The Harvest Moon Regatta in Texas (this is a follow up story) this past weekend was one of the most fun I have ever done. This was not due to the wind but due to the crew and owner. James Liston put together a bunch of fun guys who all seemed to have gone to Texas A&M Maritime academy at one point, with the exception of myself and one or two other people. It was a relatively young crew (average age) and we were all stoked on racing down the Texas coast to the beautiful town of Port Aransas.
When I arrived on Wednesday night it was raining and cold. By Thursday start time if felt like a nice California Fall day! Oh Texas, you confuse me in so many ways, weather just being one of the reasons.
The Pleasure Pier hosted the start line and we had to wait around until 3pm to get going. Weather predictions were a bit disjointed but we all agreed it would get lighter and a bit lifted. Our game plan changed relatively rapidly as the wind increased and went a bit in front of us. Due to the unpredictability of Texas wind we opted for a close to rhumb line strategy. We put up the jib top and b-lined it towards the South (sort of). The wind increased to the low 20’s and the J-120 was in its element. Below us the King 40 and J-122 persisted with Code-0’s and headed low of the Rhumb. It looked like we were in good shape and felt pretty confident about our positioning. That was until the sun went down.
We eventually got lifted a bit more than we anticipated and found ourselves with a 2A up trying to run towards the PA turning buoy. Not good when you know the wind will lighten up!
This is the point of the race when it get’s interesting. We had the AIS on and when the boats approached the ship channel they would turn it on. The King 40 was a good 9 miles ahead of us with J-122 and Schock 40 right there too. It was a bit discouraging to say the least.
One thing that attracted my attention was their SOG. It varied from .8 to 1.5!! The boats seemed to be stuck in the middle of the ship channel fighting some crazy current.
It was a long shot but it gave us hope. We decided to ensure we entered as close to the turning buoy as possible and stay out of the channel at all costs. As we approached the ship channel we could see the King 40 going perpendicular to the channel with a code 0 up. We thought we would need the same sail but as we got close to the entrance we realized the current was pushing so hard that our apparent was too far behind us. We rounded with the 2A up and were now hot on the King 40. We had somehow pulled back a 9 mile gap! The current was still ripping and it was a long 1.5 miles up to the finish. We also had to negotiate 3 tankers coming in and a nervous owner about shallow water. Fun sailing after 150 miles and makes the N2E finish seem like a cake walk (which it really is).
Our expectations on the outcome were not the best to say the least. We hit the bar and had some drink sand fun and before long it was time for me to fly out. It was not until I got a somewhat “drunk text” from the guys that I found out we got second in class. Not bad and made me a lot happier than before! – K Mag.