Brutal edition of Great Texas 300 – Mike Rohrer & Chris Holt win

Every year the famous Great Texas 300 long distance race is sailed along the Texas coastline. From June 14 – 17 the race was sailed in sometimes brutal conditions. One of the guys behing this event you’ll all know: Steve Piche, the catsailor wearing the cowboy hat all the time! Steve makes a daily ‘Top 10’ list on the GT300 Facebook. A recap of what happend last week…. a report from Steve’s platform!

Brutal conditions for Day 1
“As I predicted on the Facebook Live broadcast prior to leg 1 start, anyone that made it through the first leg without flips or breakdowns would have a very good day. Mike Rohrer and Chris Holt of Team Sailboat Shop managed to keep the pointy end up and had no boat damage. They had a big win. Our team, Great Texas 300, was the only other team to make it to the finish, several hours later, due to boat damage (more later). The conditions were brutal. It was lumpy, bumpy and plain nasty. It was a game of survival and Mikie Rohrer and Chris Holt were the survivors!”

Day 2 is another win for Sailboat Shop
“Juke and I went head to head with Mike and Chris for half the race today before Team Sailboat Shop. We traded leads as we both ran on spin and jib reaches. Eventually, the wind settled into a jib reach and lightened for an hour. Mikie got away and then was able to stretch the lead when the wind filled. Automotive Solutions looked good in the morning but struggled with boat damaged and hit the boat third today. Congratulations to John Webster and Steve Foxall who are the oldest team to ever sail the GT and finished in a respectable 4th.”

We are sinking!!!!
“I thought my streak of finishing every GT leg was certainly over yesterday. We were ripping along at mach 90 downwind when the port rudder ripped off. The upper pintle literally ripped a 5 inch by 5 inch hole in the boat. We immediately flipped and the hull started to sink. We barely got the boat back up before the hull completely sunk. We headed on to port tack towards the beach. With the 20 knot wind, we were able keep the port hull from sinking (barely). When we got to the beach, we drained the water slowly by lifting the hulls. Jorge and Chris, our road crew showed up (thanks Satellite phone), and we came up with a plan. Gorilla tape the hull and make it to the finish. Call Aaron McCulley and ask a big, big favor – can we use your platform. Sail out throught the big surf and sail 34 miles with one rudder in big seas and 25 knot breeze. Rip our boat apart and rebuild it in the morning! Great game plan and it worked amazingly! Huge, huge thanks to everyone that made it possible especially Aaron for driving down the boat. Also, Juke endured 34 miles of reaching hell in huge seas. If he had not trapped, there was no way we could have made it. Also, Jorge and Chris for helping us on the beach and with setting up the boat. What a team!!!”

Great with a capital “G” sailing on day 3
“Team Solution Automotive Wins the Leg: Wow, what a great job by Lee Wicklund and David Cerdas with a narrow corrected time win over us. They played a perfect game today! Launched the kite and went to the beach as the wind shifted behind us. They ran the beach and just sailed off the horizon in some beautiful spin reach and downwind conditions. It was a very, very fast run to Surfside and was just a reminder of why we all love the Great Texas. Congratulations to Lee and David after break-downs the first two days led to disappointing results!!!”

All Boats on the Water
“After some tough conditions, we were able to get the entire fleet of 5 boats off the beach and on the water. Team Nacra Maniacs got their boat repaired and back on the water after having to skip yesterday’s leg. It was Great with a capital “G” sailing! Mikie Rohrer, who has maintained his substantial lead in the GT, and I battled today for bragging rights of the F18’s in today’s leg. Mikie got an incredible start and jumped out to an early lead. We put up the spin first and caught back up. We then yo-yo’ed back and forth for 40 miles. When we rounded Bryan Point about 15 miles from the finish, we were 100 yards apart. I jibed back to the beach and he did not cover. The next thing we knew, we had jumped out to a one mile lead which we held to the finish. Mike and Chris promised to cover us relentless from here on out. In fact, Mike has been following me everywhere for the last few hours. I put an end to that when he tried to follow me into the port-o-pottie!”

Race Committee
“I am on a roll on thank you’s so let’s not forget the race committee. Billy Richnow, our PRO, has been running the race and doing scoring. Terri Reuwsaat keeps the machine moving. Trey Garrison keeps us safe and makes sure the trackers are running. Ann Apel makes sure everything runs smoothly on the beach. Thanks y’all.”

Off to Galveston
“We have a 40 mile run down the beach to Galveston tomorrow. The winds are forecasted to be great tomorrow and it should be a fun run. We will have a party on the finish line hosted by the Bolivar Yacht Club. We have an awards banquet at Cat Alley with Andrew and Stephanie supplying the BBQ. One more day!!!!”

A memorable day 4!
Mike Rohrer and Chris Holt Win the Great Texas!!! Avoiding boat damage and flips, Team Sailboat Shop was able to sail away with the win at this year’s Great Texas. Leg 1 proved to be the pivotal leg. While other teams struggled with flips and boat damage, Mike and Chris toughed it out in challenging conditions to finish 4 hours ahead of the only other team that finished the leg, Team Great Texas 300. Given the big differences in time on day 1, Mike and Chris were set as long as they did not crash out. They managed to win legs 2 and 4 and show that they are the most bad ass sailors in Texas. Congratulations to Mike and Chris. This is their second win of the Great Texas!”

Sporty Conditions on the Course
A good 15 to 20 knot breeze welcomed the racers to the course this morning. The conditions made for a wild jib reach for the first hour. The wind lightened a bit and shifted behind the boats creating nice downwind conditions. We once again battled with Team Sailboat Shop for the lead. We caught the early lead but Team Sailboat Shop slowly caught up and got in front of us with about 10 miles to go. After yesterday’s loss to us due to not covering, Mike and Chris were determined to follow us everywhere. They matched us jibe for jibe all day. It was classic racing. Good job Mike and Chris!!!”

Welcome to Cat Racing
“The Dashers took off at 9 am on their way to Galveston. Michelle Rathkamp, who is a very good Hobie 16 sailor, had set up in front of us for the start. She had a rookie crew who had never been on a cat before. The gun went off for the Dash and Michelle and her crew took off through the surf. Michelle got knocked off the boat and the next thing you know is that the rookie crew is sailing out through the surf by herself. Somehow or other, the boat sailed itself out through the surf with the crew waving her arms in distress for help. About a quarter mile out, the boat flipped. Jim Tomes of Team Nacra Maniacs joined Team Sea-N-Double and sailed out to the rescue. Jim was able to get the crew and boat back to shore! Michelle and her crew decided to take the day off after the brief sail.”

Hot Dogs at the Finish
What do you get after sailing 300 miles up the Texas coast? As many hot dogs as you want!!! I sail the GT for hot dogs! Once again, a big thanks to the Boliver Yacht Club for serving us hot dogs, chips and drinks at the finish under a big tent. A special big thanks to Jim Denys for organizing the dogs for us sailors!”

Nacra Maniacs Save the Day Again
“After going and rescuing Michelle Rathkamp’s boat, Jim Tomes of Team Nacra Maniacs decided to go for another rescue. They found Team Poison Girl de-masted off-shore. They hauled them to the beach and then finished the race. Two rescues in one day – not bad. We may invite those boys from Arizona back next year! Frank en Kitty Wins the Dash: Congratulations to Scott Tuma and his son for their win in the non-spin class at the Dash today! Well done! There were no winners in the spin division as none of the boats in the class finished the leg.”

Next Year
OK, boys and girls, let’s talk about next year. We need more than 5 boats. We need commitments for next year and we need to see cash for registration. Y’all know that Mike, Lee and I will be back. Let us know as soon as possible if you want to do the Great Texas. If we get the commitments, we will run next year but if not, we may have to skip a year. I really, really hope to see you in South Padre Island at 10 am on the Wednesday before Father’s Day for the 16th Great Texas!!! The event wouldn’t have been possible without our proud sponsors: Juke Auto, TCDYC, Bolivar Yacht Club, Triple Threat BBQ, Silver Bullet Racing, Cat Alley, Quiksilver and Windcrest!

Overall results

  1.  Mike Rohrer/Chris Holt – SAILBOAT SHOP
  2. Steve Piche/Juke Ball – GREAT TEXAS 300
  3. Lee Wicklund/David Cerdas – SOLUTIONS AUTOMOTIVE
  4. John Webster/Steve Foxall – TEAM DALLAS
  5. Jim Tomes/Brian Willess – NACRA MANIACS

All results can be found here. Of course Mike and Chris have been added to the F18 Hall of Fame!

Photo credits: All photos from the Great Texas 300 website and Facebook.