coastal seas vs. blue water: difference? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 29 Old 10-06-2010 Thread Starter
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coastal seas vs. blue water: difference?

What is the wind and sea conditions difference between 'coastal' cruising and 'blue water' cruising. Specifically. Is it the miles that you actually sail on the ocean away from land? For example, Miami to Bimini is 'only' 42 miles but it is crossing the Gulf Stream, you are out of sight of land.....isn't that 'blue water' cruising? Is it only blue water cruising if a North wind stirs up the Stream? And isn't there a body of water off the east coast of Puerto Rico that is also considered by some to be 'blue water' and not coastal cruising? Or, is it only consider blue water cruising if you are crossing an ocean, or at least at sea for 3 or 4 days? Like from the Chesapeake to Bermuda, clearly blue water. But is it the 'distance' away from land or the 'wind and sea' conditions' that determine if it is 'blue water'. I kinda thought anytime you were sailing in the ocean, out of sight of land, even just parallel to a coast that is 15 miles away it is still 'blue water'. This is a key thing for me to understand when I buy my next boat.
What are the qualities of the sea that makes one consider that it is 'blue water' or 'coastal' and what is the difference in a 32 foot sailboat that someone says 'it is not a blue water' vessel or 'it IS a blue water vessel'.
Thanks, I need to understand this.

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post #2 of 29 Old 10-06-2010
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post #3 of 29 Old 10-06-2010
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I kinda thought anytime you were sailing in the ocean, out of sight of land, even just parallel to a coast that is 15 miles away it is still 'blue water'. This is a key thing for me to understand when I buy my next boat.
Anyone has different interpretation, and everyone is right. To me, what you have described is just coastal sailing. It is not blue water sailing at all. Likewise, a kayak paddling long the coast is different from paddling to UK. Blue water sailing has no shelter to duck the storm, but coastal sailing you have some way to find shelter.


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post #4 of 29 Old 10-06-2010
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blue water vs. coastal

Good question.... I like Rock dawg's answer...if your far enough away from land that you can't use it for a storm shelter option...then your in bluewater. Seems like a proper enough definition to my mind.... but maybe others can enlighten us...
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post #5 of 29 Old 10-06-2010
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Good question.... I like Rock dawg's answer...if your far enough away from land that you can't use it for a storm shelter option...then your in bluewater. Seems like a proper enough definition to my mind.... but maybe others can enlighten us...
Novice here...but I've immersed myself in learning all I can about sailing and as such have read a lot from many sources, I like this as a definition of blue water vs coastal sailing, the only extension I can add is that there is also a difference between a coastal cruiser and a boat suitable for ocean crossing.

A third level of difference is in the mindset and capabilities of the captain and crew...deep water sailing requires a more formal approach to sailing than perhaps a coastal cruiser can get away with.

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post #6 of 29 Old 10-06-2010
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I would say that a 'blue water cruiser' is more a state of mind. Oceans have been crossed in some pretty small boats so does that make those boats 'blue water cruisers'? The Flicka 20' makers seem to think so and their boats have crossed a number of oceans: Home of the Flicka 20 Sailboat
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post #7 of 29 Old 10-06-2010
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Just to add a point, just because you are a coastal sailor does not mean that you will not run into your fair share of foul weather and seas.
You can be only a few miles from safe harbor and still have your hands full.
I hear people use the term coastal sailor and think that it is a walk in the park, which is not true.

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post #8 of 29 Old 10-06-2010
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Quote:
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I would say that a 'blue water cruiser' is more a state of mind. Oceans have been crossed in some pretty small boats so does that make those boats 'blue water cruisers'? The Flicka 20' makers seem to think so and their boats have crossed a number of oceans: Home of the Flicka 20 Sailboat
Here is a great online book about the 'Circumnavigators' by Hode: The Circumnavigators - by Don Holm - Table of Contents
Just to clarify, size has little to do with blue water cruising. It's build quality, hull and rig design, and displacement. A Flicka is a full-keel boat that displaces over 10,000 lbs, more than many 30 ft boats. Pretty seaworthy as long as you don't have a problem with

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post #9 of 29 Old 10-06-2010
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Offshore / bluewater sailing = long periods of tedium, punctuated by episodes of terror.

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post #10 of 29 Old 10-06-2010
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Flicka 20's are nice....a bit slow though... a lighter 25-footer of a good build might be better for a given sea-run...it all depends...but depends most on the skipper ultimately...
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