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irwin325cc 12-17-2009 10:41 PM

Galveston Bay sailors check in.
It's final I have moved to the Houston area and am planning on sailing to Galveston for the new years eve. I have never sailed to Galveston and have only sailed as far as Redfish Island a few times. I've done plenty of sailing around the inner parts of the bay and Clear Lake for the last year and half while living in west texas and coming down about once a month for long weekends.

I'm currious if anyone else is going to be in the Galveston Island area during N. Y. Eve.

I'm sailing a 33' Center Cockpit sloop with 4.5' draft and would also like any pointers on getting down there which looks fairly straight forward to me as I just need to be weary around the shipping channel and the surrounding shoals and spoils of the shipping channel on the way there. There is a site I look to there which says something about avoiding the "villages" on the other side of Redfish that I will give berth. Once near the Island it looks like I will need to take a little more care to not go aground on the inside of the island. I've talked to Payco Marina and am going to call some of the other marinas near UTMC to see about a two night NYeve trainsient slip. I would anchor if it wasnt for the dog a 45lb heeler and no dinhy yet(which will soon come and am going to have a canvas sling made that will lift him to and from).

Long winded but whats a sailor to do.

TBarretH 12-17-2009 11:42 PM

Can't help with your questions
I am going to be of no use helping answer your questions as I have never sailed in that area. But I live in Austin and just wanted to say hi, good to see some other Texan's on here. I have done blue water sailing in the Caribbean and want to get back out on the water but haven't found the time/money yet.

gecna2 12-18-2009 09:17 AM

Unfortunately I won't be on my boat for New Years, so I'm a little envious of your plans. If the weather is nice you've got something to look forward to. Sailing down to Galveston is easy enough. Definitely do not go between Redfish and the mainland, as you'll surely run aground just after you pass Redfish. There are plenty of places to cut through to the ship channel, and it's wide enough for you to stay out of the way of any marine traffic. Just stay clear when two ships are passing! Unless you're planning to anchor in Offats Bayou, stay out of the ICW, as there are shoal areas near the island to trap the unwary. Also lots of towboats and barges. I gather you'll want to dock near The Strand, in which case just go down the main channel between Pelican Island and Galveston. There is plenty of water, but keep an eye out for ferries and offshore support vessels.

Have a great New Year's celebration!

Greg Castleman
S/V "Southern Cross"
Tiburon 36

TxLnghrn 12-19-2009 01:30 AM

Welcome to Galveston Bay. Heading to Galveston isn't too stressful...Drawing 4.5 you can pretty much enter the ship channel anywhere north of Redfish...but if you want to feel extra safe, enter at the south cut just north of marker 61 (~100 degrees from Clear Lake Channel marker 2). Once in the ship channel you will find two depth tiers a 15-20 foot shelf and a 45-50 foot shelf. I stay on the shallow shelf to either side and run down. You can stay in the channel all the war to Bolivar Roads...but if you decide to break out (because the wind always seems to be straight up the channel necessitating motoring) stay in until you cross the Trinity cut and exit to the eastside of the channel south of marker 50. Avoid the platforms, once down to Galveston and Bolivar Roads area, keep a sharp eye, the tankers are still making 15 knts or so, and the Bolivar Ferry runs on about 15 min intervals. Head into the Galveston Channel leaving Seawolf Park to stbd. Plenty of depth everywhere south of Marker 25. Two marinas with slips currently Galveston Yacht Basin (409-762-9689) (requires a taxi ride ~$5-10 from the strand and Pier 21 ((409) 763-3321) at Harbor House on the Strand.

Wish I could join you, other plans though. Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.


irwin325cc 12-19-2009 12:49 PM

Thanks for the replys and info thats about the exact information I was looking for.

What would be a rough figure on time from CL to Galveston with the wind on the nose and not? I was figuring about 8hrs with it out of the south and maybee able to shave 2-3hrs off if not. Is that a pretty close range?

TxLnghrn 12-19-2009 01:06 PM

Depending on your tolerance for motoring....You can make it in about 5 hours from the Boardwalk to the Yacht basin. Winds from the SE and a tack battle all the way down 8-9. I do not recommend tacking through the ship channel. Those big tankers close on you much faster than you would think. December and January have a good chance of winds from the North so you might get a downwind run in which case you will have done better than I ever managed. :laugher
Two more things: If the wind is prolonged from the North it blows a lot of water out of Clear Lake and Galveston bay, it wouldn't be unusual to be below Mean Low Tide after 2-3 days of North winds. Also, as you approach the ship channel near 61 there are a lot of oyster beds marked with PVC pipes sticking out of the water. Not always the best maintained or marked so approach during daylight until you get a feel for where they are.

What marina are ya'll in? We are at South Shore Harbour.


irwin325cc 12-19-2009 08:33 PM

Michael, I'm also in SSH my boats been there since I bought her a year and a half ago, peir 11 at the end S/V "Gypsy". And its not the Irwin that is always half sunk on the other side of me.LOL. I like SSH but they don't inforce the rules they have in place about boats being in good order, then they did not start replacing dock carts while raising rates at the same time. Whats with that?

dyeaton1 05-22-2010 10:33 PM

I plan to move my Catalina 27 to Galveston and would like an inexpensive slip. Any suggestions?

CapnBilll 12-08-2010 03:17 PM

Bal Harbor is the cheapest I've found. All the way at the rear of clear lake near Hilton. Irwin welcome to the area. PM me if I can be of help, I've cruised most of that area and will be there new years.

johnshasteen 12-11-2010 10:07 AM

What are the rents for a 30-ft slip up in Galveston Bay these days? We live in Houston, but keep Paloma down Corpus, we pay $193 plus electricity.

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