Everything’s Big in Texas

Light winds. Galveston Bay. Enough Said.

“This place can really mess with your head--big time,” says Corsair 28R skipper Roy Shaw, of Houston, Texas, when explaining the tricky conditions on Galveston Bay today at the Sailing World Texas NOOD Regatta, hosted by the Houston YC. “When the wind does what it did today, you had to find and stay in the breeze. It was trending right, but the better pressure was from the left.”For Shaw and his teammates Roy Newbern, Buddy Brown, Matt Parker, and owner Kevin Severance, who won two of three races in the 13-boat Corsair fleet after three races, their lead is especially sweet, considering this is only their second regatta with the boat. “This whole thing came together about 9 weeks ago,” says Severance, a powerboat convert. “These guys invited me to come sail a Corsair, and I thought it was the coolest thing.” Severance needed little convincing to the buy a boat, brand spanking new, and this Texan squad now has big plans, including Key West Race Week, and even some distance racing on the Gulf of Mexico. As a bonus today, Severance’s Team Unleaded was awarded the Halls Spars and Rigging Boat of the Day Award, given to the team with the best overall performance in the most competitive class. In the meantime, team Unleaded have two more days of racing in forecasted light winds and they, like many others tonight, know it’s early yet.The biggest fleet in attendance, with 34 boats, is the J/80 class, which is sailing its North American Championship in advance of the J/80 Worlds next month. As you’d expect, all the best locals are knocking heads as usual, with Jay Lutz leading Glenn Darden and John Kolius by 4 and 7 points, respectively.As Severance explained it after racing, many out-of-towners would’ve understandably been tricked by the day’s trending right-hand breeze, and that explains why many local boats lead their standings. Dov Kivlovitz’s Children at Play, from Seabrook, Texas, leads the 11-boat J/24 class, but only by 1 point over Leigh Ann Hawboldt’s Silver Bullet, and in the 19-boat J/22 class, it’s Martin Van Wolf’s USA 404 with a 3-point lead on Junk Yard Dog.Sailors in the classes with smaller fleets say size doesn’t matter here. The racing is just as competitive, and this is especially true in the Melges 24 and J/105 fleets. Only 1-point separates locals Matt Mayo and Mark Bryan in the 6-boat Melges class, and there’s a tie in the 12-boat fleet J/105 fleet between Ryan Glaze’s Gringo and Hal Haltom’s Cayuse.Other classes, bringing the total number of boats to 136, include two Level Rated divisions, Etchells, Catalina, and Ensigns, which begin racing tomorrow. For complete results: http://www.sailingworld.com