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post #1 of 7 Old 07-27-2007 Thread Starter
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crossing the Gulf of Mexico

I'm getting ready to cross the gulf from south Texas to Florida. I will be on a 50' cat and could use a few tips. I've been sailing all my life, this is just the first time I've cut straight across. What should I expect and what extras should I take.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-28-2007
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Originally Posted by carterb View Post
I'm getting ready to cross the gulf from south Texas to Florida. I will be on a 50' cat and could use a few tips. I've been sailing all my life, this is just the first time I've cut straight across. What should I expect and what extras should I take.
I have not done it, but I have a brother who has. The biggest dangers are the abandoned oil platforms, some of which are unlit. A lot of people stay within sight of shore even if they are going non stop. Also, if you cut the corner, technically you are supposed to report to customs at your destination.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-28-2007
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Prevailing winds are out of the Southeast, so motoring is most likely if you want to make time and distance. As mentioned above, not only are there unlit platforms, but slews of lit one's as well. If you can cross staying in the fairway heading east, that would be helpful. Also, there is a lot of shipping, as well as crewboats going out and back from the platforms.

You might want to consider going south first, to the tip of the Yucatan, then heading northeast from there if you want to sail rather than motor.

You make it sound like this will be a singlehand trip, so what to take would be at least two crew. Too much stuff to avoid out there, not to have extra eyes, and the chance to get decent rest.

On the hard at Deaton's Yacht Service, Oriental, NC

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post #4 of 7 Old 02-22-2008
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crossing the Gulf in July

How possible would it be to go from Corpus to Key West in early July? CarterB, did you make the trip? There seems to be very little info on the web about making this crossing, other than by migratory birds or people that took the ICW.

Surely before they had motors, ships had to get back to the Atlantic somehow. What route/timing was used back then?
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-22-2008
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Surely before they had motors, ships had to get back to the Atlantic somehow. What route/timing was used back then?
They also didn't know much about hurricanes then either ........

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post #6 of 7 Old 02-22-2008
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CarterB,

If you haven't already done so, you might want to go the the Sticky Thread in this section (Cruising) of the forums and have a look at the Pilot Chart for Feb/March for the Gulf. You'll see that it confirms what PBzeer said above about the prevailing winds (>60% frequency of E & SE winds averaging Force 4), but it also indicates a significant west flowing current off Yucatan that should be considered in routing decsions. The rhumb line is over 800 miles, which is a long distance when going to weather. How well does your cat sail to windward?

If you are committed to a direct crossing, I would suggest that you start looking at the weather charts available on the following NOAA site http://weather.noaa.gov/fax/gulflatest.shtml#WIND

Watch them daily over the month or so before you're planning to leave and you'll get a good sense of the weather pattern you're looking for. With the right winds it should take less than a week in a 50' cat. The 24/36/72 hour surface analysis and wind/wave forecast charts provide a look at what you might encounter over a 3 day period.

Longer range forecasts of offshore winds are available on this US Navy website

https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/public/

(if this link doesn't work Google "US Navy Weather" and look for "FNMOC Welcome Page" which will take you to the right place.)

Windows will probably give you a warning about the lack of a site certificate or something, don't worry about it. You trust the government, don't you?

Under the section "Public Products" click on "Global Wx Prediction Charts"
Then click on "Tropical Atlantic NGP",
When the list comes up look for "Surface Strmlns & wind speeds" and click on the "All" on the far left of that line.
Give it a minute to load and you can scroll down through 7 days of wind direction and speed forecasts. You can also look at "Tropical Atlantic GFS" for the output of a different weather model.

One of the keys to a comfortable and fun sail across will be being able to wait for the right weather pattern to emerge (and being ready to go when it does develop). If you have a schedule to keep, you'll have to take whatever NOAA has on the menu for the week after you leave.

Good luck
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-28-2013
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Re: crossing the Gulf of Mexico

I see this is an old thread, but I wanted to put in my input for others to read. the best way to get from texas to the keys under sail is to sail south to Isla Mujeres, party for a few days, or if you are avoiding people, you can anchor inside the reef at Tulum hide-out there for a day or two from there, you will have enough angle for a close reach to the keys. we sail out of Galveston, it didnt take us long to find that the wind is almost always out of the south east, to sailing straight to anywhere north of cuba is not a reliable sailing option, even close to shore, motor sailing is a beating because of the Lousiana oil rigs, and associated traffic. an old couple i met tried the gicww but said it is not good because the mosquitos in south LA are torture. my advice is to find a crew mate so you can get some much needed rest.
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