Sunday, October 19, 2008

Harvest Moon Regatta

Here we are in Port Aransas - we've completed the Harvest Moon Regatta. We crewed on a 51' Endeavor named Topaz owned by Jim and Nancy Brown. There were 129 boats that finished the race this year. That number is down from previous years, thanks to Ike. It was a fabulous sail with a beam reach and following seas (a sailors dream sail). The weather was perfect, just overcast which kept us from seeing the stars and the full moon. I admit that I was a little nervous when I had to be on watch and the night was so dark that I was worried about not seeing one of the many unlit platforms out there in the gulf. We made it to Port Aransas in record time for Topaz.

The real excitement started when we rounded the buoy to the Port Aransas channel. We realized right away that there was a very strong out going current and the winds were light and right on the nose. We managed to make it up the channel with a few exciting tacks. We called the race committee on the radio to let them know that we were approaching the finish line. They informed us that we were almost there and needed to keep sailing. We soon realized that the current had us drifting backwards - away from the finish line! We were going to need to tack again and try to get across the line. Between the current working against us and the light winds right on our nose, we tacked back and forth for about an hour and a half and never made it as close to the finish line as the first attempt. Thanks to the wonderful work of our skipper and his crew, we managed to tack many times and avoid the jetties, the buoys and the many boats that were beginning to stack up in the channel. After a while we realized that the more boats that were trying to tack around us, the more dangerous the situation was with us being in a 51' boat. We were tacking the boat within 25 feet of the jetties. It was quite exciting. Finally Jim asked us if we were opposed to withdrawing from the race and motoring in. We all agreed that it would be the smart thing to do.

After crossing the finish line and catching our breath, we looked back and laughed at the invisible line just before the finish line with about 40 boats struggling to get across. I think there was a period of several hours where not one boat crossed the finish line. Finally the current slacked and boats started to make it in. By then we had already had showers and a cold beer! I heard that a few boats did hit the jetties. It was really crazy out there!





Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to. ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh man I envy you guys. Glad you had a safe trip down and hoping you have a good one back. Sail on crew of the Topaz. I'll be back. I am anonymous.