Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Austin Yacht Club TellTales Article for March issue

by Steve Piche

With low lake levels at Lake Travis, the multi-hull fleet was forced to take the show on the road in the month of February.

The weekend of February 11-12 found a group of AYC multi-hullers at the Houston Yacht Club for their Mid-Winter's regatta.  Making the trip were senior members Bo Kersey, Steve Piche and Michael Yost.

A cold front blew in the day before the race and we were all greeted with some chilly mid-Winter weather.  Despite the cold, on Saturday, the intrepid AYC members donned their cold weather gear and headed out for three invigorating races in good winds of 10-15 mph.  Good fun was had the race course but it was cold.  The warm showers following the race were well appreciated.

On Sunday, we were greeted by even chillier conditions and after the first postponement, we decided to pack it in and head home.  Steve Piche got the second, Bo Kersey was third, and Michael Yost took fourth in the F-18 fleet.  The regatta was won by a non-AYC member who wins all races so do we even need to mention his name (John Tomko).

Next up on the schedule was a trip to Matagorda Beach for the weekend of February 25-26.  However, when another cold front rolled through, the event was cancelled and we decided to head to Lake Canyon for a day practice racing.

Making the trip down to LCYC were senior members Bo Kersey, Steve Piche, Philippe Bettler and Jim Rehage.  Once again, the wind was great while the water was cold (especially for those that ended up doing some swimming).

We were able to pull off 4 races in 10-15 mph winds with some good gusts coming through at around 20.  It was very tight racing among the four boats.  No official results were recorded but if they had been it would have been Phillipe Bettler on top sailing on Clay Cassard's new C2.

We've had fun sailing at HYC and LCYC this past month, however, we would like to be back sailing on our home turf.  Right now, Lake Travis is just too low to allow good racing on many of the cats.  This is a big disappointment as we have one of the strongest multi-hull fleets in the state.  We need to pray for more rain so that we can get back on Lake Travis and off the road.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Top Three Pictures from HYC Mid-Winters

By Steve Piche

The votes are in and we have the top three vote getting photos (Likes and Comments on Facebook) from Mid-Winters regatta at the Houston Yacht Club. 

All of these photos were captured from a helmet mounted GoPro.  I shot all three races in wide-screen and then viewed the resulting video on my computer.  When I saw something interesting in the video, I stopped it and took a screen grab.  Pretty simple and we got some good photos.  We will be using this same approach during the Great Texas.

So, here are the top three photos....

3)  Hoisting the spinnaker as we round A mark with Tomko's boat in the foreground.

2)  Taking a spinnaker ride downwind after the races.

and the Number 1 was a shot of a very interesting February sky

Hope you enjoyed these pictures!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Welcome to the Great Texas blog!

By Steve Piche, Founder of the Great Texas

Bill Clinton famously said "It's the economy, stupid!".   Well, I have always said about long distance catamaran racing medial coverage, "It's the internet, stupid!"

Back in 1998, when I raced the Worrell 1000 with Michael Yost, we were the first team to have an internet site.  We did daily updates and found that we got a lot of traffic.

Then in 2001 and 2002, when I did the Worrell 1000 with Ian Billings, we once again ran an internet site for the team and we also introduced the concept of regular updates.  The PI Sailing site soon became the go to location to find out what was going on in the Worrell.  It was a big success.

With the Great Texas, we have continued the tradition.  We started with our web site.  We have posted pictures, updates, stories, and even video throughout our nearly 10 year run.  We have also sent email notifications to followers of the race.

However, now, we are in the midst of yet another revolution on the internet and the Great Texas is posed to take advantage of this new front.   It is the social media revolution!

The Great Texas started to move into social media over the past couple of years and the response has been outstanding.  Our facebook page is well liked.  Our Justin TV live streams were well watched.  It is clear that there is a big opportunity to expand our presence on the internet and that our followers are hungry for it.

However, as we started our expansion into social media, we did it with no coordinated plan.  We opened accounts here and there with no uniform naming structure.  We have decided to fix this problem so that it will be easy to find the Great Texas on the internet.

So here is the deal, if you want to find the Great Texas on the web, all you need to know is greattexas300.  You can find our web site at www.greattexas300.com, our facebook page at www.facebook.com/greattexas300, our live stream page at www.justin.tv/greattexas300, etc.

The nerve center of all of the information will always be our web site, www.greattexas300.com.  However, if you wanted the most updates and the latest information hot off the presses, please like us on facebook at www.facebook.com/greattexas300 or follow us on twitter at @greattexas300.  If you are not a facebook or twitter user, please sign up as a member of the google group  www.groups.google.com/group/greattexas300 .

Now, the short term pain.  We will be slowly turning off some of our old channels such as our old google group (for emails) and our old facebook page.  However, we expect everyone to make the change and we expect to see significant growth in these channels in the long run.  Short term pain for long term growth.

We can't thank Andrew Burnard enough for his leadership in guiding us through this transition to greattexas300!

Yes, it is the internet, stupid and we are there for the long term at greattexas300!