It is pretty silly to think that only "real boats" can handle 45 knot winds and large breaking waves. A sailboat, much like any other vehicle, is designed for a particular purpose.
Is a Porsche 911 a "bad" vehicle because it can't handle icy mountain roads? Is a Range Rover a "bad" vehicle because it turns in lousy track times?
It is the same with sailboats. What the "best" boat is depends on where and how it is used. A great blue water cruiser would be a "bad" boat for inland racing. Your comment is like calling a screw driver a "bad" tool because it can't drive nails.
Now don't get me wrong, I do realize there are different boats for different purposes. You can compare two vehicles in the same catagory, for example two pickup trucks. Lets take a Chevy Silverado and a Toyota Tacoma. Even though they are both pickup trucks, the Silverado is far superior as its a full size pickup. More horsepower, more towing capacity, a bigger bed, stronger suspension etc. The Tacoma can still carry cargo but is limited to how much not to mention the towing capacity is much less of the Silverado. This does not mean the Tacoma is a bad vehicle, just that the Silverado is much more of a truck inside and out. Naturally the price tag is higher on the full size truck. So you pay less with the Tacoma but end up picking up some limitations.
If I was ever caught in a storm, I would much rather be in an Oday 37 then my Oday 22 regardless of my experience no matter if I am in the lake or gulf. I see the 37 as just much more of a sailboat, a lot of boat there. So with my limited cargo capacity and lighter rigging and smaller vessel, I would take a big risk trying to make a crossing, even a gulf crossing I would not try. Then again, mine is not made for that she's more of a lake or coastal boat. Where the 37 can do all it wants in the lake just as I can, plus non-stop trip to Florida keys. I also bet its much faster then mine. Another example, how my rudder broke clean in half out in the lake in 25kt winds. That would have never happened to my Cal 25 in 25kt because it was much more sturdy and solid, nearly twice the displacement and was simply more of a sailboat. It could do anything mine can as good or better plus more, well ok maybe not turn as good but thats about it. My 22 is a shallow draft vessel and can even be trailered. Thats about the best two advantages of mine against the others I can come up with. I don't have a trailer so scratch that plus I still don't like shallow water yet so another scratch.
At last, if there are two blue water cruisers of same year make but different models, one would have to be better built then the other. A storm would put them both to the test and if any sailboat is considered blue water I would hope it would be able to handle a typical storm.
This all said, anyone have an Oday 37 they would like to trade for my Oday 22?
Just kidding of course, I absolutely LOVE my 22 but she's just not quite as much sailboat as some of the bigger boys at the marina. I will say she is one of the prettiest but her good looks won't save us from a storm, once the storm finds out she is "taken" and no asking her out, it will really get violent.
In the end, a big boat can sail in a smaller lake but a smaller boat can't always just sail in blue water unless they want to risk it all, even their lives.