Please select your home edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

An interview with Duane Guidry about the 2019 Harvest Moon Regatta

by David Schmidt 8 Oct 2019 08:00 PDT October 10-13, 2019
Racecourse action at the 2018 Harvest Moon Regatta © Image courtesy of the Harvest Moon Regatta/Lakewood Yacht Club

Yacht clubs play many important roles in American sailing including providing an institutional-level push to encourage members and local sailors to use and enjoy their boats more. This, in fact, was the rally cry that sounded in 1987 at the Lakewood Yacht Club, in Seabrook, Texas, beginning first with a rum-fueled conversation that-come the sober light of morning (and after many follow-up meetings)-still sounded like a grand idea involving October winds, great offshore conditions, and a chance to take the fleet out of sight of land for a final airing before the start of the northerlies that historically roil the Gulf of Mexico during winter months.

The result was the Harvest Moon Regatta (established 1987), a 150-mile offshore contest that begins off of Galveston, Texas, and takes the fleet on a tour of Gulf of Mexico buoys before finishing off of Port Aransas, Texas. The Harvest Moon Regatta is open to cruising boats, multihulls, PHRF handicap classes (which will be scored on a time-on-time basis), and the performance-orientated Bacardi Fleet (which will be scored on the ORC Club Offshore time-on-time scoring).

While the inaugural event attracted 17 competing boats, more recent years have seen fleets exceeding 260 boats. A glance at this year’s scratch sheet reveals boats ranging from go-fast monohulls like J/120s, J/109s and J/105s, to lickety-split F27 and F31 trimarans, to venerable cruisers such as a Morgan 46 and an Island Packet 38, to comfortable catamarans such as a Leopard 44 and a Maine Cat 38.

I checked in with Duane Guidry, regatta chair of the 2019 Harvest Moon Regatta (October 10-13), via email, to learn more about this now-classic Southern Coast fall challenge.

Can you explain the race’s culture to the uninitiated?

Harvest Moon Regatta is in its 33rd year as an offshore race with something for everyone, from a first-time offshore sailor to a world class offshore racer, topped off with a big Bacardi Rum party.

Can you describe the levels of competition that sailors can expect to find, once the starting guns begin sounding?

We have cruising sailors with no spinnaker who will fish as they sail, and we have serious racers with large spinnakers who will change sails multiple times through the night. The prestigious Bacardi Cup will go to a serious racer using the ORC handicapping system while the coveted Cameron Cannon will go to a cruising sailor.

Can you give us a 35,000’ overview of the racecourse? Also, do any spots typically give navigators pause for concern?

The race starts off the coast of Galveston, follows the Coastal Bend of Texas in a generally SSW direction, leaving the Freeport and Matagorda channels to starboard, and finishes at the Port Aransas channel.

The most significant navigational challenges involve offshore structures that can be poorly marked, especially at night. The finish inside the Port Aransas channel has been challenging in previous years with foul current, head winds or light air, and commercial traffic, but the finish line is being moved offshore to alleviate these issues.

Conditions-wise, what’s typical for this regatta? Also, what are the best-case and worst-case scenarios?

It has always been said that gentlemen don’t go to weather and the Harvest Moon Regatta has been hyped as a gentleman’s race, but wind on the nose is not unheard of. A nice “reach down the beach” makes for fun cruising but when the wind blows straight up the rumbline boats have to tack back and forth to make forward progress, the race can drag into the wee hours of Saturday morning and slower boats may not make the noon Saturday deadline.

Do you have any advice or insider tips that you’d like to share with first-time racers? What about returning racecourse veterans?

It is a great venue since there will always be another competitor nearby, and a safety day helps newbies learn about offshore sailing…it is a program worth attending even if you never go offshore overnight…and even if you have attended one already; many veterans return year after year to the safety day because they know they will always pick up new info.

Can you tell us about any steps that you and the other event organizers have taken in the last couple years to help green-up the regatta or otherwise lower its environmental wake?

Harvest Moon Regatta has participated in the Sailors for the Sea “Clean Regatta” program for a number of years, and [we] continue to provide reusable lidded tumblers to reduce or eliminate the use of disposable water bottles.

Related Articles

David Sussmann debriefs the Pure Ocean Challenge
A Q&A with David Sussmann about his experiences in the 2020 Pure Ocean Challenge I checked in with David Sussmann, founder of Pure Ocean, via email, to learn more about his experiences, observations, and data-collection efforts during the 2020 Pure Ocean Challenge. Posted on 5 Aug
Photo Gallery of the Inaugural Two Bridge Fiasco
Will Keyworth's Photo Gallery of the Inaugural Two Bridge Fiasco Photographer Will Keyworth provides a great photo gallery of the Annapolis Yacht Club's inaugural Two Bridge Fiasco Posted on 4 Aug
Double trouble?
Will double-handers be excluded from the Hobart's biggest prize? In yachting, 2020 is the year of shorthanded sailing. Yes, in many cases it has been forced on us due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the trend was already set and with a mixed double-handed yacht being added to the slate for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Posted on 3 Aug
Previewing the inaugural Two Bridge Fiasco
Dick Neville and Kevin Reeds on the Annapolis Yacht Club's inaugural Two Bridge Fiasco I checked in with Dick Neville and Kevin Reeds of the inaugural Two Bridge Fiasco, via email, to learn more about this exciting new Chesapeake Bay-area event. Posted on 30 Jul
All the Fs in sailing
Fantastic full on fast, fun, and FLAT bottomed - the scow Is windward-leeward is the only true measure of a sailors prowess in a race? Some boats simply don't reach at all, but if there is one genre of boat that has 'reaching master-blaster' written into its DNA, then it has to be the scow. Posted on 30 Jul
Introducing the Henri-Lloyd Racing Club
Bringing sailors together through communities in novel and innovative ways Sailing thrives through communities and, in this time of social distancing, bringing people together through communities in novel and innovative ways helps us all bond when other methods may not be possible. Posted on 29 Jul
Alex Nugent on the 2020 Edgartown Race Weekend
Taking steps to ensure competitor health and safety I checked in with Alex Nugent, race co-chair of the 2020 Edgartown Race Weekend, via email, to learn more about this exciting regatta. Posted on 28 Jul
Celebrating solo sailing and the Vendee Globe
Latest musings from Sail-World's David Schmidt in the USA If this fall's Vendee Globe is anything like the recent Vendee-Arctique-Les Sables D'Olonne, the sailing world is in for a serious treat. Posted on 28 Jul
3300 feet and climbing
Jeanneau's Sun Fast 3300 climbs ever skyward on the way to a potential berth at Paris 2024... At a time when the world's passenger fleet is effectively grounded, Jeanneau's Sun Fast 3300 climbs ever skyward on the way to a potential berth at Paris (Marseilles) 2024. Posted on 26 Jul
Gladwell's Line: A Cup Milestone by this weekend?
NZ Deputy PM descended from early NZ boatbuilding family .. Cup milestone this weekend? Sometime before this week is out, we expect to see the first America's Cup Challenger sailing on the Waitemata Harbour, and NZ Deputy Prime Minister's ancestor was builder of New Zealand's oldest remaining classic yacht. Posted on 23 Jul
Zhik 2020 AnneMarieRindom FOOTERGul 2020 FOOTERUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTER