Appropriate ‘min draft’/keel for Clear Lake, Galveston TX - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 12-21-2011
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Appropriate ‘min draft’/keel for Clear Lake, Galveston TX

I am trying to figure out the properties of my future sailboat for Clear Lake and Galveston Bay, and it seems to me that the draft is the most important.

I was looking at the marine map, and noticed a lot of places with water depth of 1’, 2’. It was very disappointing to see those low water levels everywhere.

My aunt has a beach house at Tiki Island, only 1’ of water! I was hoping I am going to be able to visit her, but I think 1’ of water makes it inaccessible for sailboats. I was swimming in front of her house, and I never saw water as low as 1’, but marine chart says 1’.

Very confusing. Should then the 22-25’ boat with min draft of <2’ be the most appropriate? I know that I would be missing a lot in terms of performance, but the convenience of being able to move around seems more important. Or I might be wrong?

Is there anybody with any experience of sailing in shoal waters like Clear Lake? Are you regretting getting the boat with the long draft, or not getting one?

Thanks
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Old 12-21-2011
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The chart depths are taken at low tide so depending on the tide in the area it can change a lot

For example up here there is over a 6' change

If you Google "Clear Lake TX water depth" a lot of local info and clubs come up
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I googled before posting, but I found a lot of noise; hence my post.
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Old 12-21-2011
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Clear Lake is shallow, especially in the winter when the wind blows most of the water out. I know people that can't get their boats out of the marina following the channel when the wind is blowing. Look at something with a center board that you can drop. Once you get out to Galveston Bay its not as bad, still some shoals and places to watch for though. Even so I wouldn't expect to do much sailing on Clear Lake, first off too many power boats and jet skis plus as you have seen its shallow. If you want to sail there look at something like a sunfish or hobie cat.
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Thanks so much ronspiker!
Does that mean that I should stop looking at Clear Lake altogether?
Some marinas are 2-4 miles inside the lake, so it would take me an hour to get out.

Actually, my plan is to start with Sunfish first, I just wanted to narrow my future boat choices so I wouldn't drool about wrong boats...
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Old 12-21-2011
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Galveston Bay is just shallow all over except the ship channel. I raced on a 37' boat this summer that was at the Watergate Marina in Clear Lake. It drew just under 6' - and it would definitely stir up the muck at low tide coming in and out of the marina - but it powered through fine. The skipper of that boat said 6' was the max he'd recommend for the area.

I think you'll be just fine in a Sunfish.
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Old 12-22-2011
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[QUOTE=I think you'll be just fine in a Sunfish.[/QUOTE]

Or a Hobie Cat.....
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Old 12-22-2011
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I went in and out from Marina del Sol (about halfway up the lake) to Galveston Bay with 4 1/2' draft. As long as you stay in the marked channels (except when the wind blows all the water out) it's not a problem. I had plenty of areas to sail on once I was out in the Bay.
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My goal is to get a sailboat with a cabin. Sunfish will be fine for training purposes, but I would like to buy 22-25' boat by summer.

I am asking questions now, so I could filter out sailboats for sale.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nimailni View Post
My goal is to get a sailboat with a cabin. Sunfish will be fine for training purposes, but I would like to buy 22-25' boat by summer.

I am asking questions now, so I could filter out sailboats for sale.
The best thing to do is to go look at the boats that are already in the area - or, better yet, buy one of them.
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