Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Texas 200 Update

The 2011 Texas 200 was a great success for the sailing club and GIR. Last year David, my young son and I sailed the Texas 200 with great success. This year the designer, Michael Storer and I sailed and had an absolute blast sailing my Goat Island Skiff named GIR. Even in the high winds and rough water the GIS performed as if designed for the conditions we sailed in all week. I could not have asked for better conditions to test the boat and crew. With this update I intend to fill in the gaps of our “live” blog with more details that I hope everyone reading will enjoy.
Boat Preparation:
 Getting the boat ready from 1500 miles away could not been done without the support of my wife, Rosa and children, David and Desiree. I would send them an email of things I needed done or items needed to be bought. Then on the weekends I would fly home and these items would be waiting for me to be installed or packed. They are the best land crew I have ever had.
Getting There:
 Mik and I discussed the problems with jet lag as pertaining to risk management. We both would be suffering from jet lag the first few days of the event and were afraid that our enthusiasm and jet lag could lead to a sailing mistake. We discussed how we would sail the boat, eat and camp before we even met. These conversations lead to one of the best trips I have ever had with a complete stranger, much less a crazy Australian sailor.
My family and I started packing the boat and gear within a few hours of me getting back to Texas from California.  Within a day of getting back home, with boat in tow I headed south with a 6 hour drive down to Port Isabel, Texas. The drive was surprisingly easy.
There was a major traffic jam near the White Sands Motel where I was to meet with Mik. It took me close to 2 hours to travel 4 miles near the causeway, all the time worried that someone would run into the boat. I was so close to getting into the parking lot but still so far away from getting the boat into the water. I arrived in the peak heat of the afternoon and found Mik in the comfort of an air conditioned room. We jumped right into boat prep and lugged all the boat gear out of the minivan and into the hotel room. We did do a little work on the boat by adding some non-skid tape to the cockpit floor. (Glad we did)

Night before Preparation:
We put all our gear in the middle of the floor and our beds to see what I packed. I packed not only my gear and food but Mik’s also. I had packed 2 of everything and more food than we needed for 6 days of sailing. After careful consideration we were able to decrease the amount of gear and food by a good amount so we could keep the GIS as light as possible. Water was our biggest weight concern and another larger boat offered to carry half of our water supply. This saved about 50 lbs of water weight.

Mik and I discussed going offshore with some of the others because the weather forecast was predicting the most perfect conditions for the 40 mile sail to the Port Mansfield jetties. Due to our jet lag and never sailing together we elected to sleep in the next morning and take the inshore route. We were last to leave the dock. The extra sleep felt good.

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