Cruisers & Sailing Forums (
-   Atlantic & the Caribbean (
-   -   Tampa to Galveston:outside, inside or both (

mangomuffins 25-02-2008 14:32

Tampa to Galveston:outside, inside or both
Coasting/ICW Tampa to Galveston
Any preferences, comments, advice, etc on this topic?
If the weather is good...outside?
If not...inside?

I've done some ICW and know that it can be difficult to find overnight anchoring/mooring, tugs etc.
On the other hand... Offshore in a Norther (headed West) can be brutal not to mention obstacles like oil platforms and such.
My general thought is to go coastwise and then duck in if the weather kicks up.



markpj23 25-02-2008 14:49

I've done the New Orleans to Corpus Christi section. I highly recommend Skipper Bob's guide to the ICW.

Don't know what your air draft is, but there is a 50ft max clearance bridge at Houma, LA. Some sections where you could jump out for the day would require a 90+ nm day to the next inlet, for example Belle Pass LA to Pt AuFer. I was caught offshore at dusk and did not want to risk going in Pt AuFer for the first time at dusk. Based upon the current we encountered the next morning it was the right choice.

LOTS of damaged / abandoned oil rigs since the hurricanes a few years ago. Most / some will not be lighted and this is a real hazard. You can stay in the safety fairways but that may take you further out than you'd like to be.

Best option might involve extra crew / watch standers. You could follow a tug in the ICW after dark or stay in the safety fairways for 2 or 3 days to get Louisiana behind you. Perhaps your draft is shallow enough that finding a good spot off the ICW to anchor would not be too difficult. For my 6ft draft it was an issue.


mangomuffins 25-02-2008 15:39

Thanks for the input. Draft is 4'.
I used to go between Galveston and Port A all the time so I am reasonably familiar with the Tx coast. Are you liveaboard in Port A?

Anyone else??


Lynx 26-02-2008 03:51

Inside. Far to much outthere for a nightime passage in a small boat.

markpj23 26-02-2008 06:54


Originally Posted by mangomuffins (Post 137976)
...Are you liveaboard in Port A? mm:viking:

Nah... more of a "work-aboard" at this point. Getting there.... :D

AnchorageGuy 26-02-2008 11:24

Click on our website on my signature and find the post "Welcome Home". From that point on we cover from western Florida to Houston so you might get some info.

mangomuffins 26-02-2008 15:29


Small boat...big difference if you run into an unlighted platform.;)

Chuck, I'll check it out.

Thanks everyone else.


Panama Dave 28-02-2008 07:02

I've done the trip several times and prefer offshore, way offshore. Sail straight out, stay at least 300 miles out till Galveston bears NW then sail straight in. It will take about 8 days in your boat and only the last 24 hours or so will be in the rigs.
Be sure your boat is ready for a long offshore passage before you take my advice.
Good luck,

PBzeer 28-02-2008 07:12

Making the passage west to east, we went Galveston to the Calcesieu River to get on the ICW, then through New Orleans, and back offshore to Pensacola. Ditch to Destin, then offshore 3 days to Tampa.

shirley 05-03-2008 06:40

If weather permits, go outside
If you go ICW, you have nothing but barge traffic, and very few good places to anchor & even fewer to tie up. The cruising guides we had were pre-Katrina. Katrina has wiped out everything from Gulfport to Tx. Louisiana is a long way with no where to stop. We just did the ICW from Pensacola to Galveston in October. We have a shallow draft (4.5) and it was a chore the whole time staying in deep water. You definitely can't use autopilot--too much traffic.

Going outside: we went outside from just south of Galveston (Palacios) to Key West. There is some oil rig traffic until you get into the really deep water (just outside 20-30 miles off). After that, you have the ocean to yourself. Here's the problem with that, though (or maybe it was just our problem): we left in January right after a small norther and with another predicted behind it. We were hoping that we would have just the right amount of wind. . .

After day one of great sailing, the wind died for a day. Then it picked up, and boy, did it pick up. We had 10-20 foot seas with 20-30 knots of wind blowing the rest of the trip: 8 days. We were sailing with just a double reefed main (until we blew it out) and doing 8.5 kts!

SO: it's a toss up. Good luck with your decision.

GordMay 05-03-2008 13:35


Originally Posted by shirley (Post 140301)
... We had 10-20 foot seas with 20-30 knots of wind blowing the rest of the trip: 8 days. We were sailing with just a double reefed main (until we blew it out) and doing 8.5 kts!

Not to discount a less than ideal (boisterous) passage; but a decent mainsail should handle a fresh to moderate breeze (20 - 29 Kts), driving a boat to less than hull speed ( 8.5 kts vs 8.8 to 9.0) - and certainly when double reefed.
I think your sail was probably about "due".

shirley 05-03-2008 17:14

The sail was "about due," but when we met some other sailors that made a much shorter version of our trip in the same storm, we learned that they were in the same boat (sorry for the pun) with brand new sails. It was quite the storm!

Well, where's the fun in a trip if there's no story to tell afterwards, right? In the words of my husband, "It was an adventure!"

boto 06-03-2008 18:52

Well, we're looking to do the opposite, Galveston to Key West. The general concensus seems to be head off shore (100ml), then head east, in this way avoid traffic and rigs. I understand this is an east to west thread, however, does anyone have a west to east comment?

Panama Dave 10-03-2008 06:33

We have done the trip both ways several times. At 100 miles you will still be in the rigs, 200 miles is better. Off Louisiana there are a few rigs 300 miles out but they are generally large and well lit. Searoom will give you options when the weather turns nasty anyway. Leave early in the morning, Head straight out for at least 150 -200 miles and you will only be in the larger (more likely to be lit) rigs for one night. When are you going? We are headed out again in Nov. for Mex & the western Carib.

mangomuffins 18-03-2008 13:25

Dear All,

It took a while for me to check on the thread.
Thanks for all the comments, info and advice.

I will also be posting a thread looking for info for a key west to jamaica run.
Jump in if you have an opinion:D

M. M.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 15:43.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.