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Old 30-07-2014, 15:41   #1
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Galveston to Port Aransas and back


My wife and I are looking at sailing from Galveston to Port Aransas and back over a 6-7 day period in the next couple of weeks and would like any and all advice before heading out.

We are hoping to take the outside route both ways and not the ICW, but will let wind and weather be the ruler of that decision. Looking at this chart should the trip be would seem to be favorable

Gulf of Mexico - Surf Charts -

Our thoughts are to break it up and try to avoid as much night sailing in the Gulf as possible. Galveston - Freeport (or Port O'conner) - Port Aransas - Freeport (or Port O'Conner) - Galveston.

Any advice on tactics, marinas, "gotchas", etc. would be greatly appreciated.


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Old 30-07-2014, 17:33   #2
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Re: Galveston to Port Aransas and back

There is usually a nice breeze there, just pick your weather and go. I made the trip in July 2012 to haul out at Hooking Bull in Rockport. The water is deeper there and sailing is much better than Galveston bay. There is a small marina by the boatyard and another in Rockport that is right in town, can't help with Port aransas, as I did not stop in there. SW out of Galveston is good sailing, not nearly as many oil platforms as heading east and commercial traffic should be light away from the safety fairways. You can anchor just up the Lydia channel or by mud island. Anchorage is also possible up the Brazos inFreeport- the new channel, not the one that goes downtown-, beware the power lines if you go past the stadium. Or you can go through the hurricane gate downtown and stay in a new marina there.
Enjoy, Dave

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Old 30-07-2014, 18:35   #3
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Re: Galveston to Port Aransas and back

Been quite a few years, but have run the Harvest Moon many times in the past. If you choose your weather window well then its an easy sail.

Biggest gottchas are lots of commercial traffic around major channels and on parts of the ICW and oil patch obstacles. I've sailed past unlit large pipe stands a few times...a bit unerving to sail close past a subsantial section of pipe sticking out of the water in the dark. Stay well clear of any oil patch installations as there can be unlit hazards close by them.

The seas usually get a little irregular after you round Matagorda sea bouy (at least the times I have).

Port A entrance is easy and well marked.

Have gone bump in a few places on the ICW which were not charted as shallow, but I expect those change often. Once after a barge had to do some aggressive maneuvering ahead of us...I think they pilled up silt. Dowload latest Local Notice to Mariners for NAV aid stauts etc right before you go.

There are some long straight stretches on the ICW where the next mark is so far away it can be hard to spot. Good binocs are handy to have. When running the ICW, dont just fixate on the next mark ahead, look behind you periodically to check the position of the last mark you confirm you are still in the channel.

Got RADAR? AIS? VHF at the helm? All important around big traffic and in the oil patch. In addition to monitoring 16, scan local VTC and working channels so you have an idea of what the commercial traffic around you is doing?

Heavily commecialized section of coast line so the good old Coast Pilot is a good reference. Lots of it wont apply to a recreation vessel, but often some good tid bits in there.

These days I assume you can maintain internet connectivity for all or most of this route, which could come in handy.
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Old 30-07-2014, 18:46   #4
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Re: Galveston to Port Aransas and back


I think the most challenging part will be Freeport to Matagorda. This is approximately 70nm offshore. Assuming you make 6 knots that's 11.7 hrs. Add an hour on each end to get from the mooring to the sea buoy and the trip is nearly 14hrs. We don't have 14hrs of daylight. Sounds like you are going to be doing some part of this in the dark.

My wife and I are planning to make the same trip in the fall and I think we will do this segment at night so that we arrive in daylight.

Have fun!

s/v Memento Vivere
'Remember to Live!'
Catalina 380 #67
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Old 31-07-2014, 08:10   #5
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Re: Galveston to Port Aransas and back

Thanks for everyone's replies. They are very helpful.

The boat does not have Radar or AIS so thus the reason to try and avoid as much nighttime sailing as possible. It does have VHF and GPS.

I plan on getting a handheld waterproof VHF and paper charts. Is there any other safety items one would consider a must have?

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Old 31-07-2014, 09:27   #6
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Re: Galveston to Port Aransas and back

I agree with above on staying outside, I hit bottom with my three foot draft in the channel on the ICW during the Texas 200 five years ago.

Frimi Captain
Tom Bodine
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