This is a very general term that can be used to describe many very different types of boats. Choose from the following –

Blue Water Cruisers (sail)

These are possibly the ultimate sailing yacht for long-distance offshore sailing. They are defined (By RCD [Recreational Craft Directive] regulations) as being

“designed for extended voyages where conditions may exceed winds of Force 8 on the Beaufort Scale (over 40 knots) and significant wave heights of 4m (13 feet) and above, and [the] vessels [are] largely self-sufficient.”

If you fancy living aboard a boat and sailing the world as opposed to ‘normal’ onshore living, then this might be for you. Before you choose this lifestyle, you will need the right attitude to life, the skill set and, of course, the right boat.

Blue water cruisers have certain specific requirements. They may be summarised as follows (although this list makes no claim to be fully comprehensive):

  • a boat of maybe 40 feet to 50, or possibly 60 feet. This depends in part on the number of crew you have. A larger but light boat may actually be easier to handle
  • plenty of stowage space to sustain you and the crew for potentially long periods of time
  • robustness to weather potentially high waves. The hull must be strong, robust and well able to handle the largest waves you could encounter
  • manageable sails and rigging. This can get quite technical, so needs careful consideration
  • plenty of storage fro fresh water. Good practice is to allow a large contingency, and to split supplies into two separate tanks in case of problems (such as contamination) with one of them. You could consider a reverse osmosis watermaker – however, they use power and could break down – so you must not rely on them
  • an engine and fuel! You could become becalmed, and the wind is not the most reliable power source
  • suitable clothing for you and the boat – to provide protection from rain, spray, wind and the sun
  • safety gear. Check that all safety gear (flares, lifejackets, liferaft etc) is fully in date and has had any necessary updating / servicing done
  • electronics – chartplotters, VHF etc – preferably in duplicate
  • some type of auto-helming or auto pilot system to relieve you and the crew from the tedium of continuous helming. Of course a look-out needs to be kept at all times
  • interior space for the usual human activities of cooking, eating, sleeping, sitting and using the heads.
  • Companies such as Jeanneau, Beneteau, Amel, and Hallberg-Rassy – among very many others – all make suitable blue water cruisers.

You may also want to learn more about different Sail Types

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Cabin Cruiser (power)

There is no agreed definition for ‘Cabin Cruiser’, but it usually refers to a power boat that is intended for gentle cruising along canals or other inland waterways.Sometimes the term ‘Inland Cruiser’ is used instead.

In this sense it is not a sports cruiser, which is built more for speed.

The engine of a cabin cruiser is usually an old type of diesel, low horsepower, low revving, simple in design – but may last for a long time because of it.

The ‘cabin’ part of the phrase refers to the accommodation inside the boat. There is usually at least one double berth (bed), plus a heads (toilet, washbasin and maybe a shower) and a galley (kitchen), as well as a seating area. All this needs a certain length of boat – maybe from 24 feet (8 metres) up to twice that length. An aft berth can be quite spacious, with a raised deck above it – this deck often giving a better view of the boat because of its height. When combined with a berth in the bow, this gives two cabins (obviously!), and a good degree of privacy as the cabins are at opposite ends of the boat.

Many of these boats on the market are old. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as they will have had a slow and easier life than the typical bowrider, sports cruiser or flybridge. Their style is often ‘old-fashioned’ or traditional.

Typical manufacturers include Norman, Freeman, Weston, Mayland, Seamaster, Viking, Microplus, and Dawncraft.

There are two main variations on Cabin Cruisers. Narrowboats for use on canals can be even longer – up to 62 feet (19 metres). In the UK there are the Norfolk Broads which can accommodate boats as long as the longest narrowboats, but having a bigger beam (wider). These are very spacious inside, and are often used for holidays on the Norfolk Broads. Many people rent (e.g. for a holiday), rather than buy, these specialised boats.

Inland Cruiser (power)

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Offshore Cruiser (power)

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Sports Cruiser (power)

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