Harvest Moon Regatta

Harvest Moon Regatta

(Thank you to Bee Bednar for this update.) Every October, a couple hundred boats of all varieties line up off Pleasure Pier in Galveston for Lakewood Yacht Club's 150-mile Harvest Moon Regatta race to Port Aransas, TX. This is a PHRF only race so sometimes how you finish is not always how you finished. For the first time in a number of years, the entry list included more then one J/105. In this case, three J/105s - Bee Bednar's Stinger (PHRF of 78), John Bell's Kinderspel2 and Greg Turman's Horny Toad (yes that is a real Texas toad, PHRF 87) - raced in the Bacardi PHRF Racing Fleet's PS-C class with the Viper 830 Rented Mule (PHRF 69). The Bacardi Fleet started downwind at 14:55 in cool and light 10-knot breezes out of about 10 degrees. As the evening progressed, the winds increased to the mid 20s, finally topping out at 28+ in the early morning light. Rented Mule took line honors with Stinger finishing in sixth place scratch. The two other J/105s finished about an hour after that. This was definitely a hot chute run and perfect for the Mule. Being able to fly the big 110 sq mt kite made the difference for Stinger's second place. Turman's Horny Toad finished third, and Bell's Kinderspel2 came in fourth. Stinger's maximum speed was 18.1 knots. Have no idea what the Mule's top speed was, but even with the smaller class kites, the other two 105s hit speeds above 14 knots. It's somewhat interesting to look at the overall finishes in the 21 boat racing fleet. Rented Mule was the first boat across the line followed quickly thereafter by a J/44, two J/120s, the Hobie 33 Soap Opera and Stinger. On corrected time, it appeared that the final overall finishing order would be Rented Mule, Soap Opera and Stinger. Well, that will teach us one design hardheads a thing or two! Rented Mule finished fourth and Stinger eighth overall. Nevertheless sailing under spinnakers under the big moon-lit skies and spectacular stars provided a beautiful environment for all races. The big party afterward is a big payoff for a long 20+ hour run. The ride back on Stinger turned out to be more then just interesting. After about four hours motoring toward Galveston, the winds picked up to around 5 knots so we decided to hoist the main to gain a bit more speed. This resulted in a few degrees of lean which of course none of us thought much about. About an hour later, a considerable amount of water in the port quarter berth made it a big deal. Stinger was taking on water though what is thought to be the upper rudder bearing. At that point along the Texas coast, there is no place to run. It took a little thinking to realize that the incoming water was actually due to the fact that because of the lean the rudder stock was under the water line. Flattening out the boat allowed the water to flow into the bilge where the auto pump flushed it out pretty quick. It also simultaneously stopped the incoming water flow. All movable weight was moved forward. Sailing somewhat fatter angles minimized the lean and significantly reduced the flow over the top of the rudder stock. Stinger safely returned home after a slow 29 hour trip. Moral of this story is: always check all potential leaks before you leave the dock on any kind of extended run. The leaking bearing is the result of not recognizing the full extent of damage due to hitting a submerged object some time prior to the race.   Regatta website

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