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Frequently Asked Questions about Texas Race Week

What is Texas Race Week?

Texas Race Week is a three-day regatta off the shores of Galveston Island. The racing takes place in the daylight hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Gulf of Mexico. Sunday is reserved for getting your boat back to the Clear Lake area at your leisure.

Where are the races?

The races take place in the Bolivar Roads (between the ship channel jetties), out into the Gulf of Mexico and back.

What is the course?

The courses will be around fixed marks in the Gulf of Mexico (platforms, wells, buoys, etc.), and around floating marks dropped by the race committee. The weather will dictate which course is to be run each day.

For the spinnaker boats, the fixed mark courses will likely be a long windward/leeward or a triangle with an element of windward/leeward in it somewhere.

For the non-spinnaker and cruising boats, the race committee will attempt to run a course which is a reach out to a platform and a reach back.

The dropped mark course will go out the jetties, then along east beach to a dropped mark, then upwind (or downwind)  a couple of miles to another dropped mark.  Spin boats will do several windward/leeward laps around these dropped marks. Non-spins will do less laps around the dropped marks.  Then back to the jetties and to the finish.

If the wind is predicted to be light all day, we will probably run the dropped mark course since it will be easier to shorten course if needed.

Where is the start and finish?

The start and finish line will be between the Houston ship channel mark 11 and either an anchored boat or a flag on shore.  Care should be taken to not get too close to shore as it gets shallow.

What time do the races start?

The race each day is scheduled to start at 11:00am.  However, if the forecast is for light wind at that time with more wind expected later in the day, the race committee may postpone the start.  We will let everyone know the night before if we know we will postpone the next day.  That way you can party later and sleep in!

What time do the races finish?

I guess that depends on how fast you sail!  We will try to set the courses for the conditions so that most boats will finish around 4 o’clock.  If there is a postponement, that may go a little later.  As any sailor knows, it is best not to plan anything definite after sailing.

Where do I keep my boat? Are slips provided?

Most all boats will be docked at the Galveston Yacht Basin (GYB).  They have a limited number of slips, so you should reserve yours early.  The rate is $1.50/ft/night and includes water and electricity.  They also have a breakwater at the end of the sailboat dock that you can tie up to. It is $1.00/ft/night but does not include water or electricity.  Rafting may be required on the breakwater if many boats are there. However in recent years there has been enough regular slips for everyone, and the breakwater was not crowded.

GYB and any other marina will require proof of insurance.  Your contract with GYB is strictly between you and GYB. GBCA assumes no liability or responsibility for where you dock your boat.

Where can I watch?

Spectators can watch the start and finish from the “beach” along Boddeker Road, about a half mile from Seawall Blvd.  Look for the big orange flag.  On the day or days when the floating mark course is run, you can view the spectacle from East Beach, from the Pleasure Pier, and the seawall east of Pleasure Pier. Unfortunately we can’t predict on what day this course will be run as it will be weather dependent.

Can I get lunches for my crew?

Yes.  We will have order forms for box lunches. They will be provided by the Sunflower Bakery and will include sandwich, chips, cookies, fruit and pickle.  We will deliver them each morning to the dock at GYB.  Cost will be about $10/lunch. 

Where are the after-race parties?

The after-race parties are scattered around Galveston.  On Thursday we will gather at the Rum Shack (part of The Spot) on the seawall.  This venue is an upstairs tiki bar and it always seems to have a nice cooling breeze flowing through it.  They will have a burger bar for us, and a full bar with happy hour prices.  Your first drink is on us (with your event pass).

Friday happy hour at Beerfoot Brewery , 28th & Seawall. Craft beer, full bar and appetizers is the order of the evening.  We'll be in  the back room. First two beers on us (with your event pass of course).

On Saturday the place to be will be at the Texas Seaport Museum and Tall Ship Elissa.  We will have an open rum and beer bar.  Food catered by Benno’s will include fried fish, shrimp and chicken.  Entertainment provided by Andy and the Dreamsicles. Dance the night away on the official Tall Ship of Texas!

Where do I and my crew stay?

There are plenty of hotels, houses, and condos for rent in Galveston. Unfortunately this is the busy season in Galveston so rates tend to be a little high. But Galveston is close enough to commute from home for most sailors. Just be sure you have a designated driver!

What about event passes?

The event pass gets you into the after-race parties.  The cost is $35, but two passes come with each boat registration.  You can get your pass online at www.gbca.org, or at one of the rum race socials.  You won’t get an actual pass, but your name will be on a list.  When you get to the venue, you will receive the wristband for that day.  This way you don’t have to keep track of wristbands, passes, etc. You just need to know your name.  And if you don’t know that, there will probably be someone nearby that does.

We would really appreciate it if you would sign up for your pass early, so we can plan this thing!

If I am only going to one after-race party do I still need an event pass?

Yes. We are in the regatta management business, not the party planning business. And we want to make this simple for us and for you.  Besides the $35 is a bargain.  If you are only coming to the Thursday party and you are too cheap to buy an event pass, then just buy your own burger and drinks at that venue. You won’t hurt our feelings.

How much time off work does it require?

Typically only Thursday and Friday.  You may want to get your boat down to Galveston on Wednesday. It looks like the current may be favorable for getting from Clear Lake to Galveston on Wednesday evening. But you should check that out for yourself and plan accordingly.

Are there any special requirements for my boat?

Your boat should be seaworthy and suitable for offshore cruising or racing along the Texas Gulf Coast. The Race Committee reserves the right to disallow any yacht it deems unsuitable for this regatta.  But the ultimate responsibility for determining if your boat and crew are suitable resides with you.

How do I enter?

You can enter online at www.gbca.org or at the social after one of the rum races. The earlier you enter, the cheaper it will be. So don’t delay – enter today.  You may also purchase extra event passes the same way.

Other questions?

Shoot me an email: mailto:texasraceweek@gbca.org

 

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