Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Top 10 List for the 2013 Great Texas

While I got you here, let me summarize the 2013 Great Texas in ten points.  Here we go…
1)       Tomko and Billings Back on Top!  Last year, John Casey and Dalton Tebo came to Texas and took home top honors by out sailing John Tomko and Ian Billings on a crazy, shifty final light wind day.  With JC starting up an Olympic campaign, we were denied a rematch this year.  However, Tomko and Billings took out their fury on the rest of the fleet easily winning the overall trophy for the Great Texas.  They managed to be first F-18 to finish every day and corrected over everyone for every leg.  Hats off to Tomko and Billings for yet another win on the Great Texas.
2)      Ingrid Bakker, first Woman Skipper:  Although we have had a few women crew on the Great Texas, we had never had a woman skipper even attempt to sail the race until this year.  Flying in all the way from the Netherlands, Ingrid Bakker put on a great show as our first woman skipper and finished the race in respectable fashion.  Her team was handicapped when their boat broke in practice the day before the race and a replacement boat showed up less than 8 hours before the race.  However, Ingrid and crew Aaron McCulley did a great job and moved up the rankings every day with a second F-18 to finish on the final day.  Congratulations to Ingrid for making history in the Great Texas.
3)      Wind Gods took it easy on the Fleet:  After some punishing wind the past few years, the wind gods laid off this year and gave us a great ride up the coast.  Wind conditions for the first day were ideal with a southeast breeze at 15-20 knots blowing the fleet on a fast downwind run from South Padre to Mustang Island.  With relatively flat seas, the fleet covered the 100 mile distance in just over 6 hours.  The wind backed down for the second and third days giving the fleet downwind and reaching conditions.  The final ride into Galveston was a lollipop ride downwind in 10 knots of breeze.  We had relatively good wind and flat seas making for a fun ride up the coast.
4)      Team Chums Impresses:  Lee Wicklund and David Cerdes of Team Chums were the only team not on an F-18 platform instead they rode on a Nacra 20.  It was a good year to be on the Nacra 20 as the winds were lighter and downwind.  They scored first to finishes on Legs 1 and 4 and walked away with third overall in the GT and first (and only) in the Open Class.
5)      Smaller Fleet:  Although we had great sailing conditions once again, we had a small fleet of boats competing this year.  We are not exactly sure why we attracted only 7 boats.  We did not get much of a presence from outside of Texas and some of our regular Texas sailors had to miss the regatta this year.  Two years ago, we had 16 boats so it is a drop off.  However, we already have commitments for at least 8 boats for next year so we expect a bigger crowd in the next running. 
6)      Money Keeps Flowing:  Despite the smaller fleet, we raised more money in sponsorship than any year so far.  We were able to create a $2,000 fund to support a woman’s team in the race.  We were also able to raise money for the general fund which allowed us to break even.  The race has plenty of money in the bank so we will be back strong next year.
7)      Dash:  On the final day of the Great Texas, we opened the race up to everyone!  Cat Sailors are allowed to participate in a race that we call the Dash.  We had great participation this year with 17 boats sailing with the GT boats to the finish line.   Congratulations to Mike and Janet Hardy on a Hobie 16 for their win in the non-spin class and Dennis Banks and Matt Parker on an ARC 22 for their win in the spin class.
8)      Media:  Once again, we had the pleasure of having John Williams and Jeremy Leonard along as commentators for our Live streaming.  We also saved all our live streaming and posted it on our YouTube site,  We continually sent posts to our Facebook page so that we could keep everyone up to date on the race!  We hope you had a chance to check everything out at
9)      Parties:  For the first time in the history of the race, we had a dinner party at every beach stop along the way.  We had dinner at Clayton’s Beach Bar in South Padre, BBQ on the beach in Mustang Island, Gumbo at Matagorda, Spaghetti in Surfside, and a Cajun shrimp boil in Galveston.  Nobody went hungry at the Great Texas this year.  Thanks to everyone that put on the parties!
10)   Organization:  After 11 years, the Great Texas organization is now a well-oiled machine that does a great job pulling off this rather complex race.  Thanks to Terri Reuwsaat and all the other officers who do such a great job organizing the race.

As always, we hope to see you at starting line for the Great Texas next year.  We start at 10 am sharp on June 11 from South Padre Island.  Please come join us as a skipper, crew, volunteer, or spectator for the 12th running of the Great Texas Catamaran Race!

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