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Discussion Starter #1
I've been reading different posts on SailNet and think I see a pattern...most of the cruising life is not about crossing the 7 seas or a global navigation, though there are some who do, but rather short hops between islands or ports. The "big hops" seem to be a necessity to move to a different part of the world so that you can do more short hops between islands or ports.

My question to the forum is how often do you do passages to get to different cruising grounds? And what influences your decision to do a passage? Did the length and type of sailboat you purchased affect that decision? Was the length and type of sailboat you purchased based on the idea that at some point you will do passages or not?

For clarity I am defining passages as ocean crossings and cruising as remaining within a day or two of some land.

:2 boat:
 

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We bought a 55 ft blue-water boat so that we could cross oceans. We usually stayed in a location for months until the insurance policy said we had to move to avoid hurricanes.

An example was 6 months in French Polynesia and then a 2,700 nm trip to New Zealand to avoid cyclones and then a year in NZ.

40,000nm in 11 years
 

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Discussion Starter #3
We bought a 55 ft blue-water boat so that we could cross oceans. We usually stayed in a location for months until the insurance policy said we had to move to avoid hurricanes.

An example was 6 months in French Polynesia and then a 2,700 nm trip to New Zealand to avoid cyclones and then a year in NZ.

40,000nm in 11 years
Impressive!!! So insurance was your driving influence. Interesting.
 

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We haven't crossed an ocean yet, but do regularly take 4-8 day passages to get to where we want to spend more time. Some of these are more than a day or two from land (and land isn't necessarily safety for many areas). So I don't know if that is considered cruising or passaging by your definition.

What motivates us to move is varied - insurance requirements, weather, boredom, carefully made plans.

We do the bigger 4-8 day jumps every 2-3 years, and smaller 2-4 day jumps a couple of times each year.

We planned our boat for this type of cruising, as well as ocean crossing in the future.

Mark
 

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Old soul
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Guess I don’t really qualify to speak here, but I will anyway and the OP can ignore. I’ve yet to cross an ocean, and our “passages” have been mostly close to land, although there have been a couple where land is more than a day away. I don’t see the proximity to land as being much of tipping point really.

In any case, to me a passage is just that — a distance one travels to get somewhere. Some live for the passage, some for the destination. I suspect most cruisers are somewhere in the middle, or rather embrace both as part of the whole.

Our pattern is to travel large distances every few years (many hundreds to a few thousands). Then we stay in that area and explore the physical and human geography. We’ve done this four times so far, and each time we stay about four years.

In fact we just completed a “passage” where we sailed around the northern peninsula of Newfoundland so as to relocate from the west side to the east side. This was probably our shortest “passage” (~600 nm), but possibly our hardest one from a sailing/anchoring perspective.
 

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I have never heard this definition of passages. I have always understood passages to mean any voyage where the primary purpose was traveling between two distinct locations while a tansoceanic passage was exactly that, a transoceanic passage.

Any way, yes I bought my boat with passage making in mind. I like cruising in different areas, but get bored on multi day passages. So I bought a trailer sailer, which allows me to cover big distances on the highway, train or ship (yet todo this, but would like to visit UK, for example one day, by shipping my boat).

So basically, my boat was selected, specifically to avoid the necessity of long passages.

In my former career as a navigator, my working life was pretty much continuos passage making, whoch is how I know it isn't really my thing. Its a big wet desert out there.

I don't think I am alone either, because even many cruisers who claim to love passage making insist on the importance of having the biggest fastest boat possible so they can get the experience over with as quickly and in the most possible comfort and isolation from the sea as they can manage.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have never heard this definition of passages. I have always understood passages to mean any voyage where the primary purpose was traveling between two distinct locations while a tansoceanic passage was exactly that, a transoceanic passage.

I don't think I am alone either, because even many cruisers who claim to love passage making insist on the importance of having the biggest fastest boat possible so they can get the experience over with as quickly and in the most possible comfort and isolation from the sea as they can manage.
Perhaps "passage" wasn't the correct word to use in this circumstance, but you got exactly what I was meaning by it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
In any case, to me a passage is just that — a distance one travels to get somewhere. Some live for the passage, some for the destination. I suspect most cruisers are somewhere in the middle, or rather embrace both as part of the whole.

Our pattern is to travel large distances every few years (many hundreds to a few thousands). Then we stay in that area and explore the physical and human geography. We’ve done this four times so far, and each time we stay about four years.
Mike, I believe you are fully qualified to answer my original question, and I appreciate your input. I guess it's all a matter of perspective. My personal definition of a "passage" at this point in my sailing career is to take my little Catalina 22 to the far end of the lake and camping out for the weekend. Not exactly pushing the limits of cruising, but I do try and unplug from the dock life by hitting my nav marks, making my meals, filtering water, and utilizing my solar system (Read baby-steps).
 

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It was my dream to circumnavigate ever since I read Slocum's book @ around 12, but I knew I was going to be a seafarer in one form or another since I was about 6.
I bought my first big boat (49') @ 22 and set off to cross oceans. But it was the wrong boat. A TransPac racer did not a cruising boat make, especially when one had to stow 22 bags of racing sails and have a bunk to sleep in. So we traded her for a 65' gaffer, slowed down and got comfortable at sea.
What I enjoyed the most about the long ocean crossings was the safety and security I felt at sea. We had everything we needed and were usually a tight knit crew, all with the same motivation, within a few days. Rarely did we reach the end of a crossing and we didn't feel like continuing on instead of stopping. This went on for 30 some odd years, doing deliveries and operating vessels for owners across oceans, but it became more and more tiring as I grew older, though GPS, roller furling and other advances made it all so much easier.
These days I'm perfectly happy to sit on the pick at night and get a complete night's rest. Skipping Stone can usually do around 80 miles in daylight, so there are few runs in the eastern Caribbean we can't manage in daylight. We do overnights now and then (to Trinidad and back mostly), and really enjoy them, but I really do not desire to do another ocean crossing. Not today, anyway.
 

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Good topic!

Obviously you're get a range of responses. Here's mine.

Because of work etc... cruising ie time on the boat is "time limited"... mostly weekends... extended weekends/holidays and vacations. How far you can get depends on the usual factors including getting back to your car/life on dirt. You can move the boat quite a distance in hops... but for me the problem was ground transportation back to my car.

So find a homeport with a lot of great places reachable in a weekend or extended weekend. Maine for me was 400 miles... a vacation length trip. Did it multiple times but not enough.

I decided to take a sabbatical from my profession so the time was no longer a problem. I used the opportunity to sail south from NY/LIS to the Caribbean... live aboard full time and cruise from "locally" from island to Island. I was fortunate to meet a GF who kept a lovely Swedish built 36' boat in the Canaies. Flew off to cruise there. I dodged hurricanes by sailing back to LIS and cruising locally then back down to the Caribe. I've down a few deliveries which were ocean passages.

I am now quite familiar with all the LI harbors and many in southern NE... Not as much "discovery" fun... but we have our favorites for different reasons.
 

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Mike, I believe you are fully qualified to answer my original question, and I appreciate your input. I guess it's all a matter of perspective. My personal definition of a "passage" at this point in my sailing career is to take my little Catalina 22 to the far end of the lake and camping out for the weekend. Not exactly pushing the limits of cruising, but I do try and unplug from the dock life by hitting my nav marks, making my meals, filtering water, and utilizing my solar system (Read baby-steps).
Sounds like a good way to start … or to spend a lifetime. Who knows :).

I stumbled into sailing and cruising mostly by accident. I’d never sailed much as a kid, outside of the occasional sail I would hoist on my canoe trips. I began remote wilderness canoe tripping when I was quite young, and then discovered sea kayaking in my late late 30s. A few years after that a friend bought a O’day 22, and the rest as they say, is history.

I spent a lot of great time sailing that little 22. At the time I thought it was a huge boat. Then came a 26-footer, then a 34, and now my 37-footer. I think I’ve found my final boat, but one never really knows what the future will bring. I do know I can cruise just about anywhere with this boat. In fact, she’s already gone around the world with a previous owner.

Personally, I have no plans to circumnavigate, but I don’t rule it out. I don’t really have any specific cruising plans or goals. To me, cruising is about the lifestyle, and I know I can find wonder and beauty just about everywhere, so I don’t have to go anywhere in particular.
 

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Have been doing two passages per year. One from New England to eastern Caribbean and one back. Insurance predicates your behavior. Insurance now requires me to have three aboard for passage. Insurance in the “zone” is an obscene amount. Most insurance includes Grenada and some Trinidad as being in the “zone “. Insurance is hard to find as so many companies either folded or left this field. Last year for the first time left the boat in Grenada. It was actually cheaper than yard cost in New England. Next year don’t know what I’m going to do.

The Outbound is hands down the very best passage boat I’ve ever owned and the best mom and pop for long term cruising. Although a 14 year old design would build another one if starting out. Don’t think any of the current offerings match it for our sailing program.
 

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May sound snippy, so apologies now, but words do matter in order for you to get the best input. Many people accept the Ocean Cruising Club definition of a passage. Roughly speaking a passage is an uninterrupted transit across the ocean of 1500 nautical miles or greater with land in sight only at upon leaving or final landfall. Believe this definition is used as it implies weather forecasts are only reliable for the first 5 days after leaving. That you are entirely dependent on what preparations you’ve done before leaving. That you must complete the passage in the absence of a break in the passage so therefore without outside assistance beyond that received via communications. It’s that sense of total self reliance and independence that makes passagmaking so magical. As they say” a man who has gone to sea is ruined for land”.
Strongly encourage you to do it before you make any decisions about which boat to buy. If you get hooked you’re done. Your boat decisions become entirely different if you want to do passages. Some have this dream of passagemaking only to find out they hate it. Huge sums, incredible hours spent only to end up dissatisfied. Every passage is markly different. Some a great PIA and struggle. Others immensely satisfying. Do at least a few before deciding.
 

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I suppose if you happen to be a member of that yacht club their definition might be authoritative, but for the rest of us I think the definition is much less prescriptive.

For example, the Royal Yachting Association, who many folks also recognise as an authority define a passage as "A passage is a non stop voyage from a departure port/safe haven to a destination port/safe haven". Note, no minimum distance is required. Any uninterupted berth to berth voyage is a passage.

Passage is also used in the collision regulations as well as numerous nautical texts without having any minimum distance attributed to it.
 

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I suppose if you happen to be a member of that yacht club their definition might be authoritative, but for the rest of us I think the definition is much less prescriptive.

For example, the Royal Yachting Association, who many folks also recognise as an authority define a passage as "A passage is a non stop voyage from a departure port/safe haven to a destination port/safe haven". Note, no minimum distance is required. Any uninterupted berth to berth voyage is a passage.

Passage is also used in the collision regulations as well as numerous nautical texts without having any minimum distance attributed to it.
I'm afraid I'd have to agree with Arcb on this one. It may only be around 900 some odd miles from Bermuda to ST. T., but it sure feels like a passage, in the traditional sense, to me. The same with the trip to Bermuda from anywhere in the US, especially if the Gulfstream is treating you to a bit of it's more unpleasant conditions.
I don't think we can put an exact definition of the word passage in this context, unless we qualify the word with some sort of description such as ocean, coastal or overnight.
How could anyone sail from Newport to the Caribbean and not consider that an ocean passage, whether you stop in Bermuda or not? It's roughly 14 days out of the sight of land, a situation where the crew must be self sufficient and hopefully competent and experienced enough not to require the aide of a rescue service.
I'm sorry, but the Ocean Cruising Club definition of a passage sounds like a bunch of stuck up old sailors who need to feel they have done something extra special by putting their own definition to the word passage.
 

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I found a definition from a good source. Bowditch: The American Practical Navigator. Very likely the leading text on how to navigate in North America, probably one of the top navigation texts in the world.

1) A navigable channel, especially one through reefs or islands. Also called a PASS.

2) A transit from one place to another, one leg of a voyage.

https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/The_American_Practical_Navigator
 

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My question to the forum is how often do you do passages to get to different cruising grounds? And what influences your decision to do a passage? Did the length and type of sailboat you purchased affect that decision? Was the length and type of sailboat you purchased based on the idea that at some point you will do passages or not?
My passages this season have all been three nautical miles between two harbors and that is enough for me these days. I've done many extended cruises in my younger days and just do not see the need to repeat those trips. My boat is a 30 foot catboat that is considered to be a good coastal cruiser. A number have crossed the Atlantic and others have participated in the Marion Bermuda race. Others have traveled to the Caribbean and back. I've taken the boat from Long Island to Canada. Where I sailed across Lake Ontario into the Thousand Islands area and back. Plus all over the northeast up to Boston, Nantucket, Newport etc... I did have plans to take the boat south in winters but, they have faded with age and the fact that my gal likes to do Catamaran charters in winter. There were some spots I still wanted to visit by boat and I have been able to do that by arranging a charter for myself. Long ocean passages no longer interest me. A sail to a nearby port that I can plan in the drop of a hat is most enjoyable and comfortable for me these days. I'll rent a mooring for a few days and dine ashore or cook on board as is my wish. I plan to get there before the crowds and enjoy the watching the couples as they pick up the moorings around me. It's fun to observe those who have the communication skills to pick up the moorings without a word being spoken and those who need to yell and make several attempts. When the tide and weather window is right I make plans to head back. Because the distances are not long I don't get fatigued or bored and enjoy the trip in each direction.
 

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"Passages" are what you do to get to the "cruising" area you want to be in. No matter how long the passage is, the boat of course was considered where purchasing. The real question is the level of fear that went into that choice consideration.
 
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