Pete Tevlin, Mike Dolfay, Paul Riley, Gary Harvey, Joe
Bergstrom and Steve Morris joined our Captain, Tom Taylor on his
Vagabond 47 ft. sailing yacht, the Andante, for a 150 mile race, the Harvest Moon Regatta,
from Galveston to Port Aransas Texas! Read below the photos for some descriptions of our adventure!
We left Kemah in time and under calm conditions. We made it out to the starting line in good order and were more than excited to kick it off!
We quickly realized what we had expected had come true. The south winds were pushing us towards the shore. We tacked all day and night (zigzagged out for a while and then pointed again in the right direction for a while) only to advance to Freeport for all of that effort. We were hoping to at least be at Port O'Connor by now (4am Fri). We had cold cut sandwiches and easy mac for lunch and brisket sandwiches for dinner. Around 1-2am We saw the lightning in the distance and the storm front on Radar so we pulled into Freeport to moor inland just off the intercoastal waterway at a bulkhead we've used last year on the return trip.
So, we're safe and will ride it out while the storm front passes over. We're catching up on sleep now. Then, the winds should be great for the rest of the Regatta!
Friday we awoke to rain but it lightened up quickly as we were underway again, we headed out from the intercoastal waterway back into the gulf at Freeport and proceeded southwest heading towards our Port Aransas destination. We soon found the winds to be disagreeable again. They were straight at our backs the entire time and the seas were 7-10 foot in most of the swells. No progress most of the day, steady movement but we moored for the night again to night in Port O'Connor after a stop for ice. This technically took us out of the race. For breakfast we browned up some sausage links and toaster waffles after getting going. This filled every one up and late so we didn't fix up a lunch, just apples and munchies as desired. For dinner at anchoring, we had meatball subs, salad, various cut up veggies and jalapenos. I didn't take a number of pictures today. The best part of today was probably just lying on the deck and watching clouds for a period, carefree! Hoping to make Port A tomorrow but Colorado River locks have limited opening times due to construction.
Saturday we awoke to better weather and quickly got underway heading down the intercoastal waterway towards Port Aransas. We had sausage and eggs with green peppers, jalapeños, and onions mixed in, on tortillas with some hash browns. We arrived at about 3pm and got a great corner spot on the marina really near the Port Aransas City Marina Pavilion where the awards ceremony was to be held. Debbie, Tom's Wife and Gary's wife Dew (Perlene) and Terri, Steve's Girlfriend were there to greet us. Joe's wife Melanie and Paul's wife Francine came along a bit later. Joe rented a golf cart and they toured around the area. Most of the pictures taken were of the party at the City Marina. We all had a good time visiting with Tom's Mom Phyllis and her friend Ella. They had a band playing, Mikeska's BBQ out of El Campo was served, Bacardi was handing out product samples. The awards ceremony was fun eventful because there were boats that had finished the race so of course, lots of cheering, etc. We heard some folks had a few too many and a fight started too. The youths on the boat next to ours were up all night playing their instruments and they had this odd sounding wind device called a didgeridoo. They kept Tom up but everyone else slept right through it.
Sunday morning was an abrupt awakening after a fun evening. Everybody along our part of the marina had to quickly get their boats out of the way for the Poly Anna, a monstrous shrimp boat that comes in and sells shrimp. So, we relocated to the end of the next dock for the rest of the day and overnight. We walked Mike up to meet the return shuttle bus departure. We'll miss having him and Joe along. Bacardi and the race committee had donuts, coffee and Bloody Mary's available. while others of us visited with other boaters or worked on the boat cleanup and prep for next part of our trip, Pete & Steve took the dingy to the end of the channel. We parked it and caught the 25 cent trolley bus into town and stopped at the IGA foods store for a few items. The tourist item shops are all decorated crazily, one has a huge shark in front of it. We got what we were hunting and carried it back to the dingy on the bus as it made its circuit of the area. Sunday evening we all piled in Paul's truck and went to a burger and seafood joint called Cody's then we went over to see Steve's yacht in Island Moorings marina. Sunday night we went to the Back Porch. We met a guy there who ran a para-sailing biz here and he and Steve got along pretty well, telling stories of their parachuting pasts. He told a lot of jokes too. We found a place still open and ordered and had a pizza delivered to the club. The kid who brought it had the same skull and crossbones logo that was spray painted on the pizza box top spray painted on his truck sides too. It was funny.
Monday had great weather again and soon after getting up, we headed out to another destination, Corpus Christi, Tx! We sailed there in about 4-5 hours and had cheeseburgers and beans on the boat for lunch. We passed through some pretty choppy areas; not too unexpected but wavy indeed with water splashing up on the deck. Arrival in Corpus reveal a beautiful dock area named the City of Corpus Christi Municipal Marina . There were so many neat yachts there including a retired Coast Guard cutter now run by the Boy Scouts of America - Sea Scouts. The seawall area is stepped so folks go there to sit on a blanket for a picnic and such. There are large stone gazebo looking things spread out along the top of the seawall. These are built as memorials to Selena, a popular Tejano singer who was from this area and was slain by her fan club manager while in the prime of her young career, saddening many at the time. The facilities at the marina were very clean and nice, individual locked in changing rooms with a shower and commode in each; all in A/C. In the evening Gary's wife and her friend Rene came to get us and took us to Catfish Charlie's for some more great seafood. We had a fun time visiting and took a group picture there and everyone was stuffed. On returning to the dock area we went to Joe's Crab Shack to watch Vikings vs. Packers football game, then returned to the boat to visit a bit more. We ran two loads of combined laundry through the wash there.
Tuesday we set sail again, this time heading back from where we came instead of away. For breakfast we had sausage and eggs with green peppers, jalapeños, and onions mixed in again, on tortillas with some hash browns. We sailed the day skipping lunch aboard. Entering the seaside of Rockport we saw some beautiful homes on a waterfront area called Key Allegro. This is another beautiful seaside town; at least what we could see of it. We cooked up the marinated chicken and the shrimp (Gary had bought from the Poly Anna) on skewers. We had put these meals off because we had been eating out. Add some yellow rice and green beans to make a great meal for all... including Ross Heard and his wife EJ who we caught up with and will accompany us back to Kemah. We docked beside Ross and EJ and their Morgan 41 sailboat, Beachcomber, which is usually moored near Tom's in Kemah. We swam in the Marina pool for a while and walked the docks looking at cool boats.
This morning, Wednesday, we slept in. It was probably 9 before we got going. After filling up the water tank we tried the Marina store and they didn't have any milk. I asked one of the yard guys mowing the lots at the Marina Key restaurant there if he could give me a ride to a store where we could get some milk. He said "I think my girlfriend was about to go to a store". He called her and arranged for her to bring us three gallons of milk and as soon as I came out of the shower I was heading towards, she drove up with the bottles. Really nice folks here in Texas! The milk was a little more expensive surely but this young couple deserved a nice tip for their helpfulness to strangers. After launching we went straight to cooking up some cheeseburgers on the grill and heating up some baked beans. This afternoon we're near Seadrift and heading up the ICW towards Port O'Connor for tonight. We spent about 6 hours motoring from Key Allegro, partly under sail up the ICW and ended up docking around 6pm at a very nice brand new marina called The Sanctuary at Costa Grande. Although in the middle of nowhere, this place was so nice. A spare no expense type of place, brand new, only about 2-4 houses built so far. The facilities were excellent, we had fun just walking around exploring, and the pool was unlocked too so we had a fun evening after seeing a beautiful sunset! We had chili dogs for dinner.
Thursday we found the winds had changed, making it prohibitive to sail, we kicked around choices for while and finally decided if we stayed there for a day to let an oncoming storm pass over, we'd end up having to stay maybe 2 days. So, as nice as it was there, we decided to go through the roughness of Matagorda Bay now rather than wait it out. We got underway and headed toward Freeport where we were to meet Terri and drop Steve off. But first, we had to get to the locks by 1pm to meet their window for small vessels. We made it by 12:30 and they let us through then. We used the remaining cooked chicken to make up some delicious chicken salad and toasted some long rolls we'd bought in Port A's IGA. It tasted pretty good, everyone enjoyed a day of sailing. We met Terri near Freeport and dropped Steve off as we motored by a marina dock after some great maneuvering in the dark by Tom. Then we moored at Tom's secret mooring place nearby.
Friday we'd try to make it to Harbor Walk Marina before the storm front came across. Watching the radar, the storm front was hitting Houston and headed south. We raced towards the Harbor Walk Marina and just made it and got tied up when the rain started, whew! We spent the evening checking into and enjoying being at this place while the storm blew through.
Saturday we began the last leg of our journey, the trip to Kemah, Tx... home again.
We made up breakfast tacos again, they're a hit.
Harvest Moon Regatta 2008 picture set See a great video of Andante under sail!
Soel Boat - Francine's cousin we met in Port A