Smallest boat for 100 miles into Gulf of Mexico? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 23 Old 12-17-2006 Thread Starter
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Smallest boat for 100 miles into Gulf of Mexico?

What would be good sailboats for going 100 miles out of Galveston into the Gulf and back? (specifically, to the Stetson and Flower Garden Banks- on this map, the first and second western most orange dot in the Gulf ).

I'd like to know some common, small, cheap used boats for this. I need next to nothing in terms of creature comforts, just a sturdy rig suitable for safely performing the course. I'm willing to work on the boat as well, and add safety equipment needed.

I'm a beginner sailor, but I'd like to start making this run in about a half year's time (assuming I get enough experience by then for fair weather weekends). I'd like to be able to set out on a Friday and come in on Sunday. If I'm dreaming let me know. hehe.


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post #2 of 23 Old 12-17-2006
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The problem you run into in this area, is that bad weather can come up very quickly and unexpectedly. You're talking basically a full day of sailing to get there and then to get back to any sheltered areas. (5.5 knots being approximately 6 mph) Also, you're heading almost dead into the prevailing winds for that area on the way out. And this isn't even accounting for getting out of Galveston against the tide if necessary, or returning against it. You also have a lot of rigs and shipping to deal with.

This isn't to say you can't do it, but before looking for a boat for such a trip, I'd suggest you look further into what is entailed in making it. You might want to Google the Harvest Moon Regatta results and look at the boats that make that race. Though they are going to Port Aransas, instead of easterly, conditions are much the same.


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post #3 of 23 Old 12-17-2006
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Flower Gardens

The previous owner of my boat used it often for that exact purpose. It is a 1978 Islander 33. He added additional fuel tankage and racks for his scuba gear under the settee. I have never made the trip, but I know my boat is capable. The boat is now at Clear Lake. I'd be happy to show it to you. PM me with your phone number.
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post #4 of 23 Old 12-17-2006
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Get John Vigor's book, 20 Small Sailboats To Take You Anywhere. Most of the ones in this book should be up to the task.


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post #5 of 23 Old 12-17-2006
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John got it right: It's a long hard upwind battle (against predominant wind) all the way out fraught with all sorts of dangers along the way. It'll take a good sized boat already to make it at an acceptable speed... Even at 5 knots VMG you're basically talking about 20+ hours out, and probably less on the way back but still significant. That means having at least one crew with you.
There is almost no "minimum size" in my opinion, since in the right hands many boats could do it. From there it's how hard do you want to make it on yourself and how much experience you have to pull it off in the smaller boats.
I don't think I'd recommend anything less than a 30 footer if monohull, and getting used to longer runs by paralleling the coast first before going straight out into the wind.
I don't think you can really queeze what you're describing into a week-end unless you get a real crazy performer like a nice Farrier trimaran or equivalent, which will cost a pretty penny.

In all honesty I am sailor at heart, but for what you're describing I'd get a nice fast enough outboard with a cuddy cabin. Doesn't have to be crazy fast, but assume 25 knots and you can leave early morning, get there for 11am, spend a few hours diving and be back for late dinner. Finding one wih say 300 miles autonomy will be interesting!
For that kind of time on the water you should be able to get good weather forecast and be OK.
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post #6 of 23 Old 12-18-2006
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There are boats that leave out of Freeport Texas that go to the flower gardens. They are dive boats.I am not a diver due to a lung condition but have wanted to organize a group of sailors to take multiple boats to the flower gardens for a while now. I think it gives the pleasure of a goal and destination to an offshore trip. Bear in mind 100 miles is really a blue water trip and really a bit more than a coastal hop. I believe my insurance ends at 50 or 75 miles for a reason. I would probably take the dive boat out just to get a feal for how you will feel about being that far out.
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post #7 of 23 Old 12-18-2006
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I'd look at a Pacific Seacraft Flicka for small, offshore capable boats. The Flicka is capable of circumnavigating, yet is only 20' (24' with sprit). You can pick one up for under $20k. scroll to the bottom. I'm sure a number in the $20k-$22k could be negotiated downward and it's one of the best small boats built.

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post #8 of 23 Old 12-22-2006
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Small boats

There was a guy that sailed a West Wight Potter P-19 from California to Hawaii then from California to Alaska. They're trailerable and built solid as a rock.
I wouldn't do it in that boat, but It's been done.
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post #9 of 23 Old 01-27-2007
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Why do you want to go to the Gardens? Unless you are going to scuba, theres nothing there to look at but some bouys floating around.

Plus there are only a handful of moorings out there and its first come first serve. You are NOT allowed to anchor. Last I heard there was two dive boats that make a run out there. And with any stinkpot, when they arrive, they are loud noisy affairs which kind of ruins the quiet of the moment.
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post #10 of 23 Old 01-28-2007
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I used to live in Clear Lake and have sailed down there before. Its true that weather in the Gulf comes quick but from my experience it goes just as quick as it came. I have been out to the gardens diving with friends on 3 occasions and I'm fairly confident any coastal cruiser can do it in the right hands. Some consider it blue water but I think its not. Of course in a coastal cruiser weather reports are a bit more crutial.
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