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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to purchase a second boat for winter warm weather sailing. Something along the lines of a Catalina 27 or similar.

Corpus Christi to Mobile......

Was wondering what area offers the best sailing. Not interested in doing much in open ocean.

Thanks!
 

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On the western side, Clear Lake/Galveston Bay has pretty good sailing, and a large marine infrastructure with yacht and sailing clubs, chandleries, and thousands of sailboats in the area. Galveston Bay is bisected by the Houston ship channel (which in many areas has shallow spoil banks alongside from dredging) and has some shallow areas and obstructions, so local knowledge and a good look at charts can be helpful.

Corpus Christi/Port Aransas/Rockport is less crowded, with somewhat less sailing infrastructure, but still has some clubs and facilities, and there's a huge area on the bay with lots of room, decent depth, and freedom from congestion. CC bay is quite large and relatively deep as Gulf coast bays go, (lots of it at least ten feet deep) with the big shipping channel off to the north side.

Most of the Texas Gulf coast is fronted by a chain of low-lying barrier islands. The bays behind these islands tend to be shallow, more suitable for beach cats and windsurfers than for keelboats, but Corpus Christi and Galveston bays are exceptions to this tendency, with lots of areas suitable for keel boats.

South Padre Island/Port Isabel as one example of more typical Texas coast conditions has nice beaches and some facilities, but very extremely limited areas for protected sailing; keel boat owners pretty much have to travel out into the open Gulf and so lack the opportunity for quickie day sails, unless they want to motor around in a few deeper channels.

Others here may have some experience with Lake Ponchartrain (hub for Nawlins sailing) and Mobile Bay (and connections to the Ten-Tom for going inland).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the information!

Corpus sounds great as I am looking at a boat there. Plus the slip rates there are a bargain.

I was thinking Lake Ponchartrain would be nice with New Orleans as a port of call.

Any idea what the average wind conditions are in Corpus?
 

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You want to be thinking shoal draft all along the northern gulf of Mexico coast, unless you really want to limit where you can go.

It's nice to have a boat that will point. It's even nicer to have a boat that will go into harbors and marinas.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The Catalina 27 was offered in two keel configs.

One has a max draft of 4 and the other, 3.5.

I am not familiar with Corpus Christi waters. I would hope there would be enough water to get around with a 4' draft?
 

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Corpus Christi is known as a windy city and is a destination for wind surfers and kite surfers. We rarely have a windless day, although it can happen. My boat draws 5 feet and I can sail all over the bay without worries. Where it shoals it does so enough that you will need a kayak or virtually no draft, but the bay is wide open, never crowded and the ship channel easily managed. You can sail the ICW north to Rockport which sits at the south end of Aransas bay which also has some good sailing. With an east wind you can sail east and west (actually travelling NE/SW) on the ICW.
The negatives here are too much wind for some, rough bay chop when the SE winds blow uninterrupted, and late summer heat (July to September).
The city marina is well run though short on 30 foot slips. The main pier for this size boat is slowly being vacated and no new rentals allowed so you might have to pay for a larger slip than you need until the R pier is replaced. The marina opens directly onto the bay and has a very spacious fairway leading to the inlet.
Two yacht clubs, one high one low brow. Wednesday night races. But mostly you can have the bay to yourself.
Port Aransas has a city marina that is normally booked up for months on end. The transit to the bay is several miles in ship/barge traffic. Island Moorings is also located near Aransas Pass, a little closer to the bay. Ingleside on the Bay has a small marina, usually with a waiting list. Two DIY boat yards in Rockport, plus city marina and yacht club.
No DIY work allowed in the Corpus city marina.
Hope this helps.
I would look for more displacement than the Catalina 27, also, nothing with a flat bottom or the chop will be very uncomfortable.
John
 

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The sailing around Corpus Christi is dispersed over about a 20-mile area, including Corpus Christi proper, in the west/sw part of the bay. To the east and northeast across the bay is north Padre Island, Mustang Island, and Port Aransas, with the entrance channel to the Gulf of Mexico. There are a couple of marinas, an informal yacht club, some homes on canal channels with boat dockage, and other facilities here. To the north of Corpus Christi Bay is Rockport, with more facilities including a yacht club. Visiting between these areas can make for nice day sails in relatively protected water.

During the warmer weather months, the breeze typically comes as a sea breeze, strongest in the afternoon. Mornings can be warm and sometimes muggy, but this is dispelled as the breeze fills in. During spring, fall, and winter, frontal passages can provide limited periods of stronger wind. Hurricanes do occur, but give plenty of warning, and the chance that one will actually hit Corpus in any given year are quite low.

The combination of protected bay waters, the intercoastal waterway, and open Gulf gives quite a variety for sailing and exploring, plus Corpus does have some interesting city amenities, including the state aquarium, aircraft carrier Lexington, Columbus fleet, and various arts and culture events and sites. And, depending upon the boat and one's comfort level, a sailor could plan longer trips to Houston-Galveston-Clear Lake, Mexico, etc.
 

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The Catalina 27 was offered in two keel configs.

One has a max draft of 4 and the other, 3.5.

I am not familiar with Corpus Christi waters. I would hope there would be enough water to get around with a 4' draft?
I didn't know that. I would have thought the deep draft version would have been more. You're right, I don't know why they even bother to make two versions with so little difference.

I've sailed the gulf with drafts from 3.5 feet to 5 feet (not counting Hobies and day sailers). A foot and a half can make a lot of difference in some places.
 

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I live near new orleans and keep my C30 on the north shore. Lake Pontchartrain is OK for sailing, but winds are generally mild, like most of the gulf coast. The lake is very large, 40 miles wide and 24 across at the widest. It averages 12-15'depth, with large shallow areas on the far west and far eastern ends. There is a long bridge that intersects from south to north right in the middle. Most sailing and moorings are on the east side of that bridge. The western side of the lake is bordered by vast marsh and swamps. If you like solitude, that area offers some quiet anchorages and amazing wildlife. There is also Lake Maurepas to the west through a deep pass. Lots of power boaters and fishing, but almost no sail boats.

Along the south shore, east of the causeway bridge (new orleans) is where most marinas and recreational activity is. Most of the marinas are still in some level of repair from Katrina. You would be about a 15 minute drive from the french quarter at any of the marinas on the south shore. What i like about south shore sailing is during warmer seasons- spring, summer, & fall - the winds are primarily out of the south. You can have some awesome sailing along the shore out about a mile or so before any waves are built up. 15mph winds and no chop or swells. There aren't any protected coves to speak of which kind of rules out most anchoring. Much of the shoreline is lined with massive concrete seawalls ( steps ), but there are some nicer areas several miles to the east.

The northshore is a little less corporate and lined with several marinas and small towns. The shoreline is mostly undeveloped, marshy, but not far from civilization. I like to think it's the best of both worlds, some quiet sailing areas, but nice small towns with good restaurants usually within walking distance.

I get by ok with 5'3" draft, but definitely pay attention to the depth sounder near shore. Access to the gulf of mexico is easy and offers lots of good cruising. Mississippi is lined with sandy beaches and casinos if you're into that sort of thing. Marinas are mostly new , rebuilt after katrina, well equipped with reasonably priced fuel, and relatively cheap to stay. I spent $1 per foot per night at Gulfport & Biloxi which included electric, and clean restrooms/ laundry. Point Cadet at Biloxi is adjacent to one of the big casinos. We walked over and ate at their massive buffet. It was typical casino buffet food. It looks good enough to be on a magazine cover but tastes like it was frozen. Some things were good- snow crabs. I know this has not much to do with sailing. The islands off the coast of Ms ate excellent uninhabited destinations. Eastward, there's not much until Dauphin Island, Al. I love this place, but is more of a fishing community than sailing. There's one Marina and access is limited to about 4' draft. There is a pub the eastern side of the bridge that has 3 deep slips, ok food, cold beer, & good times though.
Mobile Bay is similar to Lake Pontchartrain, fairly shallow and choppy on windy days. There are nice towns on the eastern shore. East of Mobile, the water clears up and turns emerald green against sand as white as sugar. There is a lot of touristy beach stuff from here on eastward. It truly is beautiful here though. There are nice anchorages along the ICW which is kind of narrow for sailing in most places In Al.

East of there is Pensacola Bay, which is good sized, deep, and accessible to The Gulf, Santa Rosa Sound, and extremely touristy pensacola beach. The scenery is spectacular in my opinion. Water can get thin, but is soft all along the area from New Orleans.

Forgot to add, marina and fuel prices increase dramatically on the east side of Mobile Bay.
 

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El Rubio gives a great description of those waters. I live on the Mississippi gulf coast and couldn't have said it better.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the replies and information!

Looks like New Orleans would be the best place for me.

In addition to decent local sailing, I would also be closer to several ports east.

It is also a great city and has some of the best food and entertainment anywhere.

Now I can start shopping!

Thanks again.
 
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