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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Gulf of Mexico
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Gulf of Mexico US Coastlines, excluding Florida


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  #11  
Old 07-16-2012
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Re: Gulf Crossings

A good cold front can spank you. Read my write up on BFS.

I've heard of die hards that wait for a cold front to blow down to get more speed going south. Having been out in a few fishing, I would rather wait.

How long did it take you?

What is the best source of the Gulf stream location?

Did you try to ride it to gain speed?

What were your starting and ending points? I am thinking of going up the coast to Venice, and cutting straight across to Cozumel.

What are good check in points for Mexico? Is it better to get a VISA in advance? I heard some people get hassled that only have fuel bills, there is an online site that you can order a Zarpe, have you done it that way?

I know this may vary by season, but what is the worst weather you encountered, and how long did it last? Thanks.
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  #12  
Old 07-16-2012
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Re: Gulf Crossings

Wow. Let me see what I can answer here.

I sailed across from Pensacola to FOrt Myers Beach. I headed out late December then made final destination first week of January. I could have jumped across from Texas a lot cheaper, but had little interest in doing the oil rig hop. PBeezer may help you some on that. Many people jump out to the water gardens and hang a left. I suggest really timing that well because that is a 100+ miles out and not a lot of duck-in points between Texas and Mobile. And if you are considering Mobile, you might as well jump into Pensacola. You can take Pensacola in a blow if you have to. It is well marked. Inside the bay it is pretty calm for the most part.

We jumped into Panama City after a storm. You might consider that. Appalachicola may not be the best place in a blow because it is shallow and narrow entrance. You can get into Panama City in a blow, but best to do during the day. You can stay at the city marina which is on the north end. Pretty reasonable rates and you can walk to the grocery store from the marina (though it goes through a bad part of town so do it during the day). The immediate area aroud the marina is fine.

From there you will jump across the armpit of FLorida. Tampa is a really easy in/out. I just sailed in from south Florida into St Pete a week or so ago. You can take the main shipping channel (which will be closer given your direction) or the southern pass which the ships avoid. I forget the name of it now, but it is the entrace just south of the channel. I have done that entrance at night and day, but suggest using a chartplotter. THere are shallows there so your approach needs to be right.

Many of the people heading to Cozumel choose to get further south than Venice, but that is up to you. I would probably consider Port Charlotte, Ft Myers Beach, or maybe even the keys depending on your interests. I know those areas very well and am happy to give you any anchoring or restocking advice you need. If it were me, I would probably make for FOrt Myers Beach and head out from there. You could stop in the TOrtugas on the way which is beautiful, but remember there is nothing there for supplies - not even water. But it is a good point to jump off for the next jump from. Marker to marker (FT MYERS BEACH to Tortugas) is circa 121 miles.

Mexico is off our cruising list so you are on your own from there.

If you wait until SUmmer, you will deal with a lot of very light airs and thunder storms in the afternoon. ALso have to watch for hurricanes. A Northern in the gulf, as you know, really stinks and is wrose around south FLorida where you have 800+ miles of fetch. THat is why I suggest APril - May and maybe even June to get across.

Hope that answered some of your questions? Good luck on your trip.

Brian
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  #13  
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Re: Gulf Crossings

90% of Mexico is off of my list, but I flew to Cozemel a couple of weeks ago to check it out. They are still working hard to protect the island, and keep the area safe for tourism.

There were a lot of boats, and numerous ex-pats that said it, (the island), was still safe. And I wandered all over the island in a rental jeep, no problems.

I can't vouch for the future, as their legal, (political), system needs some work, but for now the locals still look out for the tourists.

I figure it will be a good challenging passage.

The idea of going to the Gardens, and hanging a left is a good one. I've gone out there several times fishing, and planned to take that route, as I am very familiar with the water, and rig locations up to there.

The idea of coastal sailing down Florida, even though The most likely course will only be a couple of hundred miles west of the Florida coastline, I really didn't want to coast hop.

I am planning to coast hop to Florida and back as a trial run. (going the same distance, but within reach of repairs until I am confident in the boat).

I haven't picked a boat yet, (my current one is too small for that ambitious a venture), but there are several full keeled solid cruisers in my price range.

Right now I am planning the next 5 years voyaging, and really want a good Gulf crossing under my belt, (maybe as a crew?).
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Re: Gulf Crossings

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnBilll View Post
90% of Mexico is off of my list, but I flew to Cozemel a couple of weeks ago to check it out. They are still working hard to protect the island, and keep the area safe for tourism.

There were a lot of boats, and numerous ex-pats that said it, (the island), was still safe. And I wandered all over the island in a rental jeep, no problems.

I can't vouch for the future, as their legal, (political), system needs some work, but for now the locals still look out for the tourists.

I figure it will be a good challenging passage.

The idea of going to the Gardens, and hanging a left is a good one. I've gone out there several times fishing, and planned to take that route, as I am very familiar with the water, and rig locations up to there.

The idea of coastal sailing down Florida, even though The most likely course will only be a couple of hundred miles west of the Florida coastline, I really didn't want to coast hop.

I am planning to coast hop to Florida and back as a trial run. (going the same distance, but within reach of repairs until I am confident in the boat).

I haven't picked a boat yet, (my current one is too small for that ambitious a venture), but there are several full keeled solid cruisers in my price range.

Right now I am planning the next 5 years voyaging, and really want a good Gulf crossing under my belt, (maybe as a crew?).
I have sailed the stuf of of Texas too and cannot imagine wanting to sail across from Texas to LA. Just my personal opinion. You will be doing some crossings even if you buy the boat in FL. THe jump from Panama City across was two days IIRC. But after the gale, it was beautiful water and a great sail. As soon as the cold front passed through, it was wonderful sailing and nice winds. DUring it.. well, I will post you some pics.

FOr us (we have kids), we wanted to see a lot of these placs and Pensacola and Panama City, just for starters, is beautiful and fun. We may actualy spend some more time going up there and cruising that area. Appalachicola is known for its oysters and you will be in the the heart of it. St Pete/Tampa is filled with great cruisers and lots of museums and awesome things to see. Charlote Harbor/Cabbage Key is my old haunt and I know most people passing through stop at Cabbage Key there and anchor out and have a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" which they say inspired Buffets song, but in reality, I think it may have been another restaurant. Ft Myers Beach is a wonderful jump off point but also has its own flare and if you time it right, the International Sand Building FInals are there... aomongst many other things. THe TOrtugas are one of the most beautiful places we have ever been and is FILLED with history. It is also on your way.

You can make the trek straight across. I have two set of friends that have done that. One set got caught in a cold front in the gulf and had to get rescued, the other spent about a week at sea crossing to Key West form the gardens. Both said they would not do it again and hated the part from TX to LA as you are committed. ALso, if you jump across, better have an SSB or you will not have any communications.

As far as ship traffic, we saw suprisingly little except some going into the MObile/LA area and some into Tampa, but nothing like my trip off of Caliafornia around LA/San DIego. THat place was a highway for ship and military traffic.

ALl in all, I would probably suggest you stop and see some of the awesome places along the way. You may end up doing what many cruisers do - like it so much you never leave it.

Let me know if you need anything else.

Brian

Tortugas....





Gulf Crossing (it was FREAKING COLD)



A nice little Gale when caight into a cold front. BTW, you are looking into the face of a sea... there is no horizon there!! THat is NO FUN, but when you go, you are committed. THat is why I would plan on "gulf hopping" to really watch your weather unless maybe leaving in April or May.

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