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Old 08-23-2015, 09:50 AM   #1
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Coastal vs. Offshore

I see a lot of comments here about coastal cruisers - as in "that is a good boat for coastal cruising but not so much for offshore."

What is 'coastal cruising'? The ICW? Within X miles of shore? Within Y hours of a safe port?

Would a trip from Cape May to NS - say a max of 100 miles from shore - be considered coastal? Charleston to Bermuda (300 miles from land)?

Just curious about how folks use these terms.
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:59 AM   #2
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Only opinions on this topic if you are looking for a ruler....

But I would use a different yardstick than miles off the beach.

My definition is coastal cruising is where you stick close enough that forecast weather a day or two out allows you to easily change plans.

Offshore is when you reach a point where there is no turning back or not able to amke a safe harbor if the forecast would make your trip either miserable or unsafe.
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:14 AM   #3
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Offshore is when you reach a point where there is no turning back or not able to amke a safe harbor if the forecast would make your trip either miserable or unsafe.
That is my definition as well. Offshore or blue water cruising means you have to live with what Mother Nature sends your way. Most "trawlers" can't do that. Most cruising sailboats can.

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Old 08-23-2015, 10:25 AM   #4
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I mostly think of it in terms of range and sea worthiness.

A Coastal Cruiser would be used for day hopping, and perhaps the occasional single overnighter. You are always operating within a predictable weather window (psneeld's comment), and fuel range is hundreds of miles, not thousands. You could take a Coastal Cruiser from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas, no problem. You are also likely to be operating closer to shore so less exposed to the worst elements of the sea. A Coastal Cruiser will also be configured for day operation, so unlikely to have a separate, light-free wheelhouse geared towards overnight passages. You would not take a Coastal Cruiser to Bermuda - too far and too wide a weather window.

An offshore boat has the capabilities to do what would be unwise to tackle in the Coastal Cruiser. It will have range in the thousands of miles, and be built to take much heavier seas. You could go to Bermuda, or cross the Atlantic because you have the fuel range. And you could handle the seas that might come up because you trip will be longer than weather can accurately be predicted. And you are more likely to be configured so the boat can be comfortably run 24x7.
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Old 08-23-2015, 10:33 AM   #5
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Terms such as coastal, offshore, coastwise, longshore, off soundings, inshore etc. have become meaningless.
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:46 AM   #6
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A Coastal Cruiser is a boat designed to be operated within safety that weather forecasting provides.

A Passage Maker is a boat designed to be operated outside the safe forecast window.

My boat for example is a Coastal Cruiser. It can hop from protected place to protected place so long as those hops are not outside the safe forecasting window. Opinions will vary somewhat on this but I consider weather forecasts to be accurate from a boat safety standpoint out to 72 hours. For example if a boat has the fuel endurance and can cruise at 8 knots then it would be safe to take on a maximum 575 NM unprotected journey. You will not find a place in North America that requires a unprotected journey of over 200 NM.

A Nordhavn is a great example of a Passagemaker. These boats are designed to be survivable beyond the weather forecasting window. They also have the fuel endurance to take them across oceans. These boats have the strength and the systems reliability to be operated anywhere in the world safely.

As to which is better... Each design type is better at what it does best, with the caveat that you can coastal cruise in a Passage Maker, but you cannot cross oceans in a Coastal Cruiser
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
I mostly think of it in terms of range and sea worthiness.

A Coastal Cruiser would be used for day hopping, and perhaps the occasional single overnighter. You are always operating within a predictable weather window (psneeld's comment), and fuel range is hundreds of miles, not thousands. You could take a Coastal Cruiser from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas, no problem. You are also likely to be operating closer to shore so less exposed to the worst elements of the sea. A Coastal Cruiser will also be configured for day operation, so unlikely to have a separate, light-free wheelhouse geared towards overnight passages. You would not take a Coastal Cruiser to Bermuda - too far and too wide a weather window.

An offshore boat has the capabilities to do what would be unwise to tackle in the Coastal Cruiser. It will have range in the thousands of miles, and be built to take much heavier seas. You could go to Bermuda, or cross the Atlantic because you have the fuel range. And you could handle the seas that might come up because you trip will be longer than weather can accurately be predicted. And you are more likely to be configured so the boat can be comfortably run 24x7.
Yep

Offshore gives you the range, comfort and confidence to go "offshore" no matter how far.

Coastal Cruiser, which most boats are, are usually faster, but less practical on the open ocean.
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Old 08-23-2015, 12:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
My definition is coastal cruising is where you stick close enough that forecast weather a day or two out allows you to easily change plans.

Offshore is when you reach a point where there is no turning back or not able to amke a safe harbor if the forecast would make your trip either miserable or unsafe.
+1

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Old 08-23-2015, 05:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Only opinions on this topic if you are looking for a ruler....

But I would use a different yardstick than miles off the beach.

My definition is coastal cruising is where you stick close enough that forecast weather a day or two out allows you to easily change plans.

Offshore is when you reach a point where there is no turning back or not able to amke a safe harbor if the forecast would make your trip either miserable or unsafe.
That would be roughly mine

Without stabilizers and a wife that does not like rollers I have learned it is best when I am on the outside not to have a schedule and to be a fair weather salor
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Old 08-23-2015, 08:12 PM   #10
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Would like to add that an offshore boat permits you to go when you have a weather forecast which would not be acceptable to a boat which is less seaworthy.

In the Eastern Caribbean good weather is five foot waves on the beam. We start thinking of not going when the waves are above 1.9 meters, or 6.5 feet. Active stabilizers and a full displacement hull are factors to consider.

Since we rarely go more than 12 hours we generally have pretty good weather forecasting, it's just the wind is just usually at 15kts or above with plenty of fetch.
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Old 08-24-2015, 07:00 AM   #11
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Charleston to Bermuda (300 miles from land)?

REALLY?

You might need a different chart.
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