That’s the Sail Rev motto, not the GT300 motto. Here in South Padre, Texas, one day before the start of the GT300, it was all about making sure that the racers stay as safe as possible. There’s a whole litany of items that the GT requires that the sailors carry aboard in order to be able to participate in the race. The GT folks take safety seriously, and in addition to a presentation from the local Coast Guard, they have a dedicated person, Trey Garrison, who is in charge of the safety check list. Trey makes contact with each team, and meticulously catalogs each piece of safety gear. I had the opportunity to chat with Trey before the race, and find out exactly what’s involved with being the GT 300 Safety Officer.
What is some safety gear that the racers are required to carry?
The number one thing are life preservers for each crew member, because it’s a big ocean out there. They have safety lines, personal strobe lights, signal mirrors, whistles, VHF radios, GPS’s, and one of the most important thing is each sailor has personal EPIRB that they carry with them at all times.
How are teams doing so far this year with required gear?
Most teams have done very well with safety checks. So far I ‘ve only had one team that had an issue, and until they can resolve that they are not allowed to race. We’ve got one team that were still waiting on to do safety checks. As soon as they get here, my job is done.
So the first leg here, we are leaving from South Padre Island and we’re going to Mustang Island State Park. What are some of the most dangerous parts of that stretch that the sailors should pay attention to?
It's about 90 nautical miles as the crow flies. At the start we'll have ten boats, and the surf is a little on the rough side. As a matter of fact, we had one boat go out to practice to day and broke a rudder. They went over a wave and broke a rudder casting. That’s probably the hardest thing at first, when you’re out on the water it’s pretty basic sailing. You get some waves, some chop, some wind, the only bad part between here and Corpus, is once you leave here and you start north, there’s nothing in between here as far as civilization. It’s barrier island from here all the way to Mustang Island. So if you break down it can be very difficult for your crew to get to you to rescue you and it’s a technical challenge, it’s a logistics challenge, but you know that’s why the sailors here go over their equipment on their boat, traps, mast. Once you get out halfway you can’t turn around very easily. Sometimes coming in on the surf at Mustang, it can be a challenge. A couple of years ago, there was a big thunderstorm, so some of them didn’t get in until midnight. A couple of teens had to get rescued by the Coast Guard. It’s a long stretch.
In the next couple of days, what does the forecast look like?
From what I’ve seen, probably around 15 knots maybe a little higher the first couple of days. After that, it may slack off a little bit in the last couple days. I haven’t really looked that far ahead.
Trey and the CG