For any sailor, picking the right sailboat is a crucial decision that starts with the following basic inquiry: Blue water boats or coastal cruisers? You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to sort through the important distinctions and identify the boat that best fulfills your sailing fantasies. We’ll discuss the differences between these two types of sailboats in this article to help you choose the best boat for your maritime adventures.

Bluewater and coastal cruisers are two separate types of vessels, each with special qualities and attractiveness. Whether you’re thinking about buying your first sailboat or considering an upgrade, we’re here to explain what makes these boats unique so you can make an informed decision.

The choices are as varied as your dreams for sailing, from the fearless bluewater voyagers built to take on the trials of the open ocean to the beautiful coastal cruisers made for serene coastlines. We start our guide by taking a careful look at blue water boats, those tough boats made to withstand the erratic sea. Set sail into the world of sailboats as we begin our educational voyage.


Here is a comparison chart outlining the fundamental distinctions between Coastal Cruising and Blue water  boats:

Characteristic Bluewater Cruising Boats Coastal Cruising Boats
Seaworthiness Built for offshore and ocean travel, with robust hulls and heavy displacement for stability in rough seas. Designed for inshore and nearshore sailing, often with lighter displacement and shallower draft.
Hull Design Full keels or modified full keels for better tracking and stability. Fin keels or shoal draft keels for improved maneuverability in shallow waters.
Sail Configuration Often feature cutter or ketch rigs, providing various sail combinations for different conditions. Typically sloop rigs for simplicity and ease of handling in coastal waters.
Safety Features Equipped with extensive safety gear, including offshore life rafts, storm sails, and reinforced rigging. Emphasize coastal safety gear, such as life jackets, flares, and VHF radios for communication with rescue services.
Interior Comfort Designed for long-term living aboard, offering spacious layouts with numerous amenities and storage. Primarily built for short to medium-term cruising, providing comfortable cabins but with less storage space.
Range and Autonomy Built to withstand long ocean passages with larger fuel and water tanks for self-sufficiency. Typically designed for marina hopping, with smaller tanks and more frequent resupply stops.
Cockpit Design Often feature deep, protected cockpits for added security during rough seas and long passages. May have more open and spacious cockpits, ideal for leisurely coastal cruising and entertaining.
Navigation Equipment Equipped with advanced navigation systems, such as radar, AIS, and multiple chart plotters for ocean crossings. Tend to have basic navigation equipment, suitable for coastal navigation and GPS usage.
Price Range Generally, higher price range due to robust construction and extensive features for offshore use. Typically more affordable, making them accessible to a broader range of sailors.

Please be aware that different boat models may have different variations in these qualities, and that there are sailboats made specifically to combine coastal and blue water cruising. The typical differences between the two categories are summarized in this table.


Bluewater vs Coastal Cruising Boats

Choosing the correct sailboat is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when ocean cruising. Are you looking for the excitement of bluewater excursions or the peace and quiet of coastal cruising? Every trip needs a vessel that is designed for its own challenges and rewards. We go into the world of sailboats in this essay, beginning with a survey of bluewater cruise vessels.

Bluewater Cruising Boats

Island Packet 349

Many seasoned sailors adore the Island Packet 349, a renowned bluewater cruiser. Blue water boats are known for their full-keel designs, which offer great stability and tracking. The cutter rig’s self-tending staysail makes handling sails easier and makes it appropriate for sailing with a small crew.

Notable Features:

  • Robust design for endurance under difficult circumstances.
  • A roomy and cozy interior, ideal for lengthy ocean voyages.
  • Towering bulwarks and well-protected cockpits are only two examples of thoughtful design features that improve safety.

Hallberg-Rassy 64

The Hallberg-Rassy 64 caters to individuals who prefer luxury on the high seas. This sophisticated bluewater cruiser combines comfort and performance, making it a favorite among ocean travelers. Durability is assured by the sturdy hull design, while great visibility and safety are provided by the central cockpit layout.

Notable Features:

  • A ketch rig for excellent performance with strong sails.
  • Exceptional craftsmanship and an opulent interior.
  • A standing for being seaworthy under any circumstances, including calm waters and bad weather.

Tartan 4100

The Tartan 4100 lives up to the tradition of bluewater cruising that Tartan yachts have established. With a well-balanced sail plan and performance-focused design, it is a pleasure to sail on lengthy ocean crossings. Its stability is enhanced by the full keel and rudder design, and the roomy interior guarantees comfort on long excursions.

Notable Features:

  • With a focus on performance yet without sacrificing comfort.
  • Great stability and seaworthiness with a safety focus.
  • High-end components and workmanship for a long-lasting investment.

Nauticat 38

The pilothouse designs on Nauticat yachts are well known, and the Nauticat 38 is no exception. This bluewater cruiser is a superb option for all-weather cruising since it provides fantastic view from the pilothouse. The vessel’s ability to go on offshore excursions is guaranteed by its monohull design and sturdy construction.

Notable Features:

  • A comfortable, secure pilothouse that can withstand different weather situations.
  • Handling simplicity and adaptable sail combinations.
  • Extensive ocean voyages have demonstrated their endurance and seaworthiness.

These bluewater cruising boats are built to withstand the rigors of the open ocean and are the pinnacle of seaworthiness. They are dependable allies for explorers who want to reach the furthest reaches of the oceans. What if, though, you have your heart set on the tranquil beauty of coastal cruising? Watch for our upcoming section as we discuss the ideal boats for those leisurely cruises around scenic coastlines.


Coastal Cruising Boats

It’s time to investigate the appeal of coastal cruising boats as we continue our exploration of the world of sailboats. In contrast to their bluewater counterparts, these boats are built for navigating the scenic and frequently calmer seas surrounding beaches, providing a different kind of sailing experience. Here is a summary of a few well-known coastal cruise boats:

Catalina 355

The Catalina 355 perfectly captures the spirit of coastal cruising, for which Catalina is a byword. It is a flexible and cozy cruiser that was made with convenience in mind. It is the perfect option for weekend vacations and coastal trips because of the roomy cockpit and thoughtfully designed interior.

Notable Features:

  • A simple sailing itinerary for stress-free cruising.
  • Enough living and storage room for lengthy coastal journeys.
  • A standing for dependability and comfort that caters to cruisers of all levels of experience.

Beneteau Oceanis 45

One of the best examples of contemporary coastal cruising design is the Beneteau Oceanis 45. It is a popular option among sailors looking for a mix of performance and comfort because of its modern features and stylish design. This boat’s configuration possibilities allow you to customize it to meet your unique cruising requirements.

Notable Features:

  • Innovative design features for a roomy, open interior.
  • A choice between shallow and deep keels to accommodate various cruising grounds.
  • A standing for effortless handling and fun coastal sailing.

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349

Compact and powerful, the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 is a coastal cruiser. It features a well-appointed interior and a flexible cockpit configuration and is built for family-friendly travel. This sailboat is prepared to offer a relaxing and delightful experience whether you’re exploring coastal cities or safe bays.

Notable Features:

  • A sail plan that is effective and manageable, even for lone sailors.
  • Thoughtful touches, such as a drop-down transom for simple access to the water.
  • A standing for delivering comfort, performance, and value.

Bavaria Cruiser 37

A lovely coastal cruiser with a reputation for striking a balance between performance and usefulness is the Bavaria Cruiser 37. It’s a fantastic choice for couples or small families wanting to take a leisurely tour of coastal districts. It’s a welcoming boat for coastal travels with a focus on convenience and comfort.

Notable Features:

  • A stylish interior with cozy staterooms and a large saloon.
  • A sail plan that responds to enjoyable coastal sailing.
  • A standing for giving lovers of coastal cruising great value.


The ideal platform for exploring the calm waters along scenic coasts is provided by these coastal cruising boats. These boats provide a lovely way to appreciate the beauty and peace of coastal cruising, whether you like easy day sails or lengthy coastal trips. The decision between bluewater and coastal cruising boats ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the kinds of adventures you want to have.


The decision between a Blue water Boats and a Coastal Cruising Boat ultimately comes down to your preferences and aspirations for sailing. Blue water boats offer unparalleled seaworthiness and long-term self-sufficiency, making them ideal for individuals looking for the excitement of maritime excursions. Conversely, Coastal Cruising boats are ideal for sailors who favor visiting coastal locations, relaxing in cozy staterooms, and exploring nearshore waterways.


The choice should ultimately be in line with your sailing objectives and the kinds of excursions you anticipate. There is a sailboat that is ideal for your goals, whether you’re drawn to the endless horizon of the wide ocean or the allure of coastal exploration. When you take the time to consider your priorities, you’ll find the perfect boat on which to start your sailing adventure. A happy voyage!

To learn more about Sailboats check out the sailboat database and choose one according to your functionality and budget. Start preparing for your upcoming sailing excursion right away with Ocean Wave Sail!
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