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Old 31-10-2019, 12:13   #1
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Gulf Mexico Weather Dec-Jan

Myself and a friend have the opportunity to deliver a pretty much state of the art 40-45 ft racing boat from the St Pete area to Galveston. I have roughly 25 years of mostly coastal cruising. He has about the same number of years but with a delivery to Aruba as well as trips to Belize. I had a 6-pack license, which I let expire. He holds 100 ton ticket. That should provide some background.
The owner would like the delivery in Dec-Jan. Preference is for a straight shot lasting 5-7 days, maybe better.
We are aware of the problem with oil rigs but what kind of winds and sea state might we most likely encounter?
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Old 31-10-2019, 13:00   #2
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Re: Gulf Mexico Weather Dec-Jan

It could be the best of times or the worst of times. Since you are up in Tarpon Springs you know the weather patterns. Me? I would study the long range gribs and leave when a cold front has just passed and blowing N-NE and ride the favorable wind. Next question is TV route or through the oil fields.

My experience is offshore waves in the GOM are just as ugly as the inshore ones.
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Old 31-10-2019, 13:06   #3
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Gulf Mexico Weather Dec-Jan

True Snore. The shallow water is a curse for waves and all too often they come from everywhere. Like being in a food processor. Iíll check the pilot charts but I have to get them back from the guy that borrowed them.

Iím told there are charts and such for the platforms and workboats but of questionable quality. Probably need to light up spreaders.

Thanks for the response.
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Old 31-10-2019, 13:40   #4
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Re: Gulf Mexico Weather Dec-Jan

I have sailed the Gulf quite a lot - particularly from Pensacola to Florida's west coast. I have also done a delivery from south Louisiana to Galveston and got into the worst storm I have ever sailed in (sustained 50 kt winds gusting to 70). Fortunately we were on a heavy boat (Bristol 52). I agree with Snore's comment that offshore waves are generally not too much better than inshore in the Gulf. When the Gulf gets churned up, its typically a washing machine rather than long rolling waves.

I have been through the area of oil platforms off the Louisianna and Texas coast. If you look at the charts there are safety fairways marked. I have seen unmarked structures, and understand there are smaller pipes and structures that may not be marked. So we tried to stay in the fairways.

Personally, I always try to be conservative when route planning and have "bail out" options. This is particularly important if you don't know the boat well. So I would probably tend to head NW rather than straight across so as to have some coastal bail-out options in case of problems or weather. But that's just my preference as I am a firm believer that the most dangerous thing on a boat is a calendar.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:44   #5
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Re: Gulf Mexico Weather Dec-Jan

Emphasize many not lighted structures out there, radar is almost a must have and use. Worst storm I've ever been through was in late October, just rounding the Miss. Delta, a strong cold front. Huge seas and winds up to 70 knots. Cold as well. Very uncomfortable wave pattern in GOM. Like said washing machine conditions.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:55   #6
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Re: Gulf Mexico Weather Dec-Jan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ndavies View Post
I have sailed the Gulf quite a lot - particularly from Pensacola to Florida's west coast. I have also done a delivery from south Louisiana to Galveston and got into the worst storm I have ever sailed in (sustained 50 kt winds gusting to 70). Fortunately we were on a heavy boat (Bristol 52). I agree with Snore's comment that offshore waves are generally not too much better than inshore in the Gulf. When the Gulf gets churned up, its typically a washing machine rather than long rolling waves.

I have been through the area of oil platforms off the Louisianna and Texas coast. If you look at the charts there are safety fairways marked. I have seen unmarked structures, and understand there are smaller pipes and structures that may not be marked. So we tried to stay in the fairways.

Personally, I always try to be conservative when route planning and have "bail out" options. This is particularly important if you don't know the boat well. So I would probably tend to head NW rather than straight across so as to have some coastal bail-out options in case of problems or weather. But that's just my preference as I am a firm believer that the most dangerous thing on a boat is a calendar.

I agree 100% here. This is what I was going to type. Better to add a couple days to the route then get caught out in the Gulf in a blow. It has a nasty tendency to change its mind and blow like hell with steep short period waves. There are lots of Bailout points with hot food and cold beer.

Also, agree with Snore, leaving on the heels of a cold front should provide several good (but cold) sailing days of stable weather.
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Old 01-11-2019, 14:02   #7
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Re: Gulf Mexico Weather Dec-Jan

I agree with the others , if its a strong north wind low tides can , will be very low at times,stay dead center in the channels be cautious of large barges near the coast and they travel at night with minimum lights, confused seas can occur, in windy, stormy conditions, extra fuel filters are great. good luck.
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