The theme of the 2019 Texas 200 is “Challenge Yourself.”
If you have the right equipment and experience to do it safely, we are going to challenge this year’s participants to try to start with the pack on Monday morning in Port Mansfield, make every camp as scheduled, and finish with the pack on Friday afternoon in Magnolia Beach.
In addition to the normal difficulties associated with this event, there are two particular challenges associated with this year’s event that we’d like to highlight: First, we are starting the event with a 62-mile day. Yes, you read that right. It is 62 statute miles from the starting point in Port Mansfield to Camp 1. You’ve got a little more than 14 hours of daylight in mid-June, so make good use of them! Second, we are setting Camp 4 at a unique, possibly “once in a lifetime” location that you won’t want to miss, but it’s not going to be a cakewalk getting there. Check out the Camp 4 description below for more details.
So that’s the challenge: Start with the pack. Make all camps with the pack. Finish with the pack. If you think you and your crew can do this safely, we recommend setting this as your goal this year.
Of course, if you don’t think you can do this safely, or you need to make adjustments to this plan during the week in order to stay safe, that should be EXACTLY what you do. Safety comes first. But if you’re up for it, we think this challenge is a good one.
|The Start – Port Mansfield
The 2019 Texas 200 will start in Port Mansfield. You are free to arrange for and utilize any slip, marina, motel, boat ramp or beach in the Port Mansfield area that you feel is best for you and your crew. Camping is typically permitted at Fred Stone Park located less than one mile north of Port Mansfield. If you choose to utilize Fred Stone Park, you should contact the City or the Park directly for more information, fees, availability, services offered, etc.
The mandatory Captain’s Meeting will occur in the parking lot near the public boat ramps on the north side of the main channel into Port Mansfield at 7am on Sunday morning. The location is shown with the red location marker in the Google image above.
No rooms or slips are being reserved by the Club; each boat’s captain and crew are 100% responsible for their own room and boat slip accommodations.
The actual start of the sailing on Monday morning will be from wherever you and your boat are located in Port Mansfield; there is no starting line or starting time. Note that Camp 1 is located approximately 62 statute miles from Port Mansfield; you should get up and out on the water as early as possible unless you like night sailing.
Camp 1 – North Padre Island (south of Bird Island)
27° 26’ 14” N, 97° 19’ 47” W
54 nautical miles (62 statute miles) from Port Mansfield
This has been used as a Texas 200 camp several times in the past few years. A nice, west-facing, mostly sand beach on the barrier island. This is one of the nicer camps on the trip. Just be aware that the approach is shallow in much of that area.
Camp 2 – Mud Island
27° 55’ 49” N, 97° 02’ 46” W
36 nautical miles (41 statute miles) from Camp 1
This is only the second time this camp has been used on the Texas 200. The “beach” here consists entirely of oyster shells. There is a relatively deep approach (remember, we’re talking deep by Texas Gulf Coast standards), and a good-sized beach for socializing and setting up tents. This proved to be a great camp in 2017 when we first used it.
Camp 3 – Panther Point
28° 12’ 57” N , 96° 41’ 54” W
27 nautical miles (31 statute miles) from Camp 2
This is a brand new camp for the Texas 200. It is a shell/rock beach that faces North, so there’s good protection from the prevailing S/SE winds. Note that there is a reef that crosses the entire bay, and it begins right off the beach at Panther Point. Passing between the end of the reef (visible in the Google Image above) and Panther Point, has been possible in recent years. As always, this advice assumes that nothing’s changed since the last time we were out there, which is never a good assumption.
|Camp 4 – Sunday Beach (aka Sunday Pass)
28° 21’ 31” N , 96° 24’ 02” W
24 nautical miles (27 statute miles) from Camp 3
This is another brand new camp for the Texas 200. And it is one you won’t want to miss. Sunday Beach is now known by some as Sunday Pass, since Hurricane Harvey opened this area up and formed a natural inlet to the Gulf of Mexico in 2017. In the Google Image above, and even in the latest version of Google Earth, you will not see the inlet. But trust us, it’s there, less than 2 miles south of the other natural inlet in this area, Pass Cavallo. We don’t know the last time this area was opened up as an inlet; it’s possible it’s never been open. And we don’t know when it could close up again, and cease to be an inlet for decades or longer. So, we suggest that you do what it takes to make it to this camp and experience it yourself while it’s still open.
The first challenge will be getting from Espiritu Santo Bay over to Matagorda Bay. To do that, you’re going to have to use some combination of Saluria Bayou, Mitchell’s Cut and/or Big Bayou. The other option would be to use the ICW, but that’s not very interesting. Get on our Facebook page and ask for some advice getting through these cuts/bayous. Many Texas 200 veterans have done it and can offer advice.
Once you’re over in Matagorda Bay, you’re going to have to go to windward (yes, gentlemen, we’re going to windward). Depending on where you enter Matagorda Bay, you’ll have somewhere between 3 miles (Saluria Bayou) and 6 miles (ICW) to sail to windward. There’s loads of sandbars and shoaling out there, so allow yourself plenty of time to “feel your way” down toward the camp. A number of Texas 200 veterans have been to this camp, so get over to our Facebook page and ask around if you want some advice on all of this. Based on a January 2019 scouting trip, we recommend setting up camp on the south/east side of the inlet, but conditions in June may be different. Hopefully there’s enough sand on one side of the inlet or the other to accommodate the entire fleet, because crossing back and forth across that inlet is not advised due to the breaking waves and strong current.
|The Finish – Magnolia Beach|
28° 33’ 27” N , 96° 31’ 40” W
16 nautical miles (18 statute miles) from Camp 4
We will finish at Magnolia Beach where we will have our traditional shrimp boil and celebration starting at 3pm. Please remember that the shrimp boil requires registration and pre-payment, which should be done on the Texas 200 webpage in advance. This is a sand and shell beach and the approach is fairly deep right up to the beach. There are relatively new public restrooms with showers right there at the beach, and tent and RV camping is allowed if you want to stay the night after the event. At the north end, there is a boat ramp for pulling out, but many folks also opt to pull their boats out on the beach (with appropriate 4WD vehicles) just a few hundred feet north of where the shrimp boil is located. Our vehicles and empty trailers are located about a mile from the shrimp boil, and it’s usually fairly easy to find someone to drive you over to get your vehicle.