Hi, Lin - here are a couple of thoughts to consider:
First, since you made it to this website, considering downloading January's N Atlantic Pilot Chart; you can find it on-line now at http://220.127.116.11/pubs/pubs_j_apc_sect....html?rid=10499
The Gulf is included in those charts.
Second, keep in mind that January is the middle of N America's winter, which consists of one LP cell after another sweeping W to E, with the frontal tail dragging across the Gulf. You can wait for a frontal passage and, while the wind is NW clocking N then NE, enjoy/suffer from fair winds, short/steep Gulf waves and low temps (made lower by being on the water) OR you can wait for a break in the frontal weather and (mostly motor)sail hard to beat the next front. You need to be watching the wx off the E Pacific & the BC coast to get a sense for the timing of the systems, and to avoid a real stinker of a low. Fronts pass approx. weekly at that time of year.
Nigel Calder's NW Caribbean Guide is dated with lousy sketch charts, but his weather discussion is a good one, and as current today and the late 80's. See if you can snag a copy when back in the States to help you with the passage planning.