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Old 23-03-2010, 10:54   #16
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Also, something to be aware of is the Gulf loop current and the eddies it can spawn. I have never crossed the entire Gulf, but I have sailed well off the Florida coast in the eastern Gulf. On one occasion we encountered a current flowing southeasterly in excess of 3 knots. I don't know much about this phenomenon or whether you can get real time information - apparently it is a transient phenomenon and location and strength can vary. If such strong currents are opposed by strong winds, you could get some nasty wave action which might be quite different from that prevailing in other parts of the Gulf.
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Old 23-03-2010, 11:06   #17
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Yup see this page for forecast currents:
RTOFS (Atlantic) Graphic Nowcasts/Forecasts

I will be able to cross the stream early in my trip and my weather forecasts "should" be accurate for that time period and I will try to pick a good weather window to cross.

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Old 23-03-2010, 11:55   #18
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Latest run of the model now shows the front moving off the coast 123 hours from now.

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Originally Posted by robertvb View Post
I have been watching this page for weather forecasts:
NWW3 Product Viewer

Its model data but it has been pretty good predicting the fronts.
It is predicting a front to blow off the Texas coast around 135 hours from now (about 5 days from now 3/23/10) I think this is from a low that is moving across New Mexico right now.

If I left Key West right now it would put me in the middle of the oil patch of rigs when this front moves off the coast. Not a place I would want to be after reading DW's post. Would the safety fairways marked on the charts be any better?
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Old 24-03-2010, 03:29   #19
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You can stop in at st marks fl.DO NOT TRY IN THE DARK channel very windy.Can also go in Think called cat island pass,takes you to houma nav gicw 60 aprox,Will ck on tiger pass with cg when get to ms.Not in hurry.marc
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Old 24-03-2010, 03:35   #20
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Bill if you decide to come n can go through rocks for open gulf outlet & use batiste collete(sp?),venice jump & in tiger pass.Hope open ,hate crossing ms river & do not care for locks.marc
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Old 24-03-2010, 04:06   #21
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Thanks Marc, if Tiger Pass is closed, then I shall stay in Venice over night get some rest and head south down to the mouth of the Miss. River and go around the horn to Cat Isl Pass to Houma by-pass N.O., then just two locks, Morgan City, and Fresh Water City. All depends on the weather.

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Old 24-03-2010, 04:34   #22
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Can skip fw locks by using 4 mile cut.Just before fw bayou at intercoastal city.Takes you out sw pass(not ms river sw pass) into gulf.Takes you through vermillion bay.Will probably do same as you if tiger pass closed.marc
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Old 24-03-2010, 05:02   #23
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I've seen the cut many times coming in and out of Intercoastal City on Work Boats but never tried to use it because of the depth. My boat draws 6' and the Work Boats drew 9' to 10' and as I remember the cut was shallow. I might get lucky and they have the locks open when trying to exit. Bill
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Old 25-03-2010, 02:48   #24
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Been awhile since I was there but would take fw if any doubt.Icw to caleciu(sp?) very peaceful & easy.One locks just before river.Only bad spot lake misers(sp?Weather going to get bad again here going inside.marc
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Old 25-03-2010, 05:02   #25
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My 2cents, stay well offshore, not a good coast to hug. Make the Galveston approach during the day, the many lights from the refineries blends with the range markers and buoy lights, so it can be very tough to decipher (a million lights all twinkling at you). It can be done at night but with the fatigue of a single-handed crossing, just harder.

Want to reiterate the unlit rig comments, the big ones are easy to spot (big black monsters against the night sky), but the little ones will sink ya just as fast. So plotting a course that takes you through the least density of rigs gives you the best odds.

I have crossed in April twice (crossed a total of 9 times), but with this unusual weather this year I think all bets are off in the "best time to cross" game.

I found Bayou La Fourche a great place to duck in, it is west of the Delta and has a good bunch of dolphin pilings to tie up to and it meets up with the ICW. There may be a better entrance, I just really thought the bayou was enchanting. Also, I haven't been there since the hurricanes. I do not recommend anchoring anywhere near the ICW without an anchor watch, even in designated anchorages. I have almost been run over while anchored so that kind of thing traumatizes a gal.

At the risk of offending the sailing puritans here, the best gulf crossing plan is a good engine, and if you can, enough fuel to make the full crossing.

I love the Gulf, the many shades of blues and greens, the great sunsets and rises, stars stars and more stars. Dolphins playing at the bow, a lone portuguese man-o-war sailing by.. and when the weather is favorable, man oh man it is da sailing bomb!

Have fun!
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Old 25-03-2010, 07:38   #26
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OK folks, one of these days I am agonna come back to Texas. I am very nervous about the oilfields. The big rigs do not concern me at all, what scares the hell out of me is what is out there that you cannot see. We have had some fierce storms in the Gulf over the last few years and I worry about platforms, perhaps not in service, that have very little, if anything visible. Is that a justified fear?

Next, the horror stories I have heard about the shallow water oil fields off Mississippi and Louisanna are discerning at best. How far east is prudent to head to sea to miss that mess? 100 miles out skirts it does it not? From that point how far is it into Galveston? Big deepwater rigs are a plus really, I bet you could tie off to their mooring bouys to catch a few winks and have 360 degree swing. Hell most they could do, if they need it, is wake you up with a horn, assuming the Coasties do not want to get pric3y. The really big ones, like Thunderhorse have Coasties standing off to run you off if you get too close, that was my observation 3 years ago. That was about 75 miles out of freeport.

I have a guessed 600 mile range + 200 mile safety cushion. I will establish just what it is during sea trials. I hope I am not being optimistic. 34 foot mainship, 220 gallons, 250 Cummins. Cruise at 7 to 12 knots. I might put a 50 gallon drum in the cockpit, just to be sure. With this speed I should be able to limit my exposure, assuming sea state allows 7 to 12 knots and realiistically, 12 knots is pushing it and she will get too thirsty at that speed.

Comments? Advice...Please
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Old 20-04-2010, 22:46   #27
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Nick or Robert,next week my boat 38' Hughes will be making the crossing from Ft Myers to Galv. Pilot Charts stated good NE winds. I hope 5 to 7 day crossing. BTW it will be single handed. Best route or Rubline is Ft Myers to Flowe Gardens (Nat Reef) then turn north to Galv. 100NM away. Get back with me and I will tell how the trip went.
Bill have you done the trip yet? If so how did it go?
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Old 08-05-2010, 22:43   #28
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My boat is just about ready, will be heading out Sat May 16 if weather permits. Going to Dry Tortugas for a couple days then crossing to Texas.
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Old 12-05-2010, 20:29   #29
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Robert, with the oil spill you may not be able to make land fall short of Texas. Also if you look at AIS tracking there is alot of traffic south of the delta, so staying well south of that activity would seem prudent to me (you are still single handing right?). About a day out from the Dry tortugas you will get some weird currents pushing you north/south/east/west then it calms to more normal conditions.
Godspeed to your crossing,
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Old 12-05-2010, 21:11   #30
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Thanks Erika! Yes single handed to Galveston.
NOAA has put out a chart with the oil spill projections and so far my route is 100nm south of the spill at the closest point. My worry is the oil keeps moving west and Galveston runs booms between the jetties and closes the port. I guess if that happens I will divert to Corpus Christy.

I did notice the gulf stream makes a horseshoe bend and I get to cross the stream twice and from opposite directions.
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