I would recommend you get Sailflow Pro and start looking at it everyday so you will begin to understand Gulf weather. Many boats have made the trip across the Gulf and if you are familiar with the boat and have good weather it is an easy passage
. When I made my back and forth passages from Mobile to Clearwater, I went out at Pensacola
, in at Destin, then Panama
City. From Panama
City it was along coast to just SW of Cape San Blas then to Clearwater. I was. Advised to check the West Tampa buoy and if forecast
was 10 knots or less and less than 2 feet, Go, otherwise wait. My wife doesn't like uncomfortable seas, so we waited and the crossing south went great. When we returned on our way back to Tennessee in March we waited in Clearwater for a similar forecast
, but this time I routed to the same waypoint about 10 miles SW of Cape San Blas - 30 hours from Clearwater, then headed for the cut at Destin until I was 15 miles offshore
, then went direct to the cut at Pensacola
Bay. Total time to Pensacola Bay from Clearwater was 48 hours. It was 18 NM longer than the direct route
but I had bailout options at Port St Joe, Panama City, Destin and then Pensacola. The weather was great both times.
If you don't have much offshore
experience,then I'd suggest you work out a similar route to LA that gives you several bailouts enroute. I have a generator
we run full time for heat/cooling, a full enclosure to keep us warm and dry and a full compliment of electronics
TV to watch the weather Channel and a Globalstar
and Spot tracker. With all that, it is still about the wind
and waves where you are at the moment. If you don't like your present condition in a sailboat it can take many hours to fix.
The Intercoastal is a beautiful trip and my wife enjoyed the scenery and it helped her get mentally prepared for the crossings. I've been sailing 18 years and was also a former AF pilot in the early 70's. Navigating with what you have is a piece of cake compared to the limited stuff of the 70's.
This can be the trip of your life or it could well be one that makes you sell your boat. I hope it will be the former and can be if you plan well and are patient.
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