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Old 21-04-2015, 14:57   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Seabrook, TX
Boat: Morgan 60
Posts: 3
Tampa to Houston

I just bought a boat in Tampa Fl and will be bringing it to Houston the first or second week of June. I have made several GOM crossings but all were offshore a minimum of 100 miles in sailboats. Now I have converted to the power world and bought a 50 Hatteras Yacht Fisherman.

There seems to be two approaches to the trip from Ancolet Key to western Fl:

1> Cross from Tarpon Springs area (Ancolet Key) to Apalachicola and then head into the ICW - 150 mile trip.

2> Cross from Tarpon Springs and go direct to Pensacola (roughly a 300 mile trip). I carry 600 gallons of fuel and expect to burn around 10 gallons an hour (DD8V71 - normally aspirated x 2). Or direct to Port St. Joe or Panama City - roughly a 200 mile trip give or take.

This boat has been under complete refit for the past few years - all new systems: DDs majored, new genset, new wiring, new plumbing, new paint, new interior, new essence a new boat. However, it is also new to me. So is it a good idea to push the limits by taking the longer offshore trip to Pensacola or better to step it a bit by going to Apalachicola.

My thinking is to go direct to Pensacola with Apalachicola as a fall back in case we have trouble.

I am looking for advice from those who have made this trip.

Next question

Headed west from Pensacola there are some great places to stop and see....we can stay inside all the way to Gulfport but then we have to make a decision. Go thru the ICW into and thru NOLA or go down thru Chandeleur Sound to one of the east entrances to the Mississippi River to Venice.

I have never been in this part of the Gulf and have no idea what the Chandeleur Sound is like (too shallow?? Shoals??? ). Would love to stop and fish the Chandeleurs for a day or so but just don't know the area.

Can anyone give me some advice about this area?

Next question:

From Venice we go out the west pass headed to the Galveston Roads. Again roughly a 350 mile trip direct. Or I could go in at Sabine Pass, Lake Charles or Freshwater Bayou or Port Fourchon or Grand Isle. I am fully aware of the platforms and bouys and traffic in the LA offshore area. Been thru it several times and know it is a tough place sometimes. We would watch the weather window and since it will be early June there is a good chance the weather will be good.

Does anyone have any experience with this route

Or I could just take the ICW thru NOLA and Houma and Morgan City and fight the barge traffic.

I am seeking wisdom and advice. the boat is fully capable and belonged to the owner of a shipyard where he did all the rework. Everything is done first class and they have put 200 plus hours on the boat in sea trials. She should be just fine whatever route I take. we are in no big hurry to get home - just don't know this part of the gulf and need some wise advice.


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Old 13-05-2015, 18:09   #2
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Re: Tampa to Houston

First off, congratulations, she sounds wonderful. A couple of years ago, I sailed my vessel from Panama City (St. Andrews Bay), FL to Houston (Clear Lake), TX so I can give you some advice, at least for that leg of your trip. My boat's fuel capacity is only 405 gallons so my range won't be yours at 600. You'll certainly have greater options of how you want to run your passage. Day one from Panama City Marina to Dauphin Island Marina via the GOM. Come around North of Cedar Island to DI Marina, best way to approach. Under the bridge and you'll see the marina off to starboard. Refuel there. Day two - Skirt the Southern shores of the Chandeleur Islands. Pass Curlew, Gosier and Breton Islands then head toward Bird Island. There you'll find just to the East Baptiste-Collette Pass. This will take you to the Mississippi River adjacent to Tiger Pass and Venice, LA. Cross the Mississippi, enter Tiger Pass where you will find Cypress Cove Marina. Refuel there. Day three - Continue on Tiger Pass heading East. Whenever you get to a fork, always head East. Sailing to Fourchon Marina is a straight shot once you clear Tiger Pass. You do NOT want to go through NOLA ICW is you can help it. It will take you forever. Fourchon Marina is located to the North of the industrial complex so you'll have to travel up the river a bit. Refuel there. Day four - I elected to take the ICW to Houma, LA, got off the boat and dined out. Day five - continued on the ICW to Morgan City, refueled there, then sailed to Intercoastal City, aka Kaplan, LA, refueled there and weighed anchor just outside of the jetties. Day six - traveled via GOM to Sabine Pass Marina, refueled there. Day seven - Sailed to Clear Lake via the ICW, Galveston Bay. This last day was not fun in the ICW - swarms of biting flies! Was on helm deck, had to just grit my teeth...You'll have a great passage, no doubt. Fair winds, calm seas, Dennis.

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Old 23-05-2015, 21:15   #3
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Re: Tampa to Houston

This boat has been under complete refit for the past few years - all new systems: DDs majored, new genset, new wiring, new plumbing, new paint, new interior, new essence a new boat. However, it is also new to me. So is it a good idea to push the limits by taking the longer offshore trip to Pensacola or better to step it a bit by going to Apalachicola.

The answer to your own question. No, you should not. It sounds to me that if you really know nothing about this "new to you boat" you should take the safest route where you have the ability to learn your new to you vessel. Apalachicola is that safest route.

Take the ICW at least through the first half of the trip. Then Maybe you can take P Bill's advice and cut across the gulf at some point along the way. Maybe Pensacola to Gulport ship channel. At least by then you will know your real range and have a comfort level to do more. If you stay inside the ICW there are many places of interest and many safe anchorages from Mobile Bay to Gulfport. Good food too!

Chandeleur is a really tricky area with lots of shallow water. If you decide that route do yourself a favor and travel in daylight only to Venice.

Good luck! Safe travels.

Capt. Jon
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Old 27-05-2015, 20:55   #4
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Re: Tampa to Houston

I agree with Capt Jon. We bought our boat in Tarpon Springs Fl last year. It was a well maintained boat and we spent a couple weeks getting the boat ready for the trip back to Port Aransas. Even with that we spent the first week of the trip battling issues with the boat and we were happy we were in Ports each night where we could work on the boat and buy parts.

With all the recent work that has been done on your boat I will be surprised if you don't have issues to deal with and many learnings as you get familiar with your new toy.

Enjoy the trip and your new boat. Even with our issues and the fact that we did it in February, with much cold and fog, it was a fun adventure.
Mainship 40 Sedan Bridge
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Old 27-05-2015, 21:35   #5
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Boat: C&C 38'
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Re: Tampa to Houston

I liked the ICW and the barge captains are very helpful. But, and this is key, driving the waterway is like driving the highway. It requires continuous attention and can be very tiring. I also liked setting the autopilot and taking a break when we were offshore.
So my advice is start out on the canal and then go off shore after a good shake down. Going through the locks at New Orleans is a thing to be enjoyed. Waiting for a bridge to be repaired for 4 days just gives you a chance to meet some nice people!
It is all good, the trip is the adventure!
! have made this trip 4 times, 2 each way, they were all fun and they were all different.
Slow down and enjoy!
Jerry and Denver
Happy Old cruisers!
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