Cheap video games aside, I would not say that the wind on the ocean blows just like it does on the lakes. Haven't been offshore yet but I do watch the weather reports, and the wind typically blows significantly harder on the ocean. 15-25 knots in the Strait of Georgia often mean 30-40 knots on the coast.
Also, wave action is different on the ocean than on the lakes for reasons besides just current and depth. When there's no land for thousands of miles to slow the wind down or absorb the energy of the waves, they can get pretty big. Like, as high as your boat is long.
None of this means you can't take your 26' boat on the ocean. Just keep an eye on the sky and be prepared.
s/v Laelia - 1978 Pearson 365 ketch
s/v Essorant - 1972 Catalina 27