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Old 25-05-2017, 07:33   #1
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Sailing from Sabine Pass Texas/Louisiana to key West

Hi everyone,
I have seen few old threads about sailing the gulf of Mexico, would like some advises going direct from Sabine pass at the border Texas/Louisiana to Miami, was planning to Key West. Boat is a 33 Endeavour 1985 new to me, have many experience Caribbean, Atlantic, Bahamas etc but my first in the Gulf, heard of many traffic and oil rigs are those separate by how many miles? after 100 miles offshore is it better? thinking of going straight offshore wile i am awake....will be naturally single handed.
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Old 25-05-2017, 07:45   #2
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Re: Sailing from Sabine Pass Texas/Louisiana to key West

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Originally Posted by jeanlouis1905 View Post
Hi everyone,
I have seen few old threads about sailing the gulf of Mexico, would like some advises going direct from Sabine pass at the border Texas/Louisiana to Miami, was planning to Key West. Boat is a 33 Endeavour 1985 new to me, have many experience Caribbean, Atlantic, Bahamas etc but my first in the Gulf, heard of many traffic and oil rigs are those separate by how many miles? after 100 miles offshore is it better? thinking of going straight offshore wile i am awake....will be naturally single handed.
Look at a chart of the area, you'll see a crap ton of production platforms and shallow water with the associated mosquito fleet of support vessels. As a rule, the deeper the water, the fewer the structures with better lighting. The support vessel traffic dies off as well to the larger and more sophisticated vessels.

If I was running this trip, I'd leave before dawn, and head due south to the 100 fathom curve before considering any easting (prevailing winds will more or less require this anyway). Once south of 100 fathoms, the platforms are large and well lit.
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Old 25-05-2017, 07:50   #3
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Re: Sailing from Sabine Pass Texas/Louisiana to key West

I ran from galveston jetty to the mississippi canyon at about 100 miles offshore. There are plenty of rigs out there and they are generally in patches. I never saw one that wasn't on my chart (navionics) and actually set my autopilot straight through. We kept 1 up at all times.
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Old 28-05-2017, 12:18   #4
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Re: Sailing from Sabine Pass Texas/Louisiana to key West

Ok great, more or less what i thought, one more question, the south route has a channel where big boats run, how far outside this route uld I run my south leg. 1mile 5 miles r more.thank you
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:27   #5
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Re: Sailing from Sabine Pass Texas/Louisiana to key West

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Ok great, more or less what i thought, one more question, the south route has a channel where big boats run, how far outside this route uld I run my south leg. 1mile 5 miles r more.thank you
That's not a "channel" perse, it the safety fairway, a area set aside with no surface structrues. We generally hang out on the edges of these when near them, sometimes when crossing these you feel a little like frogger.
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Old 03-06-2017, 17:32   #6
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Re: Sailing from Sabine Pass Texas/Louisiana to key West

I made this trip from Pensacola to Sabine then to Corpus Christi almost 2 years ago Aug\Sept. Just outside the MS River there are some large platforms you REALLY need to stay away from. Each one has a Coast Guard ship providing security and they will come see you in a heart beat and then escort you out of the area.
Read your charts well including the legends at the top. They identify some of these items.
All the platforms were well lit and or had horns on the unmanned ones. At night it's impossible to tell if a platform is several hundred yards or several miles away. So, on those 2am one eye head bobbing nights, you'll swear you gotta swerve. Only to realize several hours later that platform was the size of a city block and was several miles away.

Also, keep a hand near when using the autopilot. On our trip every time we crossed a submarine cable the auto pilot would take a hard right and follow it. Scares the crap out of you the first few times until you figure out what's happening. The cables are identified on our charts so we were able to watch as the boat crossed one and then followed it. After that we were able to prepare for it and as we got further out; 175NM was the furthest, the platforms become more scarce.

In a nutshell, keep a watch, keep the radar on, stay alert and it's a great trip.
And a shrimp net, take a shrimp net. We had shrimp popping all around us and nothing to scoop them up with.
And a flyswatter. You need a good one.
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Old 16-07-2017, 09:28   #7
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Re: Sailing from Sabine Pass Texas/Louisiana to key West

Odds aren't good that you will see one but you might.
Deepwater oil exploration boats operate in the area.Usually 6 to 10 abreast towing cables miles long. Very expensive to alter course. If you are going to cross their track, you will hear from them. If you do not respond they will send a chase boat(100ft supply boat) to get your attention. Again, odds are small but It happened to me once.
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