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Old 05-09-2015, 09:41   #1
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Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

Looking for advice on these two areas.

Which area is the best for daysailing and weekending?

Would like to bring my Com-Pac 23 to one or the other for use while there is snow at home.

Which has best availability and lowest slip cost. More importantly, which has the best and safest conditions?

Thanks for the assist?
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Old 05-09-2015, 11:08   #2
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

they are both fun sailing, they both suck in storm conditions.. they are both shallow bodies of water, therefore get very busy in lesser gales....they both have hiding places to anchor.
unless you are a super fan of gumbo, it is pretty much same conditions in windy situations, they both have tboomers pretty much daily and both are beautiful. i already sailed mobile bay a lot, and some ponchartrain, but not much.
wouldnt wanna be out in either one in a squall or tboomer situation.
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Old 05-09-2015, 15:34   #3
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

Agree they are both great spots. Haven't sailed either in many years so dont know current slip rates, but there are several marinas to chose from in each. Take a look at Active Captain for recent comments.

Mobile Bay has more commercial traffic, but mostly just in the main channel.

They have a great mini-cruising ground in between them, Mississippi Sound, so why choose? Lauch your boat at one, sail there for a while, then cruise over to the other.

The entire area can get rough in strong winds, but stops are a day sail apart so easy to pick a good weather window.
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Old 06-09-2015, 05:52   #4
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, SoloSailing.
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:52   #5
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

I sail on the lake, but have done Mobile Bay a lot as well. They are really similar. The Lake is easier to navigate since there are no shallows, but neither are difficult. As mentioned both can be horrific in strong breeze. The shallow depth and long fetch leads to tightly packed waves.
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:10   #6
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

Thank you for all the great information.

I am now retired and find myself day sailing and weekending most of the time.

Am also out by myself so would avoid any days where the wind is blowing or bad weather is a real possibility.

I am leaning towards the lake because of its proximity to New Orleans. Not a super fan of gumbo, but there are other great eats in town!
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:04   #7
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

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Originally Posted by SoloSailing View Post
Thank you for all the great information.

I am now retired and find myself day sailing and weekending most of the time.

Am also out by myself so would avoid any days where the wind is blowing or bad weather is a real possibility.

I am leaning towards the lake because of its proximity to New Orleans. Not a super fan of gumbo, but there are other great eats in town!
Lots of other great grub in the area. New Orleans is a foodies wet dream of course.

One of my favorites in the region is a seafood place near Bay St Louis called "Jordan River Steamers"...I hear it survived Katrina.
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:03   #8
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

You are not kidding!

My weakness is a heart attack heaven called Willie Mae's Scotch House.

Placed was destroyed during Katrina but the locals pitched in and helped get the place re-opened.

The fried chicken there is incredible!
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:29   #9
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

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Am also out by myself so would avoid any days where the wind is blowing or bad weather is a real possibility.

Heed Zee's post on thunderstorms, they do come out of nowhere and can be quite violent, so be prepared.
Wasn't there a very bad incident this year in Mobile Bay from Thunderstorm?
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:40   #10
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

Yep. The Dolphin Island race this year. Many boats lost and worse still loss of several lives. Very sad.

Conditions hid the formation of a very strong cell. Several boats from my home marina came back with shredded sails and stories to tell.


I was 14 miles away at anchor in a well protected bayou and got laid on my ear for several minutes, twice.
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:46   #11
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

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Heed Zee's post on thunderstorms, they do come out of nowhere and can be quite violent, so be prepared.
...
Yes, Ive been in races in the area with boats very close by reporting 50-60 knot gusts and just light to moderate winds at our location.
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Old 08-09-2015, 19:21   #12
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Re: Mobile Bay vs Lake Pontchartrain

Have lived on and sailed Pontchartrain for over 50 years. Pontchartrain was named by Native Americans and translates to mean "dangerous waters". And that she is, as is Mobile Bay. Recently six sailors died on the bay in April in a race from Fairhope to Dauphine Island. Both very shallow and rough with not too much wind needed to produce truly terrible conditions.

Pontchartrain is Great day sailing, and light cruising. Wonderful for your boat, as we sailed her extensively in our South Coast 23 back when we were much younger. The North Shore offers Mandeville, Madisonville, Bayou Lacombe, Bayou Liberty, Bayou, Oak Harbor and Eden Isles. Great cruising. Many reasonable Marinas are available. On the western end of the lake is Lake Maurapas with many Rivers to explore and great hurricane holes for those with air draft under 50'. Not too much on the South Shore, although two or three marinas are there.

Have sailed Mobile Bay many times enroutre to Florida. Similar to Pontchartrain but debth is generally less, with the exception of the Ship Channel. Lived aboard at Dog River for awhile. Mobile Bay does offer a short run to the east to Big Lagoon, Pirates Cove, Ingrams Bayou, etc. better cruising than Pontchartrain but I would say that day sailing is totally equal.

Marinas are good on Mobile Bay too., Fly Creek, Turner Marine, Dog River.

If I had to choose I would pick Mobile Bay as it is really close to Pensacola, and better anchorages.

PM us if you need more info or if we can help.
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