I have recently purchased and restored a 1970(ish) Hobie 16. I’m in Austin TX and would love to get it to open water aka the gulf - ideally looking near Corpus/Port Aransas or thereabouts.
Since my experience is limited with open water sailing (my wife) thought i should ask somebody before i just pulled up to the beach and dragged the boat in the water. But I haven’t run into anyone who has sailed open water yet. My experience is this: The couple of days i’ve had a Hobie 16 in the surf were in Daytona Beach and Costa Rica, both relatively calm days with winds 15 mph or less. Pretty sure the oodles of Hobie Wave sailing i’ve done in Playa del Carmen probably shouldn’t count for much - as they shut down the sailing when winds start getting reasonable. Either way i grew up sailing on a mountain lake in the Sierra’s and have been sailing the H16 around Austin lakes for 3 years now..
Can anyone give some advice on sailing open water on the coast near Corpus Christi?
New to sailing the Texas Coast
And they're doing a fantastic event this weekend - "Redfish Reach"; Le mans start off the beach, a reach to Redfish Island, round it and back. Weather looks something fantastic for Saturday; 15 mph, out of the east and clocking south-east a little, making it something between a beam reach to a broad reach there and a closer-reach coming back. Should be fun and not so much the scorcher of days past. Sunday is a "Conundrum" race set....
Oh, and the people forecast is even better: there's a 100% chance of meeting some friendly guys and girls with a smattering of help and good advice. Very welcoming and friendly, I've found.
My 2 cents... DON'T HATE ON ME - I'm sharing my failures!
I have made dozens of beach launches and here is what I have found (my experience is mostly around the Florida Panhandle).
You can have big surf and not enough wind to get through it. I find if the wind is coming from up/down the coast, that's your best bet. I nearly destroyed my H18 when I got sideways to the waves and couldn't get around. IF IF IF you have 2 physically strong and capable sailors + good wind, you can do it. If you try to be cool and put the ladies on the boat while you do all the work and it ain't gonna end well.
Big Surf (continued);
IF you get out, the ride back in can be "stimulating" if you catch the front of a wave. The boat will quickly accelerate and the nose will want to submerge and possibly pitch the whole thing over "pitch pole". Move all the weight to the back of the boat for landings.
An offshore wind and solo sailing (truly alone) are not good. If you capsize and can't right the boat, you are being pushed out to sea faster than you think. I capsized a Hobie Getaway, but had an onshore wind and a gentle surf. I drifted onto the beach in about 10 minutes and a couple of guys walking helped me right the boat. I've solo sailed many times, but my wife/kids were always on the beach with a cell phone and could call for help if things went badly.
Rock Jetty and Piers:
Launching/sailing near rock jetties or piers is not good. When I capsized (above), I was heading toward a pier in Panama City Beach, I gybed to make my turn and had too much sheet out. Main sail came over too fast and the boat was capsized in a blink. Fortunately, the onshore wind was pushing me away from the pier AND toward the shore. A 20 degree shift in the wind and my capsized Hobie would be banging into the pier structure.
They are a must to get from the road to the water. Even a little grade means at LEAST 2 people to push the boat back to the road. Daytona is as flat as a pancake. Panama City Beach has some grade. There is some technique to using them and they aren't cheap, but I wouldn't try beach launches without them.
There's nothing that'll get your heart racing like being a mile off shore, the wind blowing fast through the rigging and the hulls singing. Be careful and have FUN!
Hobie 18' + other stuff that floats and goes.
Welcome to catamaran sailing in Texas.
I understand the appeal of Gulf sailing in the Corpus area. Finding a beach launch area in Corpus area can be difficult. I would recommend Port Aransas. The challenge with beach launching on the South Padre/Mustang Island areas is the surf can get steep. The swells in the Gulf are typically are closer together; which makes it feel like a wet dirt road in a sports car at 60 mph. I would suggest coming down and do some sailing in the Bay areas first, get with some people and maybe crew a few times to get the hang of it. I would also suggest coming down for one of the events/regattas to watch how some of the best do it. The best piece of advice I can say is watch for rip tides and time the wave sets. I have seen even the best get smacked by a bad set of waves and cause big damage.
Tim gives some great advice to watch for.
We would love to see you at Redfish Reach, but keep an eye out for BYC's Rig Run. It starts and finishes on Crystal Beach (Bolivar Peninsula). Maybe I'll see you at Wurstfest?
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