Saturday, October 25, 2014

Port Aransas, TX plyWooden Boat Festival

It's been quite a while since we have done any sailing worth mentioning. To tell the truth we still haven't done much sailing, but the first annual plyWooden Boat show in Port A, as the locals call it, was a big success. It's a good thing as Kristi and I drove 2400 miles, round trip for the weekend show. The folks at Farley Boat Works, in conjunction with Duckworks, did a marvelous job of hosting the event and attracting 92 boats! Several renowned boat designers, including Michael Storer, Richard Woods and John Welsford, were in attendance and were giving talks on all sorts of interesting subjects. I didn't get a chance to see any of the talks because there was a steady stream of people coming by the Goat. I basically spent a couple days talking about boats, non-stop. Someone's gotta do it.

After driving 1200 miles, split over two days, we are finally on the short ferry hop over to Port Aransas.

We were immediately welcomed by Michael Storer and John Goodman. John invited Goat to park in between the world famous GIS "GIR" and Hapscut "GAZ" 

Balanced lug rigs o plenty.

The Goodman fleet with "Goat" in the middle.

Lots of folks came by to talk about our boats.

 Bolger folding schooner and Everglades Challenge finisher Scamp "Fat Bottom Girl" among many beautiful boats. 

Beautiful Faering

Welsford Pathfinder

Nancy's China

Big ships in the channel. Not a good place for beginner sailors.

The man, the legend, Michael Storer!

John Goodman passed on the Goat burgee to me at the show. A bit of background. Bob Wessel created said burgee. In his words:

"It began as a trophy to represent the fastest bestest Goat sailor as determined in head-to-head competition..." The competition never materialized so "When time was winding down for Sail OK, 2011, it seemed to me, in the Corinthian spirit, John should hold the burgee until such time that he passes it on."

Now, I seem to remember John getting pretty froggy about the burgee, and I quote:

"ARGHHHH Mateys! I will taunt all ye pirate goats by flying da GIS burgee from the highest peak of the yard on me none goat ship. If ya can catch me, board me and scuttle my mighty ship, that is when ye can have da flag. That is me challenge fellow pirates. Are ye goat enough to try? Forget me icy grip mates, dat darn crocodile got me hand and all I have left is a hook but beware dat hook is sharp as da croc's teeth. ARGHHHHHH!" 

The Corinthian spirit must have been with John at Port Aransas as the head-to-head competition did not materialize. Probably just as well since John is one hell of a sailor.

I am deeply honored and will fly it with pride until such time as another challenger rips it from my rigamortis death grip, or when I meet another worthy Goatee.

Wonderful cruiser "Coast Rider". Dave Lucas, if you're reading this: "Helen Marie's" big mommy.

Camping and driving is allowed on Port Aransas beaches. 

Saturday night was the dinner and awards ceremony. John Goodman won the well deserved "most unique" or something like that with "Chevy Duck"

"Chevy Duck's" hood ornament.

"GIR" lurking in the night.

As the show was winding down on Sunday afternoon, we were waffling as to whether to take "Goat" for a spin but Richard Woods had never sailed a GIS so that sealed the deal.

Michael Storer and Richard Woods helping launch "Goat".

Richard says watch the halyard...

Too late. 

 It was great to watch Richard Woods demonstrate a few jibes. I'm getting to where I can do it pretty confidently in higher winds, but every once in a while it still bites me. Key is to not slow the boat down and let the apparent wind build. It's counter intuitive since slowing down is usually associated with more control and safety. Not so here. Go as fast as you can and flick the sail over with authority. No sneaking up on it.

Picture taken by Steve aboard "Termite". We are sailing at the intersection of 3 shipping channels with two large ships approaching from opposite directions. Not a huge deal but you have to stay alert out there. Fully powered up with two on the rail is oh so nice. Richard Woods on the tiller.

An idea of the ship traffic on a random day. Screen shot from the AIS traffic mapping web page:

 Mik says "if you don't follow the plans lightning will shoot from my fingers and smite you"

The Goodmans packing up to go home. That's GIR and Chevy Duck in the truck with Hapscut on the trailer. I like how they roll.

Our humble rig. The Fit does well towing the light Goat. We averaged 28.4mpg over 2485 miles, spending $258 on gas. Yep, gas is cheap on the Gulf coast. Lowest we saw was $2.77/gal. We encountered a lot of 15mph head wind on the Texas coast which brought the gas mileage down to the 23-25mpg range. No head wind, on flat Florida highways we average closer to 30mpg. Our full size Dodge van, driven gently, gets 14mpg towing Goat so that's exactly double the fuel cost.  Many people comment on towing with such a small car. The rest of the world tows all sorts of trailers with small cars. Only in the US, land of cheap gas and widespread energy waste, is it considered unusual to tow with a small car.


  1. Very nice presentation of a great event.

  2. We were there in DIANNE'S ROSE the Tiny Houseboat from Canada. It was a great time and wish we could have made it for this years event. You represented it well, I enjoyed the read! Best/Roy

  3. We were there in DIANNE'S ROSE the Tiny Houseboat from Canada. It was a great time and wish we could have made it for this years event. You represented it well, I enjoyed the read! Best/Roy

    1. Hi Roy, We missed this years event as well. Would have loved to go. Never got a chance to meet you at the show but we love Dianne's Rose. Hope our paths will cross in the future.