Blue Water Sailing

Blue Water

First off, I wish to offer several views of Blue Water and what that means. Many people that are seeking to sail Offshore should learn the difference. One can’t casually want to say that they wish to sail a Blue Water boat without gaining knowledge of the Deep Blue, as I say, and what it is. True Blue Water is when you’re out there on the open ocean, making a large scale long term crossing. An example would be sailing from San Francisco to the Marquesas in French Polynesia.

Many things should be considered when studying Blue Water to include weather, currents, and winds which, as mighty as the sea is, makes a difference in anticipating making a crossing. Preparedness and knowledge are the key factors of accepting the seriousness of the ocean. This is where the wise selection of a capable Blue Water boat is essential, one that is made for the sea.

An example of Blue Water

Bluewater sailing is a type of ocean cruising: it refers to long term open sea cruising, for example passages (ocean crossings). Bluewater sailing implies a lack of support and requires a certain amount of self sufficiency, since you’re away from land for long periods of time.


Students of sailing often refer to being offshore as away from a port or marina. This might be so, but there is a qualification normally accepted between Blue Water and Offshore, in that Offshore is out to sea at a 200 mile limit. Beyond that is then considered Blue Water. The term Coastal Cruising is synonymous with being Offshore. Most production type sailboats are made for this kind of sailing.

Ah, but alas, there will always be a controversy of the two terms. It is truly necessary when learning the different techniques to each type of sailing, Offshore and Blue Water. Offshore skills are almost similar, but one caveat is a psychological barrier that presents itself is far different. The suggested 200 mile limit and beyond nurtures a fear factor, and if one has a marginal coastal cruiser intended for occasional use, then for Offshore, the question will always be ‘is she safe enough?’. Or, what I like to pose to my sailing, ‘what if skipper’? A production boat is made for one thing, Offshore.

Passport 42

Peregrine is a 1986 Passport 42, hull #44 out of 50 built. She was basically a one owner yacht for 33 years until I bought her in the winter of 2018/19. At that time she had been resting lazily in Emeryville, California for about a dozen years awaiting a new owner. The previous owner had sailed her around the world singlehanded which took him 9 years. As you can imagine, there were hundred of stories to shared. The problem that I had was an electronics refit. Out with the old and in with the new, an unbelievable journey and discovery. After all, with all of the years of ownership, it was a storage house full of items no longer of use.

It was after the purchase did I really start to find the value of Peregrine; comfort, safety, and stowage. I had at the time another boat, a Spencer 25, another proven Blue Water yacht, so many of the items needed for my planned circumnavigation was arduously transferred over to Peregrine. Further research gave me the information to prove that a Passport is made for the sea, made to withstand the rigors of Blue Water.

In making a crossing in Blue Water, as an example, I did a lot of research, and there is a lot of information and viewpoints on both sides of the Blue Water/Offshore question. Therefore, to make it at least one simple answer for this Apprentice Sailor, I went to one site for some comparisons, The real significant reasons for my crossing was comfort so looked at the comfort ratio given by this site. What I found was that the Passport 42 has a comfort ratio of 35.42 which lists them as a moderate cruiser. When compared to a Catalina and a Beneteau, I found the two were listed as 25.38 & 24.14, respectively, which lists them as Coastal Cruisers, or what I’ve presented here, Offshore boats only. Even a Jeanneau 42 CC, Sun Odyssey has a comfort ration rating of 29.91, still in the Coastal Cruiser league. All three are condos on the water or at the dock, not meant for the sea.

I will say, all three that I have compared the Passport too are beautiful boats. I have sailed on both a Catalina, which I owned a 27′ at one time, and a Beneteau. Still, compared to the construction of each, the Passports, and similar yachts, excel in many respects. Solidly built, a well planned cockpit for Blue Water, and single handing, the Passport is for the serious cruiser or cruising couple. I have seen a Catalina in the South Pacific cruising grounds which had worked for those cruisers for years, but I wonder how many times they’d wish to have been on a different yacht. I have also read that a Beneteau was entered into the Sidney Hobart disastrous race of 1998.

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