Originally Posted by Stryker72
There are many posts discussing if a certain brand of boat is made for bluewater vs coastal cruising, but what I am not sure about is what makes a boat more ocean going than a coastal type vessel?
I am by no means an expert, but since no one has answered, I will take a shot at setting out some of the main differences.
Market forces have determined what are the desirable characteristics of a coastal cruiser. Most recreational week-end sailors, who generally choose to sail in hospitable conditions and not so far from land, want a lot of room below, comfortable accommodations and a reasonable price point. The issue of slogging into big seas and high winds for days at a time simply never comes up and really shouldn't for a customer with coastal priorities. If you are primarily day-sailing it simply doesn't make sense to pay what can be more than twice as much money for a heavy displacement boat.
In order to sell their boats for a reasonable price, most boats targeted for the coastal cruiser market have comparatively light displacements. They also tend to be designed to be beamy (wide) so that there is room for more cabins and heads and showers, etc., for comfort at the marina or mooring. These same characteristics are not necessarily desirable for a bluewater boat. Generally, heavier displacement adds greater stability for bad weather conditions and heavier and stronger hulls tend to stand up better to a beating. Heavier displacement tends to add substantially to the price of the boat and can make them poorer performers in light winds. Also, slightly less beamy designs tend to be more stable, which can be somewhat inconsistent with the priorities of coastal cruisers, who tend to want as much room below as possible.
Also, bluewater boats have a need for more tankage for water and fuel. This added tankage is of almost no use to the coastal cruiser, adds weight and takes up room that could be used for other purposes (e.g., another head or shower).
This does not mean that there are not boats that are reasonable compromises or that can be used for both purposes.