Harvest Moon Regatta has a long tradition at Lakewood Yacht Club with Galveston Bay sailors. We race under the magnificent full moon of October in what we hope is a steady 150 mile downwind sail, in the Gulf of Mexico from Galveston Pier to Port Aransas.
Harvest Moon Regatta began in 1987 and steadily grew from the 17 yachts of 1987 to over 260 yachts in recent years. This was due in large part to a great destination, Port Aransas. This ideal Texas port allows yacht owners and sailors to use minimal days from work to join in on what can be a most memorable overnight sail down the Texas coast during traditionally the best offshore sailing time of the year.
For 2018 we had 116 boats sailing Oct 25-28. Early Thursday afternoon, the winds were perfect at the start – a steady 15-20 kts and we were able to raise the spin immediately. We had a good jump on the other boats in our fleet, quickly made some progress along the course and sailed into the sunset followed soon thereafter by a beautiful moonrise.
However in the early morning hours of Friday, the winds started to get very light and shifty. This lasted all morning and into the afternoon. At times the apparent wind speed (AWS) and true wind speed (TWS) were both reading zero! If not for the slow 1 kt current our speed over ground (SOG) would have been zero too. Occasionally we would lose the current and start to drift backwards. It was painful. All afternoon we discussed should we stick with it and float gently towards our finish line 30-35 miles away or throw in the towel and turn on the engines. No one wanted to give up, until… the sun started to set and we realized that we were going to spend another night out in the Gulf and potentially still not finish before the cutoff time on Sat. So after more than 14 hours of this, and no improvement in sight, we voted to abandon the race and turn on the engines for the remaining 30 miles.
DT ended up with her first DNF 🙁 but once we overcame the initial disappointment, arrived in the marina, fired up the BBQ and poured a few drinks, the crew was very happy to be in port. 🙂
Saturday was spent hanging out on DT and visiting with all the other sailors.
The motor-sailing back home to Kemah was smooth, quick and fairly uneventful with the exception of teh pod of dolphins that greeted us half-way.