Pete, Mike, Paul, Kevin, Joe and Walt joined our captain, Tom Taylor on his 47 ft. sailing yacht, the Andante, for a 150 mile race, the Harvest Moon Regatta, from Galveston to Port Aransas Texas!
Read below for a great account of the race . It was written by Deborah, Tom's wife for her company, FGH, newsletter. Thanks Deborah!

We won Second Place!!! This has been a blast!

Andante Goes On First Racing Adventure

As most of FHGits are aware, the Taylor family loves adventure and boating! On October 16th, Captain Tom and six other guys took the Taylor's sailing yacht, Andante, out to stretch her sea legs in the 22nd Harvest Moon Regatta. This is a sailboat race from Galveston to Port Aransas. Last year there was over 200 participating boats, this year, due to Ike the number dropped to 137. Still plenty of sails to watch! The race started Thursday afternoon in front of The Flagship Hotel in Galveston. I believe there were 3 starting times. Andante started on the 2nd time slot. What an awesome site to see 44 boats lined up with full sails! (Debora was not present because she is so loyal to FHG and was working). Andante's crew consisted of Captain Tom, of course, and 5 others that had been on board at least 1 other time & 1 sailing virgin who were all looking for an adventure of a lifetime. Lots of spirit, not much experience past the captain.

The first hour went according to plan, everyone neck and neck, hollering good natured ribbing back and forthThen Mr. Murphy (of Murphy's law) stepped in and said..if you really need something, it will inevitably break. Take a wild guess at what is fairly important when you are maneuvering among 40+ other boats.Steering? Nahcorrect steering is overrated!!! Yep, that's right..the steering broke; and folks, we are talking a free spinning steering wheel! Andante immediately begin to cross in front of numerous other boats. The guys are up on deck screaming and waving trying to tell everyone..watch out, we are OUT OF CONTROL! Luckily, Captain Tom is a seasoned sailor & knows his vessel well, between that and the Grace of God there was no crunching noises. Somehow they managed to get out of the way and after splicing and dicing and much hard work, they were back in business an hour behind everyone else! This is not the Olympics, Andante is NOT Tonya Harding and there are NO start overs! Trust me when I say the other boats did not wait on them.

For the past several years, the weather conditions for the HMR have been somewhat less than desirable. This year, not only were they blessed with nice weather, but, unlike last year, there was actually WIND. And A LOT of it! For those that went on the FHG Put the Wind back in your sails day sailing trip, you might remember that 9 knots is very fast for a vessel of Andante's size. (A knot is 1.3 mph) They were consistently at 9+ knots! There was so much wind that more than once they had to bring sails IN to keep the boat safe! Maybe they could actually make up that lost hour & catch up? Again, the seasoned captain pulled them through and by daylight they had other boats in sight.

Until he took a nap. (Note to captain.NEVER leave 6 unseasoned sailors in charge of your yachtunder any circumstances, but especially if you have a chart to course and a race to win.

Captain Tom awoke to the sound of surf. Folks, where to you normally hear surf? At the beach, perhaps? Do you ever see sailboats at the beach? Not normally and certainly not on purpose, because the sound of waves breaking means one thing..THE GROUND IS VERY CLOSE! Now remember..this is a sailing race & it is totally illegal to start your motors! Starting your motor means you are disqualified. Well, that was 1 mishap Andante almost did not get out of. After much maneuvering AND without the motor, the captain again saved the day. Unfortunately, more precious time was lost.

Fast forward to entering Port Aransas..As you can imagine, with so many boats going to the same place at the same time, things could get a little crowded. Throw in a couple of huge fast moving shipping boats and barges & stir and you have yourself quite a mess. Take that mess and add a now dead wind, fold in no motors for the sailboats and an out flowing current of over 3 knots. Now what do you have? You now have a really big mess and sailboats that are actually, yes..going backwards. This went on for hours. A few feet forward with the correct sail position, only to have the current take it back.

Well, they finally made it in, safe and sound, happy to just have finished the race. Another thing marked off the bucket list. Debora & a friend pulled up hours later on Friday night by car. Yuck.

On a quick side note.even with the last hours being tied up, everyone still made it to Port A in record time. Normally the fastest boats pull in in about 24-25 hours. The first boat to come across the finish line was just under 12! WOW!

On to the next thing on the agenda.PARTY TIME. Did I mention the major sponsor of this event is Bacardi? Yes, the rum makers and it was flowing! Don't worryeveryone was safe at the dock and responsible! Next comes the award ceremony. How fun to watch everyone, all excited, winning their trophies! After years of dreaming, our boat had finally taken part in one the largest and longest sailing races in the nation. We were happy just to be there. So, imagine our surprise when they reached our division and announced that Andante had WON 2ND PLACE! I think we made more noise than any other group! We were VERY excited! We also ended up being 17th out of the 44 that started at the 2 pm slot. Quite admirable, considering the issues encountered! (One not mentioned above was the inflatable dingy almost sinking due to a fish fin puncture).

Moral of this story? Perhaps there are many, but the one first in line is.when you board Andante, you had better be prepared for an adventure of a lifetime!

Debora Taylor
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