Sailing the Gulf of Mexico (Galveston, Texas)

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Don H.

I almost had to cancel my labor day cruise plans due to the errors made by the boat yard that painted the bottom of my Legend 37.5 during the week ahead of Labor Day. It was three years since the previous haul out. The launch time was scheduled for Thursday afternoon, but due to screw ups by the boat yard workers, my boat was not launched until Saturday at 0900 hours. I had crew arriving at my dock at 1030 hours. I was "stressed out". It was a frantic race against time to get from the boat yard to my marina and get the boat ready and provisioned for the three day Labor Day cruise. After a morning thunderstorm, we departed from Clear Lake at 1220 hours, sailing Galveston Bay to the Houston Ship Channel, crossing at marker "58". From there we sailed East Bay to the ICW, through Pelican Island Cut, under the Galveston causeway bridge to Offat's Bayou. It took us 5 1/2 hours to go 40 miles. That's what I call performance cruising. The diesel was used only when necessary to navigate the narrow channels with the wind on the nose, about 45 minutes. On arrival at the marina in Offat's Bayou, we teamed up with five other boats from our Houston based sailing club. They had mostly motored along the Houston Ship Channel from Clear Lake. We joined in the dockside party that went on until midnight. We signed on five additional crew for a Sunday daysail into the Gulf of Mexico. Sunday morning, we spent two hours motorsailing (due to light winds on a downwind course) from Offat's Bayou to the Galveston Yacht Basin where we were scheduled to pick up the additional crew from the night before. Only two showed up. I guess the three "no-shows" did too much partying. We sailed out the Galveston jetties and 13 nautical miles offshore. We turned around and about 1/2 hour later, we saw one of the other boats from Saturday night's dock party. They were heading out, so we turned around and chased them. We closed the gap, but we didn't have time to overtake the Hunter Legend 40.5. It is a fast boat and it was being sailed very well. Their plan was to sail all night out into the Gulf of Mexico. We saw dolphins on five separte occasions. On the return to Galveston, there were four or five dolphins that followed us for about 15 minutes, sometimes surfacing within a foot of the starboard quarter. We sailed back to the fuel dock to let off the daysailing crew and motorsailed to Baffle Point on a dying wind and adverse current. After anchoring off Baffle Point, there was an evening swim followed by dinner. We could hear dolphins circling the boat while at anchor. Monday morning, we got off to a slow start (1000 hours) and sailed East Bay to Smith Point and entered Trinity Bay on a dying wind. We dropped anchor and went swimming for a couple of hours waiting for the wind to return in the afternoon. When the wind returned, we weighed anchor and sailed back to Clear Lake, crossing the Houston Ship Channel at marker "67". By all accounts, it was a most excellent sailing weekend. Total miles for the weekend was 147 nautical miles. I wish it could have lasted forever. After all, isn't that what sailboats are for? Don H. S/V SEAFARI

professor bio

outboard gasoline engine

sorry to hear about your boatyard problems but who was your crew that was so important?

Walt Turner H37.5 Essence


In response to your vacation, we also have a Hunter 37.5, we entered the Oregon Hunter Regatta Cup, we beat, 4 other Hunter 40.5's in this regatta and continually out sail the 40's here in the Northwest. The 37.5 can outsail a 40.5 in our opinion, and goes to weather much better. Fair Winds . .
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