all thrills, no frills
JC and I are about as far South as you can go in the US before Spanish is the official language – we’re in South Padre Island getting ready for Wednesday morning start to the Great Texas 300. Like the Tybee 500 and the Worrell 1000, the GT-300 is an off-the-beach cat race for both F-18s and an open class including Nacra 20s as well as some…interesting entrants. This ain’t no gucci party, either – this is campgrounds and RVs and cheap-ass motels, pick-up trucks on the beach and the best that Texas has to offer.
We’re enthralled by beach starts, and one of the main reasons we came down here to the Oil Coast is to check out one of the few events on earth that has them. The GT-300 is also an interesting model that we wanted to learn more about; it’s a self-contained, unaffiliated event run by a committee funded by 10$/year dues from all the folks that support it. The race itself is similar to the Tybee – 70-100 NM legs in big sea breeze, and while the Tybee may see bigger ocean swells, the GT-300 runs through some seriously desolated real estate: If you have to head to the beach here, you might just be spending the night.
We’ll be trying a few new things for On-The-Water Anarchy from the Lone Star State. It’ll be our first ever live coverage from on a beach, and we hope to have a full hour of live streaming video (with an iPod app for those that prefer) each morning, with pre-leg interviews leading up to the Le Mans-style start that we love so much. After the start, we’ll race up the coast to set up for the leg finishes; sometimes we’ll be early, but with 3 times the distance that the cats have to sail, they might just beat us in! We’ll be playing with a new tracker as well – not on the boats, but on our own RV. Philippe Kahn’s slick iPhone app "Motion-X GPS lite" has a free tracking system that updates automatically to Twitter and Facebook, and it’s something we think we can easily incorporate into other events we cover.
The GT-300 runs for four days, and each day will be more interesting than the last. Check out the thread for the daily live feed and for running written commentary on all the action, and here’s a little from co-host John Casey, who won this event a few years back. The pic is of JC as well, blasting through the surf back in ’07.
Rest assured, I’ve been taught by the best on beach interviews, Mr. Robert Feldman, from the Worrell 1000 of lore…..RIP Mike Worrell. Your legacy will remain only to be built upon in the future.
Kenny Pierce and I raced the GT300 back in ‘06 I think. Bigtime twin-wire spin reach almost the whole way. Here is a pic of us busting out through the surf in Texas. Hopefully it’s windy as hell. Forecast shows strengthening to 20 knots on Thursday, the second day of the race. Photo by Sean Stevens.