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Old 16-07-2015, 05:19   #1
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Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

Purchased my first boat last week, Cape Dory 36 and need to sail her to Corpus Christi Marina end of Aug beginning of Sept. Any advice about the area, timing or trip ? I've searched but can't find any postings about this trip.
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Old 16-07-2015, 05:43   #2
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

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Purchased my first boat last week, Cape Dory 36 and need to sail her to Corpus Christi Marina end of Aug beginning of Sept. Any advice about the area, timing or trip ? I've searched but can't find any postings about this trip.
Nice boat. Should make the trip easily. Don't have any experience with that specific route so no help on ports, marinas and such but can offer my opinion on weather in the Gulf of Mexico for that time of year.

First, obviously you will be in the middle of hurricane season so watch the weather and have a plan. Most tropical storms give a lot of warning but occasionally one will form in the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall within a few days so check weather daily.

Since you will be on the move it will be difficult to arrange a haul out for a storm so I would be ready to run away from the forecast track and keep a list of well protected holes to duck into. That of course means make sure you have really good ground tackle.

Check the boat's anchor and rode carefully. If the boat doesn't already have a new generation anchor like a Mantus, Rocna, etc then would be a good investment to buy one before you start. You will need one anyway so may as well go ahead.

Don't forget the second anchor. Could be a lifesaver. I like having a Fortress as a backup. They are unsurpassed for holding power in most soft bottoms but aren't the best all around. Don't forget to check the rode and windlass if you have one. If all chain inspect it for bad links, deep rust, etc.

The only other weather concern is summer on the Gulf you can run into occasional nasty thunderstorms. Usually short lived but the winds can be very strong. Make sure your reefing and furling systems are in good shape and you're practiced on your main's reefing system.

The only other advise is have fun.
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Old 16-07-2015, 05:58   #3
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

I went the other way about a year ago. Got some crew, went south from Port Aransas about 100 miles to the latitude of Tampa Bay and turned left. Took 8 days, lots of motoring. I had a weather window from the Gods for going that direction, going the other way you should have good wind direction with the prevailing winds.

I did not want to go through the offshore oil rigs, neither did I want to deal with the locks and barge traffic on the GICW.
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Old 16-07-2015, 06:41   #4
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

Thanks for the tips. The anchor tip was great. What about food? I tend to WAY over supply when camping. I assumed 8 days on the water. Max hull speed is 7kts.
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Old 16-07-2015, 07:55   #5
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

Congrats on the boat.

As was pointed out, it's the beginning of the high hurricane season so pick your window carefully. Tropical storms can spin up in the gulf very quickly too. The gulf tends to be either dead calm or raging. In the dog days of summer, plan on motoring quite a bit - fuel planning is the key there as is making sure your engine is in shape. Many talk about sailing vs motoring vs motor sailing but given the time of year, you do not want to dawdle in the gulf. Start the motor and get where you are going as soon as you can. With that said, you do have a good angle on the wind and should be on a reach once you get around the Mississippi delta.

Should a storm pop up you will not be able to run off it's track in the gulf. Highly unlikely. Not eough sea room on your course and many rigs and obsticals too. Unfortunately, there aren't many good places to duck into either but there are places you can seek shelter. You will not be able to get to a place to haul your boat in case of a storm (that strategy is debatable anyway unless there are proper tie downs, etc) so make sure you have good ground tackle.

Depending on the time you have and crew, including your weather window, you may want to think about the ditch for part of the trip. Personally, I hate that but it all depends on circumstances.

It's roughly a 600km trip give or take. My planning speed is always around 5kt so that would put you at 5 days. I don't know your boats equipment (reefer/freeezer, storage, etc) but if it's like my friends, who has a CD36 you should have plenty of room for good provisions. Plenty of snacks. You won't realize it but you will be burning many colories on the trip so good food to replace the calories is important.

Assume you have crew, etc?

Have fun on the trip. I haven't done Pcola to CC but I've the CW to Galveston and it was an easy ride.
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Old 16-07-2015, 08:06   #6
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

I anchored out, in a hurricane, in the distant past. In a small bay off the ICW in Florida's West coast. Indian Rocks Beach if I remember correctly.
Two huge anchors all 3/8 in. chain, on my W32. Late pm, all night and early morning.
NEVER AGAIN. Should you drag to shore you may not survive the landing and getting off the boat.
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Old 16-07-2015, 08:28   #7
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

You really need 3-4 people on that trip if offshore. There are too many rigs crew boats and ships to look out for. If short-handed, ICW is the way to go and get fimilar with your new boat. I would also not go w/o good radar and AIS for offshore. The boat is more than capable though. A number of blogs out there describe the trip in detail
Lavita is one that comes to mind.
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Old 16-07-2015, 08:29   #8
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

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Originally Posted by Pirate999 View Post
Congrats on the boat.

As was pointed out, it's the beginning of the high hurricane season so pick your window carefully. Tropical storms can spin up in the gulf very quickly too. The gulf tends to be either dead calm or raging. In the dog days of summer, plan on motoring quite a bit - fuel planning is the key there as is making sure your engine is in shape. Many talk about sailing vs motoring vs motor sailing but given the time of year, you do not want to dawdle in the gulf. Start the motor and get where you are going as soon as you can. With that said, you do have a good angle on the wind and should be on a reach once you get around the Mississippi delta.

Should a storm pop up you will not be able to run off it's track in the gulf. Highly unlikely. Not eough sea room on your course and many rigs and obsticals too. Unfortunately, there aren't many good places to duck into either but there are places you can seek shelter. You will not be able to get to a place to haul your boat in case of a storm (that strategy is debatable anyway unless there are proper tie downs, etc) so make sure you have good ground tackle.

Depending on the time you have and crew, including your weather window, you may want to think about the ditch for part of the trip. Personally, I hate that but it all depends on circumstances.

It's roughly a 600km trip give or take. My planning speed is always around 5kt so that would put you at 5 days. I don't know your boats equipment (reefer/freeezer, storage, etc) but if it's like my friends, who has a CD36 you should have plenty of room for good provisions. Plenty of snacks. You won't realize it but you will be burning many colories on the trip so good food to replace the calories is important.

Assume you have crew, etc?

Have fun on the trip. I haven't done Pcola to CC but I've the CW to Galveston and it was an easy ride.
Good advise using or staying close to the ditch (ICW). I would want quick access to shore if a hurricane pops up. The best place for your boat, if a hurricane comes, is on the hard, strapped down. The second best place is up some inland waterway, tied to shore.

Anchoring out in a hurricane?? That's not something old fat people like me even consider.
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Old 16-07-2015, 08:32   #9
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

Just know this... The Gulf will kick your ass! So, pick your weather window wisely and donot Dilly Dalley
We were in 18 ft. seas & that was just a blow that came up! Tampa to Corpus... But ended up in Mobile due to this storm and damage! Thank God for USCG And Tow Boat US! If you don't have TowBoat US get it.. It's worth it's weight in gold!!
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Old 16-07-2015, 09:00   #10
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
I went the other way about a year ago. Got some crew, went south from Port Aransas about 100 miles to the latitude of Tampa Bay and turned left. Took 8 days, lots of motoring. I had a weather window from the Gods for going that direction, going the other way you should have good wind direction with the prevailing winds.

I did not want to go through the offshore oil rigs, neither did I want to deal with the locks and barge traffic on the GICW.
Sailing South to N 28 deg Latitude will keep you clear of the rigs...

Good luck,
Marc
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Old 16-07-2015, 09:40   #11
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

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Originally Posted by SSgtPitt View Post
Thanks for the tips. The anchor tip was great. What about food? I tend to WAY over supply when camping. I assumed 8 days on the water. Max hull speed is 7kts.
Since you won't be packing it on your back, a little too much food won't kill you. All kind of depends on your preferences, cooking abilities, fridge on board or not and how many will be on the trip.

My wife loves to cook so we tend to carry lots of fresh stuff and basic ingredients.

If you just want to keep off starvation and fill your stomach until you get there then pack a bunch of canned stuff. You can always keep a couple of big bags of rice, spaghetti, canned sauce, beans and similar to fill in the gaps if you run low.

Don't forget you won't be 1000 miles from shore so you can always stop in somewhere to top off the stores.
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Old 16-07-2015, 10:12   #12
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

I sailed by boat from Gulfport, MS to Morgan City, LA last August. Anchored at night. you can cut through the Mississippi River at Venice Louisiana by coming in from the east through Baptiste Collette channel and leaving west down Tiger Pass and cutoff the trip around the mouth of the river. A nice marina with fuel right on the channel at venice called Cypress Cove. Its on Active Captain if you have that. Nice barrier island anchorages along the coast of Louisiana but marinas are pretty much inland so be prepared to haul supplies if you anchor overnight.
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Old 16-07-2015, 11:03   #13
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

My recos.. Wait until Oct., late summer sailing is no fun. Then you have a choice: With at least 3 on board, head south then begin heading west around Lat 27 1/2N to avoid rigs. Rigs aren't a problem normally during day, but some are not lit and during storms (some over 60 knt winds w torrential rain) at night, in pitch dark... big trouble. Try to stay 15 nm south of shipping lanes,, far enough so you won't be blown into them in storm, but close enough for vhf radio contact w ships.. in case. Also check position of Gulf Stream loop at the time of transit. It varies and can run over two knots against you in places. Work out a plan.
Otherwise, if short handed (but don't do any of this solo,, no) sail around the La birds foot, stay 10- 15 nm off beach and go to Galveston. Watch out for Ship Shoals, etc. Study map for depths in advance. Can head into ICW and several places, use Port Fourchon as first ditch. Marina there- go all the way to end of main channel,, then go right to end. If make it thru jetties at Galveston, can anchor right off of Gal Yacht Basin for night... then bounce south down coast offshore or take ICW to Port Aransas depending on how you feel. Remember if you need to rent a slip, you'll need to show docs and proof of insurance. Other comments here, except maybe, cutting thru La. are good. Thoughts re value radar and AIS should be taken seriously.. auto pilot can come in handy form time to time but don't rely on it... have an EPIRB. Food: Canned food, beans/soups, bread and lunch meat, and nuts work well. Have a gallon drinking water/day aboard. Don't buy too many perishables,, but an apple a day... Good luck. Cheers, Pappy
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Old 16-07-2015, 14:36   #14
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

Holy Crap! I guess you can't hit the "Pause" button once the poo hits the fan. I have one very experienced crewman going with me who also knows the boat very well. I know how to cook and fix stuff , but NO sailing experience yet. Have ASA classes end of this month but i know that still gives me little to pull from. I did just buy a Mustang HIT PFD, jack lines and a lanyard though. That'll at least keep me afloat until the sharks come.
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Old 16-07-2015, 18:24   #15
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Re: Pensacola to Corpus Christi Aug/Sept

And I've read John Kretschmers "Sailing a Serious Ocean" and "Flirting w Mermaids", does that count for any experience That guy does some serious sailing.
The boat is in fantastic shape. Hauled out in April for a bottom job with a barrier coat, engine just realigned with the shaft, fuel tanks and fuel scrubbed and polished, Leisure furl on the main, cutter rigged and several new lines, halyards or sheets. New electronics, new auto pilot, 53 gal of fuel, almost 150g of water and a whole of new stuff that makes for comfortable sailing.
Not sure about the 2nd anchor but that's on the newest list.
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