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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Destinations > Gulf of Mexico
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Gulf of Mexico US Coastlines, excluding Florida


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Old 02-28-2013
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milwaukee to gulf of mex

just a whimsical thought right now.....but has anyone done it? sailed from Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico? I would imagine down the Mississippi. difficulties, scenery, points of interest? how long did it take? would you do it again?
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Old 02-28-2013
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Lightbulb Re: milwaukee to gulf of mex

I would suggest you start looking for info at America's Great Loop Cruisers' Assn - America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association

I researched this once and came away with the impression that you drop the mast to the deck in Chicago and turn back into a sailboat once you hit the Gulf. I have also read where some people drop the mast, ship it to the Gulf and step the mast when they get there.

Along the, you have to time your trip so you don't arrive below a certain south latitude during hurricane season or you will have all kinds of insurance problems.

There are quite a few blogs out there that report on indiviual trips people have made doing the Great Loop and the Lake Michigan to the Gulf is just one portion of that adventure.
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Old 02-28-2013
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Re: milwaukee to gulf of mex

We did the trip in the fall of 2009. With weather delays and a detour a fair way up the Tennessee River to visit family, it took us about six weeks from Holland, MI to Mobile, AL. It wasn't the most exciting part of the Loop, but wasn't the worst either -- mostly it was just long days motoring towards warmer climes.

There's plenty of data on the web -- as MSN suggests, do a search with "great loop" in your definition.

FWIW, I posted random travelogue kind of updates over on AnythingSailing when we were doing the trip -- they may still be there.
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Old 03-01-2013
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Re: milwaukee to gulf of mex

huh sounds like not so whimsical of a thought after all. Doesn't sound like a fun journey at all. the certain time of year part won't bother me as if I go I'm not coming back up here. LOL I'll be down there all year from that point on.

thx for the replies guys.
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Old 03-01-2013
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Re: milwaukee to gulf of mex

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSN2Travelers View Post
you drop the mast to the deck in Chicago and turn back into a sailboat once you hit the Gulf. I have also read where some people drop the mast, ship it to the Gulf and step the mast when they get there.
Pretty funny, but I know personally of two contributing members here; one that has already responded to this thread and each did it differently just as you described.

Xort and Chris dropped and trucked while Porfin carried his on deck.
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Old 03-01-2013
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Re: milwaukee to gulf of mex

I would like to do this sometime as well. It would be quite an adventure. My boat is CB shallow draft ketch rig. The masts are 26', would I still have to take them down?
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Old 03-01-2013
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Re: milwaukee to gulf of mex

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Originally Posted by jlaprad View Post
I would like to do this sometime as well. It would be quite an adventure. My boat is CB shallow draft ketch rig. The masts are 26', would I still have to take them down?
Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: You will definitely need to drop the mast to get off of Lake Michigan. Check the bridge clearance heights for both the Chicago River and the Cal-Sag. After that, you need to check air draft clearance numbers for all of the bridges and structures all the way down to the Gulf. Keep in mind that those numbers are based on normal pool height (chart datum, kind of like the inland equivalent for MLLW) and can vary greatly depending on rainfall.
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Old 03-01-2013
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Re: milwaukee to gulf of mex

Most of the information you'll need will be found here: America's Great Loop

I'm going to make the Great Loop trip in my boat next fall and plan on leaving the Michigan shore to cross over to Chicago and then down the Illinois, Missippi, Ohio, Tennessee and TenTomm to Mobile in the fall.

You can also benefit from buying the "Skipper Bob - Cruising from Chicago to Mobile printed guide (about $20.).

If you draw more than 5', you will likely have a problem. Less than that and you may here and there, but it has been done by many sailboats in the past.

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1965 Cal 30
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