Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 19-06-2014, 19:00   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Kemah, Texas
Boat: Nauticat 43, Hunter 170
Posts: 65
Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

I am interested in advice about motoring down from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The final destination is west of the Mississippi. The sailboat is 43 feet long, has almost a 14 foot beam, and has a 6 foot 3 inch draft. Presumably, the mast would be removed and shipped separately for re-assembly where the river empties into the Gulf. In particular, can a motor trip be made down the Illinois and Mississippi to the Mississippi Delta? Or, is the Mississippi too wild a river for a motoring sailboat? Or, would it be preferable to take the Illinois to the Mississippi to the Ohio to the Tennessee to the Tenn Tom to Mobile? What's the accuracy of a chartplotter?
__________________

__________________
Ded reckoner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2014, 19:19   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Slidell, LA
Boat: Beneteau First 375
Posts: 178
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

Personally, I wouldn't care to go down the Mississippi on a sailboat. I used to work at a refinery right on the river and I've seen what kind of traffic goes up and down there, but every now and then we actually would see a sailboat. Amazingly enough, a neighbor couple brought their outboard-powered Hunter 25 down to New Orleans from St. Louis on the river, so it is possible if you are determined. I have no idea where you would stop overnight, or get groceries or fuel. I'm sure it would be an adventure.
BTW, if you intend to go west of the river at the Gulf, you would enter the GIWW at the Harvey locks at New Orleans.
__________________

__________________
sandy stone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2014, 19:50   #3
Registered User
 
J Clark H356's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Grand Rivers, KY
Boat: Hunter 2003 356 - Persistence
Posts: 490
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

Most make the trip going down the Tenn-Tom and putting the mast back up at Turner Marine in Mobile. Start looking at the Great Loop. I'm familiar with the Tennessee River down to Mobile section. I have been down twice and back north once. Your boat will make it fine with the mast down. You may need jerry cans of fuel for some legs depending on your tank and fuel burn. If you would like more information, let me know your email and I will send you our blog detailing our last winter trip from Kentucky Lake to Punta Gorda, FL and return. It will enlighten you about the Tennessee, Tenn-Tom, mast down and up and portions of the northern Gulf Intercoastal and West Fl Intercoastal from Clearwater to Charlotte harbor
__________________
J Clark H356 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2014, 22:28   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Paradise
Boat: Various
Posts: 2,243
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

Illinois to Mississippi to Ohio to Tennessee to Tenn Tom to Gulf is the preferred path. A great place to learn more about the route is captainjohn.org. This is part of the Great Loop. Once you make it to Mobile Bay then you have intracoastal along the gulf to your destination.

One matter of concern whichever route you choose is fuel capacity and range. What is your range? Are you diesel? This is especially an issue were you to try the lower Mississippi.

Plus the Ohio to TN to TN Tom is a beautiful route and an area that merits days, weeks and even months.
__________________
BandB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2014, 06:52   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 4,757
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

You will need to drop the mast at Chicago (plenty of marinas can help).

You can ship the mast or the more common option is to set up supports on deck. Just make sure it is well secured. A large tow fighting it's way upstream on the mississippi thows a heck of a wake.

North of St. Louis, there are plenty of facilities available.

South of St. Louis, it's a lot of miles between faciliites so you need fuel range and a plan for anchoring out. I believe there are a couple of 350mile runs between facilities, though your range is augmented by the current.

Most take the tenn-tom option because once you hit the Kentucky Lakes, you are back to plentiful facilities and moderate currents but you still need a decent range.

At 43', I assume you have an air draft over 50', so you would need to get to Mobile before raising your mast. If you are under 50', you can take a chance that the rivers aren't high and put the mast up at the Kentucky Lakes area.

If it's a deliever run, I would consider the full Mississippi route as 100 mile days during daylight are very doable.
If the trip is part of the fun, I would suggest the Tenn-Tom route as we find anchoring on the fast flowing Mississippi stressful.
__________________
valhalla360 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2014, 08:58   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Paradise
Boat: Various
Posts: 2,243
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
You will need to drop the mast at Chicago (plenty of marinas can help).

You can ship the mast or the more common option is to set up supports on deck. Just make sure it is well secured. A large tow fighting it's way upstream on the mississippi thows a heck of a wake.

North of St. Louis, there are plenty of facilities available.

South of St. Louis, it's a lot of miles between faciliites so you need fuel range and a plan for anchoring out. I believe there are a couple of 350mile runs between facilities, though your range is augmented by the current.

Most take the tenn-tom option because once you hit the Kentucky Lakes, you are back to plentiful facilities and moderate currents but you still need a decent range.

At 43', I assume you have an air draft over 50', so you would need to get to Mobile before raising your mast. If you are under 50', you can take a chance that the rivers aren't high and put the mast up at the Kentucky Lakes area.

If it's a deliever run, I would consider the full Mississippi route as 100 mile days during daylight are very doable.
If the trip is part of the fun, I would suggest the Tenn-Tom route as we find anchoring on the fast flowing Mississippi stressful.
The longest fuel stretches are:

Using the TN Tom route it's 250 miles.

Using the lower Mississippi, it's 376 miles for diesel and 450 miles for gasoline.
__________________
BandB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2014, 18:44   #7
Registered User

Join Date: May 2014
Location: On the hard in the RV
Posts: 107
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

I read a thread the other day (darn it now I can't remember if it was even on this board) about a couple sailing down the Mississippi (they had to motor quite a bit); I remember reading something about being able to purchase fuel from a barge terminal. (Eta, he said he heard that you could buy fuel there but didn't verify)...

If I find the thread in my history, I'll post it. He said they enjoyed it and though they have no plans to do it again, they would if it came down to saying if they would or wouldn't do it again.
__________________
Spleen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2014, 18:46   #8
Registered User

Join Date: May 2014
Location: On the hard in the RV
Posts: 107
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

Ah ha! That was quick-- found it... It was the lower Mississippi:

Anyone Ever Sail the Lower Mississippi River ?

Hope that helps... It was an interesting read.
__________________
Spleen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2014, 19:14   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Paradise
Boat: Various
Posts: 2,243
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spleen View Post
I read a thread the other day (darn it now I can't remember if it was even on this board) about a couple sailing down the Mississippi (they had to motor quite a bit); I remember reading something about being able to purchase fuel from a barge terminal. (Eta, he said he heard that you could buy fuel there but didn't verify)...

If I find the thread in my history, I'll post it. He said they enjoyed it and though they have no plans to do it again, they would if it came down to saying if they would or wouldn't do it again.
That's possible but always a gamble. Also typically diesel only and depends on quantity. They're not going to be real happy to bring a truck out to give someone 100 or 150 gallons. Basically anytime you can find a dock to tie to and it's somewhere a truck can reach, then it's possible. I've known people in other areas to get companies that only delivered home oil to deliver.
__________________
BandB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2014, 19:26   #10
Registered User
 
Capt Doug's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: ON the Boat /Ft Myers Beach
Boat: Seafarer 38C
Posts: 59
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

Get your mast down in Chicago, JPYC (Jackson Park Yacht Club) south end of lake michigan build saw horse frames and keep your mast with you. I have delivered sailboats from Lake Michigan, Once all the way down the Mississippi, not for the faint of heart, NOT any fun. The Ten-Tom was a much more laid back trip, and has continued to improve, with the Loopers adding to demand for services. Most all comments about Mobile I agree with. Bonus will be the trip west from Mobile Bay to New Orleans. If you are in a god awful hurry, put the boat and mast on a truck..Good Luck
__________________
Capt Doug says:
If at First you don't succeed, Take a NAP!
Capt Doug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2014, 16:10   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Kemah, Texas
Boat: Nauticat 43, Hunter 170
Posts: 65
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

I appreciate all the input offered considering these two routes. It makes the choice a lot easier having the overwhelming consensus for the route to Mobile.

The boat uses diesel and has twin tanks with combined capacity over 250 gallons. This should give us a good range even while we try to make good time.

Capt Doug, thanks for your encouragement on the route to Mobile. The boat has a height in its cradle of 14 feet 9 inches. For a boat of this height, apparently you need to deliver it on water since too many/almost all road bridges have a lower clearance. As a result, when you can get a quote, costs are prohibitively expensive by trucking.

It seems like a lot of locks will be encountered. Is going through these routine, or are there any special considerations for some of them?

Also, what is the accuracy of a chartplotter for the rivers Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Tombigbee?
__________________
Ded reckoner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2014, 16:26   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Paradise
Boat: Various
Posts: 2,243
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ded reckoner View Post
I appreciate all the input offered considering these two routes. It makes the choice a lot easier having the overwhelming consensus for the route to Mobile.

The boat uses diesel and has twin tanks with combined capacity over 250 gallons. This should give us a good range even while we try to make good time.

Capt Doug, thanks for your encouragement on the route to Mobile. The boat has a height in its cradle of 14 feet 9 inches. For a boat of this height, apparently you need to deliver it on water since too many/almost all road bridges have a lower clearance. As a result, when you can get a quote, costs are prohibitively expensive by trucking.

It seems like a lot of locks will be encountered. Is going through these routine, or are there any special considerations for some of them?

Also, what is the accuracy of a chartplotter for the rivers Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Tombigbee?
Locks will be routine by the time you finish. Plus you'll go through the only electrified area I'm familiar with. Nothing navigation wise too staggering. Lots of commercial traffic. You say over 250 gallons. What is your usage at various speeds? I would think at least 1 nm/gal at speed, but curious if you're measured it through a Floscan or other meter.
__________________
BandB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2014, 18:18   #13
Registered User
 
J Clark H356's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Grand Rivers, KY
Boat: Hunter 2003 356 - Persistence
Posts: 490
Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

I found the C-map Chicago to Mobile chart very accurate, but there is not a lot of detail on the Tenn Tom portion. Once you start down that portion, just stay mostly in the middle third of the river and pay attention to the buoys. You will see snags that seemed to me to occur on the outer 1/3. I had AIS and radar and you will need both. I also have a very strong LED GOLight remote controlled from a hand held. I used them all. I ran in zero zero conditions many times during foggy mornings. I also made it a point to enter each curve on the inside of the curve, but at least 1/3 of the way from the inner bank. I didn't hit anything. I would encourage you not to cut too close to the bank.

I supplemented my Raymarine system with the IPhone Navionics app as well as the IPhone and Ipad INavX program. I have a Digital Yacht IAIS that wirelessly would send AIS to the INavX app so I used it a lot to know where the tows were. I had my temporary VHF radio antenna on a 10 foot length of PVC U bolted to a stanchion and got around 8 mile AIS range which is plenty on the Tennessee and Tenn-Tom waterway for AIS. I typically get 35 and sometimes much more with my antenna mounted on my mast.
__________________
J Clark H356 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-06-2014, 18:40   #14
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: May 2012
Location: New Orleans
Boat: We have a problem... A serious addiction issue.
Posts: 3,940
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

I live in New Orleans, and grew up on the Tenn-Tom. Don't bring your boat down the Mississippi if you don't have to. Hull damage is common, drive damage is routine, and running aground for a sailboat is to be expected.

To give you a feel for how dangerous the lower Mississippi can be A friend of mine owns a tow boat company, and routinely need to swap crew out on tugs while they are on the river. To do this they need three operational powerboats. To achieve three operating all the time they own six. It's suck a big problem they are seriously investigating switching to hovercrafts so they don't have to have anything in the water.
__________________
Greg

- If animals weren't meant to be eaten then they wouldn't be made of food.
Stumble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2014, 08:40   #15
Registered User
 
Stu Jackson's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Cowichan Bay, BC (Maple Bay Marina)
Posts: 6,265
Re: Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

issGee, another "Oh, God, you're gonna die!" OR "Sure, go for it, you only live once!" threads

Like much else in life, research is helpful as are these replies.

On a somewhat lighter note, Jonathan Raban (a very fine author) wrote a book about going down the Ole Miss. A great read.

Dunno if anyone else has written something so fine about the TennTom, I doubt it, but not because of the subject mattere, but because of the quality of the author.

Den dere's da blogs - might be a few, ya tink?
__________________

__________________
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
Stu Jackson is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
great lakes, gulf of mexico, Mexico

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Great Lakes to the Gulf? nm505man Great Lakes 21 26-04-2013 15:09
For Sale: Chart Books and Cruising Guides: Great Lakes to the Gulf: Chicago to Mobile, AL Weehappy Classifieds Archive 2 14-02-2011 09:17
Your great, great [big number] great grandparents might have been cruisers, too. steve_hendry Off Topic Forum 1 18-02-2010 10:35
Waterway Closure Near Chicago - Affects Great Lakes Boats Transiting South to Gulf! teneicm Cruising News & Events 2 10-09-2009 11:49
Great Lakes Regional Forum irwinsailor Forum Tech Support & Site Help 1 26-02-2003 21:41



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:38.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.