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Top 10 List for Day 1 of the 2015 Great Texas

posted Jun 19, 2015, 4:54 AM by Steve Piché   [ updated Jun 26, 2015, 8:29 AM ]
Top 10 List for Day 1 of the 2015 Great Texas
by Steve Piche of Team Great Texas, June 18th

Whew, we actually got to go sailing today after having to postpone the Great Texas by a day to let the remnants of tropical storm Bill clear out of the south gulf.  So, here is my top 10 list for our 103.5 mile run from South Padre to Mustang Island.

1.     The Champ can take a Punch:  Beach launches are always exciting as we have to bash through the surf before heading off on course.  Today, the surf gremlins got John Tomko and Ian Billings, defending champs of the Great Texas.  One big wave stopped them, the second wave started to move them backwards and the third broke their rudder.  The champs had to head back to the beach as the fleet sailed off to Mustang Island.  Fortunately, for the champs, Team Great Texas (formerly sailing under team Rudderless), had a complete set of rudders (from Mike Beuerlein) stashed in their trailer.  A quick ten minute fix and the champs were back on the course slicing through the fleet with abandon.  A ten minute deficit turned into a 23 minute lead over the second place boat by the end of the day.  They pulled up with smiles on their face and a big thank you to Team Great Texas and Mike Beuerlein for getting them out a jam!
2.      Coast Guard to the Rescue (Part I):  It was lumpy, bumpy and windy out on the course today and it was easy to go down the elevator shaft and not come back up.  Team Jack Flash flipped over shortly into the race and skipper Collin Casey hit his head.  Due to Collin’s condition, they decided to ask for Coast Guard assistance.  A Coast Guard helicopter rescued Collin and he was taken to a hospital.  He was checked out, found to be OK, and released.  The team later found the boat washed up on shore.  A tough break for a great sailor and friend.
3.      Big Wind Makes for a Fast Run:  Lupe Tortilla (John and Ian) finished the course in just over 6 hours – over 100 miles.  Do the math – they were flying today.  It was a big downwind run in good size seas with a nice south breeze of around 15 knots.  It was game on from the beginning to the end.  A good day to put your crew out on the wire and floor the boat!  Ah, it was fun.  I mean really fun.  Hee, hee, hee!
4.      Coast Guard to the Rescue (Part II):  Team Chiindi came to the shores of Texas to get a wild bull ride and they got one today.  Unfortunately, the bull tossed the crew from the boat part way through the leg and we had a Man Over Board incident.  The skipper was able to keep the boat up right but could not find the crew in the big waves.  A coast guard helicopter located the crew which allowed the skipper to pick him out of the water.  I bet these guys will be using their safety lines tomorrow – I know I always do! 
5.     Three time’s a charm:  Team Yo Baby pitchpoled 3 times today but yet still managed to finish in second!  When they were up and going, they were going fast!  Maybe they were pushing the limits a little too much!
6.     Texas BBQ:  Wow, did we fill our bellies with sailing and BBQ today.  Thank to Andrew and Stephanie of Triple Threat BBQ for the outstanding BBQ on beach.  The ribs were incredible and we finished it all off with peach cobbler.
7.      What a Ride:  The waves got pretty big today and it was quite a ride down the face of some of those monsters!   It was pretty technical sailing today.  When you got on the backside of a wave, the boat would slow down and you had to power back up.  Once powered back up, you would then start to get a good run going until you surfed down the front side of the wave at which point you had to head deep to keep from crashing into the next wave.  Next, you would slow down on the backside and start the whole process over.  Obviously, John and Ian are better at this game than the rest of us.
8.      Kids on the Beach:  The sailors are playing like kids and the kids are playing, well, like kids.  John, Ian and Juke have their kids and wonderful wives along for the ride.  When we showed up at the beach today, all five kids (Dylan, Ryan, Lauren, Lux and little Lorelei) where playing in the water and having just a fantastic time.  They had big smiles as well as their daddys – the moms looked like they were having fun too.
9.      New Beach:  Due to problems at our scheduled beach for today's finish, we tried out a new beach.  We went just north of Peckery Channel and it worked out just fine.  A big, big thank you to Corey Harding and Andrew Tatton for finding us a new beach for the finish yesterday.  At one point, we did not know if we could go because we could not find an open beach.  However, we pulled it off and made it to Mustang Island.
10.   Off to Matagorda:   We have another 100 mile leg tomorrow – no rest for the weary.  It is always a tough leg as we typically go from a downwind ride to a wild reach.  The weather looks good – we start at 10 am.  You can follow us live at www.gt300.com