Please select your home edition

Harvest Moon Regatta at Lakewood Yacht Club

by J/Boats 16 Nov 2018 19:00 PST 25-28 October 2018
Harvest Moon Regatta at Lakewood Yacht Club © JM Rogers

Nearly 120 sailing yachts of all shapes and builds milled about under overcast skies as they awaited their gun to begin the 150.0 nm trek from Galveston Island to Port Aransas, TX.

The Harvest Moon Regatta, run annually by Lakewood Yacht Club, is the largest port-to-port sailing regatta on the U.S. gulf coast.

This year, the regatta was returning for the first time to Port Aransas after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. The grand finale to Texas's sailing season, there would be upwards of 1,500 sailors, family and friends at the Welcome Sailor Rum Party (aka the "Bacardi Party" named after Founding Sponsor Bacardi Rum) at the newly rebuilt Dennis Dryer Municipal Harbor in Port Aransas.

Although the conditions at the start line were gray and gusty, the forecast was calling for clearing skies and moderating winds. It would be a gorgeous night of sailing under twinkling stars with a brilliant, full harvest moon to light the way!

Six J/Boats entered the regatta. So it was an astounding accomplishment when it was announced that J/Boats had swept the podium in the premier racing division, which was sailed under the ORC rating rule.

J.D. and Susan Hill's J/122 Second Star took home the prestigious Bacardi Cup and the overall win. John Barnett's J/105 PESTO was second overall and first in ORC Division B, and James Liston's J/120 Aeolus rounded out the "J" podium sweep by coming in third overall and second in ORC Division A.

"Based on the tracks of the winning boats over the years, the odds greatly favor those who can sail fast along the rhumb line," said J.D. Hill, skipper of Second Star. "But this year was different," said Hill. "Because our forecasts showed the weather clearing with breeze getting lighter and turning clockwise, even though we would sail a longer route, we went offshore so we could sail almost the entire race powered up with a kite."

Then next morning as the wind veered from northwest to northeast, boats that followed the traditional wisdom of sailing along the rhumb line found themselves pointing at the shore, where they would then have to beat or close reach to the finish in light breeze and an adverse current.

"This was truly a team win," according to Hill. "Not only did we sail the optimal route, but I'm pretty sure we were the first boat to put up a kite, and the last one to take them down. We did eight sail changes during the night to keep Second Star perfectly powered up, and rarely did anyone go below for an off-watch cat nap. It was so nice out, and we were so excited by the way the race was playing out, that everyone wanted to stay on deck and contribute."

The City of Port Aransas worked round-the-clock to have the harbor renovations completed in time for the regatta, and their efforts paid off. The new facility is bigger and better than ever– truly a first-class facility.

"We had a great time at the Bacardi Party too," said Hill. "Lots of competitors were walking the docks, so we had the opportunity to meet new friends and invite them onboard. Due to the J/122's performance, I guess most people just assume it's a stripped-out racing sled. Visitors were surprised to see below, where we were entertaining in air-conditioned comfort from a stylish and elegantly appointed 'cruiser' salon."

Find more information at

Related Articles

J/Fest Southwest Regatta at Lakewood Yacht Club
70 J/Boat competitors from around the country The J/Fest Southwest Regatta celebrated its 13th Anniversary this past weekend with over 70 J/Boat competitors from around the country. Posted on 29 Oct 2022
2022 J/22 Midwinter Championship overall
Glenn Darden's Baby Doll rocks to the title Glenn Darden's Baby Doll put an exclamation point on the final day of the J/22 Midwinter Championship, scoring all three bullets to secure the 2022 title. Posted on 21 Mar 2022
2022 J/22 Midwinter Championship day 1
Racing underway at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas Twenty-five J/22s took to the waters of Galveston Bay for the 2022 J/22 Midwinter Championship hosted by Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas. Posted on 19 Mar 2022
Bill Zartler's Deja Voodoo rocks J/105 Midwinters
12 teams compete at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, TX Bill Zartler's Deja Voodoo won seven of the eight races to convincingly take the title (nine points). Ken Horne's Final Final put together a solid series to secure second place with 18 points. Posted on 15 Mar 2021
Coaching at the IODA Worlds
The Puerto Rican Worlds Team was one of the youngest teams at the 2019 IODA Worlds Memories of the 2019 IODA World Championships are coming back as unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many if not all the IODA 2020 Events will be canceled for the year, leaving the Opti Sailing Community without those extraordinary experience. Posted on 3 Aug 2020
Smokes Harvest Moon Regatta
J/Teams sweep ORC offshore division An impending front that ultimately produced deadly tornados north in the Dallas/ Fort Worth region also produced 5-10 foot steep Gulf of Mexico "chop" with 23 to 45 kt winds. Posted on 27 Oct 2019
Ashley Walker on Lakewood Yacht Club's new RS21s
An interview with Ashley Walker about Lakewood Yacht Club's new RS21 fleet I checked in with Ashley Walker, the 2018 Commodore of the Lakewood Yacht Club, to learn more about the club's recent decision to purchase the first fleet of 12 club-owned RS21 sportboats in the USA. Posted on 23 Oct 2019
Harvest Moon Regatta in Texas
119 boats return to the usual finish line in Port Aransas Hundreds of racers look forward to this event each fall. No matter their sailing skill-levels, novice to expert, the "Harvest Moon" is a fun offshore race that ends with a fabulous outdoor party with plenty of refreshments, and live entertainment. Posted on 11 Nov 2018
2018 J/FEST Southwest Regatta - Preview
All set for racing on Galveston Bay This year's J/FEST Southwest Regatta will be taking place from October 12th to 14th, hosted by Lakewood YC on Clear Lake and on Galveston Bay. Posted on 11 Oct 2018
J/105 North American Championship overall
No racing on the last day due to lack of wind Of the 10 races at the J/105 North American Championship, Steve Rhyne's Mojo won five of them, en route to a commanding victory in the 22-boat fleet. No races took place Sunday due to lack of wind, but it wouldn't have mattered for Rhyne. Posted on 30 Oct 2017
Marine Resources 2022 Salary Survey FOOTERSailGP_Technologies_Caro52_1456x180 BOTTOMLloyd Stevenson - Equilibrium 728x90px BOTTOM