Bluewater sailing boats are a frequent topic when choosing a boat, picking the one to live aboard or just having an opinion on which is best to cross the oceans. However, see our stats, you will find that most boats that have recently crossed the oceans are in fact not always the typical Bluewater, but are obviously well-made production boats with plenty of safety to grant a safe ocean crossing. Have a look at our collection of Bluewater sailing yachts.

For example, the last 10 years of ARC have seen the top 10 as follows, by number of crossings:

  • Beneteau First 47.7   –    39 crossings
  • Oyster 56   –   25 crossings
  • Lagoon 450    –    24 crossings
  • Lagoon 42-2    –   23 crossings
  • Oyster 575    –    20 crossings
  • Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 54DS    –   19 crossings
  • Discovery 55    –   18 crossings
  • Beneteau First 40.7    –    18 crossings
  • Hanse 575    –   16 crossings
  • Lagoon 450F    –    15 crossings
  • Grand Soleil 43     –    15 crossings
  • Challenge 72     –    15 crossings
  • Beneteau First 40     –    15 crossings

However, the concept of what a Bluewater sailboat is one which triggers a significant flow of opinions in sailors’ forums and marinas, often without an agreement at the end of the line. Given that production boats, especially when in big numbers, have the financials and skills to improve over time in a consistent way, and that such boats appear more and more to be the most common ocean crossers we thought useful including them in this article as they appear to be in scope, no matter if they fit or not the basic characteristics of a Bluewater sailing boat.

We will of course detail what we think is a must of a Bluewater sailboat, but we must not forget that many of us will look for a compromise that is affordable and provides the expected comfort at sea and during costal cruised and liveaboards, provided safety is proven, which is the case of the many production boats that are constantly crossing the oceans.

When looking at the market performances, which boats are sold and how or where they are used, is easy to see that most ocean goers are setting sail nowadays with sailboats that have not all the classical Bluewater characteristics. Could also be a matter of price and availability on the second-hand market, but compromise between optimum choices is in fact part of the daily life of a sailor.

Things like full keels vs spade rudders, for example, might have an impact on the stability of the hull and comfort levels while offshore; on the other hand, they might make things more difficult when manoeuvring in a marina and the dynamics of navigating in high waves or strong winds work differently between the two options, and one is not necessarily safer than the other. It depends on the specifics.

A clear proof that the reality is not always aligned with the theory is proven by the ocean crossing data as well as the happy opinion of those who crossed oceans and live on production boats after years of experience. This can be further expanded when adding to the options multihulls, more and more common in all parts of the world and traditionally believed a no go for deep water cruising.

Weather forecasting and communications systems enable a much safer and accurate sailing than in the past, redesigning the perspective of safety afloat, as well as more and more frequent fishing lines and nets and other obstructions, motion in and around waves, constant wear and tear on gear, comfort below decks and many other factors are influencing what is a safe sailboat nowadays, close to the coast of away in the middle of the oceans.

What eventually matters is that the sailboat is self-sufficient for long periods of time, robust and seaworthy in any conditions, safe when far from help and land, and comfortable to the standards each of us decides to set.

So, firstly, let’s see what is typically expected from a Bluewater Sailboat, including catamarans and multi-hulls, which we address more in detail specifically further down. We have listed the main typical “must have” that we think are to be considered.


A Bluewater sailboat needs to be self-sufficient for long periods of time and therefore needs to be safe, relatively stable and with enough space to store the essentials as well as fuel, water, tools, and spares. This means that it should be of the right size, according to the routes in mind. Big Enough, But Not Too Big to become a challenge to handle and a burden to maintain.

It is unlikely that for real travel across oceans anything less than a 38 feet sailboat will suffice as stowage space for considerable quantities of spares and equipment, together with food and freshwater for a month or more at sea takes space. On top of that safety is also a concern, given that speed to run from bad weather and distance between waves also play a significant part, as well as a well-protected cockpit that can possibly fend the water away and keep the crew relatively warm.

Possibly a sailboat of 42 to 45 feet would be the ideal size Bluewater sailboat for a cruising couple or small family, which would provide an interior layout with sufficient accommodation for additional crew, often useful in long passages. Larger boats are an option of course, if comfort is in scope, if easily handled by relatively small crews. Cost of the boat and her maintenance rise considerably for every additional foot or meter, as well as forces to deal with, so a balance of all those factors is usually recommended, although the longer the boat the better her potential performance and her maximum hull speed.

However, to overestimate the drawbacks of bigger boats is a common mistake that can be both expensive and physically overwhelming. It is true that has bigger spaces and usually more comfort aboard, including more space to mount solar panels, but that can come to significantly increased costs on maintenance and difficulties to manoeuvre.

Nevertheless, the longer the waterline the faster, on average, the sailboat can go. Being able to cross at average speed of 7 knots instead than 4 makes a change. Shorter time to cross, less time far from support, easier to dodge the storms and more safety all round. Therefore, there is not an optimum solution good for all. Each captain will need to strike a balance amongst all options.


Strength and durability are the keywords here. What matters most is how strong and robust a hull and the boat system is. This has not much to do with the materials of the Bluewater sailboat per se, as the details have a big bearing on this matter. Fiberglass (GRP), steel, aluminium, wood epoxy, ferrocement and even bamboo can all be hull materials that can provide structural strength, depending on the building qualities and details. Of course, different materials, usually perform differently and tend to provide stronger or weaker outcomes in terms of the sailing boat ability to resist the weather and sea forces, including collisions with floating objects, more and more common. As a rule of thumb, usually sailboats made of steel, thick fiberglass, or carbon have a higher chance of protecting the crew from bad conditions. However, maintaining boats made of different materials will have an economical impact of the cost of fixing, repairing, and maintaining them. Safety also depends, and a lot, on how the desk is organised, as well as the below deck areas. One element that can be considered under this section is how to stick to the boat when washed away by the waves and loosing stability because of sudden movements of the boat. Getting from bow to stern moving on secure handhold to the next without breaks is very important. Similarly, below decks, sufficient handholds must be available to prevent injury in moving seas and foul weather. Stainless steel granny bars when working and reefing at the mast are an additional safety feature to be considered, especially when halyards and uphauls are operated at the mast, and they also provide an additional point of contact with the structure when moving on the deck.


Surely a boatbuilder with good reputation, for after sale support and building quality in the past and during the years, is an important part to achieve peace of mind when navigating offshore. Having doubts on the quality of your boat during a storm in high seas is not the best scenario to enjoy sailing.

However, the definition of being reputable for a boatyard should not be restricted to traditional concepts of tailor-made boats but rather opened to the quality of the building techniques and material used when the boat was built or, in the boatyard is still in business, also their support in sorting out problems you might face.

Sticking to old opinions born over 50 years ago might not be the ideal solution to assess your safety. Some builders are traditionally understood as manufacturers of Bluewater boats, while others got the fame of plastic-fantastic or production boat builders and, by definition, often though not suitable and excluded from the relevant shortlists. Stats and numbers prove differently as many fiberglass production boats are perfectly capable to manage ocean crossings in safe and relatively comfortable ways. Usually in shorter times than traditional Bluewater boats, which also is a safety matter.

In fact, those sailing boats that successfully made it across the Pacific, the Atlantic or the Indian Oceans challenge the traditionalist perspective about essential offshore elements, which are expanding, as most things nowadays, to include comms and water makers or new tools and equipment that changes the picture we had in the past. Weather forecasting and communications systems enable a much safer and accurate sailing than in the past, redesigning the perspective of safety afloat.


Heavy or light displacement is another much discussed feature amongst bluewater sailors and each has his own opinion.

A heavy displacement hull, even more so when it has a full keel and long overhangs at each end, is likely to provide more static stability and a comfortable and journey, especially in high seas. The other side of the coin is that probably it will be a slow mover in light weather conditions. The performance could be addressed with a bigger sail area, which in turn will affect the ease of handling and amount of crew needed on board.

It is true that a heavy displacement hull will usually have more stowage that a light displacement one; however, this will in turn have an impact on the sail area/displacement ratio and compromise performance.

The definition of heavy displacement is a sailboat with a Displacement/Length Ratio (DLR) between 270 and 360. Moderate displacement is when between 180- and 270 and light displacement is when DLR falls below.

Traditionally the bluewater sailing boats have been heavy displacement bluewater sailboats. More and more, see the table above and our stats page, this is not true and moderate displacement sailing boats are far more common ocean crossers.

Usually, the heavier the displacement the safest the boat in terms of structure, as the hull thickness is not a hard limit to the project. This, generally, means that a bigger mechanical safety level is achieved in case of collision.

On the other hand, a lighter and faster sailboat has the ability to run away from storms much more successfully than an equivalent heavy hull, thus adding a safety measure that avoids the need of being so comfortable and resistant to the impact of strong waves.


Keels are appendages hanging below the water and thus having an additional dynamic impact on stability and comfort, as well as performance, of a sailing vessel.

Their structural integration with the rest of the hull is of the highest importance, as losing a keel will capsize the sailboat. Never a pleasant experience, but surely something to avoid in the middle of the ocean. Hence a common belief on an important feature of a bluewater sailing yacht is to have an encapsulated keel to reduce or avoid altogether the chance of it separating from the rest of the boat. Bolt-on keels can be ripped off the hull when colliding against rocks and hard material.

In terms of shapes, keels can be grouped into two main clusters: long keels and fin keels. Of course, there are many differences within each of those groups and more will come with further technological developments. To simplify we grouped cutaway forefoot and full keels under long keels, and winged keels or bulbed keels under fin keels.

Again, traditionally the bluewater boats had long keels; however, more and more that is no longer the case and in fact long keels are almost disappearing. Moreover, catamarans are ever more popular as ocean goers, tilting the balance between long keeled heavy displacement boats and fin keeled moderate or light displacement boats in favour of the latter.

More in detail, which are the pros and cons of each solution?

PROS of a Long Keel and CONS of a Fin Keel

  • usually encapsulated in the hull, making the connection stronger than a bolted-on keel
  • easier to make heave-to as it doesn’t pivot on the keel
  • tracks better, especially going downwind in large seas

CONS of a Long Keel and PROS of a Fin Keel

  • less efficient than a fin keel, which means poorer performance in general
  • makes tacking or gybing more difficult or a lot more difficult in light airs
  • makes manoeuvring is restricted spaces, like marinas, harder


Rudders are other appendices that the sailboat has in the water, in terms of dynamics.

A classical feature of the bluewater sailboats is that the rudder is a skeg-hung rudder or attached to the back of the keel, so that the rudder is protected in case of collision with an object and the sailboat maintains steering capabilities.

Evidently, this is of significance, as repairing a broken rudder is open seas is quite difficult. Is not unheard of that professional ocean raiders are forced to retire because of a rudder failure, although they are mostly able to repair most of the boat under sail. Loosing control over the direction of the boat, especially in heavy weather, puts the boat at risk as will be surely hit by the waves not in the best way.

Floating objects and big sea creatures are a real danger, more than in the past. The oceans are filled more and more with hard objects, boys or, more in general, metal rubbish and big fish are more frequently than in the past causing damages wither because there are more boats crossings than in the past or because of more aggressive behaviours, like often Orcas in the vicinity of Gibraltar and Portugal costs, particularly keen to damage rudders.

We can categorise the rudders in two main groups: Skeg-hung and keel-attached rudders and Spade rudders. Let have a closer look at them.

Skeg-hung and keel-attached rudders

Such rudders are more protected from direct collisions with floating and fixed objects. Furthermore, they receive a lighter pressure on the leading edge of the rudder and in turn causing a reduced strain on the rudder post. 

Such protection also makes it more difficult for fishing lines and other marine debris to get caught in between the rudder and the hull.

The other side of the coin is that such rudders negatively impact performance.

Spade rudders

A spade rudder operates not differently that a wing immersed in water, thus making it a lot more efficient than a skeg-hung rudder. This type of rudders has the additional advantage in providing the sailboat with a more responsive dynamic, allowing for faster and narrower turns, and having only a marginal effect on reducing the sailboat speed.


Simply, the easier is to handle a sailplan the better. Again, if reliance of electronics is low, then is even more the ideal scenario. Electrics and electronics are prone to faults due to the sea environment, and the more the sailplan is handled mechanically or manually the less problems we will face.

Reducing the risk of not being able to handle the sailplan to the minimum is key. This also means having a look at how the sailplan is designed. Smaller sales, two of them, are better than a bigger single one. This drives towards two masted rigging systems, rather than single ones, especially if the crew is not particularly athletic and dynamic.

Short-handed crews, main routes and prevalent winds would also determine the optimal solution for each project.

Long periods of downwind sailing should be considered, as mostly is the way to go for long passages: twin poles each rigged with their own uphaul, downhaul and foreguy as usually a good plan. To perform in lighter winds then a conventional spinnaker, a lightweight genoa or a cruising chute should be added to the inventory. Flipping the coin, a hanked-on storm jib would be needed in heavy weather, possibly with a separate track on the mast for a storm tri-sail.

The masts, especially the main ones, should be keel stepped rather than deck stepped as stronger and more connected to the hull in a solid fashion. There are obviously pros and cons of such choice as well, which are discussed in another dedicated post.
Often cutter rigs are leading the way in terms of stats of sailboats crossings, followed by fractional sloops and masthead sloops.

The main advantage of a cutter rig is the ability to fly a stay sail or storm jib from the inner forestay, providing greater flexibility in the options for both light and heavy weather conditions. As this solution keeps the centre of effort close to the centre of the boat, it is a better and more efficient option, while providing a more comfortable journey.

An additional benefit of a cutter rig is having a backup forestay already installed, should the main forestay fail. It is not unusual to see on masthead sloops Solent stays added, to provide a similar outcome, but can get in the way and become more of a problem than a solution.

A fractional sloop is easier to handle, overall. The jib is usually smaller on a fractional rig than a masthead rig and this facilitate gybing and tacking. The same can be said about the spinnakers that are usually smaller and easier to fly. In short, reefing easier and efficiency is higher as reefed headsails have viable alternatives, avoiding their ugly image and low performance.


Long crossings in the middle of the ocean do really need the crew to be protected as much as possible, not just to avoid man overboard scenarios but also to give enough comfort in any condition to be able to survive, think and act, as a minimum.

Could be easily argued that spaces and cockpits that are smaller in terms of ability to capture water from the sea are recommended, so that little chances are given to flooding large areas and significantly increase the weight of the vessel and reduce stability.

Does this mean that a center-cockpit is better than an aft one, or vice versa? Again, as all on this subject, different opinions and ideas fill the forums and marinas around the world.

If a cockpit is smaller, typically a centre-cockpit, then is going to clear quicker as the amount of water taken on board is smaller. Furthermore, is protected from all sides and safer in terms of the crew being washed overboard. This if it has proper and clean drains.

Others are saying that an aft cockpit is the ideal solution and design of a bluewater sailboat. If deep and properly prepared to protect, well-drained, it is dryer than the centre-cockpit and less exposed to the waves when they come from most parts of the sailboat. However, has an open door to the back that usually is very close to the sea and offer less opportunities to hang on to the boat if washed away. This option is usually more comfortable when at bay or in marinas, as passages to and from land and tenders are easier, and they offer more accommodation and pace in general.

Whichever the solution adopted, is safe to say that all manoeuvres should be handled by from the cockpit rather than the mast. Headsail, staysail and mainsail sheets should be in easy reach of the helmsman.

In fact, the class IMOCA 60, adopted by the Vendee Globe to tour the world in the fastest way possible, has mostly aft cockpits with little protection at the stern, because they cockpit itself is deep and fully, more and more so, protected by sliding roof cuddies and a design to shelter the manoeuvring area and the crew from waves.

Sprayhoods or dodgers offer additional shelter to the crew from wind, rain and flying spray, as well as direct sunlight that can hit the skin and cause cancers. Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation.

Such sprayhoods or dodgers can be either a rigid structure or a canvas built around a stainless-steel frame, or bimini.


Below deck is again a matter of comfort and safety. However, comfort rises on level in the ranking as below deck is where people live, cooks, sleeps etcetera.

The interior layout must address and resolve as much as possible both safety and comfort matters when underway and at anchor.

Clearly good ventilation below decks is needed. Crew comfort as well as food and equipment conditions depend on ventilation. Hence a system made of properly placed and sufficient openings, hatches and portlights is usually necessary. A good layout that allows air to flow like a breeze through the boat when at anchor or in marinas, as well as during way, will do the job, when it is working the way it should.

Windscoops, Dorades and Insect screens are significant in tropical areas all year round, and in temperate areas in summer. Dorade vents work is such a way to allow fresh air to flow below decks when weather conditions are bad outside. They simply deflect the water while allowing the air to flow.

Crossing an ocean rarely gives moments where the boat is still. Yet, the crew has to sleep, cook, wash at the minimum, and perform all other essential and recreational activities it has in focus.

Handholds placed where needed around the cabins, so that the crew can safely move around the sailboat in heavy weather, could be life savers. Big and disorderly waves are often there and at times with little notice, and falling can be risky or very risky, as away from land.

The same goes for seaberths that should be in place for all off-watch crewmembers. Possibly, for both safety and comfort, these should be parallel to the centreline. Lee-cloths and straps to avoid falling when high waves hit the hull are also an obvious must.

To further reduce the windage, a lower cabin is possibly ideal, as it reduces the impact of winds and wave crests.


The Galley appears to be a mundane matter when talking about bluewater sailing boats, but it is an important matter, as significant time could be spent cooking on board and eating well has an impact on the crew morale and ability to perform. It is not just about comfort and enjoyment but also a physical need to keep the crew with morale and energies during long passages.

Have a look at our Sailboat Galley where you will find a wide selection of recipes made to be healthy, tasty, and mostly easy to prepare aboard.

The Galley has implications in terms of safety, ease of access and use in all weather conditions, apart from quality and ease of use.

The position and layout of the galley is a first point to address. The location of the galley should be in an easy to ventilate place, as well as being easily accessible, with as little risk as possible to harm the crew when within in or around it. It should be easily accessible both from the saloon and the cockpit, as often it serves its purpose when the boat is underway and the crow on decks.

Usually having it in the vicinity of the companionway is the way to go, as it is near the centre of the sailboat, less prone to violent and sudden pitching. Rolling is another matter, as the boat rolls roughly the same way no matter where you are in terms of length axis.
It is a good place to be able to serve both the cockpit and the saloon minimizing movements and risks.

A U-shaped or L-shaped layout is usually preferred to the linear one for obvious reasons, and having enough space to have a working area, where chopping and manipulating food can be done with relative ease and safety is also to be seriously considered, as handling knives in unsuitable and too small areas will multiply the risks when the boat is rolling. All units, cooker, fridge, sinks and water should be all at reach so the cook can access them easily without moving to much or stretching is unstable positions. Both seawater and fresh water supplies should be made available at the sink, so to save on freshwater when not needed. Again, if pumps are mechanicals and not electrics, that will reduce risks of failure, given the environment, although is understandable the habit of just pressing a button to get things done nowadays.

The worktop area should clearly be of adequate size, but also sturdy and stable, apart from being heat resistant so can be used to sustain hot pans and containers.

Possibly have dual sinks made of stainless steel, as this will significantly simplify the handling of the washing up and food preparation. They should be deep, or deep enough, about 150 mm to 200 mm, to prevent spillage and contents falling of when the sailboat is rolling.

An additional feature to be added is the heat protection of all those parts of the galley where things can get hot. Protecting those areas with stainless steel sheets or heat resistant materials is always a good idea, to limit potential risks of fire on board.

In terms of ventilation, it is important to keep in mind that most cooking operations do produce a great deal of steam and heat. This in turn will give rise to condensation which in time could produce mildew. Not a good outcome. To avoid this problem, the sailboat galley should feature an opening portlight and possibly a fan to force circulation of steam out of the boat and into open air. Counting only to the vicinity of the companionway to resolve this matter is not enough.

As any good sailor knows, the boat pitches and rolls, both underway and at anchor. This is a main concern when dealing with cooking matters, as hot water and food can easily be a high risk to the crew, on top of falling over dangerous tools and pans. A restraining harness is then compulsory, rigged so it secures those in the galley when operating the cooker. A strong metal fire-resistant bar in front of the same should always be present, so that the cook can hold on to it and avoid falling over hot water and food or knives and sharp objects. Of course, the cooker itself should be gimballed on its longitudinal axis.

The stove, which will most likely be propane fuelled, must be gimballed, and fitted with sturdy fiddles and pot clamps, as said. Good and functional padeyes for the cook to connect his harness to are a good addition to the set up.

Being secured is not the full solution, as many accidents with hot water happen anyway regardless. Therefore, additional measures must be in place to reduce risks to those in the galley. A full length waterproof and heat proof apron is the way to go. It needs to protect for real as many parts of the body as possible, without limiting the ability to move and being to cumbersome and hot, especially in warm weather. Cooking with lots of skin exposed is extremely dangerous. Just few drops of hot water on the skin can be very painful and leave marks for ever, apart from opening the road to infections. A full pan of boiling water on the skin is devastating. Such apron needs to be chosen well, using the person who will wear it as a parameter. Is not a one good for all solution clearly: a short persona and a tall person will need to have two different aprons.

Finally, a well organised galley, with all the tools needed to comfortably cook, well secured in their places, at hand, will also need someone that can prepare good food in a simple way, to live well and happy and to receive guest in appropriate ways. Have a look at our Sailboat Galley to find a plethora of recipes that will do the job! 


A fully fledged bluewater sailboat has self-steering, although helming is a lot of fun, as it is true only for short periods of time and when you can do without the extra hands stuck to the helm.

It is a no brainer to decide to have a reliable self-steering system on board when engaging long passages. There are two main groups in this category: auto-pilots, electric powered, and windvanes, that are using no electricity and are powered by the wind itself.

Windvanes are the obvious solution when under sail, as they are simple, work with no external sources of power other than the wind, and are simple and reliable, including easy to maintain and set up.

The autopilot is an integrated electronic device that can do the job of keeping the boat on track when powered by an engine and in absence of any wind power.


We could expect a bluewater sailboat to sustain the crew for long periods at sea. And a crew, to survive, needs food, heat, and water, and to live needs all the basic comforts, such as washing. Therefore, sufficient freshwater storage capacity needs to be in place. As a rule of thumb that means about 5 litres/1 gallon per day per each crew member for the length of the passage, plus a contingency allowance. We will discuss further details in a separate post.

We can just provide a rough estimate example as a broad guideline in this section:  for two people on a transatlantic passage, allow one gallon per person per day for say, three weeks plus 20%, that’s 50 gallons minimum. Ideally, the bluewater cruiser will have twice as much this capacity, possibly split into two separate tanks, once on each side of the boat, to add balance and extra protection against contamination.

Having a backup system in place to catch rainwater can be a safety game changer in worst case scenarios. If it works both at anchor and underway, then is something you could rely on in case of emergency.

To avoid depletion of both water and power, a manually operated water supply at the galley and the heads is essential, as much less prone to failures and avoids over-consumption of water. Having a separate seawater supply at the galley will further protect from quickly depleting water by using it when not necessary.

For long passages one modern solution is to have on board a watermaker. There are several types of them so please refer to the relevant post on those to know more. Watermakers are good to go but should not be relied upon as the sole source of drinking water on passage, as they can break down and consume power. There should always be another reliable source of water and enough storage.

Engines or generator fuels will also need to be stored on board in sizeable quantities, possibly to allow for the passage to be done under power, if needed. The more modern the engine, the more efficient and therefore the less fuels will need per mile. However, a value of how much storage do you need will depend on the consumption of the specific engine or generator and the length of the passage.

Clearly, having electric engines powered by wind or solar will reduce the dependency from fossil fuels and, apart from being cleaner, they will have a positive impact on the storage capacity needed to power the sailboat. Is also evident, especially in areas with lots of sun, that solar will increase the self-sufficiency of a sailboat and her crew, often significantly so, and with that the autonomy to achieve longar passages in comfort and safety. Solar especially, is becoming more and more efficient, is easy to maintain, relatively cheap to buy and install and works everywhere there is sun. Is an option that we will investigate further.


Communication and weather forecasting abilities are significantly increasing the safety during passages, as they can help well in advance on how to avoid bad weather conditions and facilitate emergency support if and when needed, such is the case of not only serious accidents but also light medical emergencies.

We all know, and some of us learned it that way, that in the past navigation was all about nautical charts and maps and rules and dividers, and a bit of maths. However, that is no longer the case. Satellites have changed the world and at a low users’ cost. And are much better at calculating routes and times.

Having VHF, Sat systems, GPS, SSB radios and appropriate navigation apps on a tablet, laptop of phone will change dramatically the probability to incur in serious accidents. They are a must and combining them all will give the crew a perspective on how to best manage routes, time, food and water and avoid no wind areas of heavy storms. Elsewhere in our website we will discuss them at length.


Anchors and Chain are important safety feature on a bluewater sailing yacht.

At least two adequately sized and reliable anchors should be carried on board. One of them, the bower anchor, will be in the bow roller and will have an all-chain road of at least 200ft (60m). The others can be a combination of rope and chain and will be stored in different positions, according to the layout of the boat and the specific situation. Clearly the chain, or chains, must be adequately sized and built with quality in mind.

A storm drogue or sea anchor should also be available, as trailed behind the sailboat on a long line attached to the stern will slow the boat down in a storm and prevent the hull from becoming side-on to the waves.

An independent power system, albeit mobile, should also be present so to power the essentials in case of need. There are many models nowadays, and quite compact that will do the job. Some of them can also be powered by solar and multi fuels.

A fridge-freezer is also good to have. Storing food is as important as storing water and fuels. A good balance of power and space will need to be in harmony with the resto of the boat.

Safety gear that complies with the country’s regulations and laws but also with the survival need in case of an accident, is another element that is analysed more in-depth elsewhere on but that clearly needs to be there and have the space to be adequately stored.

Finally, spare parts to allow for maintenance and repairs while underway. Those will depend on what must be maintained and repaired, but the list is long as must consider structures, electrics and electronics, piping, engines, lights, galley, rigging, sails, and more. Is a long list of spares and tools to be able to work effectively with such spares. Missing a screw that is needed, or the right tool to remove it or put it back in place can impede the engine to work again, for example.

Small problems can become much bigger and catastrophic if not addressed or addressed in the wrong way. So preventive maintenance is a must, but having the right spares and tools is second to none. The alternative is a serious accident or being towed somewhere from the middle of the ocean. Not cheap.


Multihulls, catamarans or trimarans alike, are no longer a bluewater tabu. Many are in fact built to sustain long passages through the oceans and are perfectly suitable for the scope. Check our bluewater sailboats section here or the dynamic page with all boats, and filter those suitable for you. Is constantly updated with the models on the market, checked and curated to be more and more complete and accurate, and contains already a lot of detailed information and data on over 10,000 sailboats. Enjoy.

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Choosing a Bluewater Sailboat: A Comprehensive Guide - OceanWaveSail.Com · January 8, 2023 at 6:46 pm

[…] technical aspects, you may want to check out our in-depth article on the Bluewater Sailboat. In this article, we delve into the finer details of bluewater sailboat design and construction, including topics […]

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