Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Botin Fast40

An interview with Duane Guidry about the 2019 Harvest Moon Regatta

by David Schmidt 8 Oct 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

Henri-Lloyd Frostbite Challenge
The sport of sailing at its very best Henri-Lloyd's Chairman Hans Eckerström wanted to put the 2020 range to the test. Not the standard factory and model tests of materials, fit and wear, but the kind which really put the kit through its paces. Posted on 6 Dec
Chickens and Eggs
You know the real answer is I have no idea which came first You know the real answer is I have no idea whether the egg was before the proverbial chicken, or the other way around. Equally, I'm not sure whether the ‘end of life' boats triggered this editorial, or perhaps it was the repurposing of sails Posted on 4 Dec
Olympic class news and an Ultim class showdown
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt As the Midwest and East Coast shovel their first big storm of the year, as Northwest skiers cry that all the snow is being wasted on the flats, and as everyone grapples with last week's consumption, things are happening in Olympic sailing circles. Posted on 3 Dec
Tom Bowler on the 2019 Wirth M. Munroe Race
Interview with Miami to Palm Beach Yacht Race chairman I checked in with Tom Bowler, event chairman of the 2019 Wirth M. Munroe Miami to Palm Beach Yacht Race, via email, to learn more about this exciting early-winter race. Posted on 3 Dec
Richard Hamilton on the Jamin Jamaica Invitational
An interview with Richard Hamilton about the Jamin J/22 Jamaica Invitational I checked in with Richard Hamilton, regatta chair of the 2019 Jamin J/22 Jamaica Invitational, via email, to learn more about this competitive warm-water regatta. Posted on 2 Dec
Salvage Rights?
Does it work on land something like it does at sea? Does it work on land something like it does at sea? Is it akin to it being a mooring minder? No. Land based law is very different to that of the sea, where much of it harks back to the 1600s. Posted on 1 Dec
Barton Marine's Quick Cleat
We speak to Suzanne Blaustone at METS 2019 Mark Jardine speaks to Suzanne Blaustone, Managing Director of Barton Marine, about Quick Cleat - an innovation that provides the best alternative to tying knots, securing numerous items around boats, trailers and marinas. Posted on 29 Nov
Rolex Fastnet Race to finish in Cherbourg
We speak to Eddie Warden Owen Mark Jardine, Managing Editor of Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com, caught up with RORC Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen to find out more about Cherbourg becoming the finish destination of the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2021 and 2023. Posted on 26 Nov
All eyes on the Atlantic Ocean
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt While Americans are focusing on their Thanksgiving celebrations and the official start of the 2019 holiday season, the international sailing world has its attention riveted to the North and South Atlantic Oceans, where three races are unfurling. Posted on 26 Nov
Seldén SMF - Synchronized Main Furling
We speak to Scott Alexander at METSTRADE 2019 Mark Jardine, Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com Managing Editor Mark Jardine talks to Seldén's Scott Alexander about their SMF (Synchronized Main Furling) system at METSTRADE 2019. Posted on 25 Nov
North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterPandB 2019 Autumn Sale - FooterFestival of Sails 2020 GIF - FOOTER