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Old 19-10-2009, 09:48   #1
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Cruising Fun on the Gulf Coast - Texas or ???

Hi, all --

I'm considering a move to the Texas coast and am wondering if cruisers there can offer some tips or advice.

Basically, most of my coastal cruising has been on the Atlantic coast, mostly New England and some Florida. There you find so many wonderful places to go out for a weekend cruise or maybe a bit longer, all within easy range of wherever you happen to live.

Is this true on the Texas coast?

I'm asking because day sailing just doesn't do it for me. I want to GO somewhere even if it's close by and drop the hook.

While I'm at it, how about other places along the Gulf coast?

Thanks!

Mike
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Old 20-10-2009, 04:51   #2
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Pull up google earth and look. Most of the Gulf Coast region has small islands off the coast. The beaches are nice with white sand.
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Old 20-10-2009, 07:01   #3
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There are a couple of yacht clubs along the coast that have cruising clubs. there is a good local magazine called Telltales which often has write ups on cruising activities along the coast even down to Cancun area. I'll see if I can find more info to post about them.
Welcome! My boat is in Houma Louisiana if you pass that way PM me and I'll try to be of assisance if you need it.
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Old 20-10-2009, 15:08   #4
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Thanks, Hatteras and Steve.

Anybody from TEXAS have any advice?

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 20-10-2009, 18:15   #5
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Yup. Got plenty. HOWEVER, this is a big-a$$ state, with almost 400 miles of coastline.

See if you can pick up a copy of Campbell's Guide to Cruising Texas. They are supposed to have a new version coming out, but...

We have cruised extensively in the Houston/Galveston/Clear Lake area, and we are now down the coast in Corpus Christi. Give me an idea as to where in the state you are planning on living, and I'll try and help from there.
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Old 20-10-2009, 18:20   #6
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Well... I'm not from Texas BUT

I did make the trip from New Orleans to Port Aransas a couple of years ago, then spent a year in Port A.

The good: Lots of wind along the Texas gulf coast. So much wind that we found ourselves wondering if it was EVER going to stop blowing 15 - 20kts.... And this is a good thing for us sail boating types. People are friendly, DIY boat yards are still to be found - CHEAP.

The bad: Lots of skinny water in Aransas Bay, Laguna Madre etc. Offshore is littered with oil rigs / standpipes and because of that it's fairly dicey to sail around at night if outside of the charted Safety Fairways. Most of the Texas coast and its ports are industrial operations that have few pleasure boating facilities. I will not soon forget the passage through Texas City - where the Law of Gross Tonnage applies moreso there than anywhere else I've been except maybe Hong Kong Harbor.

You're used to the east coast sailing environment, as I was before I ventured into the deep Gulf Coast. It is an entirely different experience than can be fun, but you will always know that you're not in Kansas anymore....

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Old 20-10-2009, 18:47   #7
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Just got home from a long weekend on Galvaston Bay. Far from an expert on the Bay so far but went out to Redfish Island this trip and there are always boats anchored there over the weekends and Offats Bayou on Galvaston Island is popular. I've been told of several other places that are popular to anchor at but can remember what they were called. Just don't expect this to be like Florida. The water is far from inviting looking (muddy water) and the people are friendly (as in you won't get ran off by some municipality, not the other sailors).
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Old 20-10-2009, 20:10   #8
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here is some information
Galveston Bay Cruising

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Old 20-10-2009, 20:16   #9
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Wow, thanks! This is a great start. I'll see if I can get that cruising guide delivered down here in Mexico.

I was thinking of Corpus Christi or the Kemah area specifically -- and I'm open to other Gulf suggestions.

Thanks again -- and keep 'em coming!

Mike
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Old 20-10-2009, 20:39   #10
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To put your 'Gulf suggestions' into perspective, its 225 miles from CC to Kemah.....

That Ft. Pierce to Ft. Lauderdale in Florida terms

Or New York NY to Virginia Beach VA in yankee terms.....

Everything's bigger in Texas

(safe harbor statement) Oh, yeah, I'm in Texas. GigEm
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Old 20-10-2009, 22:54   #11
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I cruise out of Kemah, Texas and I have sailed in New England (Newport area). They are two very different cruising grounds. You don't skirt along the coast here, its too hazardous, some do, but at their peril. Some differences are the shallow depth of the water with many underwater obstructions. You have to sail out almost 100 miles into the gulf before reaching 100 feet of depth. Because of the shape of the coast, and SE prevailing winds, you are almost always on a lee shore. You also have the oil rigs (some unlit) along with the working vessels to contend with (survey,crew,supply boats, tankers/freighters etc.). When I sail the Texas coast, more than a day trip, I either go the ICW (very interesting) or get at least 100 miles offshore before I feel relaxed. People do sail close to the coast but I am not a fan of that idea.
Some pros about Texas. The winters are great! maybe 1-2 months of rainy cold (40s) and the rest of time it is really nice. Major resupply/refit port (Kemah). Good wind year round. Unlike Newport, it is reasonably priced with lots of marina/outhaul facilities (kemah). Texans are the friendliest most diverse group of people I have ever met. Also a good hop off location for Mexico, Florida, Cuba and beyond.


Hope that helps,
Erika
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Old 20-10-2009, 23:01   #12
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If you are choosing:

Galveston Bay area is GREAT for things you need. It has everything. Sailing is OK, and as mentioned, there are several decent anchorages (another is Double Bayou). However, the water is... ugly. Lots to do, lots of places to visit. If we were closer, we'd probably be there.

In the Corpus Christi, Port Aransas area, the water is MUCH cleaner - not pristine, but good. Port A is really good. As noted, the wind blows ALL of the time. I mean ALL. It's regularly 20-30kts. Port A is a sleepy town, on the Gulf. The city marina is decent, and if you don't draw too much, Island Moorings is nice. This is primarily a fishing port - the marinas are full of offshore boats. Town is typical a tourist town that you might find in Florida.

Corpus Christi is a decent sized city - around 300,000. The City Marina is right downtown - and reasonably priced. It's 13 miles from CC to Port A. Corpus Christi Bay is wide open, 15 feet deep, and 12 miles across. Good weekend trips are Port A, Ingleside (a great anchorage) is about 2 hours away, Shamrock Cove, Naval Air Station CC (if you join the Navy League and register with NAS through BYC, you can use the anchorage and the O Club and pool). However, the grocery store is a few miles away, and West Marine and Blue Water are about 15 minutes away.

There are 2 yacht clubs in CC, Corpus Christi Yacht Club (quite exclusive) and Bay Yacht Club - very informal. Downtown dining is a walk away. Marina is clean enough to swim in.
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Old 20-10-2009, 23:03   #13
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Oh yeah - the winters in CC are even better than Galveston. Lattitude is the same as Tampa.
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Old 21-10-2009, 09:04   #14
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If your draft can support it (5ft or less) then Palacious (spelling?) has a VERY friendly marina, cheap liveaboard fees, yards nearby etc. But you must enjoy partying...
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Old 21-10-2009, 11:55   #15
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This is all great info. Thanks so much.

Now, when you say the water is "ugly," what does that mean exactly? Is it just brown, is it filthy and you can't swim in it, is it full of trash? (None of that sounds very appealing.)

The winters in both the Galveston and Corpus Christi areas sound great. How about SUMMER, though? I seem to remember that Galveston at least is HOT and overwhelmingly humid. But I can handle that. I think.

It looks like Campbells will have a new Texas cruising guide before the end of the year -- perfect. Their website says they temporarily closed down until they could get everything updated after all the Ike damage. So I hope that guide is ready soon.

Now, I'm strongly leaning toward Texas (mostly for non-sailing reasons), but I'm flexible. What OTHER areas of the Gulf coast offer great sailing, reasonable prices (well, as reasonable as it gets when boats are involved), friendly people, fun places to explore? I'm doing a lot of googling and such to find out, but first-hand accounts are always best, of course.

Y'all are great and I really appreciate ALL of this.

Mike
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