In Part 1, we introduced the Texas200 and started a kind of day by day account in pictures. Here is the conclusion.
By the time Mike, Kellan, Roger and I arrived at Pauls's Mott, there were quite a few boats already there. Most of them had followed the ICW and then bashed across Aransas bay. We gave the point a wide berth, sailed around into the lee then pulled up on shore.
Click the pictures for larger views
Later, after we had secured the boat and a few more had come in, I looked out and was impressed by this line of boats.
Kevin took the following video clip at Paul's Mott. He calls it a "Boat Walk" and that describes it pretty well - he walked down the line of boats with his camera running.
A couple of hours before sunset, Jason Nabors called my cell phone to tell me he was stuck in the mud and lost. He gave me his GPS coordinates, so we located him and were afraid we might have to go back for a rescue. A little later he called to say he was on the way - he had unloaded all his gear, pulled the little PDRacer to deeper water and reloaded. He made it to camp at dusk, one tired hombre.
There were several West Wright Potters along some of which I don't remember the names of the captains. Here is John Turpin in his Potter 15 on the left and Kevin Nicolin on the right. I am pretty sure Kevin crewed with Darryl Wilkerson on his Potter 19.
Bobby Chilek in his beautiful Bolger Bobcat gets ready for another day of sailing.
Roger Harlow launches my Ladybug in the first rays of sunshine. This is the last we saw of him. He broke his leeboard in the chop of San Antonio Bay, got a tow from one of the Shearwaters and then motored home. Sorry, Roger, I hope you come back next year.
While everyone else took the ICW most of the way, we decided to take the "back way". There is a series of cuts and channels that run behind St Joseph and Matagorda Islands that I knew about but was not very familiar with. My little charting GPS got us through Ok, but not without a few problems. Kellan's little Trimaran, while impressive, did not point very high and he missed one of the channel entrances.
Mike and I anchored at the entrance to Ayres Dugout while Kellan made two long tacks trying to get to us. After he landed on a gravel bar about 30 yards downwind, we tied together every rope aboard and sent a red cushion/PFD floating down to him. He got that and we hauled him up and motored through that one with him in tow. He was able to sail the rest of the way, though.
Once into San Antonio Bay, we sailed on telling Kellan we would wait at Panther Point. The wind piped up quite a bit and a single reef in our 200 square foot main did not seem like enough, so I scandalized it by tying the forward end of the yard down to the boom making it something like a really baggy lateen. It looked terrible, though and we were glad no one else was around.
The charts all show the water to be one foot deep within several hundred yards of Panther Point, but we found four or five feet there. We stopped to wait for Kellan and walked around a bit. After about 30 minutes Kellan sailed by so we headed out after him. On the Radio we heard lots of talk about big swells where the ICW crosses San Antonio Bay. We were glad to be in the lee of the island.
We figured it was pretty easy sailing at this point so we went on ahead of Kellan to Army Hole. It's a former Army Air Corps base from the WWII era. It was once a state park so has some amenities such as these shelters. After we had been there a while, we noticed that he had not arrived yet. So we headed out under power to try to locate the little tri.
Somehow at dusk in that big old bay, Mike saw his tiny sail on the horizin and we got to him and took him aboard. He was not in any distress but it would have taken him all night to beat up into Army Hole. On the way back, Grant Wolf invited Mike and I aboard his Catalina 350 for dinner with his wife Wendy and crew (forgot his name). Thanks, guys, that was a treat!
The shelters were pretty luxurious compared to some of the bare beaches we had been camping on. Kevin and Laurents only brought one cot, though, so they had to take turns sleeping standing up.
The shelters would have been especially handy if it had rained very much - this 5 minute shower was all we had Friday morning.
Noel Nichols has been organizing a cruise for several years that ends at the Duckworks messabout just as the Texas200 does. I invited his group who call themselves "The Geezers" to join us this year, but they elected to keep their 90 mile format instead since it would intersect our route here at Army Hole anyway.
New to the Geezer group is Carl Haddick in his beautiful catboat. Don't tell the geezers but Carl told me in private that next year he is dumping those old guys and will sail the Texas200 like a man. You go Carl!
No one seemed in a hurry since this was our last camp, least of all Charlie Jones and Laura Griffiths. They did more to make the Texas200 happen than anyone and since they live in Magnolia Beach - our destination that day - they may have been a little sad to see it all end. But they were happy with their boat, Traveler. It is a CLC John's Sharpie that Charlie built a few years ago but that has recently been converted to a trimaran...
Here is a video clip of the little speedster sailing with a reef in and a wave standing between the ama and the main hull.
Charlie and Laura seem to be pretty pleased with Traveler - here is a shot that Charlie took of Laura at the helm one day.
The amas that Charlie added to the Sharpie were designed by Graham Byrnes. Graham gets the prize for towing his boat farther than anyone - all the way from Oriental, North Carolina. He brought his daughter and granddaughter along as crew.
Here is another shot of Southern Skimmer, the boat than was first place in the Everglades Challenge in 2007, coming down the ECW just before Port O'Connor and the run down to Magnolia Beach.
I am still amazed that two Shearwaters were able to attend. To my knowledge, there are only 11 in existance. Nick and Gale Scheuer brought this one "True North" all the way from Rockford IL.
Here is Chris Tomsett heading for the finish line in his Harpoon 5.2. Chris is working on John Welsford's 6 Metre Whaler for next year.
Mike and I asked Kellan if we could shake our reef out and blast on to Magnolia Beach. With his permission, we were finally able to be among the first half dozen boats on the beach. On the way there we passed the PDRacers sailing toward the finish line. I took this next video clip as we sailed past them:
When we got to the beach here is what we found: a welcoming party consisting of Jason Nabor's wife and daughter and Graham's granddaughter with a poster.
Somehow the three little boats managed to assemble into a sort of formation to land at Magnolia Beach. It was quite a scene as they nosed up amid all the good wishes. Jason even got a kiss and a hug.
Once safely ashore, the guys lined up for a photo op. 200 miles in 5 days with three boats only 8 feet long. Quite a feat!
Boats were coming in until mid afternoon. Someone passed a hat, someone got a cooker, someone bought beer and food and Pete Brigaitis cooked up several pots of killer shrimp boil! What an end to a perfect week of sailing.
I guess no group activity would be complete without an award ceremony. Ours was pretty simple. John Turpin had received some signed copies of a book by a local author and three of them were awarded to the PD3 as we call them now. There were a few others but mainly we decided that there would be a repeat next year.
Most everyone got a shower and a real bed that night and most everyone came back Saturday for the messabout. More folks, like Phil and Andrea Lea came just to the messabout and enjoyed sparkling sailing on Saturday.
Tim Webber brought his Sea Pearl and he and David (Shorty) Routh raced everyone that would take them on.
There were a lot of boats on the Texas200 - I know several were not mentioned here - notably Greg and Daniel Lind and Tyson McLeod - and that is because I did not have good pictures of them or I just don't remember their names. I made a lot of new friends and I don't want to lose any of them so if I did not mention you this time, come back next year and I promise to try again.
Special thanks to Charlie and Laura for all their help with the parking and other details and to my friends Lee Martin, John Wright and Skip Johnson for help in conceiving and organizing the Texas200. Lee and Skip were not even able to make it this year but I am hoping that they will next year.
Finally, if for some reason, you want to see more pictures and read more accounts of the Texas200, there is a lot more where this came from: