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Old 03-11-2014, 15:39   #1
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Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Currently our boat is in St. Petersburg, FL, but we are in Austin, TX. We love the St. Pete area, but don't use the boat as often as we would like.

What day/weekend type sailing is in the Port Aransas/Gulf area? When we are there, we see quite a bit of cargo traffic and sport fishing; not a lot of sailboats.

We like the active sailing community in St. Pete. Is there something similar in the Texas Gulf Coast area?

Thanks,

-Travis
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Old 03-11-2014, 15:42   #2
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmelhiser View Post
Currently our boat is in St. Petersburg, FL, but we are in Austin, TX. We love the St. Pete area, but don't use the boat as often as we would like.

What day/weekend type sailing is in the Port Aransas/Gulf area? When we are there, we see quite a bit of cargo traffic and sport fishing; not a lot of sailboats.

We like the active sailing community in St. Pete. Is there something similar in the Texas Gulf Coast area?

Thanks,

-Travis
Generally speaking, I'd say forget Port A, and go with the Kemah/Clear Lake area. Probably more what you are used to.

Ralph
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Old 03-11-2014, 21:46   #3
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

We are in Port A. No way I'd trade it for Kemah.

The community in and around the Corpus Christi/Port A area is much smaller than Kemah/Clear Lake. But the sailing is WAY better.

We had our boat in Kemah for about a year after we bought it. Liked the ability to find stuff. But the sailing in that brownish mud they call water... well. And swimming?

In Port A, we are minutes from the Gulf - less time than it takes to get to Galveston Bay from Clear Lake, and there are several good anchorages. Ingleside Cove is what the Texas Cruising Guide (I think I have this right) calls "possibly the best anchorage on the Texas Coast", or words to that effect. We will be spending Thanksgiving week there, weather permitting.

The sailing in and around Corpus Christi is excellent. The wind blows ALL of the time. Sometimes, too much! Galveston Bay... not so much. And the wind means that summers are comfortable here. And as we are south of Kemah, the winters are warmer.

Port A is a sleepy little fishing town. If you want more, Corpus Christi is closer to Austin, and has a nice marina downtown. We spent about 3 years there. Right now we are in the City Marina. Others like Island Moorings, but we prefer it here.
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Old 04-11-2014, 07:10   #4
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

We aren't really into the yacht clubs and docking for dinner, that's not the part of St.Pete/Tampa we like; But the general sailing activism and ease of finding help when you need it. Any given day you will find sailors on the water.

Maybe I have not been to Port A at the right times, but I cannot recall ever seeing a sail cross the horizon out in the gulf while we stood on the beaches of Mustang Island or Padre. If Kemah offers something like this, it could pique my interest.

That being said, we lean towards Port A as well. We have been regular visitors to Port A area for just about 10yrs and love it. We have also recently taken up kiteboarding, which is incredible around Port A.

The aspects of St. Pete's sailing we would like to see about replicating are the day sails to a little more secluded beaches. One of our favorite St. Peter sails is out to Eggmont Key.

Are there any similar points of interest around the Texas Gulf (Kemah, Port A, South Padre, etc) where you have a few hours sale to a more private beach with a few other sailors anchored to share the afternoon?

I've not seen the "Texas Cruising Guide". I will start looking for it right now, it may contain exactly the info I am looking for. But I would still love to hear first hand stories. (If you tell everyone your secret, is it still a secret? )

Thanks again for the input and the book.

-Travis
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Old 04-11-2014, 07:27   #5
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

We're in much the same...boat. Our new to us boat is currently in the Bahamas but we'll be bringing her back to Texas in early Jan. We've been struggling with this exact same decision.

We also live in Austin and want to get out and use the boat for weekends. I hear good things about the Kemah area and slip availability is pretty good. The pluses about Kemah is there's plenty to do, and no problems finding a yard or any related services you may need. The clearlake/Galveston Bay area is a decent place to get out for protected day sails. The downside of course is that youre several hours from the actual gulf and it's shallow.

Port A is a much quieter community and it's great how close you can be to the gulf. Unfortunately, slips are nowhere near as available and it seems that marine related services are more limited...though I'm fr from an expert on the area, so take that with a grain of salt.

For us, we're leaning towards starting in Kemah because it's easy and we know we'll be doing a good deal of upgrading in the near future. If we get down there and the sailing sucks, we'll probably get on the wait list for Port A and give that a shot.

If possible, keep us posted on your decision and maybe we can all get together sometime for a drink. Austin/Kemah/Port A...whatever
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:01   #6
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Port A or Corpus sounds more your speed due to:
Better wind ( blows like stink all the time)
Better gulf access and lots of anchorages
Beaches(clear lake has zero beaches)
Corpus has a great sailing community, not "in your face" which is nice but active and really fun.

Downside( to port a) is most of your sailing is unprotected gulf sailing on a lee shore ( with Gulf Stream influence). Not a big deal in good weather, but always gotta stay on your toes knowing you are on a lee shore. Bay sailing is shallow but you are probably used to shallow sailing coming from st Pete. Corpus christie bay is some sweet sailing.

Clear Lake pros
Lots of boat stores/businesses to have refits done( easier to find boat workers)
Lots of people( tons of sailors, 20-30 thousand at least)
Good hurricane protection (if you do your homework)
Protected sailing waters, though there is quite a bit of debris to look out for.

We lived abroad in port A and in Clear Lake. Both have lots to offer, refitting in Clearlake has made life easier. But we miss the anchorages around port A. Check out Rockport too. BTB the drive is shorter to clear lake then to port A from Austin, go figure. Great thing about a boat is you can try one port out, and then move and try another port out
Good luck
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:05   #7
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Island moorings Marina in port A have slips available and is a great marina. We lived there for about a year. Good protection.
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:16   #8
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Oh, sorry one more thing forgot to mention.

It is hard to find boat workers to work on your boat in Port A. BUT, when hauling out for big refit, might want to consider Rockport(next to PortA). Clearlake charges $35 a day minimum in layup fees while Hooking Bull or House of Boats charges $10-14. Since we plan to replace all through hulls and do major rigging refit (3-4 weeks of doing our own work) we are heading to hooking bull from clear lake for the haul out.

Hope that made sense.
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:16   #9
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

I stopped off at Island Moorings this weekend and got the lay of the land.

I really liked it, so much so that I almost pulled the trigger right then. The general Port A vibe is what we were after. My only concern was finding sailing points of interest around the area.

But to your point, if we hate it, we can move it.

Being there for a year, any dock you found more/less comfortable?

I like the convenience of dock 1, but not a fan of the lack of a gate.

I am leaning towards Dock3.
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:38   #10
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Get behind the gate, being a tourist town,with that restaurant and pool, you get wanderers. We were on pier 4 and I was looking at slips in 3 to move to but the slip I wanted never came available( down at the very end, has a finger pier on each side��). There is a catamaran called "Stray Cat" the owner charters the boat( I used to own stray cat) his daughter has a dive service. She was just starting out so her prices were good. I have another guy too, just pm me if you need it. The hull fouling down there is crazy fast, gotta get the hull scrubbed every 3-4 weeks, if I'm remembering correctly. Zincs were pretty good.

I loved that Marina. I especially loved the airport right next door. On the weekends the crazy people jump out of the air planes all around the marina�� plus some cool planes come though, saw one jet land!! And the coast guard and military choppers practice maneuvers occasionally on the field. It just seemed a perfect place to watch land, sea, and air fun.

Anchorages are plentiful. Army hole, and Flato cut are the first two I'd check out. Flato cut blow

Erika
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:52   #11
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Ocean Girl's comments are spot on! I lived aboard in Kemah for 10 years while rebuilding my boat, and will eventually make my way back there to finish the job. Sailing and boayards in Port A are better, suppliers and boat related businesses are better in Clear Lake.


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Old 04-11-2014, 09:09   #12
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Hi all...I just want to comment on the cost to store while refitting...South Texas Yacht Service in Kemah, Texas does not charge you anything as long as he is doing work on your boat...He is cheap, honest, and his work is "spot-on". My Irwin 30 is there now for bottom job and to check everything to prepare for a well deserved Caribbean cruise...I could not do the work myself and pay storage for less than it is costing me to HAVE it all done professionally and rapidly...and I am paying with Mex. pesos!!!
Whatever you choose...good luck and best wishes for a smooth time of it...
Be safe and happy!
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Old 04-11-2014, 14:39   #13
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Ocean Girl and mrlee, thanks for the info and yard references.

I'm personally still torn on where to go..we'll have to kick it around.

OG - how long would you say it takes to get out to the gulf from Island Moorings? I've crewed out of the city marina and it was super close but since I still don't know that area super well I'm curious.

Thanks for sharing folks!
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Old 04-11-2014, 15:09   #14
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Navionics has it right at 6nm from the slip I have my eye on. And motoring at about 7 knots, it says right about 51 minutes.

I'm curious what it's like in the real world.
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Old 04-11-2014, 16:27   #15
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Re: Considering Moving the boat to Port Aransas

Not for everyone, but Harborwalk is the nicest marina on the Gulf Coast in my opinion. It too is close to the Gulf, if that's what you want. Priced right, and no charge for liveaboards. Clean, 2 great pools, very protected, a nice Bar and Restaurant, and super convenient restrooms/showers/laundry on every dock. It's a gated marina coming from hwy 6, with security, so no gates needed on the docks. Kemah/Clear lake boats come here on weekends for a getaway.

A nice anchorage close by at Offats Bayou. Many Kemah/Clear lake sailors go there for weekends, and anchor out. Good holding in 20' of water, You can dinghy to Moody Gardens for entertainment. Fireworks every fri/sat night during the summer. Live band on the beach that you can listen to from the boat.

Maybe too quite for the OP, but that's why we stay here after cruising for two years. A twenty minute drive to WM, riggers, sail makers, etc. It's not "party central", but that's what we enjoy about it here.

Come by "B" dock and say hi if you're in the neighborhood.

Marina | HarborWalk

Ralph
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