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Old 02-02-2018, 08:36 AM   #1
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Anyone going from LA/MS/AL/FL to FL? Buddy boat / Gulf crossing tips welcome!

Hello TF'ers,

I am going to be moving my boat from Nola to the east coast of Florida in a couple weeks (pushing off Fri Feb 16). Looking for a buddy boat or tips on the Carrabelle to Tarpon (or similar) crossing. I.e. how to check weather to know conditions in the Gulf to know they are good, etc. Can cruise around 20 knots if conditions allow.

Thanks!
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:40 AM   #2
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:51 AM   #3
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The way I have done it when I didn't feel like an overnight crossing is to go from Carrabelle to Steinhatchie, then to Cedar Key, then to Tarpon Springs (ore therabouts).

Waves pile up bad in the Big Bend and when we go to, or come back from, the Bahamas, I always view that crossing to be the worst part of the trip, even more so than the gulf stream. When I have been in a hurry, I just cut across from Pensacola to Clearwater(roughly 270 miles), or visa versa, and just get it over with in two days (or one and a half if you want to step on the gas).

With 20 knots, I'd wait for a good day and just do it in one long day. But, wait for a good day. The GOM can get pretty frosty, pretty fast!
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:01 AM   #4
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The way I have done it when I didn't feel like an overnight crossing is to go from Carrabelle to Steinhatchie, then to Cedar Key, then to Tarpon Springs (ore therabouts).

Waves pile up bad in the Big Bend and when we go to, or come back from, the Bahamas, I always view that crossing to be the worst part of the trip, even more so than the gulf stream. When I have been in a hurry, I just cut across from Pensacola to Clearwater(roughly 270 miles), or visa versa, and just get it over with in two days (or one and a half if you want to step on the gas).

With 20 knots, I'd wait for a good day and just do it in one long day.
Thank you for the insight. I don't have many days to spare but am looking to try to do it one day. I.e. leave 6AM and steam full speed ahead.

What I am trying to figure out is what resources there are to check weather/conditions on the gulf and how to interpret to know that is possible.

Thank you again!
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:17 AM   #5
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NOAA is pretty good (at least for two or three days ahead, the same as everyone else). We use their marine forecasts almost exclusively when planning trips. Then we check it, with Windy and weather underground. When they all agree that you have a good three day weather window (one day to let the seas settle, and two days to make the trip in), then we go. Anything past three days is a guess, not a forecast, as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:20 AM   #6
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NOAA is pretty good (at least for two or three days ahead, the same as everyone else). We use their marine forecasts almost exclusively when planning trips. Then we check it, with Windy and weather underground. When they all agree that you have a good three day weather window (one day to let the seas settle, and two days to make the trip in), then we go. Anything past three days is a guess, not a forecast, as far as I'm concerned.
What specific NOAA forecast or weather stations?

What do you consider "good" weather?

Any help is appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:43 AM   #7
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Eddys Weather Wag is posted on a forum at AGLCA. It specifically addressed daytime and overnight crossing for slow and fast boats. I don't know if you can get it if not on the Looper Forum.
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:47 AM   #8
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Eddys Weather Wag is posted on a forum at AGLCA. It specifically addressed daytime and overnight crossing for slow and fast boats. I don't know if you can get it if not on the Looper Forum.
Thanks. How often does he post an update/report? Would like to know before I spend $80 to join...
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:11 AM   #9
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Thanks. How often does he post an update/report? Would like to know before I spend $80 to join...
Posts every day and IMHO, you can take his advice to the bank
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:50 AM   #10
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What specific NOAA forecast or weather stations?

What do you consider "good" weather?

Any help is appreciated! Thank you!
The noaa Marine forecast. Just search that sentence and it will pop up. It breaks it down into regions, you click on the ones you want to see the forecast for.

I look for two foot seas or less and ten knots of wind, or less.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:53 AM   #11
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The noaa Marine forecast. Just search that sentence and it will pop up. It breaks it down into regions, you click on the ones you want to see the forecast for.

I look for two foot seas or less and ten knots of wind, or less.
awesome, thank you!
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Old 02-03-2018, 08:00 PM   #12
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Alright, plotted the course. If weather is absolutely perfect, may be able to pull off New Orleans to Charleston in 7 days.

If anyone is going from Carrabelle to Tarpon (or similar) around Feb 19 let me know!

Also, anyone note any major changes from Irma or things that might not be on charts yet?
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Old 02-03-2018, 08:16 PM   #13
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The National Data Buoy Center is always a good resource for current conditions whereever you are headed.

National Data Buoy Center
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Old 02-03-2018, 08:17 PM   #14
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The National Data Buoy Center is always a good resource for current conditions whereever you are headed.

National Data Buoy Center
Thank you! Looks like only one buoy and its somewhat near Carrabelle. I dont see anything that would cover the in between.
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Old 02-03-2018, 08:51 PM   #15
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Most people stage behind Dog Island prior to the crossing. I have always found people there to cross with (although we cross normally a little earlier in the season).

It's always great to discuss the weather etc with others. They are always happy to have another boat join and most leave around 15:00 to arrive at Tarpon spring around noon.
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Old 02-03-2018, 11:25 PM   #16
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I’m gonna make the cross Gulf trip from Mississippi Sound to Tampa Bay again but won’t be til mid March. Then onward to East Coast with a buddy boat that is already in St. Pete waiting for me. Good luck on your trip.
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Old 02-04-2018, 07:16 AM   #17
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Anyone going from LA/MS/AL/FL to FL? Buddy boat / Gulf crossing tips welcome!

The crossing is a long but enjoyable trip especially at 20 knots, most here push to get 9 knots. Use several sources to make your decision as the farther the distance the more opportunity for change in weather. We use, as one source, http://www.stormsurf.com/locals/pens.shtml which projects out conditions over 180 hours. The more sources that align the better the decision, I would not make that distance (MS to Tampa Bay) or any Gulf crossing, without a Liferaft! Standing By -
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Old 02-04-2018, 07:54 AM   #18
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The crossing is a long but enjoyable trip especially at 20 knots, most here push to get 9 knots. Use several sources to make your decision as the farther the distance the more opportunity for change in weather. We use, as one source, Pensacola Surf Report (STORMSURF) which projects out conditions over 180 hours. The more sources that align the better the decision, I would not make that distance (MS to Tampa Bay) or any Gulf crossing, without a Liferaft! Standing By -
Thank you, got a life raft, renting an EPIRB, and may also rent a sat phone.
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:14 PM   #19
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What specific NOAA forecast or weather stations?

What do you consider "good" weather?

Any help is appreciated! Thank you!
Lots of resources from NOAA to Wunderground to Buoy Weather to Windy. Among those we've found Windy very dependable.

Now to your next question, "What do you consider "good" weather.?" It doesn't matter what we consider, it's what you're comfortable with in your boat. Now, here's how I decide. Whatever is shown as the worst, I must feel very comfortable in and comfortable, although not as much so, in the next level of seas and still safe two levels up. So, if forecast is 3-4' at 6 seconds, I must feel comfortable at 4-6' and must feel safe, although not fun, at 6-8'. I also look at the possible systems.

I look right now and see 4' and 5' at 5 seconds. I wouldn't go in your boat. I look at tomorrow and see 3' at 4 seconds but see adjacent areas of 4'. Now, on Tuesday I see 2' and I see no other systems close. I have to move 200 nm west to see 4'. So, while Monday would be possible ok for you, I'd simply plan on Tuesday and have a great crossing. So, that's how I look at things. Now, I don't know what of those conditions you're comfortable with.
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:32 PM   #20
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Anyone going from LA/MS/AL/FL to FL? Buddy boat / Gulf crossing tips welcome!

You could also use a weather forecaster like Chris Parker. He will do a 5 day detailed forecast for you around your proposed leave date for $55.

I’ve used his forecasts a few times— crossing to Key West, Bahama crossings— and had good luck. I’m not a good weather guesser.

https://mwxc.com
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