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Old 20-12-2010, 09:52   #1
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Isla Mujeres to MS Gulf Coast

We plan to cross the GOM from Isla Mujeres to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in early May 2011. To better advise crew who will be joining us for the passage (and need to book vacations, flights etc.), I'd appreciate hearing any recent cruising (not racing) experience regarding weather windows and passage time for this crossing. Prior to departure, will have weather forecasts from various sources and input from cruisers on the NW Caribbean Net, so this is for advance planning only.
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Old 20-12-2010, 10:28   #2
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First, I would suggest you rethink crew that will require booking flights and vacation time in advance. Weather is not predictable and can either delay your passage causing crew to miss flights, connection and vacations or cause you to make decisions that might not be in the best interest of the boat and crew to meet a schedule. In May you will have less fronts coming down from the north and lighter winds in the Gulf. But in May we have encountered absolute flat calms requiring motoring for two or more days, and days of 25 to 30 knot winds and some big seas in the Gulf Stream. Passage time will depend on your boat, and weather conditions as well as motoring ability if need be. For May the prevailing winds are mostly out of the Northeast and boat speed will also be affected by the location of the Gulf Loop which extends into the Gulf and then meanders back towards Cuba. I would also add the the NW Caribbean Net might not be the best source of weather for the Gulf Of Mexico and you might consider signing up with Chris Parker for this passage. A lot of variables. Chuck
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Old 20-12-2010, 12:57   #3
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Thanks, Chuck, for the universal advice with which I would agree. I'm aware of the variables, and have been flying in and sailing out of distant ports for years. Interestingly, the Deepwater Horizon blowout/oil spill was the mother of all variables that led us to leave the boat in Isla Mujeres this past May. Weather rules in my decision making regarding going offshore, and my crew knows that. Motoring over flat calms is the least of my worries - I'll carry more than enough diesel to motor at 7 kts all the way across (one benefit of a 42' catamaran with large tankage and storage). I mentioned using various sources of weather input. Input from cruisers actually out on passage via the NW Caribbean Net is one very good source. I participated in that net as we cruised from Panama to Isla Mujeres this year, providing my local conditions and hearing from others all the way to Florida, and the information was excellent. The volunteer weather forecaster was as professional as they come. Our Sirius satellite weather receiver as well as a paid subscription will complement that source. Still, I appreciate all input, and would like to hear from others who have made this passage recently.
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Old 20-12-2010, 13:24   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamuJoe View Post
I mentioned using various sources of weather input. Input from cruisers actually out on passage via the NW Caribbean Net is one very good source. I participated in that net as we cruised from Panama to Isla Mujeres this year, providing my local conditions and hearing from others all the way to Florida, and the information was excellent. The volunteer weather forecaster was as professional as they come. Our Sirius satellite weather receiver as well as a paid subscription will complement that source. Still, I appreciate all input, and would like to hear from others who have made this passage recently.
I completely agree with you on the NW Caribbean Net, my wife Susan has done a stint as net controller. It is great between Panama and Mexico, but you will find the information and boats in the Gulf area sparse, especially just when you plan to cross. You will pretty much get little more than a rehash of the NWS forecasts. I am not a big fan of paid weather routers, but many cruisers use Chris Parker and are very happy. He is a paid subscription service but you can subscribe for a single passage. You will receive a more detailed and customized forecast for your area as you progress and even be rerouted as needed. Good luck with your trip and stay safe out there. Chuck
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