocean crossing, get the right boat. full keel, heavy rig, heavy boat, the older ones are better, as the hulls tend to be thicker, and with that you can stay within budget
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Old 09-10-2018, 04:05   #8
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

One more thing. I'll probably get slammed by some for this - You do not need a traditional long keeler, full skeg, battleship. Not for the Atlantic and certainly not for the med. Hundreds of modern production boats do this circuit every year.

https://www.worldcruising.com/conten...n%20161217.pdf
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Old 09-10-2018, 04:20   #9
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

If you want a boat, that can cross an ocean, take one that is delivered that way on it's own keel from the manufacturer.

Blue water boats are not the same as blue water cruising boats. The first are meant to BE USED / STAY in an blue water region (private or charter), the second type are meant to sail from ONE blue water region to the OTHER and do passages.

For the protection from the elements: a blue water boat is more focused of sun protection, ventilation and some warm tropical rain, a blue water cruising boat is more focused on weather protection, gales and waves in warm regions, while a expedition cruiser is also protected to some degree to ice and cold stormy weather up to sub zero environments.
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Old 09-10-2018, 04:20   #10
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

This site claims all these boats are Blue Water Boats.

So maybe you can look over a few of them and get the idea.....

Sailboat Reviews of Offshore Cruising Yachts : Bluewaterboats.org
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Old 09-10-2018, 04:33   #11
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

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Originally Posted by thomm225 View Post
This site claims all these boats are Blue Water Boats.

So maybe you can look over a few of them and get the idea.....

Sailboat Reviews of Offshore Cruising Yachts : Bluewaterboats.org
This is where people claim to have a blue water boat. There is no definition / distinction what qualifies for an entry, except an voluntary article of at least 500 words and a aged boat...

Take for instance a Amel, a well known world cruiser with center cockpit, power furler for all sails, single handed operable from the cockpit - not even mentioned in the list...
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Old 09-10-2018, 04:54   #12
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

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Originally Posted by CatNewBee View Post
This is where people claim to have a blue water boat. There is no definition / distinction what qualifies for an entry, except an voluntary article of at least 500 words and a aged boat...

Take for instance a Amel, a well known world cruiser with center cockpit, power furler for all sails, single handed operable from the cockpit - not even mentioned in the list...
Like I said, it's what those folks claim is a Blue Water Boat.

What is good about the site (and others like it) though is that it can help to guide someone that's buying a boat with little experience get a pretty strong boat...….sometimes without spending a lot, that is capable of crossing oceans

Boat choice is so different for everyone though.

Some want a home/condo on the water with all the modern conveniences whereas others want their sailing experience to be hard physically and with a minimal amount of equipment

More Blue Water Boats:
http://www.mahina.com/cruise.html

http://atomvoyages.com/planning/good...oats-list.html
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:07   #13
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

meh...

This boats are merely old stuff, they have been pushed around the world - like the May Flower she is known to cross the Atlantic, but I would not use it for my voyages.

Old cheep boats tend to be projects, that need more money and love of an experienced sailor than they cost in the first place to be re-fitted for the next crossing - if not proper maintained. This can easy become a money black hole for a newbie.

Well maintained / osmosis free without rotten core and with recent electronics, rigging and safety gear have their price and will not be cheaply available at all. You get what you pay for.
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:07   #14
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

I second what Thomm said. Boat choices are different for everyone, and the definition of a blue-water capable boat is different for everyone.

Another good site is Atom Voyages - Home Now, most of his sailing was done some time ago, but he did it with very minimal equipment. Some people wouldn't go without a generator and air conditioning.

I recently watched a YouTube video of an older couple who sailed from the UK area to the Caribbean is an engineless Cape Dory 25. They looked they were having a wonderful time of freedom.

One thing to remember is the less you have the less there is to maintain. It really boils down to your budget.

The boats you are looking at are what is considered "classic" voyagers. I would stick to these if they are in your budget. Look for one well maintained and be prepared to do additional upgrades/maintenance/refurbishment. Stick with ones that have proven track records and you can hardly go wrong.

And have fun !
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Old 09-10-2018, 05:18   #15
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Re: What EXACTLY is a "blue water boat"?

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Originally Posted by CatNewBee View Post
meh...

This boats are merely old stuff, they have been pushed around the world - like the May Flower she is known to cross the Atlantic, but I would not use it for my voyages.

Old cheep boats tend to be projects, that need more money and love of an experienced sailor than they cost in the first place to be re-fitted for the next crossing - if not proper maintained. This can easy become a money black hole for a newbie.

Well maintained / osmosis free without rotten core and with recent electronics, rigging and safety gear have their price and will not be cheaply available at all. You get what you pay for.
Yeah, you definitely cannot just buy any old boat that happens to be on a list, but if you can find one that's in decent shape fully loaded with no soft spots it can be worth it

As far as the money, you can spend 2-3X what you paid for the boat or more getting it ready, but if you only paid $2,000 or less, that's no big deal

It's all about what you want out of your sailing/boating experience. Sometimes your purchase is budget driven, and sometimes not.

I get a kick out of how tough some of these old boats are though especially when the wind and waves get up a bit. They are quite seaworthy but the smaller ones can be tough on the sailor(s) with their constant motion and drastic heeling angles
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