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Old 01-09-2008, 06:45   #1
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North Carolina to Corpus Christi in October

My husband and I have purchased a new 47' sailboat and are planning on taking it from Southport NC to Corpus Christi in October. We are of course very worried about hurricane activity. Does anyone have any experience with this or tips. With a 7 ft draft and 64 ft mast the ICW isn't an option!

Thanks in advance for all of your help.
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:48   #2
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I sailed from Savannah to Seabrook(between Galveston and Houston) in July a few years back in my Gulfstar 41. Crew was myself, my wife and two small boys ages 2 and 7. Plan to take a lot of time. I thought two weeks would be plenty, but it took three.

The IC is mostly ok for your size boat, but you can't cut across mid FL due to low bridges. There are whole lot of bridges with opening restrictions in south florida so plan a lot of dead time there if you go inside.

The sail down the outside is against the gulfstream and mostly involves a lot of short tacking down the shore. We chose the outside because the currents in the GA ICW are very strong and it gets really old making 1 knot for 5 hours at a time. We tried stopping and waiting for a favorable current, but the bugs carry you off bit by bit.

As to the weather exposure, you can stay near ports most of the trip and just watch it carefully. The only really scary part is when you jump out into the gulf from key west and motor for 3-4 days. The gulf was like glass the whole crossing. Nowhere to hide there. We had a weatherfax hookup and were able to monitor the weather closely, but these days things happen in a hurry. We went in at Grand Isle La due to lack of wind and fuel capacity and had some hellacious(sp?) thundersqualls with 70kt. winds as we approached through the oil rigs. Maybe staying south would have less of this.

Hope this helps you a bit...

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Old 01-09-2008, 07:55   #3
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Have a look at our website. Lots of info on our current trip and the one we took 2 years ago to get to Houston. October may not be a good month to travel. But who knows. 64 foot mast will be OK but watch some ICW bridges at high tide. Some parts of the Gulf ICW will not be do-able because of bridges, but only small sections. Have a current set of paper charts for the entire trip.
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Old 01-09-2008, 10:31   #4
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We haven't made part of the trip you're wanting to do but Tampa to Appalachacola is an easy overnight, Appalachacola is a nice little town to visit. From there the ICW is beautiful and easy to St. Joseph's Bay where you can cut out and re-enter the ICW at Pensicola. From there it's another easy and beautiful trip to Mobile Bay. From Mobile to New Orleans one can coastal hop or do an offshore passage. From New Orleans to Corpus Cristi Texas the ICW is easy (be mindful of the commercial traffic) and scenic. Lots of good small towns and wonderful people to meet along the way. The Barway's Guide is the best tool for doing this part of the ditch. Or if not interested in the icw then of course an offshore trip can be done. Just check your weather forecasts for a good window.
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Old 01-09-2008, 20:05   #5
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You can certainly do many sections of the ICW if the weather is snotty, but otherwise suggest you harbor hop coastally in 1-2 day jumps since doing long offshore passages will put you out against prevailing currents and winds and is difficult doublehanded.
Suggest you get a copy of Doyles Guide to SE US inlets which is a wonderful supplement to the charts and provides more current information and waypoints and photos which help a great deal in unfamiliar inlets. I suggest you allow three weeks of hops to get to key west and have time to rest and explore a bit after passages. Can't provide advice on the jump across from key west. Good luck.
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Old 01-09-2008, 20:17   #6
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We are in Corpus Christi - PLEASE look us up when you arrive/or are near!

If you can, get your hands on a copy of the Texas Cruising Guide. If you don't have a copy, let me know: and I'll send you our copy. The ICS from NO to Corpus Christ should be fine for you.

Frankly, if I were doing this, I'd pick a window without a norther, and come across the gulf to Port Aransas. However, if you have the time, don't miss the Texas ICW. With time, it's just plain fun.

Feel free to contact us.

Bill Streep
San Antonio/Port Aransas, TX
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