Pretty easy overnight run between Tampa-Pensacola areas. As always, the GOM can get bumpy so pick your weather
window carefully...especially in hurricane
season when sqaull activity increases as does the possibility of tropical weather
. Gulf squalls can be intense with lots of lightening so don't take them lightly. Ive had winds go from 5 knots to 50+ in a matter of seconds on the leading edge of a Gulf squall...reef early, reef deep. CAPE/lifted indexes measure atmospheric stability and give a general indication of likelyhood and severity of squalls.
Pilot Chart for July shows a high probability of E-SE winds. Great for Tampa-Pensacola...not so good the other way round. During winter months you can wait for a cold front to shift the winds, but obviously less of an option in summer months. During the summer months big wind
shifts are often associated with tropical weather, not a good weather window. Pilot Chart also shows slight favorable current
(~0.7 kts) for the Tampa-Pensacola run...unfavorable the other way round.
Pick a land fall point anywhere between Port St Joe and Pensacola based on forecast wind
direction...and then cruise
your way over to Biloxi. Other way round, anywhere from Tarpon Springs to Tampa Bay is good. Further N the near coastal waters get shoal way offshore
Also check location of Gulf Loop Current
. Its unusual for it to meander this far NE, but I've run into it 160 nm South of Mobile (also very unusual).