Some really tough, tough luck for Team Ki-Hara (Ingrid and Aaron). Their port hull of their Nacra Infusion split after having been repaired during their practice run today. (This is the second time this has happened on this boat - poorly manufactured boat.) After a big scrambled by the entire fleet, we were able to locate a Hobie Tiger for Team Ki-Hara. (Shannon Galway used the boat last year and owns the boat - it is pretty much ready to go.) The boat is in Houston and should be here about 1-2 in the morning. It is going to be a long night getting the boat together. The fleet will work together to make sure they are on the line tomorrow!
Day 1 of the Great Texas 300 Beach Catamaran Race from South Padre Island to Mustang Beach Texas, saw perfect sailing conditions along the entire length of its 90 miles. Small surf, Mediterranean temperatures, and breeze in the upper teens to the low 20s made for a fast trip northward up the barrier islands.
Race veterans Lee Wicklund and crew David Cerdes made the best time aboard their Nacra 20 with a fast time of 6:08:13, beating out John Tomko and Ian Billings, Team Two Wire Sailing, by 4 minutes. The Two Wire sailing team aboard their F18 corrected out to take the first spot. Shannon Galway and Jonathan Atwood, Team Yo Baby, sailed and epic race and hit the beach in the third position only 8 minutes after Tomko and Billings.
Stephen Coolie, who photographed the fleet aboard a wave runner along the entire length of leg 1 said, “If you could schedule weather like we had today sailing would be as popular as baseball.” Coolie continued, “Once the fleet punch through the surf, gentle rollers, with an overlay of chop, these experienced sailors made getting into a groove look easy.”
Team Ki-Hara helmed by Ingrid Bakker from the Netherlands and local Aaron McCulley as crew had a turn of bad luck. First, their original chartered Infusion developed a 4 foot split along the bottom seam during practice racing. Luckily, the Great Texas fleet pooled their resources and found a Hobie Tiger for them to race. Switching boats, coupled with rudder issues proved to be a challenge for team Ki-Hara, and they flipped approximately 20 miles offshore. Coolie describes the scene, “After they went over, the boat quickly turtled, and righting it proved to be a time consuming challenge. By the time they were back underway, the rest of the fleet had sailed out of sight.” After the finish, in true Great Texas spirit, several fleet members went to work on Team Ki-hara’s rudder problems. Hopefully their new-to-them Tiger is more dialed in for leg 2.
When all was said and done, and the boats were packed up, what else would you expect other than a Texas BBQ on the beach? Well, that’s exactly what happened! A giant tow-behind BBQ pulled onto the sand. Smoke was billowing out of its chimney, and the delicious scent of perfectly done brisket filled the beach. Competitors shared conversation about the day’s events over giant baked potatoes, brisket, and pulled pork, as the sun dipped below the sand dune. It was an incredible scene of kids playing in the surf, Texas-sized hospitality, and the camaraderie that makes beach cat racing so fun.
Join us for live coverage starting every day around 9:30 Central on our Justin.tv channel. And be sure to check out our Facebook page for updates throughout the day!
Leg 2 of the Great Texas 300 saw more of the typical epic Texas Gulf Coast sailing conditions with breeze fluctuating between 10 and 20 knots, with flat seas along the entire 90-mile course. John Tomko and Ian Billings of Two Wire sailing hit the beach handily in first place, 17 minutes ahead of Team Sailboat Shop consisting of Mike Roher and Chris Holt. Team Sailboat Shop and the Team Quicksilver duo of Mike Beuerlein and Philippe Bettler fiercely battled for the second spot, which resulted in Team Quicksilver finishing less than 1 minute later to take the third spot. Steve Piche and Juke Ball of Team Monkey Business hit the beach in 4th.
Rounding out the fleet the final three boats finished less than two minutes apart from each other. Team Yo Baby!, made up of Shannon Galway and Jonathan Atwood took the 5th spot, while Lee Wicklund and David Cerdas aboard the Nacra 20 took 6th. Filling the 7th position was Team Ki-Hara consisting of Ingrid Bakker and crew Aaron McCulley. Team Ki-Hara was able to get their ailing rudders in slightly better tune, and had better luck on course during Leg 2.
In typical catamaran beach sailing style, Team Quicksilver sent the fleet to bed fat and happy the most tasty Gumbo ever prepared on Texas sand. Gumbo chef Mike Beuerlein and a crack crew of master gumbo chemists toiled over a hot burner on the beach for hours, and let me tell you, no one left hungry!
Leg 3 will finish up on Surfside Beach, with the fleet predicted to arrive sometime in the late afternoon. Catch all of the action from the starts and finishes on the GT300 Justin.tv channel, and see real-time updates on our Facebook page.