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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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
http://www.gulfbase.org/reef/ ).

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.


James
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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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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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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James;

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.
Eric
 

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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.
pigslo
 

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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. http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/PacificSeacraft/1 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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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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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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Flowergardens

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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Raz, I think the desire to go to the flower gardens is to have an offshore destination, a goal. Even if you just sail out, pick a mooring for the night and sail back you have acheived a goal that is offshore. I can see where going to the flower garden might be a warm up for crossing the gulf to Cancun.
pigslo
 

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pigslo said:
Raz, I think the desire to go to the flower gardens is to have an offshore destination, a goal. Even if you just sail out, pick a mooring for the night and sail back you have acheived a goal that is offshore. I can see where going to the flower garden might be a warm up for crossing the gulf to Cancun.
pigslo

I agree with you on your point of doing it just because its there. My statement was that unless you plan on diving out there, there isnt too much to do other than watching the waves.

But then it is good practice to do a trip such as that. It will teach someone navigation, offshore seamanship (aka being on watch), and also timing on when you will arrive. I dont think there is nothing more painful than arriving at the moorings at nite.

My biggest fear out there was getting runned down by a offshore oil stinkpot. Of course, when the dive boats tie up right next to you, you are stuck with listening to the noise. :mad:
 

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randy capedory 25d seraph
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You're dreaming. At 5kts it would take 20 hrs just to get there and another 20 to get back. Buy a boat capable of 20kts and you're in business.
 

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I am not sure what your point is rtbates So it takes 3 days. That is what the whole question was about, it is implied that the boat needs to be able to do an overnighter.
pigslo
 

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sailingdog said:
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.
This link will tell you the names of the 20 boats referred to above. Bear in mind that boats can take more punishment than their crews.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0939837323/ref=sib_dp_pt/105-0169675-1402866#reader-link

Having six months to gain knowledge and experience, I'd spend time at the local marinas striking up acquaintanceships with boat owners. They often welcome company when the alternative is to sail alone.

It's the cheapest and easiest way to get some education.
 

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Smallest boat for 100 miles offshore....

I am not sure if I should get into this discussion, again. I think I will keep it at the "interesting...." thread where I don't piss people off!!
 

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If you want to go 100 miles of shore, have something to view and see and get your feet wet in offshore sailing, I would charter a boat out of Key West, head to the Dry Tortugas/Ft Jefferson. At least you get a land fall, some navigation practice coming in to the islands and you can avoid dealing with a lot of sea traffic and oil rigs. It sure would beat going to 100 miles just to circle a buoy.
 

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Hello, Opinion; FIRST (on a daily basis) listen to the marine weather channel-inshore & offshore-- with emergency information on the channel. *You will hear/learn two things; the wave height & wind speed/direction and the almost daily EMERGENCIES of inshore and offshore boaters/Commercial Fishermen, and mabe how they get out of the emergencies.

I sailed a 27 ft Bruce Roberts From Appalacola,Fl to Crystal River,Fl last year @ 130 miles. As you know, the Gulf can be like a smooth lake and then wind at 20-30 knts you can get 10-14 ft waves. You can take a SMALL CHEAP BOAT that wil hold together and doesn't leak(thru hulls,etc) one or TWO reliable motors if no wind or to hurry back.
A person has to be calm/brave and not prone to panic. The weather or boat may go wrong. Be resourceful and always have a PLAN A,B, & C. And a radio that is as long range as you can get. At that distance you will be able to hear the Coast Guard, but they probably will not hear you. The Coast Guard will not tow you back; they will take you off your boat to save your life.
At least have an inflatable dinghy to jump into so the sharks and hypothermia do not get you. (or an expensive life raft). Tie your self to boat all times/get large uncomfortable OFFSHORE LIFEVEST/West
Short story. Two 25 yr old brothers next to me in marina had 24 ft sailboat & were all inspired to be sailors & cruise. They finally fixed up boat & sailed in Gulf near Destin,Fl. They sailed in a little bit of bad weather. Waves knocked boat around and they put boat up for sale and never went out again.
 

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some learn that way, Sidney. I have only been sailing for about a year and made friends with a gentleman who had his bout for about 12 yrs. he sailed it around the bay. then last summer he and i crewed for a captain taking a 30ft island packet down to panama. we caught not one but two northerns right out of the jetties and took a week to cross the gulf and another week to cross the western carribean. i thought it was great training and cant wait to my skills and boat up to trying it for myself. as for my friend, he put his boat up for sale and i havent seen him on the docks since.

mike
 
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