Cat 27 gulf sailing. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 02-10-2018 Thread Starter
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Cat 27 gulf sailing.

I'm the new owner of a 73 catalina 27. I was wondering if anyone here had any experience sailing one in mobile bay, and the gulf of Mexico.
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-10-2018
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Re: Cat 27 gulf sailing.

I used to own a Catalina 27 and I've sailed pretty much the entire northern Gulf of Mexico (on other boats more suited to it). I wouldn't have any problem at all taking the C27 out on Galveston Bay - or Mobile Bay (both of which I've sailed), though I'd definitely keep a very close eye on the weather. And I'd also take one out for some near-in 1-2 day coastal runs as long as there was absolutely no question of rough weather. But I'd much rather have a much better boat for that.

These C27s are very old, pretty lightly built weekending boats. They are a freakin' blast to sail and have really good performance - but they're just not up for any serious Gulf sailing...especially in that steep chop you get out there.

Have fun with her. We sure did with ours!
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-10-2018 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info, I was thinking of sailing in and out of the icw, and taking her down the coast of Florida, maybe to Tampa.
 
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Re: Cat 27 gulf sailing.

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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Thanks for the info, I was thinking of sailing in and out of the icw, and taking her down the coast of Florida, maybe to Tampa.
No worries. We did that run on our Hunter 40. The ICW is definitely doable - but you'll be doing TONS of motoring. Do you have an inboard? With your mast height, you should be able to clear the bridges. We headed offshore in Pensacola (to Panama City then across to Tampa) so I'm not sure that the ICW from there on is like.

I wouldn't do the offshore run to Tampa in a C27. No freakin' way. But it's your call.
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post #5 of 15 Old 02-10-2018
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Re: Cat 27 gulf sailing.

Sailed a Pearson 26 from Sarasota to Panama City. All you need is a good 3 day weather window. One of the best sailors I ever knew sailed a Catalina 27 all over the Gulf of Mexico. One trip from Texas to Florida. He was a former Pilot. The rumor was that he was one of those secret ninja types that flew the U-2. So I guess if you have the cojones to fly a U-2 Spy Plane then sailing a Catalina 27 around in the Gulf is pretty much a cake walk.
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-10-2018 Thread Starter
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It's my first boat of this size, and I'm not planning on getting too adventurous. But I'd like to cruise it no more than a mile or so off the coast. Either that, or convert it to a part time live aboard.
post #7 of 15 Old 02-11-2018
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Re: Cat 27 gulf sailing.

I sailed directly from Sarasota to Panama City. I did have a handheld GPS and Paper Charts. I also had another hand on board that was an experienced sailor. We did 3 on 3 off shifts and to be honest it was grueling. A third person makes it much more tolerable. We did take a fix with the GPS every hour and plot it on a paper chart. I suggest you take backups. I was considerably younger at the time and had a bit more piss and vinegar than I do now. With the exception of a couple of times all of my offshore experience has been on deliveries which is an entirely different animal than sailing for pleasure. The last delivery I did with just one other person in some challenging conditions pretty much put an end to any notions I had of long distance single hand cruising. I think that if you're boat is not limited by draft then the route along the coast would be easier. With that said, keep in mind that there is some awfully shallow water on the approach to Steinhatchee as well as Tarpon Springs. There is a reason that the ICW route is directly from Tarpon Springs to Carrabelle. Also keep in mind that when I referred to the former pilot sailing around the Gulf in a Catalina 27 that he was a highly trained individual in aeronautics and navigation as well as being a sailor since childhood. The Gulf can be a serene place but it can also be a nasty place that can scare the living sh__t out of you. A former Vietnam helicopter pilot that I knew said that the scaredest he had ever been was getting caught out in the Gulf in a Storm delivering a sailboat from the keys to the panhandle. Come to think of it, he was kind of a Dumb Arse though, you know the type, full of bravado and thinking he was invincible. Yeah I suppose we've all been there.
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-11-2018
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Re: Cat 27 gulf sailing.

All I'd add is read Contrarian's post above very carefully. And remember that you're talking about a 45 year old boat.

Be real careful what you decide to risk.
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post #9 of 15 Old 02-11-2018
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Re: Cat 27 gulf sailing.

Well you obviously understand the concept of hanging it all out on a Jesus Nut then. So Fair winds and good sailing to you!
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post #10 of 15 Old 02-12-2018
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Re: Cat 27 gulf sailing.

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Originally Posted by Sebastian#2 View Post
so smak, in planning for this trip did you consider the route closer to shore with more stops on the way? If so what are your thoughts on a C-27 doing the slower route, short hops with no time limit on waiting out the weather? My boat has #3.5' draft, & I have no problem waiting days, weeks of months for those fair weather days. I have no pressing death wish, just an enjoyable cruise.
I guess I need to be more clear. It's not that I don't think A C27 couldn't/shouldn't do it...I'm just saying I wouldn't do it with the boat we had, which was actually in pretty good shape - but a '75 model that was showing her age.



We kept her in as good a shape as we could...



But her decks were starting to get tired - with one of the of the chainplates starting to pull up - buckling the cabin house...



And she had a small outboard in the standard open transom well. She was great for weekending and daysailing, but just was DEFINITELY not a boat that was off-shore ready.

The OP is talking about a new to him '73 model - which is older than our old C27. It might be in immaculate condition, have new rigging and solid decks, an inboard, fully inspected keel and bolts (no Catalina smile), etc. I don't know. But if not, I wouldn't take it out into the Gulf anywhere - period. You just have no built-in forgiveness in these boats.

As for staying close or going out - I always prefer to go out. But if you're doing it in the summer, you'll deal with serious squalls like this one that hit us out of Panama City in our Hunter...


If you do it in the winter you might get hit by a cold front like this one that hit us outside of Galveston...



And with the steep, short waves out there the boat takes a bit of a beating for sure.

Now ALL THIS SAID - I don't mean to be a fear-monger. There are weeks on end of gorgeous weather out there that is easy, beautiful sailing that a C27 could easily handle even 100 miles out. And if you really have no schedule and can pick your windows very carefully - it is totally doable in a C27.

JUST MAKE SURE THAT BOAT IS SOLID. That's all I'm saying. Our C27 was not. It was too old and tired. You'll get hit by something out there - you should just be comfortable that your boat is up for it.

Last edited by smackdaddy; 02-12-2018 at 07:41 PM.
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