Jun 20, 2014

GT300 2014: Report by Philippe Bettler

All Images GT300 FB - The GT300 continues to provide Texas catsailors a 300 miles coastal ride. The F18s are excellent tough boats for this kind of races, but surely wont stand a direct hit as seen in video below , after sailing 100miles ending like that should have hurt the spirit more than the damage on the boat itself. But it is part of the GT300, as stage finish are right there on the beach. Results at www.gt300.com

Report by Philippe Bettler:
"This was the 12th running of the Great Texas 300 (miles), a long distance race from the Texan border with Mexico to the bay of Galveston. The race is organized in 4 legs, the first 2 totaling over 200 miles with the remainder on the last 2. As usual, for the last leg, the participants of the Dash join the fun. This year 8 boats (6 C2, 1 Tiger, 1 Inter 20) registered for the full GT300 while 18

dashers made the trip to learn the ropes of long distance racing on a 34 mile leg with the hope of doing the full GT at one point.

As usual, participants of the GT are long time friends ready to fight it out once a year on a mostly 300-mile downwind run bathed in 85+F air and not so cooler water. Comradery is key even as the then 7-time champion (Tomko/Billings on 2-Wire sailing C2) got T-boned by 1-time champ Green/McCulley (Team TCDYC C2) in a slow motion surf finish. Tomko, our local AHPC dealer promptly replaced his hull (he had a full spare boat with him) to continue the race the next day.

This year we mostly got a lollypop ride with light to moderate conditions. The suspens started as early as leg 1 when team Quiksilver (Bettler/Beuerlein) stayed closer to shore to enjoy the nice lefty the forecast models had predicted. The rest of the team fighting out with 2-Wire sailing (Tomko-Billings), got carried away, outside of the rhumb line with lighter and 15 degrees off winds. The fleet eventually finished 35+ minutes behind Bettler/Beuerlein with Tomko/Billing getting their T-bone at the finish. There was actually BBQ and brisket at the finish, voluntarily prepared by sailors Stephanie May and Andrew Taton, what a treat!

The second day had another epic story as team GT300 (Steve I Piche/Juke Ball) decided its crew was too much of a weight on the boat and tossed him over board. Eaten by remorse, the skipper decided to pick back up Juke and finish the race. Team TCDYC (Green/McCulley) took a detour to make sure things were in order. Team 2-Wire got the best of it with team Sailboat Shop (Rohrer/Holt) 9 minutes behind closely followed by team Yo Baby (Galway/Atwood).

All in all, team Quiksilver (Bettler/Beuerlein) lead melted like salted Britton butter on a piece of French bread in a hot Texan summer day: 22 minutes left Mike Beuerlein our 2nd-leg chef quickly moved into his cooking gear to serve the fleet his traditional and acclaimed Gumbo Jumbo on the beach. Things got lighter on the 3rd day with a high pressure building just south of us. After a good start, fluky winds came in where we were all going at least 2 knots, for some with a negative VMG. As usual, Tomko/Billings got the better end of it when the wind eventually picked up. Bettler/Beuerlein stayed with the pack, the back of it. As the wind picked up, they eventually passed Yo Baby and team Sailboat shop to finish 2nd, 17 minutes behind Tomko/Billings. Now it was the smell of burnt rubber... only a little over 4 minutes left ahead of Tomko/Billings. Team Quiksilver could enjoy their third day in first place. Aaron McCulley was in charge of the spaghetti hosted at Collin Casey, a fervent participant of the Dash.

 The nail bitting story continues for the last leg. Good forecasts with 10kt growing to 16-18kt 90 degrees off the beach were the treat of the day. Alas, the wind never picked up above 10, and instead we got weed on the menu, lots of weed. Again Tomko/Billings had better silverware to cut through the main dish and ended up winning that last leg 13 minutes ahead of team Quiksilver for an overall win!

Team Blackburn (Maudlin/Lambert) finished 3rd of the leg on a Hobie Tiger, an impressive finish for their first time GT300. On the Dash side (started one hour earlier than GT), Mike and Janet Hardy (HC16) won the non-spin class in 5 hour 38 while another H16 (Roy/Brad Shaw) with spin won the spin class in 5 hours 42, no this is no typo , you can really be very good on a non spin H16!

Congratulations to Tomko-Billings for winning their 8th GT300 in 22 hours 41, less than 10 minutes ahead of Better/Beuerlein and 48 minutes ahead of Rohrer/Holt.

Hats down as well to all the volunteers who made this race possible. Hope to see even more folks next year to enjoy the friendship and good winds of GT300 and the Dash! More information at http://www.gt300.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/GreatTexas300