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Old 14-12-2019, 13:05   #1
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Galveston to biloxi

Hello. I'm solo sailing from league city (near Galveston) to long beach ms (near biloxi) within the next 2-3 weeks. I'm going to take the offshore route. Far offshore until clear Louisiana, then N. NW, to Mississippi coast and my slip in the long beach ms harbor. Vessel is 27' hunter. This will be my first time sailing on a small vessel. I believe this will be a wet one. A friend keeps saying , "go via icw. I have no intention to ever do the icw. It's not for me. I do not care for traffic and without experience. Open water is more enjoyable and the safest option for me.
Has anyone made this route before? Would like to receive as much information as possible.

Also, if anyone in gulfport/biloxi, or texas ,kemah area wanting to make the trip. I would be open to having someone aboard for the trip. Though I am very comfortable sailing alone.
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Old 14-12-2019, 17:19   #2
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

Plenty here I think who have run this route and can chime in. My first thought is why choose December...the GOM can get EXTREMELY unpleasant, big winds, big seas...dangerously unpleasant in winter months. April/May are on average much more settled months.

Then there is the "oil patch", have you done any sailing in the oil patch off Texas?
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Old 14-12-2019, 17:58   #3
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Plenty here I think who have run this route and can chime in. My first thought is why choose December...the GOM can get EXTREMELY unpleasant, big winds, big seas...dangerously unpleasant in winter months. April/May are on average much more settled months.

Then there is the "oil patch", have you done any sailing in the oil patch off Texas?
Hello. Thanks for the reply.
My choice to sail in December is, simply need to have boat out of current marina by Jan 1. Instead of paying overpriced slip, it's much more desirable to sail her home while I have time to do so.
I am unfamiliar with "oil patch" if you're referring to the rigs? no worries.
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Old 14-12-2019, 18:03   #4
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

The "oil patch" is a common term used to refer to the oil fields off Texas/Louisiana...lot more than just the hundreds of rigs out there: big traffic, supply boats, large unlit moorings, unlit production platforms, unlit obstructions, siesmic research vessels...its a hazardous area...throw in some squalls and bad winter weather and it can be quite entertaining.

...

The weather and oil patch hazards are the two primary issues on this route...also lots of other commercial traffic...does the boat have VHF, AIS, RADAR?

Personally I like to sail along the edge of the safety fairways thru the oil patch if possible. This keeps you out of the rigs etc and out of the way of large commercial traffic too.

Once past Louisiana, pick a pass into Mississippi Sound and go to Biloxi....this area is all well charted and marked.
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Old 14-12-2019, 19:22   #5
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

Thank you.
I have VHF. And Garmin. It'll have to work. Hopefully I won't have much issues. I'll be far offshore and I believe my course will keep me away from most danger areas. I may be wrong, I'll soon find out. Once clear Louisiana, i'm familiar with course to Mississippi, and zero worries there.
Cheers to safe and good times.
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Old 14-12-2019, 19:44   #6
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

If it were me, I'd wait for what looks like a reasonably good window (haha, this time of year, for whatever reason, the forecasts change quickly in this area). Doing the offshore route, especially solo, I'd stay fairly close to shore; if it gets really bad you can duck in at many places all along the route. Though you may be a ways from civilization, you can wait out the blow and the wind will keep the bugs off. Lots of oilfield traffic and wells (including unmarked unlit ones) all along the route, I'd day sail only, if time allows. If weather gets bad around the delta it is possible to duck in at Southwest Pass and be in mostly protected water all the way to Long Beach via North Pass and then through Black Bay and Chandeluer Sound. Stay at least 3 miles off of the Chandeluers, if you go that route. There's shoaling off the mouth of St. Louis Bay, so stay away if you go in through the pass between Cat Island and Point Au Pitre. With a draft of 4.5 feet you shouldn't have a problem, plus the bottom is mostly sand and mud, though there are plenty of oyster reefs in the vicinity of Biloxi Marsh and the Mississippi Sound.
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Old 15-12-2019, 05:57   #7
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

You "believe"...have you looked at a chart?

Its effectively impossible to sail the TX coast without being in the oil patch...the oil leases extend all the way out to about 26N...thats roughly 230nm offshore if you follow a line perpendicular to the TX coast. The highest density of rigs extends about 60 miles offshore...you cant get offshore without passing thru this area...the saftey fairway starting from Aransas Pass is almost 60 miles long.

If you follow the coast closely, as Jim suggested, you can avoid the densest areas of rigs, but you still get plenty of hazards and commercial traffic.

See NOAA chart 1117A, it has an overlay of all the leases and charted positions of rigs etc.
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Old 15-12-2019, 06:04   #8
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

Ive done the route a few times.....in a 27 hunter Id do the ditch.
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Old 15-12-2019, 06:16   #9
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

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Ive done the route a few times.....in a 27 hunter Id do the ditch.
...or I-10 on a trailer.
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Old 15-12-2019, 06:37   #10
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

The last time I was across Louisiana on I-10 it was so rough I would be concerned about hauling a sailboat on it. You might hole it on the highway! Hopefully its better now... Thx-Ace
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Old 15-12-2019, 07:25   #11
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

Its been an awful long time (15 years?) since I hauled a boat on a trailer on I-10 so dont know current conditions either.

I used to race on a Corsair F31 all over the Gulf Coast....55 knots to windard on a trailer...20 knots under sail !
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Old 15-12-2019, 07:39   #12
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

Sounds like you bought a boat, timing makes you think you need to go now and you have some, but limited experience. Most of the time, as you probably know, there's never any problems. Part of the reason why is because most people try to wait for a weather window that's reduces the likelihood of an issue.

You asked for opinions, so here's mine:
1) If you have to go now, trailer it if you can. I-10 is not bad.
2) Wait if you can. A couple of hundred dollar difference between the old slip price and the new one isn't a lot. You don't really want the transfer of the boat to sour you on sailing. You want to enjoy your new boat.
3) Go ICW and just motor.
4) If no ICW, stay close to shore. It's not just so you can duck in if weather is rough. It's also so you can duck in if you need to get some sleep and rest. A storm might not cause you to duck in, but after a couple of days with no, or limited, sleep, you might just want to take short break.

If you go, I'm sure you'll make it just fine. Just be careful and give us a trip update when you're done.
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Old 15-12-2019, 08:02   #13
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

We just made the passage from Kemah to St Pete completing it in six days. The first and last days were placid. In between, we encountered three washing machine cycles, with the last one a 36 hour extended cycle. Waves of different periods and heights came in half a dozen directions. Washing machine seas were generally 3-4 feet with the occasional 5-6 footer. But, the worst of it had a couple of 10 foot waves breaking over the bow and onto our dinghy lashed onto the deck. All the weather forecasts were no good (and very optimistic) after 8-12 hours for wind speeds and wave heights. We could get internet (i.e. updated GRIB file downloads) from several rigs which had cellular coverage. There were three of us making this passage. I can't imagine doing it with two in these conditions. Yours is a shorter passage, so it might be doable. It all depends on what you encounter out there.
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Old 15-12-2019, 08:21   #14
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

Quote:
Originally Posted by leboyd View Post
Sounds like you bought a boat, timing makes you think you need to go now and you have some, but limited experience. Most of the time, as you probably know, there's never any problems. Part of the reason why is because most people try to wait for a weather window that's reduces the likelihood of an issue.

You asked for opinions, so here's mine:
1) If you have to go now, trailer it if you can. I-10 is not bad.
2) Wait if you can. A couple of hundred dollar difference between the old slip price and the new one isn't a lot. You don't really want the transfer of the boat to sour you on sailing. You want to enjoy your new boat.
3) Go ICW and just motor.
4) If no ICW, stay close to shore. It's not just so you can duck in if weather is rough. It's also so you can duck in if you need to get some sleep and rest. A storm might not cause you to duck in, but after a couple of days with no, or limited, sleep, you might just want to take short break.

If you go, I'm sure you'll make it just fine. Just be careful and give us a trip update when you're done.
Thanks.
An old friend bought a gulfstream and gave me the boat. A free boat is far from free. I do not have a way to trailer her. And pulling her out is not an option. I will definitely sit and wait for a better window. Was a good window last week. I was preparing boat and couldn't make it. I had to come home to Mississippi for a week and will head back to Texas and gather supplies for the trip and wait as long as possible for better weather.
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Old 15-12-2019, 08:24   #15
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Re: Galveston to biloxi

We went SSW 140 miles offshore of Galveston and then turned east to St Pete. We stayed just outside of the safe fairways. This avoided the rigs and big boats. Having AIS to call the big boats was invaluable. They answer if called by name. We were sailing at one time and requested a tanker change course by 5 degrees to port so we would increase our separation distance to 1.5NM from 0.2, and he was agreeable and cooperative. Having radar is indispensable. A lot of rigs show on the charts but there's no radar (or visible) image (indicating these have been pulled down). Generally, the rigs are well lit up at night so they're easy to see. Ships are not as easy to see at a distance. And, errant bouys are very hard to spot. You should count on autopilot so you can get some relief from the helm and tend to all the other shipboard matters demanding attention. Have a solid jackline system in place. You'll be using it.
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