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ridden ruff, put away wet

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ridden ruff, put away wet

The gunfight in Texas came to an end Saturday with Ruff Rider blowing the smoke off the ends of the six-shooters in Galveston to come out victorious in the Great Texas 300. They managed to capture the corrected time trophy and the inaugural Mike Worrell elapsed time trophy as well, ending up with enough trophies to fill the back seat of Boss Hogg’s horn-hooded Caddy.

Sailed in mostly light to moderate conditions, the 300-mile race did feature some drama on the high-Gulf along with some ridiculously close finishes, many of them streamed live on the web. Two boats were lost, the crews lifted from the cats, with only the platforms salvageable after they washed up on the weed ridden, barren coastine, after a squall ripped through the fleet. Many teams were knocked down and rode the winds out on their hulls before righting their boats.

The last two days proved to be lollipop conditions, with teams battling it out for leg wins, although it’s not always easy. Team Velocitek took a four minute bite out of Ruff Rider’s 15 minute jump on the third day, leaving Ruff Rider to match race, or stay connected on the last day to maintain their 11 minute lead.

Ruff Rider was not to be denied and finished second corrected for the leg after a sprint to the finish. When Ruff Rider crew Ian Billings, saw they had a chance to win the leg when the Capricorn of Salva Vida Vela hung up in the surf, he sprang off the boat and started pushing like he’d get deported if they lost. How could he quit with the helm yelling ‘hee-haw’ so loud.

After noticing the effort put forth by the Ruff Rider team, Salva Vida Vela’s ground crew let out a Nordic howl as he willed their Capricorn over the finish line to be crowned leg winners by one second. ‘Spent’ would be the word.
Texas City Dike Yacht Club protected the third position and team Rudderless rounded out the top four.

The elapsed time winner for the last leg and open fleet champion was Yost Auto, who overcame monumental challenges like losing their main in one leg and a rudder in another. Poison Girl ended in second in the open fleet with the Hobie 18 old school (with a square top) truly earning the third position.

Head to the OTWA thread on Sailing Anarchy for more interviews and Justin TV action, as well as the GT 300 site for results, and the picasso site for more pics. And of course you can visit my gallery for the GT300 for more pics. Photos Andrew Burnard and John Casey.

Team Texas City Dike Yacht Club really came through for us, providing their RV for us to abuse all week. Some of the crew even slept in tents. I know it’s hard to compete when you can’t run your program like usual. Thanks a ton. Also, to Billy Richnow, the PRO who was always accessible to us and provided clean, concise answers whenever we asked, often in front of hundreds of folks watching from their offices and homes. The important thing is the competitors ‘get it.’ They gave great interviews and most of the time, came over for an interview no matter what situation they were in, knowing that spreading the word about this fun race is good for all of them as well as for cat sailing in general. Overall, I felt it was a big step in live sailing coverage, and I hope to keep doing it in the future.

Real thanks to Australian High Performance Catamarans, and Red Gear Racing for making this all possible. If you need a fast, solid F18 or F16, this is the one for you, believe me!

John Casey
www.johncaseyworldwide.com