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I just had my boat Coast Guard inspected last weekend and I was told that inland waters inspection is self explaining, but offshore is considered were I am in the Columbia River, Tongue Point and beyond, which is still in the river but more than 2 miles wide, at the Mouth of the river,(Columbia River Bar). The only differance in the 2 inspections now, (new this year) is for offshore you not only need 3 flares, but 3 smoke signals, for daytime use. Like I say this is what I was told by the Coasties.
 

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Thanks Courtney.
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The Coast Guard definition of Inland waterways is a completely different animal all together. Some one else will be along shortly with the actual defination of "inland waterways".
 

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Telstar 28
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A big mistake that novice sailors often make is trying to make a break for a harbor, and then they get hammered just before they make the safety of the harbor... often, it is far safer to make a break for deeper waters when in doubt of whether you'll make the harbor.
 

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.
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When does coastal cruising before off shore ? At what point does that happen ?
Your answer is:

When you are doing coastal navigation, there is a line when you will no longer be doing coastal.

If you cross that line, your're off shore.


When you are doing off shore navigation, there is a line when you will no longer be doing off shore.

If you cross that line, your're coastal.

Just cross the line...simple:D :D :D :D
 

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The Chesapeake bay has areas that are more than 30 miles wide down south of me so the 12 mile rule would not seem to apply.
It depends I guess on for what purpose you are classifying the boat - as RB said in Europe according to their system 12nm is where it is delineated. So if the manufacture wishes to have the boat he's building listed as class A (open ocean) he has to follow certain rules regarding scantlings, safety factors and the like. On the other hand what is the magical difference between 12nm and 13nm, or even pushing the limit to 24nm - not a damn thing. 12nm is the arbitary international sovereignty limit (aruguable, some don't recognize it) So at 13nm in theory you could sail around the world? I think not.

While my Gemini is a certified Class A boat per EU standards and has made both Pacific and Atlantic crossings I do not consider it open ocean / blue water for me without substantial modifications, and I think that is all that matters.
A fine example is Hunter 49 (not picking on it, just a example - substitute any production boat in it's class), a 'blue water, world cruiser'. But it, and others in its class are built for the mooring ball more than high lat sailing by design if not scantlings.
We know design is far more important than scantlings, building a J24 so it's a inch thick does not make it a world cruiser.
I think what makes a boat a blue water boat is when you can take that boat out with an average crew (average experience, average physical capabilities) and sail it bluewater with what a average person would call a reasonable expectation of success, by which I mean not only survival, but arriving in port heathly, strong and whole in both mind and body.
 

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Fun Question

It comes up all the time on various boards, but it's still fun to debate. I don't think there is any one definition that works, and I think it's a combination of a number of factors, many dependent on where you are. Setting the line simply at the point where it's hard to get into port before the weather hits doesn't really work, IMHO. If you're halfway between Fisher's Island and Block Island, you have no chance of getting to port before a fast moving system comes upon you (at least in a sailboat). Same is true between Block and Martha's Vineyard. And even though those stretches are exposed to the ocean from the south and east (basically you sail in the lee of London), I wouldn't really call them "bluewater." Though maybe I should reconsider that, as it would mean I would have many many more "bluewater" miles under my keel. Hmmm? :rolleyes:

Oddly enough, I think water depth also plays a little part in this analysis. Not because it matters intrinsically whether the water is 50 or 5,000 feet deep, but once you are "off the shelf," you really are out there. The wave pattern also is much different. Likewise, at some points on the Bahama bank you can't get to port too easily and you have miles and miles of sea room, but can you possibly claim to be in bluewater when your depth sounder reads 12 feet and you can just drop an anchor at any point and ride out whatever's hitting you?

I actually think some (not all) stretches off the NJ coast have several attributes that make them feel like bluewater, if they are not in fact so. The water is very deep, there are no harbors of refuge that are reachable as a practical matter, and in anything with an easterly component you feel the wind and sea just like you would if you were 100 miles to the east. I appreciate that if you're only a few miles offshore you're hard-pressed to call that "bluewater" (particularly off the Jersey coast where it's mostly brown water; just a joke, keep your swords sheathed), but that stretch most definitely has some attributes that are akin to bluewater sailing.

All that blubbering said, if you had to pick one attribute that "defined" bluwater sailing, I would say the inability to get to port without an overnight passage puts you in bluewater territory, with the caveat that there are places on the planet that would constitute exceptions, going both ways.

Regards,
 

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Chuckles-

The EU RCD A rated Geminis are a bit different from the one you have. For instance, the EU version has a bridgedeck in the cockpit, which helps prevent water from downflooding into the cabin from the cockpit. IIRC, the American versions of the boats don't have that feature. There are a few other differences IIRC as well. If you were to import your boat into the EU, you would not get an EU RCD A category rating, since your boat doesn't have the required modifications.

While my Gemini is a certified Class A boat per EU standards and has made both Pacific and Atlantic crossings I do not consider it open ocean / blue water for me without substantial modifications, and I think that is all that matters.
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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You can be less than 20 miles offshore in Florida and be in the Gulf Stream, and I certainly wouldn't call that "coastal" waters. Though it would be a coastal area.

You could also say it's anywhere you have to navigate by chart, rather than sight.
 

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This happens to me all the time

When you are out and it's 03:00 you have been single handing for 2 days and Josh Slocum, Abraham Lincoln, Capt. Nemo come aboard and give you advice. It will sure scare the bejesus out of you the first time it happens. :eek: Sometimes it's just voices that you can't quite make out.
Old Slocum saved my butt one time off the coast of Bocas Del Toro.:confused:

Fair Winds

Cap'n Dave
 

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Not really.. wave form is a dead give away to the old salts.. you can also smell it! I've never tested this theory, but one cruiser reported a 50% increase in her solar panel output when "offshore" presumably due the the clean air.. possible?
Depends if you're talking NEW JERSEY or FLORIDA... hehehehe:eek:

(NO offense to NEW JERSEY... it's a beautiful state, but not exactly "Tropical Waters"....)
 

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Handsome devil
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PBzeer

Quote:You could also say it's anywhere you have to navigate by chart, rather than sight.

Thats about every other day for us northerners...;)
 

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To me, the one thing that distinguishes offshore sailing from coastal cruising is that, if the weather turns bad, the coastal cruiser can run for shelter, but the offshore sailor has nowhere to hide.
A lot of sailing gurus will say that when the weather turns bad it's a good time to run out to sea, not head for shelter. I guess it depends on what represents shelter and whether or not it's a lee shore.

As PZB said, I reckon once you can't navigate by pilotage, i.e. no landmarks you're offshore.

Andre
 

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It also depends on whether the harbors have friendly entrances or bad ones... The Columbia River entrance is one that qualifies as a bad one in almost any weather. :)
A lot of sailing gurus will say that when the weather turns bad it's a good time to run out to sea, not head for shelter. I guess it depends on what represents shelter and whether or not it's a lee shore.

As PZB said, I reckon once you can't navigate by pilotage, i.e. no landmarks you're offshore.

Andre
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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I would think a navigatable harbor for the conditions would be an inherent part of it.
 

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It is all about waves. Waves are the most dangerous aspect of bluewater and it requires a certain amount of time for waves to reach the size where they can roll most boats. So blue water is when you can't reach shelter before the waves become too dangerous. Given a reasonablly good weather forcast of 48 hours bluewater would be about the distance you can travel safely in that weather window. The distance from shore isn't important it is the distance from shelter. Almost any boat can be rolled once the waves get over a certain height. I think it is something like 1/3 the length of the boat.
 

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Thanks Courtney.
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I reckon once you can't navigate by pilotage, i.e. no landmarks you're offshore So as soon as you get lost you're offshore? If fog sets in, you must be offshore? Sounds like a Jeff Foxworthy skit. You might be offshore if...

Given a reasonablly good weather forcast of 48 hours bluewater would be about the distance you can travel safely in that weather window
Before NOAA no one went offshore?
 

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Offshore is anywhere and time you start to get the feeling that your "coastal-cruiser" might not be up to the job. (g)
 
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Handsome devil
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I like this one

Offshore is anywhere and time you start to get the feeling that your "coastal-cruiser" might not be up to the job. (g)
_______________________

Goes right along with my Tincan analogy
 
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