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Race Summary

posted Jun 21, 2012, 12:02 PM by Steve Piche

After 9 years of the Great Texas Catamaran Race being won by Texans, John Casey and Dalton Tebo from Florida broke the steak!  They overcame an 8 minute deficit on the last day of the race to walk away with the trophies for overall champion, fastest elapsed time, and first place in F-18 class.  Lee Wicklund and David Ceredes, sailing on a Nacra 20, took home the first place hardware for the Open Class.  Here is the final top 10 list for the 2012 Great Texas:

1.        The Epic Battle - Tomko vs. Casey:  From the very start, everyone knew this was going to be a battle between the two big dogs of long distance racing, John Tomko and John Casey.  Both showed up with amazing crew, Ian Billings and Dalton Tebo respectively, for one of the greatest off-shore, long distance, cat duels in nearly a generation.  They did not disappoint.  On day 1, Tomko bested Casey by two minutes on a 100 mile course.   On day 2, Tomko showed he was a jib reaching machine and cruised to a six minute lead on the leg over Casey.  On day 3, the two battled to virtual tie, finishing 4 seconds apart over 60 miles.  With an eight minute lead going into the final short 40 mile leg, Tomko looked to solidly have the upper hand.  However, the steady predictable wind of the first three legs was not to be found on the final leg.  In the unpredictable winds, Casey was able to shake loose of Tomko, find a ribbon of good air off-shore and sail off the horizon through a storm to 40 minute victory in the final leg!  It was an amazing come back and will be remember for years to come.

2.       Beautiful Sailing Conditions:  After two years of being pounded by tough conditions with only 4 of 16 teams completing all legs last year, we finally got beautiful sailing conditions.  The first two legs, both about 100 miles long, were sailed in near perfect conditions.  John Tomko set a first leg record on day 1 finishing the 100 mile leg in a little over five hours.  On day 2, the fleet was once again blessed with beautiful jib reaching conditions.  After such great conditions on the first two days, the fleet did not complain when the conditions went light to medium on the final two days.  In the end, the weather allowed 8 of the 10 teams to enjoy all four legs of the event.

3.       Bringing the Race to Fans Live!  Once again, live steaming proved to be a big hit on the internet.   The on-air duo of John Williams and Jeremy Leonard brought expert commentary to the live feed and the dueling catamarans provided the thrills and spills to the broadcasts.  Constantly looking to improve coverage of the race, Jeremy headed out on a RIB for the final two legs.  They were able to provide real time updates from the water during the final, critical leg of the Great Texas.  It was a hugely popular with the fans of the GT300.  It set a new bar in coverage of long distance catamaran sailing.  The media team already has this event on their calendars for next year so expect even bigger and better coverage on the 2013 GT.

4.       The Fight for Third Place:  Back behind the big dogs of Tomko and Casey, the little dogs (everyone else) battled it out for third place.  Team Monkey Business, Steve Piche and Juke Ball, looked to be in the driver’s seat  after the first two legs after scoring two consecutive 3rd place finishes and building a 4 minute lead over Team Quicksilver, Mike Beuerlein and Philippe Bettler, and a 20 minute over Team Sailboat Shop, Mike Rohrer and Chris Holt.  However, on leg 3, Monkey Business slipped on a banana peel (stuck in the surf and a pitchpole) and lost 8 minutes to Team Quicksilver who moved into third place.  Then, on the final decisive leg, in crazy shifty winds, Team Sailboat Shop was able to hook up in the wind with John Casey and spanked both Team Quicksilver and Monkey Business to collect the third place trophy (both overall and in F-18 class).  This was tremendous come back for Mike Rohrer who just two years ago was diagnosed with colon cancer and missed the 2010 race due to surgery.   Mike is healthy and once again dangerous on the race course sailing the old school Hobie Tiger!

5.       The year of the Go-Pro!  For the first time in the history of the race, we had video cameras on many of the boats and wow did we get some great stuff.   Bo Kersey’s GoPro, mounted on the spinnaker pole, captured his flip in the surf followed by a subsequent demasting.   Jeremy used the footage to create a video that went viral on YouTube.  GoPro’s on Monkey Business and Yost captured pitchpoles in action.  Based on the great video, it is clear that the GoPro’s will be an integral part of bring the race to the fans in the future.

6.       The Old Dogs Get Their Trophy:  We had the big dogs (Casey and Tomko), the little dogs (almost everyone else), and the old dogs, John Webster and Steve Foxall.  Despite a combined age of 130, they are still out there taking on the Great Texas.  This is a very tough race and it takes a lot of strength, endurance and skill to get your boat up the Texas coast.  Although they only competed in two legs (the first and last), the Great Texas fleet recognized their spirit and attitude toward participation in the race by giving them a special trophy at the awards banquet.  John Webster is rumored to have slept with his trophy!

7.       Like us on Facebook!  2012 was also the year that the Great Texas jumped big time into Social Media.  No longer was our web site and email list the only way to find out about the race.  We embraced all forms of social media (Facebook,  Live Steaming, You Tube, Blogging, etc) .  Most important to this shift was our use of Facebook , which was constantly updated throughout the race with the latest information.  We put a Facebook plug-in on our web site, GT300.com, so that those that did not use Facebook could follow the posts.  Switching to a social media strategy was a big task and we want to thank Andrew Burnard who put in countless hours setting up all the social media outlets in a unified manner. 

8.       Size of the Fleet:  Over the years, we have found that the number of boats participating in the race in any give year is highly correlated with the difficulty of the previous year.  Tough conditions one year typically lead to less participation the next year.  Last year, the conditions were brutal and only 4 of 16 boats finished all legs.  As a result, the number of boats participating this year, 10, was the lowest in the history of the event.  However, the beautiful conditions this year bodes well for next year and we expect to see greater participation especially with the winners already declaring that they will be back to defend their title and hope to bring other Florida teams with them.  We also already have commitments from former two time Worrell 1000 winner, Brain Lambert.   Finally, Mike Krantz plans to bring the F20-C out for another shot at the elapsed time record.  So, we expect to see a big fleet at the GT next year. 

9.       A Well Oiled Machine:  The officers of the Great Texas fleet have become a well oiled machine that is capable of putting on an outstanding event.  There are so many pieces to this machine and it is marvelous to watch in action.  There are more people running the machine on shore than sailors out on the race course.  Special recognition needs to be given to our commodore, Terri Reuwsaat, who has driven this machine to great success the past few years.  There is not room here to thank all the members of the machine but they are all critical to the success of the event!

The 11th Annual Great Texas:  Mark your calendars right now - you need to be in South Padre at 10 am on the Wednesday prior to Father’s Day for the start of the 2013 Great Texas Catamaran Race!  If you want to sail the event, you need to get a hold of us as soon as possible so that we can help you get ready for the event.  We highly recommend that you read the rules in detail and also go sail every local regatta possible.  It is only by racing the local regattas that you become competent to compete at the highest level demanded by the GT.  For non-sailors, we need your participation too.  We need team managers, race officials, media help, and anything other special skill you can donate to the race.  Again, contact us at the Great Texas (see gt300.com for contact info) if you want to be part of the ride and we’ll see you in South Padre for the 11th Annual Great Texas Catamaran Race.