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Old 01-19-2017, 07:01 PM   #1
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offshore vs coastal cruising

Is there a defined definition for each or are both terms relative?
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Old 01-19-2017, 08:27 PM   #2
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Well the definition seems obvious to me... Coastal = near the coast, offshore = blue water
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Old 01-19-2017, 09:36 PM   #3
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There is probably a fudge factor between the two. The conditions certainly can overlap. The defining point for me is that when I imply offshore I am thinking of a boat not seeing or being near land for days or weeks and there is no place to duck in. In the later situation a boat has to be prepared to be fully independent and capable of dealing with nasty seas and weather and soldier through what comes at you. A coastal inland boat need not abide by the same standard and can trade some sea keeping tankage and redundancy for room and amenities like cottage on the water things. The line between the two types is not sharp. So what is a Flemming? ocean hopper or coastal or both?
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:02 PM   #4
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In my opinion..

"Coastal Cruising" is cruising where the longest distance between safe ports or harbors can be traversed during the window of reasonable weather forecasting.

"Passagemaking" is cruising where the distance between safe ports or harbors is in excess of the window of reasonable weather forecasting.
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:40 PM   #5
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In my opinion..

"Coastal Cruising" is cruising where the longest distance between safe ports or harbors can be traversed during the window of reasonable weather forecasting.

"Passagemaking" is cruising where the distance between safe ports or harbors is in excess of the window of reasonable weather forecasting.
What is a window of reasonable weather forecasting?
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:49 PM   #6
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For me, this is not just opinion. The breakdown of the system in different areas of the water and the boats. Each boat CE mark which the boat should be able to drive safely in accordance with good seamanship.


the main difference is the difference between the concept we have, "ocean" and you are talking about the same thing "off shore". We start from the concept of "Off-shore" about it, when you no longer see the coast.








To get started you must decide on what category you want to CE mark your boat.
* A. OCEAN: Designed for extended voyages where conditions may exceed wind force 8 (Beaufort scale) and significant wave heights of 4m and above but excluding abnormal conditions, and vessels largely self-sufficient.
* B. OFFSHORE: Designed for offshore voyages where conditions up to, and including, wind force 8 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 4m may be experienced.
* C. INSHORE: Designed for voyages in coastal waters, large bays, estuaries, lakes and rivers where conditions up to, and including, wind force 6 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 2m may be experienced.
* D. SHELTERED WATERS: Designed for voyages on sheltered coastal waters, small bays, small lakes, rivers and canals when conditions up to, and including, wind force 4 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 0.3m may be experienced, with occasional waves of 0.5m maximum height, for example from passing vessels.
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Old 01-20-2017, 12:34 AM   #7
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There is probably a fudge factor between the two. The conditions certainly can overlap. The defining point for me is that when I imply offshore I am thinking of a boat not seeing or being near land for days or weeks and there is no place to duck in. In the later situation a boat has to be prepared to be fully independent and capable of dealing with nasty seas and weather and soldier through what comes at you. A coastal inland boat need not abide by the same standard and can trade some sea keeping tankage and redundancy for room and amenities like cottage on the water things. The line between the two types is not sharp. So what is a Flemming? ocean hopper or coastal or both?
I see Fleming is ocean go trawler even though the SD-bodied, Tony Flemings "Venture" toured the ball long distances, nice videos on youtube. Another clean SD Boat Elling E4 boat three of them crossed the Atlantic, they were involved in extra diesel, but I do not believe FD frame to be the only right to make a safe crossing of the ocean.

a number of other boats that do not have a full FD have done it. sometimes it would be great to see the real facts of this FD vs SD but only strong opinions
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Old 01-20-2017, 03:33 AM   #8
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As for coastal cruisers, it is a function of the boat's speed potential as well as the length of the weather window. An 18-knot boat can venture three times as far from shore as compared to a six-knot boater.
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Old 01-20-2017, 05:41 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
In my opinion..

"Coastal Cruising" is cruising where the longest distance between safe ports or harbors can be traversed during the window of reasonable weather forecasting.

"Passagemaking" is cruising where the distance between safe ports or harbors is in excess of the window of reasonable weather forecasting.
Think this pretty much covers it.

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Old 01-20-2017, 06:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
In my opinion..

"Coastal Cruising" is cruising where the longest distance between safe ports or harbors can be traversed during the window of reasonable weather forecasting.

"Passagemaking" is cruising where the distance between safe ports or harbors is in excess of the window of reasonable weather forecasting.

This in a nutshell. The USCG says that near coastal is out to 200nm. That's a long way from home in a 6-8kt. boat.

As for reasonable weather forecasting I think that if you are underway and the time that it takes you to travel exceeds the reporting forecast (5 day forecast, etc...) then you are definitely passagemaking.
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Old 01-20-2017, 06:36 AM   #11
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I'm not as impressed with the general accuracy of a 5 day forecast. 2 days is the limit for me on open ocean forecasts (for my boat). That would give me about a 300 mile transit range if I so choose.

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Old 01-20-2017, 07:35 AM   #12
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So, true or false, there is no less danger in cruising between 2 ports that are 200 miles apart (no ports in between) then cruising from 2 land masses 200 miles apart (ie island to island). A coastal rated cruiser should theoretically be able to handle both?
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Old 01-20-2017, 07:59 AM   #13
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So, true or false, there is no less danger in cruising between 2 ports that are 200 miles apart (no ports in between) then cruising from 2 land masses 200 miles apart (ie island to island). A coastal rated cruiser should theoretically be able to handle both?
That is correct.

It is also correct that a boat that is designed for passagemaking will be able to leave port on more days than a boat designed for coastal cruising. The only challenge is that I've not seen it to be like that in practice. What I see, being in a port that has allot of cruisers come through, is that if the weather s bad, pretty much all boats stay in port. Both the FD ones and the SD ones.
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Old 01-20-2017, 08:06 AM   #14
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Well.....depends....or as you put it...theoretically.

If the island only has one safe approach, and a storm makes that approach dangerous..then no, not the same if turning back or coastal cruising leaves options.

Going to England via Newfoundland, Greenland and Iceland may be viewed as a bit more challenging than going from Cape Cod to Bermuda to the Lesser Antilles to South America (especially NOT during hurricane season.)

Many people have bought boats and with little to no experience have crossed oceans or circumnavigated. Probably as many or more...haven't cruised 500 miles till disaster struck.

Usually if you are asking the question, you are decades worth of experience short to really be on top of everything you need to to be safe.
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Old 01-20-2017, 08:08 AM   #15
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I think the difference comes in how the boat handles seas. A passagemaker should be designed to be comfortable in heavier seas (i.e., no sharp sudden movements). A coastal cruiser is more likely to have a relatively flat bottom and hard chines and would really beat you up in any sort of seas.

As far as blue water versus coastal goes, I look at it in terms of how long it takes to make it to shelter. For example, every time I take my boat out I am in the open Atlantic ocean, but I can generally get to shelter (lee of an island, protected harbor, etc.) in two hours or less. Despite being out in the Atlantic, that is coastal cruising. However, if I headed to Bermuda (~600 miles away) it would be blue water as soon as I was half a day offshore. In contrast, I don't think of the run from here to Cape Cod (160 miles) as bluewater because I would never be more than 75 miles from land and I could avoid weather most of the time.
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Old 01-20-2017, 08:26 AM   #16
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I have no problem taking 100 to 200 mile open ocean hops with no place to hide in between, in a coastal cruiser.

Thats's well within that type of boat (my type of boat)'s mission capability.

Pick a nice day and go. Watch your weather. Do not push the weather. Leave port as seas are tending to abate, vs tending to build. All the "normal" weather precautions a prudent mariner should follow.

You do need to be aware that certain parts of the world have weather patterns that will drastically limit your choice of available cruising days. I will guarantee that my home turf, being the Gulf of Alaska has seasonal weather patterns that will hold a boat in port for fairly long periods of time.

Depending on your cruising style a passagemaker style boat might alow you to make way when the SD guys are tied to the dock. Although as I indicated above I do not see fd boat owners rushing out to brave the seas when I'm staying in port. It seems that nobody likes to get beat up, FD or SD.

There are certainly seakeeping advantages to a passagemaker style boat. There are also advantages to a SD style boat for coastal cruising. The big one is speed. Take a 150 mile hop between ports. At 7 knots in a passagemaker you've got a 21 hour cruise. All night long no matter how you do it. At 15 knots in a SD hull that same distance can be done during all daylight hours.
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Old 01-20-2017, 08:42 AM   #17
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Well the definition seems obvious to me... Coastal = near the coast, offshore = blue water
I've seen blue water near the coast.

I would say the definition is whatever the person you're communicating with thinks it is. Ask ten people and you'll get ten different answers. You already have.
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Old 01-20-2017, 08:46 AM   #18
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I run my 23 foot boat from Marco Island to Key West. What was forecasted to be 2 to 3 foot waves turned into 4 to 6 with an occasional eight footer thrown in for fun.

The boat could handle much more than I could I'm sure.

I've also done this same run in my 45 foot aft cabin and encountered 6 foot seas with 30+ knots of wind thanks to a storm.

I must admit I was more comfortable in the big boat.

The first time I went to the Bahamas and saw that I was in 2000+ feet of water I got a little spooked. I reminded myself that sunk is sunk. It does not matter if I am in 20 feet of water or 2000.
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Old 01-20-2017, 10:12 AM   #19
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What is a window of reasonable weather forecasting?

That would depend on a number of things.

Such as, distance to travel, boat speed, boat type, etc.
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Old 01-20-2017, 11:03 AM   #20
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That would depend on a number of things.

Such as, distance to travel, boat speed, boat type, etc.
And accuracy of the forecast
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