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Old 25-08-2009, 14:27   #1
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Midwest to Florida?

My husband and I are considering moving our Hunter 356 from a lake in the Mid-West to South Florida. Does anyone have experience sailing from Galveston to Florida, or maybe Biloxi to Florida?
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Old 25-08-2009, 15:14   #2
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My husband and I left Galveston in December of 2008 and crossed the Gulf straight to Key West. What kind of questions might you have?
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Old 25-08-2009, 15:41   #3
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we have done biloxi to fla already back and forth-goood weather and bad--now we do it again....there are many who have and will give their assistance to you..there are many cool places to stop and look around and buy fuel and eat....lulus is one of them--first icw stop .jimmy buffets sisters place ----after there is wolf bay then ingrahams bayou....then pensacola...smoooth sailing......
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Old 25-08-2009, 18:03   #4
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Our ultimate goal is Key West. So, we (mainly me) are concerned about the following things:

1. Should we plan to stay close to the coast and stop into marinas along the way? I would prefer to make several stops, keeping our passages to 2-3 days max, rather than sailing straight for Key West. But, can we get into port towns with our 5' draft and 55' clearance? Also, there seems to be NOTHING between Galveston and Biloxi.

2. What are the wind and current patterns? I don't want to be beating into wind and chop for a week. What about swells/wave periods. I've heard the Gulf can be worse than the Atlantic.

3. Is our boat up to it? We've always considered our boat a "Lake Boat." Its a 2003 and in good shape, but still, it's not what I would consider an "Ocean-going Boat."

4. What equipment do we need? Right now we do not have autopilot or radar. I'm assuming these are essential. Do we need a dinghy, or do most marinas have transient docks?

5. We plan to do the trip in late May. This is just at the start of hurricane season, but probably unlikely to get anything serious at this time of year. Right?

6. Based upon winds/currents, how long should we plan for the coastal route, assuming we sail 2-3 day passages?

Thanks so much for all of your input!
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Old 25-08-2009, 18:45   #5
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Unless this is a get it there and leave trip and you plan on stopping at Marinas all the time, a dingy would be a good idea. A Hunter 356 in good shape should have no problem making this trip. Auto pilot would be nice. Radar, you're going to get a lot of various answers. I'd personally wait, I've sailed the Florida coast for a while on several boats and never felt the real need for one. May is juuust a bit before the hurricane season. Though no one can predict an early one, if you have a way to recieve weather reports you'll know well before hand. This could be a fun trip with lots of things to do and see. Again I'd do the dingy and enjoy the many places to anchor as well.
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Old 25-08-2009, 18:50   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tulsatbird View Post
Our ultimate goal is Key West. So, we (mainly me) are concerned about the following things:

1. Should we plan to stay close to the coast and stop into marinas along the way? I would prefer to make several stops, keeping our passages to 2-3 days max, rather than sailing straight for Key West. But, can we get into port towns with our 5' draft and 55' clearance? Also, there seems to be NOTHING between Galveston and Biloxi.

2. What are the wind and current patterns? I don't want to be beating into wind and chop for a week. What about swells/wave periods. I've heard the Gulf can be worse than the Atlantic.

3. Is our boat up to it? We've always considered our boat a "Lake Boat." Its a 2003 and in good shape, but still, it's not what I would consider an "Ocean-going Boat."

4. What equipment do we need? Right now we do not have autopilot or radar. I'm assuming these are essential. Do we need a dinghy, or do most marinas have transient docks?

5. We plan to do the trip in late May. This is just at the start of hurricane season, but probably unlikely to get anything serious at this time of year. Right?

6. Based upon winds/currents, how long should we plan for the coastal route, assuming we sail 2-3 day passages?

Thanks so much for all of your input!
you can run offshore or you can run inside----if you run inside you donot want to run at nite. if you go offshore you can do night passages. we leave new orleans area and stop at little islands or not on our way--we have stayed in biloxi, as well...check your charts and figure out your best runs......if you figure 50 miles/day via icw, is 5 days to here---here being new orleans area. off shore is a bitch, i have been advised- mississippi delta area is a major bitch--million oil rigs there---check your charts and mark off runs you can handle and go for it....most of the marinas in biloxi are still closed from katrina--you will need to call ahead for a slip---if there is a fish tournament there are absolutely zero availabilities for marina space--you might decide to anchor out.....i know the bridge at destin is too low for you as will be others---we did offshore hops....there is good fishing out there and the water is gorgeous---port st joe is cool and friendly, apalachicola is cute and quaint---destin is tricky--donot do it in night time....must be done in daylight.....have fun and smoooth sailing....passage weather.com is good, sailflow is good, also--check before leaving for wind current and such.....
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Old 25-08-2009, 20:06   #7
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Galveston to Biloxi

If I understand correctly, you have a choice of departing from Biloxi or Galveston, so assume you are going to truck the boat that far. I would most definately do it from Biloxi. From Galveston to New Orleans you can go ICW or offshore. Neither is a good option. I have done it offshore and ICW and neither one would be considered fun.Offshore there are literally hundreds of oil rigs. Some unlit, so a radar is almost a necessity. From Galveston to Biloxi is approx 500 miles offshore, and you will be far enough off to not have much of anyplace to head in should the weather get bad. ICW is heavy barge traffic, not a lot of easy places to anchor and in some place diesel can be a little hard to find. For example, Morgan City, is easy to get 2,000 gallons of diesel, but no one is very interested in 20 or 30 gallons for a sailboat. Once east of the Mississippi the oil rigs pretty well fade away. From Biloxi you can go ICW as far east as Pensacola, where you have to run outside as there are some 50' bridges east of there. But you can easily do this offshore in two day runs. From Pensacola to Pt. St. Joe is about a 20 to 24 hr. run. Pt. St. Joe marina is very nice, and bill themselves as the friendliest marina on the coast. Leaving Pt.St.Joe you can head straight to Clearwater, or Tampa, or make an easy day run over to Appalachicola. This is a really quaint little town, with lots of eclectic shops. Worth a visit. From either Pt.St.Joe or Appalachicola to Clearwater or Tampa is a short offshore run, and you have to do it offshore. There is no ICW across the Fl. panhandle. You should be able to make Clearwater from Appalachicola in around 30 hours, and Pt. St. Joe to Tampa in approx. 48. And close in there is a lot of very shallow water. At Tampa you can anchor up as soon as you get inside behind Edgemont Key, or a little farther in, in the Manatee river. Or of course you can do the Marina thing in Tampa or St.Pete. From there there are lots of neat anchorages en route to Key West, or you could just do another two day run and be there. Nice anchorage at Marco Island, and in the Shark River.
You can go to cruises, and find good anchorage info, marina info and fuel prices for all of western Fla. and the Keys. Good luck and fair winds.
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Old 25-08-2009, 21:23   #8
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Take a look at Skipper Bob's Guide to the Gulf Coast Texas to the Keys lots of information on anchorages, marinas and more.
Good luck
Steve
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