24th Annual Keels & Wheels chalks up another big success

June 1st, 2019

Seabrook Mayor Pro-tem Natalie Picha, from left, Mayor Thom Kolupski and City Manager Gayle Cook, along with Economic Development Corp. President Paul Dunphey, can hardly contain their happiness as the rainstorm moves on and the sun comes out just in time for their Keels & Wheels kickoff party on the elegant yacht Liberty Belle at Lakewood Yacht Club.

By Mary Alys Cherry

The 24th Annual Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance, the weekend-long, nationally acclaimed classic car and vintage wooden boat show that takes place each spring at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, was another rousing success – even managing to dodge a damaging rainstorm that swept through the area.

This year’s proceeds will benefit Today’s Harbor for Children, which opens its door to abandoned and abused children.

It was an especially happy event for two Texans who held the winning raffle tickets for a new car and a new boat, donated by The Jon and Jacqueline Hodges Charitable Organization and Texas Coast Yachts – Jason Tieman of League City and Lori Hunt of Dallas.

As the Friday afternoon rainstorm that threatened the popular event headed north, leaving all the dashing Keels & Wheels automobiles snug as a bug in the rug under their protective covers until the event opened Saturday, Seabrook Mayor Thom Kolupski, Economic Development Director Paul Chavez and the EDC Board headed by EDC President Paul Dunphey got the party started on the Dunpheys 67-foot yacht, Liberty Belle, in Lakewood’s inner harbor just as the sun peaked through the clouds.

Among the dozens of guests at the kickoff party, you might have spotted Seabrook City Manager Gayle Cook, with her husband, Kevin; Mayor Jon Keeney of nearby Taylor Lake Village, Port Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther and his wife, Fabiana; Economic Alliance President and CEO Chad Burke with his wife, Shannon; Seabrook Mayor Pro-team Natalie Picha and husband, Darrell; and City Councilmen Jeff Larson and Ed Klein and his wife, Adel, along with hostess Amy Dunphey, to name a few of those munching on hors d’oeuvres and enjoying the cool bay breezes.

It was not until Saturday that Jason Tieman of League City learned he had won the 2019 Lincoln MKC SUV from BayWay Lincoln as this year’s official raffle vehicle, valued at more than $39,000. Dark Knight Motor Group provided a Cermamic Coating Package, valued at close to $5,000 for the Lincoln MKC, which includes Feynlab Self Heal Plus. Dark Knight Motor Group specializes in the aesthetic rejuvenation and protection of automotive and marine vehicles and is based in Kemah. Lori Hunt of Dallas won the 2019 NC 795 Jeanneau Power Boat, 24’4” with Yamaha 200 engine and air-conditioned cabin, valued at more than $100,000. Dark Knight Motor Group also provided a Ceramic Coating Package valued at close to $6,400 for the power boat which includes Feynlab Hydro Marine Ceramic Coating and the installation of Glassparency Hydrophobic Coating.

Another highlight of the event was the $100,000 dollar painting on display of “The Bugati in the Lake” provided by Gremillion Gallery and sponsored by Bay Area Houston and Gulf Coast Mariner Magazines.

Keels & Wheels, chaired by Bob Fuller, welcomes approximately 200 cars and 100 boats each spring, and has raised more than $1.8 million for local charities, while drawing thousands of participants and spectators from all over the U.S. and Europe.

Proceeds from the 2019 event will again benefit Today’s Harbor for Children, who mission is to provide a home and safe environment for abandoned and abused children and healthy, comprehensive care for children and families in crisis.

Oceanus Hosted Greek Ambassador Visit to Bay Area Houston

May 2nd, 2019

Pictured from left, Tony and Emily Panagiotareas, Ambassador Haris Lalacos, Sumer Loggins, Anna Michalopoulou and Rick Clapp.

The Ambassador of Greece to the United States, Harris Lalacos, made his first official visit to Houston. Bay Group Media CEO Rick Clapp and I graciously accepted the invitation to attend the honorary celebration. The commemorative dinner reception on March 24 at Lakewood Yacht Club included distinguished guests Rear Adm. Paul Thomas commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District, Houston mayoral candidate Bill King, Col. Michael Fossum former American astronaut and COO of Texas A&M University at Galveston, League City Mayor Pat Hallisey, R.W. Bray Southeast Texas Deputy Regional Director for Sen. Ted Cruz, the Consul of Greece Ioannis Stamatekos, the Hellenic Attaché for Maritime Affairs Koutsodontis Nikolaos, Admiral Mike Rodriguez, superintendent of the Texas Maritime Academy, and Port of Houston Executive Director Roger Guenther and Senior Director Charlie Jenkins. Ambassador Lalacos succinctly presented the importance of Greek-American relationships which focuses on energy, maritime shipping, and tourism. Greeks are leading pioneers of the sea for the last 3,500 years with the largest merchant marine fleets in the world, comprising 20% of all merchant vessels. Ambassador Lalacos said, “I’m glad I represent a country which is recognized as a stability provider in our region, as a reliable ally in NATO, a friend of the United States, and a country which has never had a conflict with the United States ever since our respective independence.”

International trade is dependent on Greek-owned ships which provides security, research, and resources that connect people around the world. “Greece is the champion of energy diversification in our part of the world,” says Lalacos. Greece has one of the largest terminals for LNG and plans to build a second terminal in Northern Greece. LNG is cleaner, safer, and takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state. Liquified natural gas is non-toxic, non-corrosive, and more efficient to transport. Greece has managed to secure a major pipeline that brings Azari natural gas from the Caspian sea, passing through land bordering Turkey and transported to Northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, to Southern Italy and on to Europe. “We have very solid plans and strong American support to enrich amounts of this pipeline and to build vertical interconnectors going from Greece Northbound. This will revolutionize gas flows in our part of the world.” asserts Lalacos. Their newest project, the Eastern Mediterranean Pipeline, with help from the United States and European Union, will bring through Italy a deepwater pipeline with natural gas from Israel, Cyprus, Egypt, and Greece. Israel has already found natural gas reserves but they need more pipelines to distribute it to the world market. Recently ExxonMobil had positive results with exploratory drilling offshore South of Cyprus, and Egypt discovered natural gas in the Mediterranean. Next, ExxonMobil will be drilling South of Crete while multinational companies drill on and offshore in the Western Part of Greece. “We are hopeful to diversify energy flow and production in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin. This may take place in the next decade.” says Lalacos.

Texas is the largest natural gas producer globally and a world leader in the chemical and petrochemical industry. Houston is an international hub for shipping and energy, which are two areas of primary importance to Greece. We are one of eight cities in the United States with a Greek Consulate, and one of two with a Coast Guard Consulate. Private-owned companies with sustainable solutions take the lead in global partnerships to expand energy sources. Oceanus Maritime Services LLC is a Greek-owned company with headquarters in League City. Oceanus started as an idea between business partners Tony Panagiotareas and Kent Dangtran, and now represents a fleet of 500 vessels belonging to 40 shipping companies. They are one of few companies in Texas to hold an International Ship Management Certificate to operate commercial vessels. Oceanus Maritime leads efforts to assist Greece in developing their energy reserves. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) addresses the human health and environmental impact of the oil and gas industry. In 2020 new regulations will implement that all ships must reduce sulphur fuel content to 0.5% 200 nautical miles from the shoreline. This demonstrates a clear commitment by IMO to ensure shipping meets environmental obligations.

Greece celebrated Greek Embassy’s Official Independence Day at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Houston for the first time in history. On March 25 1821, Greek revolutionaries fought for their freedom and victoriously won against the Ottoman Empire. They established hard-earned independence in 1830. The festivities were hosted by the Consul of Greece Ioannis Stamatekos and over 200 Houstonians. The Pappas family graciously donated beautiful selections of wines and Nikos Nikos provided an elegant dinner. It was quite a traditional Greek experience. Besides the exciting opportunities for energy development, Ambassador Lalacos says, “The help that we need is not grants, it’s investment; mutually advantageous, profitable investment. When it comes to investment, the greatest asset [of Greece] is its well-educated workforce.”

This three day weekend of Greek hospitality and festivities elucidates the importance of working together. We have common goals of peace, prosperity, and positive international relationships. We all want independence, security, and a safe, diverse supply of energy. Greece and America are always friends, always allies. Investing in each other is paramount to success and building long lasting friendships. We can work together to overcome challenges as well as preserve liberty, freedom, and sovereignty. It was a symbolic moment to visit with Ambassador Lalacos and maritime officials. We encourage more Greek-owned businesses to come to the Houston Bay Area. We’d like to see more Greek-American collaboration to establish energy independence and a robust economy in both countries.

BAHEP gets 2019 economic overview

May 1st, 2019

Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell, from left, shares a light moment with Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark, CLC Properties CEO John Wilkins, and Houston City Councilman Dave Martin.

By Kathryn Paradis

The outlook for the Texas economy in 2019 is good, but not so much for the global economy, according to research economist Harold Hunt, Ph.D., with Texas A&M University in Waco.

The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership invited him to speak at its annual State of the Economy luncheon, held March 28 at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook. Hunt opened his presentation by cautioning, “It’s going to start off pretty grim. I need you to hang with me, because it’s going to get better at the end.”

He reported that the global economic growth is slowing, vulnerable, and unsynchronized. German industrial production is falling. Brexit is a confusing mess, which increases uncertainty in the European Union. Japanese growth remains weak while Chinese economic growth is also decelerating. Hunt said that the slowing of Chinese GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth is very much on the radar and is “really a big deal.” Hunt explained, “The fear is obviously that if China goes down, then the EU goes down. If the EU goes down, then we go down. There is a domino effect, and that is why we are seeing so much in the press.”

POSITIVE SIGNALS 
He then turned to the positive aspects of the U.S. economy. U.S. consumer confidence is stronger than it was 12-15 years ago, according to Hunt. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that inflation expectations over the next five years are still quite low at an average of 2 percent.

Is it possible to have a recession this year? Hunt explained that it isn’t impossible. He said that real GDP would have to fall a lot. “To get a recession this year, with GDP at 2.9 percent last year, the GDP would have to drop like a rock. Based on the hard data I’ve just showed you, I just don’t see that happening,” he said.

TEXAS OUTLOOK?
Overall, Hunt stated that the 2019 economy should be slower than 2018, but 2019 will still be a good year for Texas. Houston will see $2.5 billion more in construction contracts versus last year. As with Texas overall, an oil price in the mid-$50 to $60 range per barrel will keep the Houston economy stable, according to Hunt.

(Editor’s note: Dr. Hunt’s entire slide presentation with many, many more details can be viewed as a pdf on BAHEP’s website at https://www.bayareahouston.com/content/News_Events_and_Reports/reports.)

Clear Lake Chatter: Go Red for Women Luncheon raises $225,000

April 1st, 2019

These ladies make a pretty picture as they enjoy the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon at South Shore Harbour Resort in League City. They are, from left, standing, Becky Reitz, Jill Reason, Anita Fogtman; seated, Marcy Fryday, Marsha Taylor, Julie Osburn, Mary Ellen Arledge, Sandra Sellers and Shelley Rogers Scoggin.

IT TOOK A LOT of people forming a sea of red, but the American Heart Association coffers are bulging with some $225,000 raised at the 2019 Go Red for Women Luncheon.
And, what fun it was seeing all the fancy dresses the ladies arrived in and bright red ties the guys wore.

Co-Chairmen Jim and Jane Sweeney couldn’t stop smiling as they mingled with the arriving crowd, as did members of their Leadership team – Tama Brantley McEwen, Sarah Ferguson, Gloria Greene, Santiago Mendoza Jr., Theressa Riggs and Darcy Whatley.All could hardly wait to see the fruits of their work over the previous months.

Likewise for the Event Committee Chairmen Stephanie Rice, Sandy Adams and Laurie Dahse and their volunteers – James Blasczyk, Abbie Contreras, Brandy Gates, Hilary Hart, Kim Keen, Donna Orozco, Mandy Pistone, Teresa Provis, Kelli Reddinger, Elizabeth Quigley, Darcy Santala and Meloney Bean, who also spoke to the audience about surviving heart problems after the luncheon emcee, KPRC Ch. 2’s Jonathan Martinez, welcomed everyone.

Five victims of heart disease, Victoria De La Garza, Kelli Reddinger, Aubrey Allensworth, Carol Firmin and Sarah Weinman, shared their stories of survival for those attending. Sarah, for example, explained how she had won the battle with ovarian cancer only to find that the aggressive chemotherapy regimen had resulted in congestive heart failure. After a 10-year fight, she finally received a heart transplant in April 2018 and is doing well today and looking forward to the future.

Much to the delight of the donors known as Circle of Red members — Audra Bentley, Melaney Bean, Sherri Beisley, Tama Brandley McEwen, Kristie Brown, Laurie Dahse, Emmeline Dodd, Brandy Gates, Karen Keesler, Jane McFaddin, Darcy Santala, Dr. Amber Shamburger, Marilyn Sims, Jill Williams and Darcy Whatley and the Men Go Red members – Earl Armstrong, Brent Cockerham, Lance Dahse, Brad Gerke, Stephen K. Jones Jr., Dr. Monte Orahood, David Smith and Jim Sweeney.

State Sen. Larry Taylor was named the 2019 Iconic Heart Ambassador, winning over Dr. Bill Fisher, CPA Tom Richards and Dr. Selvin Sudhakar.

But the most memorable moment came when Jim and Jane Sweeney took the audience on a ride with them around town via video, singing, making up poems and in general just having a great time as the crowd cheered them on.

Just ask Jill Reason, Marcy Fryday, Becky Reitz, Marsha Taylor, Anita Fogtman, Julie Osburn, Sandra Sellers, Mary Ellen Arledge and Shelley Rogers Scoggin, Dawn Jackson, Jennifer Meekins, Robyn Weigelt, Sumer Dene, Rick Clapp, Amber Sample, Matthew and Angie Weinman or Congressman Randy Weber and his wife, Brenda.

Most can hardly wait until next year.

Astronaut addresses Museum Guild crowd
ASTRONAUT Jeffrey Williams was the speaker for the Bay Area Museum Guild’s monthly meeting at the museum, which was filled with members and their friends who wanted to hear about his space travels.

Colonel Williams, a retired Army officer, is a veteran of four space missions, and for some time held the American record for the most time spent in space, which was surpassed by his fellow astronaut, Peggy Whitson, in 2017.

Guild President Ava Galt, who came with her husband, Taylor Lake Village City Councilman Tony Galt, joined Vice Presidents Louise Russell and Gail Devensin welcoming Colonel Williams and his wife, Ann Marie, and showing them around the museum.

He also got to share his book, The Work of His Hands, A View of God’s Creation from Space, with the crowd, which included Mary and Dr. Terry Williams, Gib and Jan Larson, Sandi Allbritton, the vice presidents’ husbands, John Russell and Don Devens, Dave Kuenneke and son David Jr., Recording Secretary Lois Costinand her husband, Neldon, and Mary Ann Shallberg.

Looking around, you also might have spotted Taylor Lake Village Mayor Pro-tem Einar Goerland and his wife, Linda; Leo and Rose Marie Symmank, Julie Hayes, Cindy Pinson, David and Kandy Johnson, Judith and Michelle Scheuring, Lorie Duval, Roberta Liston, Barry and Betsy Poor, Jackie Myers, Marie Sumner, Ron Lohec, Ric Taylor, Kathy Herman, Gayle Nelson, Cathy Lee and Judy Staliwe.

The night would not be complete without a photo of Rosebud Caradec and CPA Tom Richards, dressed up as a leprechaun for the St. Patrick’s Day Party at Lakewood Yacht Club.

A St. Patty’s Day we’ll remember
ONE OF THE Bay Area’s liveliest St. Patrick’s Day parties no doubt was the one at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, where most everyone was Irish – at least for the night.
There was Irish music and Irish tap dancers to go with a variety of good Irish meals such as corned beef and cabbage –  all of which added up to quite a lively evening.

Popular CPA Tom Richards came dressed as a leprechaun, and everyone wanted a selfie with him – so many in fact, one would have thought he was George Clooney.

Among those who were successful were Lou and Alice Marinos and Jim and Ann O’Malley,who earlier had joined Earl and Barbara Phillips, Barbara’s mother and Mary Alys Cherry for dinner; Jim and Jane Sweeney and Rosebud Caradec.

Many Lakewood sailors among top Bay Cup 1 Regatta finishers

April 1st, 2019

Photo of 2019 Bay Cup I on-the-water action by LYC member Elizabeth Morrell.

Lakewood Yacht Club, in cooperation with Bay Access, hosted this year’s Annual Bay Cup I Regatta March 2 with 34 boats racing under foggy and problematic wind conditions. Lakewood members held their own, however, and finished among the top in each class.

The top three finishers in each group are as follows:

PHRF Spin (Non-Sprit)
1st-Place – Leading Edge – Tom Sutton – LYC
2nd-Place – Hamburg II – Al Goethe -LYC
3rd Place – Sodalis III- Jim Demarest – LYC

PHRF (Sprit)
1st-Place – Second Star – J.D. Hill – LYC
2nd-Place – Second Wind – Chris Waters – GBCA
3rd Place – Pesto – John Barnett – LYC

PHRF Non-Spin
1st-Place – Sweet Peril – Thomas Reiser – LYC
2nd-Place – Good News – Ash Walker – LYC
3rd Place – Big D – Jim Foster – GBCA

Cruising Non-Spin Classic Canvas
1st-Place – Bad Girl – Nicole Laster – GBCA
2nd-Place – Hobgoblin – Marty Pedowicz – LYC
3rd Place – Seahorse – Michael Clark

Full racing results can be found under Racing & Regattas on the LYC website at www.lakewoodyachtclub.com

Skippers, crew, guests and numerous volunteers enjoyed the traditional post-race party at the club, which included a celebratory dinner camaraderie over drinks and an awards ceremony followed by live music by The Rustics.

Interested racers should begin preparing for Bay Cup II, the second of this two-race series. Overall trophies will be presented after that regatta Aug. 3.

“Many thanks to the racers who continue to compete in this series each year, the land volunteers, on-the-water volunteers, scorers, protest committee and Lakewood staff for the work, planning and executing all of the activities for the Bay Cup I Regatta,” said Bay Cup I Race Chairman David Comeaux.

The LYC Race Committee said it would also like to acknowledge the generous sponsors that helped make this a great sailing event including the City of Seabrook, Faron Daigle, Realtor, Little Yacht Sales, Texas Coast Yachts, Davis Marine Electronics, Sea Lake Yacht Sales, Pelican Insurance, Kevin Severance Insurance, True North Marine, Blackburn Marine, Upstream Brokers, Southwest Distilleries, Bay Area Houston Magazine and KO Sailing.

Regatta proceeds benefit the Bay Access Foundation, a not for profit charitable organization fostering amateur racing and sailing on Galveston Bay.

Contact Bay Cup I Regatta Chairman David Comeaux at davidcomeaux@live.com or 832-993-5933 for more information.

Tom Frankum honored as new LYC commodore

March 4th, 2019

Lakewood 2019 Flag Officers get together for a photo as they arrive at the yacht club Jan. 26 for the Commodore’s Ball. They are, from left, Commodore Tom Frankum and wife, Bonnie; Fleet Capt. Mike Romer and his wife, Sherri; Rear Commodore Mike Downs and wife, Jane; and Vice Commodore Rex Bettis and his wife, Kimberly.

By Mary Alys Cherry

LAKEWOOD YACHT CLUB’S Commodore’s Ball is always a grand night for celebrating, and this year was no exception as the crowd honored 2019 Commodore Tom Frankum and First Lady Bonnie, along with 2018 Commodore Ash Walker and First Lady Stephanie.

Other flag officers stepping into the spotlight with their wives included Vice Commodore Rex Bettis and his wife, Kimberly; Rear Commodore Mike Downs and wife, Jane; and Fleet Capt. Mike Romer and his wife, Sherri.

It was also a night to honor retiring General Manager Terry Chapman for his 43 years of service to Lakewood. And, here’s the good news for those who didn’t know: he’s not really leaving but staying on as general manager emeritus or assistant general manager to new General Manager Kelly Hoist.

Former commodores and their wives in the crowd included Bob and Judy Fuller, Jack and Alice Thomas, Drew and Sandy Lewis, A.J. and Gayle Ross, Joyce Maxwell, Don and Jill Rauscher, Thomas and Marsha Taylor, Gary and Viki Anderson, Glenn and Martha Robinson, Carl Drechsel, Jim and Cynthia Winton, Don and Marilyn Mitchell and Tom and Sue Collier.

Some of the others spotted in the crowd that filled up Lakewood’s ballroom included Randy Allen and Sue Broughton, Rita Matthews, Joy and James Edwards, George and Patt Pappas, Amy and Paul Dunphey, Jack and Marcy Fryday, Marion and Michael DeHart, Carol and Bob Robinson, Jay and Rosemary Bettis and Robert and Sue Warters.

State of Counties Address draws large BAHEP crowd

November 1st, 2018

BAHEP President Bob Mitchell, from right, welcomes Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, TXU Energy Business Director Jason Schultz and Tiger 21 Chairman Rick Gornto to the State of the Counties Address Sept. 27 at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett probably grow tired of giving speeches, but one attending Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s State of the Counties Address Sept. 27 at Lakewood Yacht Club would never know it.

Both reeled off things foremost in the public’s mind, and, interlacing their remarks with a sprinkling of humor, provided BAHEP members with a quick look at the projects and problems at hand.

Judge Emmett spoke first, expressing his pleasure over the passage of the $2.5 billion Harris County flood bond referendum, noting that having the money on hand is necessary to getting matching federal dollars for Harvey improvements, going on to stress that “we need more accurate flood plain maps.”

He also discussed indigent healthcare, a cost borne by property owners that will probably be even more costly in the future. “We’ve got to get away from the county jail being the largest healthcare facility in the county,” he said, explaining that we’re turning a lot of bad kids into bad criminals instead of trying to rehabilitate them. “They get out of prison but can’t get a job because they have a prison record,” he said, “and eventually end up back in jail.”

Judge Henry reeled off a number of headline-type facts for the crowd, including the news that a Coastal Spine study by the seven-county group is due next month. Other items of interest:

  • Work on the expansion of State Highway 146 will begin in January 2019.
  • A total of 20,000 Galveston County homes were damaged during Hurricane Harvey.
  • The Highway 646 overpass will be destroyed in January 2019.
  • Friendswood is growing with a big new development under way.
  • Galveston is getting a third cruise line and a record number of tourists this summer.
  • League City’s population is now approximately 120,000.
  • La Marque is the county’s fastest growing city, because of a big new development.

Area mayors attending included Pat Hallisey of League City, Carl Joiner of Kemah, Mike McNamara of Clear Lake Shores, Mike Foreman of Friendswood, Louis Rigby of La Porte, Thom Kolupski of Seabrook and Michel Bechtel of Morgan’s Point, along with State Rep. Dennis Paul, Councilmen Dave Martin of Houston and Larry Millican of League City and Mayor Pro-tem Amanda Fenwick of Clear Lake Shores.

Harvest Moon, Hurricanes, and that particularly bad boy, Harvey

September 1st, 2018

By Andrea Todaro

The Harvest Moon Regatta® is probably the best known sailboat race on the Texas Gulf Coast, although even many participants do not know its history, or the role that hurricanes have played in its evolution.

The first HMR was the brainchild of three sailors from Lakewood Yacht Club. As John Broderick told the story, one Friday night at Lakewood the bar conversation turned to the need for more opportunities to sail and in particular, opportunities to get offshore. Sail maker John Cameron offered “the best sails I’ve had were late in the fall in the Gulf after the summer doldrums are over and the winter Northers haven’t started.” Competitive racer Ed Bailey agreed, saying he missed the old Texas Offshore Race Circuit (“TORC”) sailing events. Broderick, a dedicated cruiser and, at the time, Lakewood’s commodore, agreed and said, “why don’t we organize something?”

The bar talk led to discussions with members of other area sailing clubs, some of which were held at Frank’s Shrimp Hut, which is now Hooter’s in Seabrook. The first regatta, in 1987, was planned as a four race event beginning with a skippers’ meeting on Friday, Sept. 25, and a kickoff party on Saturday, Sept. 26. Racing started on Thursday, Oct. 1 and ran through the 10th with race segments or “legs” from the Galveston jetties to Port Isabel, back up the coast to Port Aransas, back to the Galveston Jetties, and then up to Marker Two at the Clear Creek channel leading into Lakewood’s homeport, Seabrook.

The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is known as the “harvest moon” and is characterized by a bright orange color; it is followed by a “hunter’s moon. The “harvest moon” can occur as early as September 8th or as late as Oct. 7 which was the date of the “harvest moon” in 1987. Thus, in October 1987, with the races occurring between October 1st and the 10th, the Harvest Moon Regatta® was born. Seventeen yachts sailed that first year, with several bikini beach parties along the way.

In 1988, the “harvest moon” fell on Sept. 25, so the race start was scheduled for Thursday, Sept.22, but on Sept. 8 Hurricane Gilbert destroyed the Queen’s Point Marina at Port Isabel. The race start was delayed three weeks to Oct. 14 and the destination was changed to Port Aransas. Thus began the tradition of sailing to Port Aransas under a magnificent full moon, sometimes a “harvest moon” if it fell during the first seven days of October, otherwise a “hunter’s moon” if it fell on or after the 8th of October.

Mother Nature and Hurricane Gilbert are credited with the growth of the Harvest Moon Regatta® which grew steadily from the 17 yachts of 1987 to over 260 yachts in later years. The growth was due in large part to the perfect destination, Port Aransas. As John Broderick described it: “This ideal Texas port allows yacht owners and sailors to use minimal days from work to join in on what can be a most memorable overnight sail down the Texas coast during traditionally the best offshore sailing time of the year. And we can all do this in relative safety shared by some 200 other yachts.”

The race, open to sailors with no club affiliation as well as members of other area sailing clubs, became a bucket list item for many Texas sailors, many of whom had little or no offshore experience. The growth of Harvest Moon Regatta® also resulted in the formation of a charitable organization, Bay Access Sailing Foundation. Bay Access now serves as the regatta’s organizing authority, with race management provided by volunteers from Lakewood Yacht Club.

In 2015, Hurricane Patricia was forecast to envelop Port Aransas in a “catastrophic rain event” with the worst conditions forecast for Sunday morning when sailors would be required to leave the relative safety of Port Aransas City Marina for the trip back to Houston and various other home ports. Numerous warnings from weather officials eventually prompted race organizers to cancel the race for the first time in its history. Despite the race cancellation, the party in Port Aransas went on, and some of the more seasoned sailors sailed the course and were able to obtain slips in the City Marina harbor to ride out the gale force winds that arrived as forecast on Sunday morning.

In 2017, when the actual “harvest moon” again fell in October, on the 5th, Hurricane Harvey put a new twist on the story. Hitting the Texas coast near Port Aransas on Aug. 25, the storm devastated “the ideal Texas port” and dumped torrential rain on the entire Houston area. This time, instead of canceling the race or rescheduling it, race organizers decided to reformat the race as a triangle race, similar to Lakewood’s TORC event, the Heald Bank Regatta, which is traditionally held in April. Beginning and ending at the Galveston Jetties, the Regatta was followed by an awards party at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, where regatta volunteers put a special focus on raising money for the devastated Port Aransas. Port Aransas city officials were surprised to receive a check for about $20,000 from the regatta, and they are looking forward to the return of the regatta this year, although it will be many years before Port Aransas recovers to pre-Harvey prosperity.

Lakewood gearing up for two August regattas

August 1st, 2018

Lakewood is gearing up for two big races in August — the Bay Cup II and Heald Bank Regattas, which provide the perfect opportunity to compete against your peers on the bay and offshore as well as a chance to tune up for this year’s Harvest Moon Regatta in October.

Lakewood will host Bay Cup II Aug. 4 along with the post-race party that evening. Liquid trophies will be awarded by Southwest Spirits, and artist Robert Greaney will perform for the crowd.

The Heald Bank Regatta will be raced Aug. 17-18, followed by a celebration at the club. Andy and the Dreamsicles will provide the live entertainment.
The fun doesn’t stop in August. Follow up these races by participating in the Harvest Moon Regatta Oct. 25-28. HMR is returning to its usual format and will race from Galveston to Port Aransas.

Primary sponsors for Bay Cup II and Heald Bank include the City of Seabrook, Blackburn Marine, Davis Marine Electronics, True North Marine, Mariner Magazine, Upstream Brokers, Sea Lake Yachts, Keven Severance Insurance, OJ’s Marine, Little Yacht Sales, RejeX.com and Texas Coast Yachts.

Bay Cup II Regatta
Racers can register at www.lakewoodyachtclub.com under the Regattas tab. The registration fee for Bay Cup II is $75 and includes entry into the Skippers’ Meeting on Aug. 3, as well as a meal and two drink tickets to be enjoyed at the post-event awards party. A $5 discount is available to U.S. Sailing members. The entry fee is payable by credit card or yacht club reciprocal charge. Aug. 1st is the registration deadline.

Bay Cup II is the second in a two-race series. One or more distance races will be sailed in either Trinity Bay or Galveston Bay. Potential classes include PHRF Spinnaker, PHRF non-Spin, Cruising Spinnaker, Cruising Non-Spin Classic Canvas (using only Dacron sails), Multihull and One Design class(es).

Non-racers and other out-of-town guests can enjoy an array of nearby activities in Seabrook and the surrounding area, which offer a variety of entertainment. Walk the trails in Seabrook, visit Space Center Houston, check out the wildlife at Armand Bayou Nature Center or experience the dining and amusement options at the Kemah Boardwalk.

Overall trophies for the Bay Cup series will be given out at the post-race party on the evening of Aug. 4 in the LYC Ballroom. Robert Greaney will provide live entertainment while guests socialize and savor great food and tasty drinks.

This year’s sponsors include City of Seabrook, RejeX.com, OJ’s Marine, Little Yacht Sales, True North Marine, Texas Coast Yachts, Blackburn Marine, Upstream Brokers, Davis Marine Electronics, Kevin Severance Insurance, Sea Lake Yachts, Mariner Magazine, Bay Area Houston Magazine and Southwest Spirits.

Regatta proceeds benefit Bay Access, a not for profit charitable organization fostering amateur racing and sailing on Galveston Bay.

For further information, call LYC at 281-474-2511 or David Comeaux, Bay Cup I Regatta chairman at davidcomeaux@live.com or 832-993-5933. For visitor information, visit seabrooktx.gov

Heald Bank Regatta
The Heald Bank entry fee is $80 and includes access to the Skippers’ Meeting on Aug. 16 and a ticket for dinner and two tickets for Texas Navy Rum at the post-event awards party hosted at LYC Aug. 18. A $5 discount is available to U.S. Sailing members. Don’t miss the Aug. 11 registration deadline.

Heald Bank is an offshore regatta open to all boats of the PHRF Spin, PHRF Non-Spin, Cruising boats with a PHRF Rating (non-spin or with Spinnaker), One-Design, and Multihulls.

The Buccaneer Bash dinner and awards party will follow the race at LYC, which will include a “Pirates’ Pig Roast,” live entertainment by Andy & the Dreamsicles and plenty of Texas Navy Rum.

Sponsors of the 2018 Heald Bank Regatta are the City of Seabrook, Texas Navy Light Rum, RejeX.com, OJ’s Marine, Little Yacht Sales, True North Marine, Texas Coast Yachts, Blackburn Marine, Upstream Brokers, Davis Marine Electronics, Kevin Severance Insurance, Marine Outfitters, Sea Lake Yachts, Mariner Magazine and Bay Area Houston Magazine.

For further information, call LYC at 281-474-2511 or Heald Bank Race Chairman Bob Hunkins 281-216-4082 or rdhunkins@verizon.net.

Additional visitor information and accommodations near the club can be found at www.seabrooktx.gov

Amanda Fenwick named winner of Athena Award

June 4th, 2018

Athena Award recipient Amanda Fenwick proudly shows off the award after the luncheon at Lakewood Yacht Club. With her are, from left, League City Chamber President Steve Paterson, keynote speaker Doreen Hughes and Chamber Chairman Rebecca Lilley.

By Mary Alys Cherry

Amanda Fenwick, San Jacinto College vice president and mayor pro tem of Clear Lake Shores is the recipient of the 2018 Athena Award, presented annually by the League City Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“I was so shocked when my name was called as the Athena Bay Area recipient,” she said afterwards. “To be among that group of nominees was truly an honor.”

She was honored for her professional excellence, community service and for working to improve the quality of life for others in the community. The presentation came during a luncheon at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook.

Amanda who serves as vice president of marketing and public relations at San Jacinto College, has 15 years of experience in leadership and public relations and currently oversees a staff of 12.

That includes a public relations and event team, a digital and website team, and a design team responsible for the advertising, marketing, communications, media and public relations, social media, website content, publications, events, and crisis communications for the entire San Jacinto College district, which includes 45,000 credit and 10,000 continuing education students each year, and 2,500 employees.

Prior to joining San Jac in 2007, she was an event coordinator in the Houston mayor’s Office of Special Events, planning parades, special events and a variety of celebrations.

She began her career in public relations at Rice University as an assistant sports information director. As such, she was responsible for the daily public and media relations for several Owls teams, including women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis and women’s volleyball.

In addition to her role at the college, she serves on the Clear Lake Shores City Council. She was first elected to office in 2012, and is currently in her fourth term, serving as mayor pro-tem.

Amanda holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., and a Master of Education in Physical Education from the University of Houston. She and her husband, Jay, have lived in Clear Lake Shores for more than 17 years, and they have a 5-year-old daughter, Peyton.

Others nominated for the award were Trisha Barita, Barita & Keough Law Firm; Deborah Bly, Re/Max Space Center, The Bly Team; Penny Brockway, Brockway Realty; Kirsten Cavaness, Green Window Group, LLC; Kathy Cruse, Texas First Bank; Wendy Ghormley, Texas First Bank; Janice Hallisey, League City Proud; Kristi Koncaba, Texan Bank; Ashlea Quinonez, Memorial Hermann Health System; Jill Reason, Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre; Jenny Senter, Texas City – La Marque Chamber of Commerce; Amy Smith, Dickinson ISD; and Peggy
Zahler, PZ Consulting.

The Athena Program, named for Athena, the goddess of wisdom, honors females in leadership roles that make them effective, admirable and successful leaders and who have also contributed to the development and empowerment of women. These individuals have strong values that emulate the eight principles of Athena: Live authentically, learn constantly, advocate fiercely, act courageously, foster collaboration, build relationships, give back and celebrate.

Athena leaders are fierce advocates for what they believe and committed to enriching their communities.