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keithj
03-20-2014, 12:03 PM
My wife and I, and our 3 dogs, are considering a long cruise starting in Minneapolis, MN. We may attempt the whole Great Loop, or we may just end up somewhere in FL. We've even discussed going all the way out to Key West.

The main challenge is finding a suitable boat in which to make this trip. The dogs play heavily into the decision... we have a nice sailboat (Nor'Sea 27) which would handle the trip just fine, but the dogs simply can't get in and out of the boat well enough to make it a possibility. Even looking at trawlers, a lot of them wouldn't be suitable. But when I start looking at houseboats (we currently live on a 48' Lazy-Days btw) I'm not confident about their ability to handle the conditions in the gulf.

BTW- I have limited experience in open water, and the experience I do have is sailing.

Anyhow, I'm hoping to hear from someone that does have experience with the Gulf and the Keys area with a houseboat. I have a chance to buy a 35' Kingscraft at a fair price, and I like a lot of aspects of the design. Can it handle this kind of trip though with a decent margin of safety? Obviously I'll pick my weather window as conservatively as I can, but as I understand it there's still at least 140 miles of unprotected Gulf cruising necessary... and that's a fair amount of time for unexpected weather to come up.

Thanks,
-keith

sunnysylvester
02-10-2015, 02:02 AM
We may attempt the whole Great Loop, or we may just end up somewhere in FL. We've even discussed going all the way out to Key West. . . . .

Charles
02-11-2015, 10:41 AM
We may attempt the whole Great Loop, or we may just end up somewhere in FL. We've even discussed going all the way out to Key West. . . . .

Houseboats, as a rule, are not designed for the water you would be likely to experience in the Gulf, much less the coastal ocean. While it MIGHT be able to handle the ICW, it would make me nervous. The ship traffic in the ICW can leave huge wakes.

BananaTom
02-17-2015, 06:00 AM
It can be done, many before you have. Weather window is most important.

My 36' Gibson handled some 4 footers on a trip to New Orleans from Pensacola.
Duct tape the forward hatch, and we were dry.

However, many have stopped in Panama City, and did not have the guts to venture further, after some bay crossings in big weather.

Tony B
02-23-2015, 01:56 PM
I don't have any houseboating experience on the ICW, but have done it with sailboats and my Mainship 36 which has somewhat of a relatively flat hull although not quite as flat as a houseboat. I don't really see much of a problem with the northern gulf coast (Redneck Riviera) or the western Gulf coast on the ICW as long as you follow the weather forecasts. Whatever you do, don't follow the forecasts from the National Weather Service on your marine VHF radio. As far as ships are concerned, they should not be a problem either. They will mostly be traveling N/S and you will be going E/W on the ICW.
I would have my reservations about heading south on the eastern Gulf Coast along Florida. Many have done it, but then again, some have crossed the Atlantic in a row boat and also a bath tub.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth, again, I have never done it in a houseboat so take it for what it's worth.

Tony B
02-23-2015, 01:57 PM
Tom

How are things going lately? Hope to run into you again.

BananaTom
02-24-2015, 04:03 PM
Tom

How are things going lately? Hope to run into you again.

Winter time sucks, besides that great!!!

OLD HOUSEBOATER
02-25-2015, 04:18 PM
Note: The 36 KC was a little narrow in the front and tended to plow in heavy seas. The Twin, not so much because of the added weight aft. Suggest you consider a 44 TWICE as much room and better handling. Not that much more money. KC's don't have cuddies and 3 dogs could get claustrophobic.

keithj
03-13-2015, 03:35 PM
Update on this. We left Minneapolis / St. Paul on Sept 15, 2014. We're currently in Panama City, FL. We've had quite a fun time... though sometimes the dogs are skeptical. ;-) This is on a 1973 35' Kingscraft that we repowered with an outboard. We're still planning on heading further, but have some changes to make to the boat before we do. The main thing is fixing the cavitation problem we're having when trying to open it up. (Cruising speed of 6 kts is just fine... but in theory the 225 hp outboard we have should plane this boat but instead we just cavitate as we get to higher rpms.)

Even though the boat is a work in progress, I'm really glad we left Minneapolis when we did... I just didn't have another brutal winter in me.

-keith

BananaTom
03-14-2015, 09:24 AM
Update on this. We left Minneapolis / St. Paul on Sept 15, 2014. We're currently in Panama City, FL.
-keith

Welcome to my part of the world, Pensacola, I guess you guys blew past here.
You can follow the ditch on to Carrabelle, and then watch for a weather window to make a crossing of the GOM.

My brother came the opposite direction from Tampa. He hugged the shoreline, best he could and made portage often between Carrabelle and New Port Richie.
Then it is mostly a ICW run to the Keys.

However, some will run straight from Carrabelle to New Port Richic, proving the fuel capacity will allow it.
It is about a 24 hour run straight across.

I did it in a single screw Mainsail from New Port Richie to Panama City, on a foggy night.
Left at sunset, got to PB at the following Sunset.


However, look at another thread on here about marinas that accept Houseboats in the keys.

How long are you going to be in the Panama City?
It is Spring Break there now, lots to look at.
Which Marina are you at?

keithj
03-15-2015, 07:07 AM
We actually stayed in Pensacola for almost a month while our outboard was being serviced. We were staying at Island Cove Marina while there. Pretty relaxed place. Here in Panama City, we're at Watson Bayou Marina. It's not a bad place, if the wind is blowing the right way. Wind out of the SouthEast will bring a pretty awful stench... someone was telling me it's from some industrial tanks filled with oil up that way.

Tentatively, we're thinking about heading down to check out Port St. Joe for a while, then Apalachicola (assuming we can find a place to stay there). We will probably stay in the Panhandle area for most of the rest of this year, and continue on in December.

Cheers,
-keith

BananaTom
03-17-2015, 11:03 AM
We actually stayed in Pensacola for almost a month while our outboard was being serviced. We were staying at Island Cove Marina while there. Pretty relaxed place. Here in Panama City, we're at Watson Bayou Marina. It's not a bad place, if the wind is blowing the right way. Wind out of the SouthEast will bring a pretty awful stench... someone was telling me it's from some industrial tanks filled with oil up that way.

Tentatively, we're thinking about heading down to check out Port St. Joe for a while, then Apalachicola (assuming we can find a place to stay there). We will probably stay in the Panhandle area for most of the rest of this year, and continue on in December.

Cheers,
-keith

Island Cove on Bayou Chico is a cool place, and I live about 3 miles from there. We often have parties in the club house on the second level. To bad I did not know you were here, or we could have meet up at the Oar House.

The smell is probably coming for the paper plant.

Port St. Joe has really developed itself over the past 10 years or so. It once also had a Paper Mill, and it smelled bad. St. Joe Paper Plant was shut down and completely removed. It was on the east side of the bridge, south side of the road.

The new Marina in St Joe is cool. Apalachicola is stuck in the 50's, nice little town. There are marinas on the river, and another in bay. Not too nice though. You may wanna take a drive over one day, in a cheap rental car to check it out. If you do, also check out Carrabelle, and Panacea Areas.