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AJB 13-05-2021 21:37

Galveston to Key West
Need help with route from Galveston to Key West. Long time sailor, never done this route, now doing it on a Boston Whaler Conquest 325. Don't want to take the ICW. Looking for quickest and most efficient way with the fact I am taking a pet and would like to stop about every 200 miles. Eventually going on to Roatan Honduras. Lots of good input on this direction, but looking for specific ports and marinas to stop and refuel and let the dog stretch his legs. Will be more than capable with 450 gallons of fuel.

Thank you in advance!

belizesailor 14-05-2021 05:02

Re: Galveston to Key West
Cruising speed in calmish waters? GPH at this speed?

AJB 14-05-2021 19:07

Re: Galveston to Key West
Best at 2000 RPM, 9 MPH, 5.9 GPH, 1.5 MPG and 4000 RPM 28 MPH, 22 GPH, 1.3 MPG.

AJB 14-05-2021 19:09

Re: Galveston to Key West
Looks like I'll be taking the ICW. Everyone tells me to go with the smooth water and run fast. Same question.

mvweebles 14-05-2021 19:40

Re: Galveston to Key West
For a go-fast boat like yours, you may want to ping forum. This is predominantly a sailing forum.

Not sure how I'd play it, but probably run 8-10 hours or so on outside there isn't much if a ditch until you get to the Clearwater area. I'd have to check charts, but Galveston to somewhere in Louisiana, , then Carabelle, the Ft Myers, then KW. Hop to Isla Mujeres, Puerto Aventuras, then i don't know. Gets pretty quiet. BelizeSailor knows the area south of Yucatan well.

Really nice boat. Would be a really fun run.


belizesailor 17-05-2021 05:47

Re: Galveston to Key West
Yes, I have spent almost 20 years S of the Yucatan now, but...I spent a large part of my life prior along the coasts of the GOM. Ive run almost all of the ICW from TX to SW FL, but its been a long while ago. So, I know that part of the OPs route too. Ive also sailed from Florida to Bay Islands, the next leg of the OPs adventure. So here is a start on my 2c.

I agree that in a smallish planing hull power vessel that a mostly inside route is going to be better. Adding a dog to that, even more so. In a sailing vessel you could just straight shot to Key West which is of course much shorter. However, offshore in a planing hull would concern me...if the conditions get to rough to get up on plane then you are at a distinct disadvantage. So, I would seek to minimize offshore legs.

ICW Route.

First: pick up a copy of the "Waterway Guide", it contains detailed current info on the ICW route.

The TX to LA section is pretty bland (with a few exceptions) so I would seek to mostly just knock that leg out quickly. It is has the heaviest commercial traffic so exercise caution. Small boat marinas are few and far between as are places to the speed potential of this boat is a plus. A couple of good stops along this route are Houma, LA and Morgan City. Both are fun stops with the opportunity to tie up and visit the town. However, be aware that Morgan City is a significant commercial port, the approaches are a dangerous place to be in a small boat. Check in with VTC and be very cautious so you dont get squashed.

Crossing the Mississippi River is an interesting exercise. I grew up on the Big Muddy, it is a powerful, potentially dangerous river, with lots of commercial traffic and sometims big debri like floating trees. The Waterway Guide has all the details.

A little bit of local knowledge on the Mississippi. If you spot a small tree branch sticking out of the water and being unusually stable...there is likely a whole submerged tree attached too! Also get familiar with the bouyage system and rules of the road...they are both different that other near coastal/inland areas. The currents in the Mississippi can be whirlpools the size of houses extreme best to watch for extreme current features and avoid them.

Once you clear the locks into the New Orleans area you have just entered a much more pleasurable leg of the ICW.

More to follow...

belizesailor 17-05-2021 09:57

Re: Galveston to Key West

From New Orleans you can transit Lake Ponchatrain and the Rigolets to Mississippi Sound. From the Rigolets all the way to Port St Joe is a great cruising ground. Small boat facilities exist in every port along the way.

The ICW does not include the "Big Bend" of Florida. So you will need to jump off from Port St Joe or sooner to make the hop across to W Florida. The usual hop is roughly Port St Joe to Tarpon Springs or a bit further S like Clearwater.

The whole W Florida coast from Tarpon Springs S is another great cruising ground. Anchorages and Marinas abound.

The ICW skips a beat again at Marco Island. From there you will need to make the jump outside to Key West.

You can of course pop outside on this route if conditions are favorable, but be aware that the TX - LA coast is very commercialized with loads of rigs and oil patch related commercial traffic. There is a little of this of the MS, AL coasts, but none off FL.


belizesailor 17-05-2021 10:04

Re: Galveston to Key West

Unfortunately to get to Roatan from KW you either have to comit to a long offshore run or back track W across the N coast of Cuba. From the W end of Cuba its about 120nm to Isla Muejers. From there you can coastal hop all the way down to mainland Honduras and then a shortish hop offshore to the Bay Islands. Be foreward however, there have been a lot of security issues off the mainland coast of Honduras.

Either way the fuel bill, wear and tear on the boat, and time is going to be significant. At 32' it could go as deck cargo. Have you considered shipping it to Roatan instead?

TonyNA 12-06-2021 15:35

Re: Galveston to Key West
Beware of muddy water along the ICW. Our trip from Galveston to New Orleans put considerable wear on our cutlass bearing. Normally I get 1000's of hours life from our bearing with very little wear. After just 200 miles of ICW it was worn and rattling. For some reason the tugs park facing bow into the bank and keep their engines running in forward blasting crud into the waterway. We would have gone outside but we departed late in February and frontal frequency would not give us a long enough window to make Galveston to Key West so we gave the ICW a try. My conclusion: Once is enough!

capn_billl 12-06-2021 18:05

Re: Galveston to Key West
Good analysis from Belize sailor.

I looked into this route when I had a powerboat, and 2nd it.

I never did it though as I bought a sailboat, and went the offshore route.

Say hi when you hit Marco Island. I'm at Sanibel Island right now, but will return to Marco Island soon.

Then I will go to Key West, and Dry Tortugas.

Once you hit Marco Island We will both be offshore anyway.

My favorite stopping points are Indian Key, then straight to Content Key.

Benz 13-06-2021 03:29

Re: Galveston to Key West
Many years ago a fellow cruiser was going to write a cruising guide to the Gulf coast of Mexico. I'd seriously look into that option, as it's dotted with harbors, avoids any big offshore jumps, and is far shorter.
Dunno if he ever published it, but given how cool cruising is on the other side of MEX, it might be a good option.

Group9 13-06-2021 03:37

Re: Galveston to Key West
I’ve done that route before on the ICW. Once you get past New Orleans, it’s one of my favorite trips.

belizesailor 16-06-2021 12:24

Re: Galveston to Key West

Originally Posted by Group9 (Post 3425303)
Iíve done that route before on the ICW. Once you get past New Orleans, itís one of my favorite trips.

Mine too! Great section of the Gulf Coast from NOLA to Port St. Joe.

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