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Old 12-22-2006
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Galveston to Port A in Dec. and Life Raft Rental

Since we missed the Harvest Moon Regatta my GF and I were thinking of making the run from Clear Lake down to Port A for new years. We've mostly sailed west coast so are new to Gulf Sailing. We are timing it with the full moon, but wanted to see if there were any major concerns with this run this time of year?

On a second note, my liferaft was sent back to Givens for inspection. We won't see that thing again until Feb. with the holidays. Anyone know where I can rent a liferaft for ~ week?
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Old 12-22-2006
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After clearing Galveston South Jetty pick up a course southwest. Watch for heavy oilfield, shrimpboat and ship traffic off of Galveston, Freeport,Matagorda and Port A. If you have never sailed in that area of the Gulf, be prepared for NUMEROUS Oil Rigs and Platforms. The closer in the better on that run, rigs and plats fairly scarce between Galveston and Freeport inside of 10 miles, then they start getting thick again after Freeport to Matagorda. Thin out again after Matagorda then thicken up again as you approach Port A. Remember, blinking lights are for unmanned, blinking and steady for manned, AND somewhere on that trip, you will probably come across an UNLIT structure or two.. Also Port Aransas jetties can get crazy with current and tide, and if you decide to come in or go out at Port OíConner(Matagorda), DO NOT come into the bottleneck at a peak flood or ebb. I have seen 10 foot seas in that bottleneck with a strong ebb and a SE wind 15 to 20. POCO jetties looks just like a longneck on radar. That bottleneck in conditions above can get hairy. Iíve seen 6 footers in calm winds on a strong ebb. Shine up your radar reflector. According to your link, you have radar. From sundown to sunup, I would NOT turn it off, put it on low range, and set an alarm. YOU have to be prepared for an unlit platform or oilfield mooring buoy ANYTIME you sail in the northwest GOM. I can not emphasize that point enough. And having a lease block overlay on your Galveston to Rio Grande chart is a fabulous navigational aid, after you learn how to read the address's on those platforms. Someone around CL should be able to show you. Now if you REALLY want to play with the plats and rigs, turn left out of Galveston and head east. Not sure about liferaft rental. Certainly someone in ClearLake. One other point , great fishin, particularly between Matagorda and Port A. Have a good one. Nice lookin boat.
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Old 12-22-2006
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Messenger,

Exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Thanks a lot. I'll ask around the marina and see who can show me the platform address trick. Where did you come across the lease block overlay? I've got a couple of buddies who work for some petro firms, think they could come up with it?

I've downloaded the most recent maps from Maptech and there definatly doesn't seem to be a clear line between any of the ports from Galveston to Port A. Time to tune the old radar. Seems like I saw a website a while back where people where documenting the unlit rigs and stand pipes. Any idea if that is an ongoing project?

Thanks again.

LW
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Old 12-22-2006
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LV, You will be looking for 1117A(Lease Block Galtex to Rio Grande) NOAA has it in Raster off of their site. I would NOT TRUST any internet or otherwise info when it comes to unlit oilfield structures. You have to run figuring there is ALWAYS an unlit structure ahead. It could have been lit last night, and out tonight. I ran 25 knot oilfield boats in that neck of the woods for two and a half decades. Almost NEVER without two radars working, day or night. That old RADAR, seriously consider an upgrade. You missed the Harvest Moon, plenty of folks out there then. You are looking at an ON YOUR OWN trip right now. Not trying to shake you, just run that neighborhood with the mentality of the rest of us oilfield trash. To adhere to that "rule" you would constantly look out for unlit platforms, unlit mooring buoys, and crewboat drivers that just got out of license school. Up in NC now, enjoying retirement, and LEARNING how to sail a 28 footer.
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Study the full moon rise and set times as it shifts an hour each day. You want to pick a night that the moon rises late in the evening and therefore sets later the next morning. That way you maximize your moonlit time. You can see pretty good in a full moon. Once the moon sets it is DARK.
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