Whether you sail a superyacht with a crew of 10 or you sail a dinghy solo, sailors who sail not to win a competition but for the love of wind, fresh air and the freedom of the sea have something in common. And they love to get together after a day's sailing. The five-day event called Texas 200 is a cruising adventure which includes many boats that are just too small to sleep in.
Texas 200 - camping near Paul’s Mott, Texas coastline
Texas 200 is a 200 mile, predominantly downwind (but can't promise) event with boats making their own time up the coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico to finally meet for what's called the Magnolia Beach Messabout.
Each night they meet together at a camp. About 35 boats are taking place this year, and at time of writing the smallest boat had just reached the first overnight stop, the first of five, at Port Mansfield.
The sailboats launched at Port Isabel on Monday morning and will finish Friday, if all goes well, at Seadrift between Matagorda and Aransas.
One great aspect of the regatta is that about 75 percent of the boats participating are home-built, adding an extra dose of pride and fun. However, it wasn't all fun on the water in the first leg, as wind and seas were high - so high that even the local pelicans were taking cover.
Texas 200 - inflatable Fugu leading
The two hail from the Dallas area, and came into Port Mansfield with others in the smaller boats that had struggled in the rough seas.
One of the smallest home-built sailboats was moored in a slip at Port Mansfield by Mike Beebe, of Rockport, who built it himself and was sailing solo. But he wasn't camping. He said he planned to sleep in his 13ft boat, called a Paradox, and cook all his meals onboard, Beebe said. Paradox is lug-rigged, with a single sail.
Sunburned and fatigued by buffeting winds, those with smaller boats chose the sheltered harbor where some will camp on the Chamber’s lawn, or stay in a hotel. Others, in larger sailboats planned to camp on South Padre Island along Mansfield Cut.
Texas 200 - making your own mizzen sail
All the sailors were ready to cool off and relax before taking on four more days in less than ideal sailing weather.
The Texas 200 regatta began in 2009 and has been growing every year. For more information about the Texas 200, http://www.texas200.com!click_here.