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Old 05-07-2011, 18:12   #1
F51
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Texas to FL Coastal Cruising

Any suggestions as to routes, places to anchor, ICW vs outside etc? We will be leaving in a few weeks and don't want to get too far offshore in hurricane season. If a storm pops up, we would come inshore for safe harbor. There are two of us on a 51' ketch.
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:15   #2
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Re: Texas to FL coastal cruising

We covered that trip in both directions on our Sea Trek site in my signature line. Both times we coastal hopped or stayed in the GIWW. Chuck
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:45   #3
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Re: Texas to FL coastal cruising

I'm just about to do the trip the other way, leave Key West on 28th July looking for a Galveston landfall on 02nd or 03rd August or so, so we could be breathing the same air on the way. Intention is to make a direct sail rather than coast-hop, with the backup plan being to hang a right to the coast if there is a hurricane warning. I looked at the ICW and coastal anchorages, but with 6 ft under the boat good ones seem to be few and far between. I used waterwayguide.com to look for anchorages, but as well as this activecaptain shows a few too. If you do go straight across you might want to be aware of the Gulf Stream hub that circles around 26N/88W, I'm still getting my head around the best use of mid-gulf prevailing currents myself.

Best of luck and fair winds.
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:55   #4
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Re: Texas to FL coastal cruising

Paul & Mimi, If you read our trip with Sea Trek and her 6 foot draft you will see we never worried about an anchorage. There were lots to choose from along the way. The Gulf ICWW is very deep with lots of opportunities to anchor. But each must do what they are comfortable with. Good luck if you decide to sail straight across. This time of year is probably the best time to do that, just keep an eye on possible tropical systems. Chuck
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Old 05-07-2011, 20:11   #5
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Re: Texas to FL coastal cruising

Thanks for the advice Chuck, this eases my mind about using the ICW, as I'm sure it will for F51 also.

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Old 10-07-2011, 01:12   #6
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Re: Texas to FL Coastal Cruising

F51: We've made the trip Texas to Florida three times eastbound (most recently between March and May) and twice westbound. All three eastbound trips were in the ICW plus offshore (Dec 04-Jan 05, ICW to Gulfport MS, then offshore to Pensacola, then offshore to Key West; Feb 08, ICW to New Orleans, Miss River south to Gulf, then offshore to Dry Tortugas; March-May 11, ICW to Biloxi, then offshore hops to Panama City, St. Joe, ICW to Appalachicola, offshore to Tampa, ICW between Tampa and Ft. Myers Beach, offshore to Fl. Keys). Both westbound trips were offshore (Cozumel, Mexico to Galveston Bay in June 05, Key West to Galveston Bay in June 10).

For the Gulf ICW get Skipper Bob's. There is some out of date info (we have a dozen or more corrections to send in after our last trip), but the anchorage info doesn't really change. We've used Skipper Bob's on the east coast ICW and like it, and we liked it for Gulf ICW and the trip along the west coast of Florida also.

For westbound, we enjoyed our passages, but did them at the right time of the year. After listening to a lot of folks who sailed eastbound across the Gulf, I'm convinced we did it right all three times (except that the mouth of the Mississippi isn't really far enough east before heading south - it was still too much of a beat for us and it wasn't a fun passage, although it was March and there may not be many good windows in the gulf in March). Not sure where you're headed, but after skipping it twice we enjoyed cruising the west coast of Florida (the Panama City - St. Joe - Appalachacola bend and then the Tampa - Ft. Myers - Everglades stretch). It was more motorboating and less sailing than we prefer, especially between Tampa and Ft. Myers beach, but we enjoyed it.

We're back in the Chesapeake for the summer.

Good luck.

Dave
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