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Old 11-05-2007, 19:34   #1
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Location: Third Coast, TEXAS
Boat: Gulfstar 36 Motorsailer & Albin 25 Trawler
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River Cruising need local advice?

We were planing a river cruise starting 1 June to head up the Gulf coast to Mobile, Alabama and then north to Tuscaloosa, AL. But my wifes knee gave out and so there has been a delay. We are now thinking that we may be able to leave by 21 June. It will take 6 to 8 weeks from Corpus Christi to Tuscaloosa.

I am looking for weather reports along this route and from Tuscaloosa as to the viability of such a late departure. Is it too hot by then to have an enjoyable trip?

Also I would like to know what the facilities are for wet slips or haul out and dry slipping a Gulfstar 36 (43' mast) after the end of November in the Tuscaloosa area.

If it is too hot to leave in late June we may just wait until late September and plan on leaving the boat in Tuscaloosa until next year then completing the trip to the Great Lakes in the spring.

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Old 12-05-2007, 00:53   #2
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Heat, yes but an A/C would help. Major storms, well, you know. This would prevent me from making the trip. I have seen them come up in as little as 3 days.

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Old 12-05-2007, 07:17   #3
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Location: Third Coast, TEXAS
Boat: Gulfstar 36 Motorsailer & Albin 25 Trawler
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Storms dont worry me. We would be off the Gulf Coast after Mobile AL and while on the coast we would always have the security of being near harbor. Not like we are going into open water.

We have an AC, but as you go up river I am told there are few places where you can overnight in a slip with power, usualy its on the hook. This may or may not be current information, however.

I was also told, though it may be erroneous, that up the Black Warrior river toward Tuscaloosa, the temperatures were more moderate.
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:19   #4
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There are only 2 places to tie up between Mobile and Tuscaloosa.

The first is Bobby's Fish Camp just up river from the Coffeville lock & dam. It is just a floating face dock about 100 feet long. A long extension cord and hose will get you water and electricity maybe. This is also the first fuel stop (mile 119) after Mobile.

The second is the Demopolis Marina just above the Demopolis lock & dam. This is a full service marina and boat yard at mile 216. I brought my boat up to the marina in June of last year and had it hauled. I'm currently living in Birmingham.

The Black Warrior cuts off to Tuscaloosa about a mile above the marina. I haven't been up to Tuscaloosa but I talked to the owners of a small sailboat that brought their boat down from Tuscaloosa for hauling. They said the river is pretty but lonely. The marinas in the Tuscaloosa area are basically fish camps.

If you plan on hauling your boat then the Demopolis Yacht Basin is your best bet.

There are several guide books for the waterway. You can find these books and more information by googling "Tenn-Tom river".

Summer weather on the river is not all that different from summer anywhere on the Gulf Coast. You will need to have the cockpit shaded. The river is pleasant to swim in in the afternoon.

You need to check on the river levels before starting up from Mobile. High river levels from heavy rains to the north can make the river impassable for several weeks. There is a lot of commercial traffic on the river and you need to take this into consideration each night when you anchor.

Here are a couple of links to information.

Free ENC charts
Inland Electronic Navigation Charts

General information
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Navigation Page

Bob Stewart
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:27   #5
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Location: Third Coast, TEXAS
Boat: Gulfstar 36 Motorsailer & Albin 25 Trawler
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Sounds like the on board AC would be worthless without a GenSet. So now it looks like an early October departure, go to Tuscaloosa then back down the Black Warrior and leave the boat at Demopolis for the winter. Then after the spring run off, head north again toward Chicago.

I have an Uncle in Tuscaloosa and want to visit with him while up there and I have heard the Black Warrior was a beautiful trip.
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