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Hi,

I am currently in the market for my first boat and am looking in the 25-30' range. I have been doing my share of homework specific to boats but one thing I am uncertain of is a fairly precise definition of coastal cruising. I am located in the northeast and will look to sail between Cape Cod and Long Island. Would this still be considered coastal cruising, as long as I kept land in sight?

Thanks in advance...
 

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moderate?
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Yes...you don't even have to keep land in sight. Just be able to get into port before the weather changes. (generally defined as being able to get weather reports, call coast guard/seatow, and make it into port within 24 hours.)
 

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I'd agree with Camaraderie, it's a weather issue; however, with today's forecasting skills, I think there are many times when you can feel confident for a three day period. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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There is no strict definition, because a crappy sailor can do coastal on a seaworthy boat, and a really good sailor can take an inappropriate or marginal oceanic boat over the horizon.

I think you can say 24 hours x 5 knots=about 120 miles of range under sail. Most boats in the 25-30 foot range will not have enough fuel to do that without a jerrycan or three, but some will. Others will be able to handle heavy weather, while some will be light enough to make distance with little wind.

I think that the expectation of a coastal boat is usually "fun, easily driven, good for having a beer on at the end of a day". 99% of the time, a production boat for coastal cruising will cover this off really well, as most people "coastal cruising" favour fair weather and will motor under 10 knots and head for shore over 20 or four feet of waves.

So if you intend to "keep on keeping on" in the coastal mode of being out of sight of land, but within a day's sail (like going from Florida to the Bahamas, say, or Maine to Nova Scotia), you'll want a somewhat different boat and a more robust skill set than a club racing Catalina 30 owner who will look for three days of 12-18 knot winds and two foot waves before contemplating a point-to-point trip down Lake Ontario, for instance.

A "coastal" boat can expect to encounter bad weather, but of short duration and maybe medium severity. Summer squalls, for instance, can be fierce, but don't typically develop the huge and long waves of the open ocean...the fetch is too short.

This is why it's a difficult question; when people say "coastal", I assume they mean "daysailer or fair-weather cruising". There's a lot of boats up to that, but which I would hesitate to put out of sight of land or in 35-40 knots, because they might prove too tender, too light, too ill-equipped for reefing down and too lightly built in the portlight, hatch and companionway departments.
 

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There is no strict definition, because a crappy sailor can do coastal on a seaworthy boat, and a really good sailor can take an inappropriate or marginal oceanic boat over the horizon.
Two examples: Heather Neill and her Flicka didn't make it more than a day out from Florida, even though the Flicka is a proven pocket bluewater cruiser. On the other hand, Webb Chiles made it most of the way around the world in a 18' open Drascombe Lugger... not exactly the most seaworthy sailboat around...
 

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I think it is the waves. It takes a while for wind to generate waves large enough to be dangerous. So a coastal boat is one that is designed to be in a safe place when the waves get too large. There are tables that tell how large the waves get with a certain wind speed and amount of time. Generally I think it is 48 hours from a safe harbor. Remember being close to shore is not the same thing as being close to a safe harbor!!!! Sailing west from Panama city Florida the closest rough weather inlet is Pensacola. About 80 miles even if you are only 5 miles offshore. Bowditch has a table that predicts that a force 5 wind can produce 8' waves in less than 24 hours!!!!! BTW you can download a complete Bowditch American Practical Navigator for free . I have a copy on my laptop.
 

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Two examples: Heather Neill and her Flicka didn't make it more than a day out from Florida, even though the Flicka is a proven pocket bluewater cruiser. On the other hand, Webb Chiles made it most of the way around the world in a 18' open Drascombe Lugger... not exactly the most seaworthy sailboat around...
Precisely. Just as a side note, the fellow who sold me my hulking steel boot bought a Drascombe Lugger because his wife got a job "offer she couldn't refuse", so he wanted to go from world cruiser to "push off and raise sails ASAP".

The Lugger's an interest boat for people who like a lot of sail controls...

YouTube - Drascombe Lugger "Sally Gee"

Drascombe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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The NOAA forecast goes from Coastal to Offshore at 60 nautical miles. Which would be a very long days sail for many boats. If the weather turns bad, the coastal cruiser can run for shelter, but the offshore sailor has nowhere to hide he has to ride it out.
 
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