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Old 22-01-2015, 05:57   #1
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Marathon FL to Houston TX

I have a 48 ChrisCraft CPMY that I am considering running to Houston for partial disassembly and loading to transport for transport by truck to WA State.
I would appreciate any thoughts or knowledge re making this trip. I was thinking of heading up the west coast of Florida to Fort Myers or Tampa or ??? At what point would I go outside and how much is suggested to go in the ICW?
My draft is less than 4', are there a lot of concerns re groundings in the ICW or outside?
How many miles is this trip? Any boatyards in Houston anyone can recommend?
My beam is just under 15' and I think I can get the overall height down to about 15' 2" without removing the flybridge by removing all underwater metal but will need a special oversized trailer and pilot cars to haul it west from Houston.
I appreciate any help I can get. We paid Yachtpath almost $40,000 to ship it by freighter and they filed bankruptcy and stole our money. I have been trying to sell it in FL but no luck so I am hopeful of figuring out a cheaper way to get our boat home.

Thanks, Bob B
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Old 22-01-2015, 06:19   #2
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

Welcome to CF Bob!

Truly sucky about Yachtpath... They screwed a LOT of people over the years...

There are TONS of guys here that are intimately knowledgeable about the trip you describe... Very doable...

For your trucking, they are ALL expensive... and ALL very hard to coordinate... But here's 2 to call for quotes

Thomas Duncan Trucking
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Welcome to Ship to Shoreline!

Good Luck!
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Old 22-01-2015, 06:24   #3
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

My wife and I literally just made this trip, arrived in Houston on the 14th of this month.

From your post I can't tell how long you've been in the Marathon area or how familiar you are with the Gulf, so I'll assume it's relatively new to you as it was to us. No offense intended.

We had a delivery skipper with us since the boat was still pretty new to us and honestly we wanted a 3rd watch keeper and someone with more storm experience than us along.

Since the gulf is a fairly nasty body of water due to the shape of the coast leading to the washing machine affect, read confused seas when the wind picks up, we opted to head up the Florida coast to the Tampa area before making our jump. This was our original plan since we wanted to have somewhere to duck in if the weather got nasty, this is the time of year for those cold fronts out of the North. This proved to be a good strategy for us and we ended up getting a slip in the Tampa area to wait out a couple days of temps in the 30s-40s and 35kn winds out of the N and NW (not great when trying to make the run to Houston).

Once the weather let up and we had a couple days of somewhat favorable winds we decided to make the offshore jump with a course that would take us towards Mobile and keep us within roughly 100 miles of shore so we'd have the ability to get in if the weather required it. As we moved NW we gradually shifted our course to bring us up west of NOLA, where we made our turn SW in an attempt to stay outside the majority of the rigs (following the 4000ft depth contour) along the coast.

We had some fairly lumpy seas, about a day of 8-10ft quartering seas and pretty steady winds in the 15-25kn range (primarily NE to E with a sprinkling of N thrown in) but overall it was a good quick (for us) passage. It took us just over 5 days to make the complete trip from Tampa to Houston. Note it would have been quicker if we'd taken a direct route but since we opted to follow the coast (100sh miles off) we added some miles.

I would say the biggest surprise for my wife and I was the sheer number of oil rigs. We began seeing them offshore SW of LA. and they where constant companions through Houston (Kemah area). That combined with the shipping traffic and our wanting to sail as much as possible led to some stressful solo watches. The cold weather meant when you where off watch, you needed to be down below warming up and resting up for the next watch.

I can honestly say that if I had to get back to Houston again at this time of year, I'd take the same route and just be prepared for a cold crossing. If I had the option to go later, I'd wait a few months until March/April and go when it's warmer. Also, I wouldn't even consider the offshore route without at least 3 people to ensure you have time out of the cold to rest up. Note we don't have radar or AIS (yet) if you have both of these and the power to run them 24/7 it might be possible to make this passage more comfortable for 2 people.

So I guess it depends. If you have the time to either wait for warmer weather or take the ICW I'd probably go that route. Maybe cut the corner from Tampa to Pensacola and then hit the ICW. If like us you have limited time and need to get there, it's definitely doable with the right weather window and number of people/gear. Just be prepared for cold weather and relatively lumpy seas. The nice thing is overall, the wind is in your favor this time of year.

I've been working on a blog entry for this passage but it's not posted yet. Hope to have it up tonight or tomorrow.

Hope this helps,
EB
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Old 23-01-2015, 05:27   #4
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

It's "bump for Bob" Friday....
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Old 23-01-2015, 09:56   #5
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

If the weather is good going outside will save a lot of time but the ICW is a fun trip. The farthest north you can go on the inside is Tarpon Springs. The water is very shallow north of there so stay well away from the coast. Watch the weather & don't under estimate the Gulf.
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Old 23-01-2015, 10:12   #6
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

Another way to break up the trip is Tampa to Panama City or Pensacola, then Pensacola to Galveston or Kemah. The ICW from Panama City to Pensacola is rather nice. So is the ICW from Pensacola to Mobile Bay.There are no rigs on the first leg, and 50 miles out from Panama City,Pensacola or Mobile Bay will get you clear of most fishing boats, many rigs (there are about 4000 in the gulf), and the Mississippi delta, then head to Galveston on 274 or thereabouts. What you will notice is plenty of commercial traffic departing from and arriving to Galveston, much increased in the last two years, and a very occasional unlighted rig along the way
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Old 23-01-2015, 10:29   #7
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

If you do take the ICW be sure & stay in the channel at all times. It can get really shallow but luckily if you do run aground it's typically just sand so your props should be fine.
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Old 23-01-2015, 10:53   #8
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

The only things I can offer are watch the crab traps around Marathon and watch the Gulf she is like a woman calm one moment ragging the next, so pick your weather windows well.
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Old 23-01-2015, 12:27   #9
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

If you're interested I just posted the entries for the Gulf crossing to our blog.

With a relatively limited fuel range in combination with the cold weather, my recommendation would definitely be to break the trip into several shorter hops.

-EB
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Old 23-01-2015, 12:36   #10
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

Curious about shipping big boats like this...

Does anyone ever consider using the railroad instead of trucks?

Anyone know if it is possible or done?

Hmmmm...I think I will start a new thread on this topic...don't want to disrail this one.
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Old 23-01-2015, 12:38   #11
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
The only things I can offer are watch the crab traps around Marathon.

I'll second this one. Even with a pretty well protected prop we managed to pick one up just north of Marathon. Which resulted in a brief swim for me to cut it free. Wasn't a big deal, but in worse conditions or much colder weather, it would have really sucked.
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Old 23-01-2015, 13:50   #12
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

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Originally Posted by ErBrown View Post
I'll second this one. Even with a pretty well protected prop we managed to pick one up just north of Marathon. Which resulted in a brief swim for me to cut it free. Wasn't a big deal, but in worse conditions or much colder weather, it would have really sucked.
We picked one up also. Towed it under sail till finding a suitable place the drop the hook. Unwrapped it and ate tails. I hope the crabber found is pot.
We didn't cut it loose since it is there livelihood. Also a trap is self baiting.
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Old 23-01-2015, 16:38   #13
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

Well, since we where under power at the time, no wind at all, the line was already cut. I just needed to remove the 10-12 inches of line that where wrapped around the shaft so we could get back underway.
If it had been a day later, with higher wind and MUCH colder weather it would have sucked. Of course, with the higher wind, we probably would have been sailing, so wouldn't have been an issue.
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Old 24-01-2015, 10:17   #14
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Re: Marathon FL to Houston TX

Might try Winston Trucking out of Sealy, Texas (Houston area). The outside passage along Louisiana and Texas is crowded with rigs and rig traffic and that can be intense. More crew the better for that part.

Good luck!
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