the course of the ten-year history of the Texas 200, there have been a
total of 13 different camps used on the Texas 200. This
year, for the 11th Annual Texas 200, we are going with a “Texas 200
Greatest Hits” set of camps. These are the camps that Texas 200
veterans (mostly) agree are our favorites.
Please note that all Google Earth images and descriptions of the camps below are from PRIOR to Hurricane Harvey taking his toll on the Texas coast in 2017. We know of several significant changes along the coast, including the opening of a brand new inlet through Matagorda Island (just south of Pass Cavallo). There are also reports of changes at Paul's Mott (possibly warranting a name change to“Paul's Archipelago”). There are certainly many other changes that will not be reflected on Google Earth, on the charts, or on your GPS chartplotters, and that none of us are aware of yet. Please take this into consideration when planning and sailing the event in 2018. We'll all be flying a little more blind than we're used to ☺.
Pre-Start Group Dinner
The Start – Port IsabelThe 2018 Texas 200 will start in Port Isabel. You are free to arrange for and utilize any slip, marina, motel, boat ramp or beach in the Port Isabel area that you feel is best for you and your crew. Our mandatory Captain’s Meeting will occur in the parking lot of the White Sands Motel at 7am on Sunday morning, June 10th. This motel is typically used by many Texas 200 participants and they have a boat ramp and boat slips available, as well as a restaurant. For these reasons, it typically serves as the unofficial hub and meeting place during the build-up to the event from Friday through Monday morning. There are also public boat ramps in Port Isabel and other motel options. No rooms or slips are being reserved by the Club at the White Sands or anywhere else; 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 Isabel; there is no starting line or starting time.
Camp 1 – The Port Mansfield JettiesOne of the best camps on the trip, and an easy pick for the “Texas 200 Greatest Hits” event. A large, north-facing sandy beach with water that stays deep until just a few feet from the beach (or at least it used to, prior to Harvey paying us a visit). The camp is located a few hundred yards from the beach on the Gulf of Mexico, on the right (south) side as you head eastbound out the channel, right before you get to the jetties themselves. This camp offers an opportunity to take a walk on the Gulf beach or just sit back at camp and enjoy the sound of the surf in the distance. From the ICW, the camp is located about 6 miles up the channel, usually only 15 or 20 degrees off the wind, so it is a real challenge to tack up it. Any boat that can sail reasonably well to windward and tack through 100 degrees or so can make it up this channel though, and it’s well worth it. We encourage everyone to challenge themselves and try tacking out to the jetties, even if you have an outboard. If you are unable or unwilling to tack up the channel, feel free to fire up your outboard, paddle, row or accept a tow from a fellow sailor with a motor. It’s worth getting out to this camp, trust us! If none of those options are workable for you, then there are a number of spoil islands and sand beaches on the right (south) side as you head east out the channel toward the Gulf, and you can make camp there if you are not able to make it all the way out to the jetties.
26° 33’ 46” N, 97° 16’ 43” W
37 nautical miles (42 statute miles) from Port Isabel
It should be noted that the Club strongly recommends against sailing the “outside” route (in the Gulf of Mexico) from Port Isabel to this camp. Our boats are not offshore boats. Please stay in the Laguna Madre for your sail up to this camp.
Camp 2 – Hap’s Cut
27° 6’ 5” N , 97° 26’ 31” W
39 nautical miles (45 statute miles) from Camp 1
Hap’s Cut is located on the right (east) side of the land cut and offers a rare Texas 200 opportunity to sit under shade trees at camp. While the infamous mud here is a detractor for some, it’s not really that much worse than other locations in the land cut. Make sure your shoes are tied on good and tight before you step off your boat, and keep one hand on your boat as you do so. This is some of the thickest, deepest, foulest-smelling, shoe-eating, child-swallowing mud on the Texas coast. In order for you to fully appreciate the greatness of this camp, you must force yourself to get through this mud and make your way over to the tall shade trees. That is where all of the redeeming qualities of this camp are to be found. It is worth it to make the trek over to the trees. Trust us.
Also, please note that the Land Cut forms part of the ICW and does have active commercial barge traffic. You do not want to anchor any more than just a few feet out from the beach into the Land Cut, if you must be on the Land Cut side (and not in Hap’s Cut itself). Also be aware of the large wakes than can be generated from these barges as they pass close by. Anything you can do to fully beach your boat or tuck into Hap’s Cut itself and get OUT of the Land Cut would be recommended for safety reasons.
Camp 3 – The Padre Island Yacht Club (PIYC)It has been several years since we stopped here, and we think the “greatest hits” tour is a perfect time to head back. In the middle of a long, hot, salty, muddy, mosquito-filled week, the PIYC offers access to an air-conditioned building, showers, and maybe even a hot meal and some cold drinks. (More information on the meal will be provided once they are confirmed. Payment is typically cash on-site for those who are interested. ) The yacht club usually lets us camp out in our sleeping bags on their large air-conditioned floor on the second level, or you can sleep on your boat or pitch your tent on their lawn.
27° 36’ 2” N, 97° 14’ 59” W
32 nautical miles (37 statute miles) from Camp 2
There is limited space in the slip area, and no reserved slips. Strickly first come, first served. In addition to the slips, there is a long 650-foot long concrete bulkhead that we can use. Please note that the bulkhead is not very “boat friendly” and you will need to have fenders and possibly even fender boards to really make good use of it and keep your boat from being scratched up. Also, since there are no cleats or posts at all along this bulkhead, you should consider bringing some type of screw-in anchors or hefty spikes of some sort, which you can embed in the grass behind the top of the bulkhead and use to tie off to. Another option that some people use is camping at the beach across the canal from the yacht club. You will have to find a way to get back and forth if you want to socialize at the yacht club and take advantage of the amenities, and one option is to “double park” alongside a fellow TX200 boat that’s on the bulkhead. Please keep all this in mind as you plan for your stay at this camp.
Please do not contact the PIYC for questions regarding this camp or our event. All Texas 200-related questions should be directed to Matt Schiemer at email@example.com.
Camp 4 – Paul’s MottPaul’s Mott is another fan-favorite that we’ll be heading back to this year. It is mostly a crushed-shell beach with a very shallow approach from the north side. Reports from a December 2017 trip by a few of our members indicate that it now consists of several small islands, so be prepared for something different than what’s shown in the above satellite image.
28° 3’ 11” N , 96° 56’ 45” W
35 nautical miles (40 statute miles) from Camp 3
We will be holding a memorial service on the beach at Paul’s Mott at approximately 7pm to honor two Texas 200 veterans who crossed the bar since our last event: John Alesch and By Miller. Please plan to join us to remember them and to share your stories and experiences of these fellow sailors. If anyone knows of any other TX200 veteran who has passed away since the last event, please email Matt Schiemer at firstname.lastname@example.org so that they may be added to our memorial service.
We will finish at Magnolia Beach where we will have our traditional shrimp boil and celebration starting at 4pm. Please remember that the shrimp boil requires regitration and pre-payment, which should be done on the Texas 200 webpage in advance. A separate shrimp boil payment is required for each captain, crew, family or friend that will attend this event.
Camp 5 – Army Hole
28° 19’ 57” N , 96° 27’ 51” W
32-38 nautical miles (36-44 statute miles) [depending on route sailed] from Camp 4
This is one of the best camps on the entire Texas Gulf Coast, and is always a Texas 200 fan-favorite. This was an easy pick for our “greatest hits” tour. Deeper draft boats will want to use the boat slips. We ask that smaller, beachable boats please use the beach/grass area to the left of the pushpin on this image for entering and beaching your boats, since slip space is limited at the docks.
Route Planning Note: from Paul’s Mott, you can get most of the way to this camp by sailing in the ICW, and then heading across Espiritu Santo Bay to reach Army Hole. However, you should be aware that it is also possible to sail from Pauls’ Mott to Army Hole through what are known by Texas 200 veterans as the “back bays”, and not sail in the ICW at all. This is a route that is primarily for smaller, lighter, shallow-draft boats, but it offers a chance to get out of the ICW and explore several bays, cuts and passes that are quite interesting (and free of barges and tankers). As captain of your vessel, you are 100% responsible for planning your route and sailing it. This is just a suggestion that you might be interested in exploring further.
The Finish – Magnolia Beach
28° 33’ 27” N, 96° 31’ 48” W
20 nautical miles (23 statute miles) from Camp 5
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. If you choose to stay at a motel after the event, most options are located nearby in Port Lavaca. 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.
Route Planning Note: From Army Hole, you can cross Espiritu Santo Bay and access the ICW in Port O’Connor. From there, the ICW will take you out into Matagorda Bay and you can head over to Magnolia Beach. However, as with the trip from Paul’s Mott to Army Hole, it is possible to sail from Army Hole to Magnolia Beach without sailing in the ICW at all (except just to cross it once). There are several ways to do this, utilizing either Saluria Bayou or Big Bayou to get from Espiritu Santo Bay into Matagorda Bay. Again, these are routes that are primarily for smaller, lighter, shallow-draft boats, but they offer a chance to get out of the ICW and explore several bayous, cuts and passes that are quite interesting (and free of barges and tankers). As captain of your vessel, you are 100% responsible for planning your route and sailing it. This is just a suggestion that you might be interested in exploring further.