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Old 18-10-2017, 12:14   #16
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Re: Risk of Sailing SSE in the Gulf of Mexico in early November

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Good point. The GOM can be a nasty body of water even without hurricanes. Ive been in the GOM in "hurricane force" conditions in Feb...no hurricanes...but serious heavy weather. These conditions were not forecast.

Discuss with your friend whether he would abort if forecast were not favorable...you can of course always choose to walk away if you dont like the plan pre departure.

Yes! This is not the North Atlantic and has steep waves with a short fetch when it gets nasty due to the relatively shallow water. Good luck and safe sailing.
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Old 19-10-2017, 05:57   #17
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Re: Risk of Sailing SSE in the Gulf of Mexico in early November

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Yes! This is not the North Atlantic and has steep waves with a short fetch when it gets nasty due to the relatively shallow water. Good luck and safe sailing.
I've never understood exactly why the GOM can get so rough. But, yes, it can get really steep breaking waves a long way from shore (like a hundred miles out). I've crossed it six times with good weather forecasts resulting in two good crossings, three bad ones, and one horrible one. I don't even trust the weather forecasts for it any more.
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Old 19-10-2017, 07:23   #18
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Re: Risk of Sailing SSE in the Gulf of Mexico in early November

"I've never understood exactly why the GOM can get so rough." Group9


Unless you're in the NW Gulf, you have to sail +/- 200 nm to get into deep water. And, after that, the depths drop quickly and the underwater topography from shallow to deep creates large, square-faced waves that resonate throughout the Gulf when the wind increases. It is a nasty body of water when the weather deteriorates and should not be taken lightly as your experiences have reminded us so well. We have been planning passages for years not strictly by the rhumb line but also taking into consideration underwater topography if it is apparent that it has the potential to change the sea state. Good luck and safe sailing.
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Old 19-10-2017, 15:29   #19
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Re: Risk of Sailing SSE in the Gulf of Mexico in early November

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I've never understood exactly why the GOM can get so rough. But, yes, it can get really steep breaking waves a long way from shore (like a hundred miles out). I've crossed it six times with good weather forecasts resulting in two good crossings, three bad ones, and one horrible one. I don't even trust the weather forecasts for it any more.
Forecasting the GOM is tough I think because it ifluences its own weather and is almost surrounded by land mass...so lots of variables.

The nasty sea states I think are due to 3 primary factors: hydrography (huge shallow continental shelf then deep hole in the middle), currents (lots of highly variable currents...see Gulf Loop Current as an example), and those nasty fronts that come rolling off the N American mainland (though Ive had my butt kicked in the GOM in every season). All that shallow warm water I think helps to contribute to generating its own weather with nastly localized squalls.
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