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chtaylor 11-27-2007 02:51 AM

Sailing Across the Gulf of Mexico
Looking toward the future and retirement in four more years, I'm thinking of having my 1977 Ericson 32 trucked from California to either Texas or Louisiana and then sailing across the Gulf of Mexico to the port of Progreso on the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. My wife is from Merida and we plan on retiring there.

Has anyone here made such a trip? If so, what are your thoughts on leaving from Texas vs. Louisiana; how long should the trip take; and, what time of year is optimal? Also, what problems/obstacles would be encountered?


PBzeer 11-27-2007 04:25 AM

I would go from Texas. You have a few choices that way. You can start from the Beaumont area and take the ICW down to Brownsville, do coastal hops down from there, or just go offshore. Prevailing winds in warmer months are SE. Going from Louisiana means offshore the whole way, dodging all the oil rigs. You could also start from Clear Lake on Galveston Bay (lots of boatyards there), and do the same as from Beaumont.

As to how long, it could be done in a week, just depends on how much you want to push it, and whether you go offshore, sailing straight through. Lots of oil rigs and crew boats, as well as major commercial shipping, and shrimp boats.

Freesail99 11-27-2007 07:34 AM

A friend of mine crossed the gulf from Fl. to Mexico in a Ericson 32. But he also buddy boated with 2 other boats. They went off shore. He said he would not have done it, alone.

Rockter 11-27-2007 08:52 AM


I did it once, in Aug 1992. At that time of year, once you are beyond the sea-breeze zone of the coast, the place is one great un-nerving calm with thunderstorms everywhere, and a very, very light breeze from 120 deg.... right on the nose. If so, virtually all your progress will be on the prop so budget for the entire distance on the prop, so that will mean a lot of fuel storage, and carry lots and lots of engine and gearbox oil!!! Been there, learned that!

Take your motor for a long, long run first and watch every oil seal and temperature guage.

I cannot speak for any other time of year, but I understand that there is some wind in winter? I smile.

Be careful leaving Houston. There are many oil rigs about, and you will have to avoid them. We were blessed with good visibility until we were free of them, but it may not always be so easy to see.


PBzeer 11-27-2007 09:01 AM

They run the Harvest Moon Regetta in October, Galveston to Port Aransas, and generally have good wind for the race. By November, the norther's should start coming through. When I crossed west to east last April, we had good wind for heading south (since of course we wanted to go southeast, dead on our nose).

xort 11-28-2007 04:42 PM

I take it there isn't much in the way of harbor hopping on the Mexican coast S of Brownsville?

salty4568 12-05-2007 10:24 PM

How about the other way??
We plan to go east from Rockport (near Port Aransas) to the Keys and on to the Bahamas ..... don't really want to sail the "ditch" all the way. Is there a best time to go, with the usual trades? Hug the coast, or take the rhumbline straight across? We'd rather sail outside on the coast. Guess we could wait for a Norther .... ? Any thoughts or experiences?


Skip Luke
s/v Brigadoon

camaraderie 12-05-2007 11:00 PM

Skip...the "usual trades" blow against you in the Gulf and the northers during the winter can really make a passage across the open gulf dangerous.
I would suggest waiting till spring if you can't do near coastal/ICW.
Do a search here for pilot charts and you can evaluate the general differences by month.

Check the wind and waves annd wave period forecasts and animations on this site for an idea of what typical weather you might expect when heading offshore at this time of year.

salty4568 12-06-2007 09:02 PM

Gulf eastbound
Ok - thanks!


rcarr 12-07-2007 10:49 AM

There is a regatta from Galveston, TX to Vercruz, MX, Regatta de los Amigos, every even year. It is scheduled for the end May 2008. Go to for details.


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