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Ruff Rider Regatta 2017
Has been cancelled

The 2017 event has been cancelled

Everyone has seen the decline in attendance at local catamaran regattas.  The Ruff Rider regatta is no different, if not worse.  There are no local sailors who attend this race, only people that travel (some quite far).  Over the last several years the attendance has dropped critically low, so low that the event cannot financially survive on the entry fees alone.  I have personally kept the event afloat for the last four years.  Furthermore, it is very hard to gather volunteers to drum up support for half the year, then host an event 400 miles away from home and only 17 boats show up.  Its emotionally deflating to say the least.  Unfortunately this situation is the state of the sport right now and this regatta was caught firmly in those crosshairs.  The Ruff Rider Regatta is, to my knowledge, the longest running catamaran regatta in the country and maybe the world.  It will be a long time before another event takes that distinction away.  But unfortunately, the consecutive years run ends here.


The regatta has been run for 42 years, that’s two years older than me!  It’s a highlight of my sailing calendar every year.  South Padre island is the best beach sailing venue in the country, hands down.  Everyone has a good Ruff Riders story, here’s mine.  I was a college dinghy sailor, I knew nothing about catamarans.  16 years ago, two of my best friends, Jon Domsalla and Matt Parker, convinced me to sail Ruff Riders to Corpus.  I borrowed Matt’s banana yellow H16 and talked my girlfriend (now wife) into crewing for me.  It was the first regatta I managed to get Laura to sail with me and she was hooked on cats after that.  We took second in the H16B fleet, got married 8 months later (had nothing to do with Hobie Hilton, I promise), bought a boat, and gave it another shot.   That second year, 4 months after the wedding, we were promptly launched into our first divorce level argument smack dab in the middle of the Mansfield cut while it was blowing 20kts on the nose.  In 4 short months of marriage, I hadn’t perfected the “I’m not yelling, I’m loudly suggesting you do it quicker” technique.  Somehow, we exited the cut in one piece, our marriage survived, and we went on to win several years in the non-spin fleet.  Oh yeah, and we are still married 15 years later with two kids.  Once Laura had her fill, I moved to the spin fleet.  In the finish results I was always the bridesmaid, but never the bride.  That didn’t change the fact I wanted to come back every year.  To that end, I agreed to take Ruff Riders over from Scott Kee who had expertly managed this race for 25 years before me.  Like I said, I wanted to come back every year, I just couldn’t let the event go.  It’s a bunch of work putting an event like this on several hundred miles away from home.  It worked for 6 years.  But between dwindling attendance and dwindling personal time, unfortunately I need to let it go now.


I need to give the biggest thank you to my wife Laura.  She had no idea when I agreed to take this event on, but has graciously helped every step of the way.  She labels and stuffs goodie bags, frames trophies, sorts paperwork, among 100 other things.


Another massively large thank you must go to Carla Cardini.  This woman has handled the day of show tasks and allowed me to sail the last three years.  She manages gathering donations, starting and scoring, oversees setting up and tearing down the half way point, and is simply one of the best list makers around.  She uses lists to help keep track of her lists, it is simply amazing!


There have been several other people who are always raising their hand up to help, Othal and Rachel, Patricio, and Dave McDaniel.  Stuff like this doesn’t happen without help from people like you.


It’s extremely disappointing to let this event go, but it was a blast while it lasted.  Thank you all for your support and attendance over the years.


Tuesday, Sept 6, 2016 -- 2016 is a wrap, what a year!

The 2016 Ruff Rider Regatta is a wrap, what a year!  Day 1 was a gorgeous (albeit unusual) close reach up the beach.  Day 2 was a real punch in the gut.  The day started with a light beat to weather which quickly transformed into 40kts of wind and driving rain.  Most of the fleet end up on the beach to ride out the storm.  The onslaught lasted about 30 minutes.  Of those, a few relaunched.  Four boats managed to ride the storm out on the water upright, Tomko/Billings, Galway/Atwood, Rohrer/Holt, and Cooley/Cooley.  After the storm the breeze shut off to light and variable.  Of the few teams that relaunched after the storm, all ditched back to the beach except for McDaniel/Webb.  15 boats started and only 3 crossed the finish line after 9 hours on the water, Tomko/Billings, Galway/Atwood, and McDaniel/Webb.  

Congratulations to Tomko/Billings for winning the Spin fleet and McDaniel/Webb for sticking it out and winning the Non-spin fleet.

A big thanks to Carla.  This year she took all the punches and kept coming back for more.  I seriously can't thank her enough.

There were others that made this year possible, Othal and Rachel for cooler transport, Patricio and Romeo for use of their powerboat, Devon Lumpkins for being Carla's go-fer, Dave McDaniel "Bluex Dog Racing" for his cash donation, the ghost entries submitted this year for their generous donations, and my wife Laura for keeping my head on straight.

Final results are posted here.

Monday, August 1, 2016 -- Registration is OPEN!

Registration for Ruff Rider 2016 is open.  Registration must be completed online here.

Thursday, July 21, 2016 -- Ruff Riders is ON!

Ruff Rider 2016 is ON!

I have been a seriously bad regatta organizer this year and haven’t kept anyone up to date on what is happening with Ruff Rider this year.  Well, to clear up any fog, the regatta is happening.  There will be a small twist this year though, let me explain.

Every year I get two groups talking in each ear.  One says they want to go around the island, one says they want to go offshore.  Well, I am going to try a solution to this problem this year.  Everyone will declare at the check in party which route they will sail, Double J or round the island.  We will pick a Day 1 finish location equitable to both routes. Day 2 won’t matter since everyone will sail the same route home.  Each team will declare which route they will sail and MUST sail that route.  Times will not be separated for each route, Day 1 will behave like a checkpoint race, pick your route and hope the decision holds up.  I hope this can satisfy most everyone, I know I’ll get complaints about this from somebody though!

I will open registration soon, I promise.

Tuesday, Sept 8, 2015 -- 2015 is a wrap

Results are posted.  This year was a ton of fun!  We had a small fleet, but we made up for it with some great sailing by all.  A big congratulations to Team Gleeson in the non-spin fleet and Team Sailboat Shop in the Spin fleet for spectacular bullets all weekend.  There's lots of people to thank but the big ones are Carla for running race committee so I could sail and Tim for running the halfway logistics.  These two really worked their tails off this weekend.  Othal and his wife Rachel were kind enough to drive all your stuff to the halfway, I hope you thanked them for a marginally comfortable night of wind blown sand in your tent.  I'm kidding of course, help like this is priceless.  Our sponsors this weekend who made cash donations were Blueux Dog Racing and Steven Cooley.  This sponsorship is what keeps this regatta alive.  Please find a friend and bring them along next year!  See you in Padre Labor Day 2016  

Wednesday, Sept 2, 2015 -- Time to head south!

The race is just around the corner, most are headed south tomorrow or Friday.  There's still time to register.  The check in party is at Louie's Backyard from 7-9pm Friday night.

Tuesday, Aug 11, 2015 -- Early Registration Closes in 4 Days
Get your registration in before the price jumps $30.  register.ruffrider.net

Monday, Aug 3, 2015 -- Blueux Dog Racing
This weekend we received a donation from Blueux Dog Racing.  Thanks Dave!

Don't wait too long to register, the late fee kicks in soon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 -- Registration is OPEN!!!!  Register here.

Monday June 29, 2015 -- GT300 is finished for the year, now its Ruff Rider's time!!!
Sorry for the radio silence this summer.  The Great Texas 300 is finally finished and thus my daily free time has increased dramatically.  I've received several messages lately asking if the Ruff Rider Regatta was happening this year or not?  OF COURSE IT IS!!!  Labor Day weekend, around the island.  Registration will open middle of June, details will follow.

Monday Sept 8, 2014 -- Reorder Tshirts

If you want another Tshirt I will be submitting a reorder at the end of the week.  Place your order here by Friday.  The cost is $25/shirt including shipping.

Tuesday Sept 2, 2014 -- What a fantastic year!

Results are posted here.

This year turned out to be just a fantastic year all around.  Saturday was really light to begin, but the breeze filled and we all received our high speed sleigh ride down the coast.  Sunday we all took a HUGE ass kicking in the surf.  After that the breeze was generally lighter than we wanted but we were all moving steadily down the coast.  Many thanks to go out this year, Carla Cardini for being our PRO this weekend.  She also organized the raffle at the registration party.  She really did a huge amount of work.  Tim and Pilar for being my go-fers this weekend.  They also cooked the breakfast Sunday morning and were in charge of breaking down camp.  This is the job all the sailors usually forget about but it is not an insignificant amount of work.  Our sponsors, Gulf Coast Downhole Technologies, Robert Eckles, Cat Alley, C&C Sailmakers, Cat Sailor Magazine, Banks Sails, and the Sailboat Shop in Austin.

I hope to see all of you next year!


Monday Aug 25, 2014 -- Two Beach Houses for RAFFLE!
If you haven't registered already, I haven't increased for being late.  No more Tshirts are available, but you certainly can sail I will consider feeding you at the halfway as well.

Cat Alley was gracious enough to donate a weekend and now we have a second beach house for raffle as well.  That's TWO chances to win a weekend at the beach!  Thanks Dennis Banks!

We have 5 days until registration at Louie's Backyard, 6-9pm Friday night.  You must come by to pick up your race bag and sign in.  There will be no sign in on the beach Saturday morning.

Monday Aug 11, 2014 -- Beach House Weekend Rental for $145!
Want to rent a beach front, mast up, beach house for the weekend for only $145?  Well, step right up and register, your entry gets you entered in the raffle for a weekend at the beach plus tons of other cool stuff.

Only one week left before early registration is over and you have to pay the late fee.

Monday July 7, 2014 -- Registration is OPEN!

The 40th running of the Ruff Rider Regatta is getting close.  Registration is now open.  Visit the registration page for details. 

Tuesday July 1, 2014 -- Ruff Rider Regatta is On!

This is the 40th anniversary of the Ruff Rider Regatta.  We are a go for this year!  However, unfortunately we will not be sailing to Corpus this year.  We will be sailing a route which keeps us on South Padre Island for the whole weekend.

Registration will open next week.  

Monday Sept 16, 2013 -- Photos are Posted
Photos from this year's event can be found here.

Wednesday Sept 4, 2013 -- Results are up
Final results are posted in the results section of the website.  A big thanks to all that helped out this weekend, Carla, Christie, Othal, Patricio, and Scott.  Another big thanks to our last minute sponsor Trey Garrison with Silver Bullet Racing.  Hope to see you all next year!

Sunday Aug 18, 2013 -- 2 weeks!
Normal registration is closed.  From here on out there is a late fee of $30.  T-shirts are not guaranteed for late registrations.

Tuesday July 30, 2013 -- One month to go!
In one short month we will start the 'round the island format of the Ruff Rider Regatta.  Get your spot on the line, register here.

Thursday July 18, 2013 -- REGISTRATION IS OPEN!!
Go to the registration page to register online.  First to register is first on the start line!

Tuesday July 9, 2013 -- Round the island we go!  -- Who's ready to run around the island?  The Ruff Rider Regatta registration will open in the next two weeks.  First to register is first on the line.  An email will be sent out when registration opens, get on the list!  Go to the Contact Us page to join the email list.

Tuesday Sept 4, 2012 -- Successful Year  -- We had another great year!  We had a few exciting moments, but generally speaking it was a great run north.  Full results are posted here.

Special thanks to our sponsors HEB, Brockhaus Jewelry, Kenedy Foundation, Cat Alley, C&C Sailmakers, Louie's Backyard.

Huge thanks to our volunteers, Matt Parker, Carla Cardini, Andrew Tatton, Stephanie May, Nick Curra, John Galway, Patricio Brito, Andrea Eckles, and my road crew Mike Hammond.

From here on out we will alternate formats each year.  Next year is round the island. 

Wednesday August 29, 2012 -- NEW SPONSOR!!!  -- Lighthouse Liquor in Rockport has come on board as a donation sponsor.  They are providing drinks for the halfway point.  If you've never drank a beer at the halfway point, you can't understand the complexity of the situation.  Lighthouse Liquor is taking one crucial step out of the complex problem of delivering cold beer 50 miles into the middle of nowhere south Texas in the summer. 

Monday August 27, 2012 -- The days seem to be moving quicker the closer we get!  All the halfway point gear is laid out in my barn.  Cases upon cases of drinks have been purchased.  Final head counts are underway.  We are all ready to move south.  If you haven't registered, you still can (no guarantees on T-shirts) See you there!  Oh yeah, eff you Isaac!  I will string you up by your balls if you screw me like Lee did last year.  

Monday August 20, 2012 -- Less than two weeks away from the start!  We will postpone the late registration fee until next weekend, but from this point forward we can't guarantee T-shirt sizes.

Thursday August 2, 2012 -- Half price for students.  If both skipper and crew are college or high school students we will reduce the entry fee by half.

We are 1 month out.  The registration list is getting longer and the wait is getting shorter.  Are you ready to roll north? 

Friday July 20, 2012 -- HEB has agreed to help out again this year with groceries for the halfway point.  Yeah HEB!  Show them how much you appreciate this by visiting your local HEB next time you get hungry!

St. Arnold's Brewery has agreed to donate several cases of beer for the halfway point again this year.  Where else can you enjoy a fine cold microbrew in the middle of absolute nowhere???  Nowhere else but Ruff Riders!

Thursday July 12, 2012 -- Registration is OPEN!!!  Bring on the boats!  $40 late fee after August 18th. Who's going to be first this year?


Wednesday June 20, 2012 -- We are headed back up the ditch.  The GT is over for this year, which means its time to gear up for the greatest sleigh ride north of the Rio Grande.  Registration will open in the next few weeks.  Keep your eyes open, ears peeled, and calendar cleared for Sept 1&2, 2012.

















































Sunday August 7, 2011 -- Late Fee Coming Soon
If you want to save $40 get your registration in by Midnight August 12.  After that the registration price goes up.

Wednesday August 3, 2011 -- New Sponsor
Eckles Land & Cattle of Holdenville, OK has signed on as a cash sponsor.  We really appreciate the gift!

Sunday July31, 2011 -- Aerial Photography!
South Texas Pools in Harlingen has agreed to provide aerial photography of the start and beginning of the first day.  Photos will be available for download after the event free of charge.  Check them out at www.southtexaspools.com.

Monday July 25, 2011 -- Volunteer's conference call
We will have a conference call for all volunteers interested in helping out with the event.  If you want to help but don't know how, this is the place to be tomorrow evening at 7:30 (Tuesday July 26).

Call in #:  (213) 417-9250
Access Code:  646449#

Dial the above number and when prompted enter the access code.  You will then be automatically joined to the conference.  For the sake of everyone on the call, please use the mute button on your phone unless you are actively speaking in the call.  This eliminates a bunch of background noise which is very distracting.


Anyone in the Houston area is more than welcome to listen in at my house.  Email me separately for directions.  We are about 10 min west of Katy on I-10, just south of Brookshire.  Although our house might be closer to the Austin folks than some of the Houston folks!


While on the call please help us keep to the agenda and stay on topic.  If the call gets off topic we can table the conversation for the end of the call and move on to the next item on the agenda.


Items on the agenda:


1.)    General status report

2.)    Race committee support.  Volunteers.

3.)    Halfway point to-do list.

4.)    Finish to-do list.

5.)    Trophies

6.)    T-shirts

7.)    Sponsorship leads.

8.)    Powerboat commitments.

9.)    Open floor.

Sunday July 10, 2011 -- Registration is OPEN!
Go to 
register.ruffrider.net or click the button on the navigation bar to the left.

  • You may register immediately by credit card or personal check through Paypal or you can mail your registration along with a personal check or money order.
  • Starting positions are determined by the order in which registrations are recieved.  Online registrations will be considered "recieved" when payment has been made.  Mailed registrations will be considered "recieved" when they arrive by mail.
  • If you are a class legal single handed boat make sure to select the "Single handed" entry.
  • There are no refunds.
  • Registrations recieved after August 12th will incur a $40 late fee.
  • Registration includes T-shirts and meals for each sailor plus a T-shirt for your roadcrew.  Extra T-shirts, extra meals, and hats are available for purchase.
  • Make sure to print, sign, and return the invoice after your purchase.  Signatures are required for all participants.
  • Racing Rules are posted in the navigation bar to the left.  Please read them and follow them.

Questions should be directed to Shannon Galway at shannon@ruffrider.net.

See you in Padre!


Previous Messages --

Thursday June 23, 2011 -- Registration is getting close

Registration will open within the next week or so.  Keep your calendar open for Sept 3-4, 2011! 


Hello fellow Ruff Riders! I just wanted to post a quick note letting everybody know what is in the works Ruff Rider 2011.

As most know, I have assumed the role of “Head Cook and Bottlewasher” for the Ruff Riders Regatta. I am really excited to take on this challenge and can’t wait to see how the next year goes. I have been a little lazy so far, Scott made it look so easy I figured I had nothing to worry about until mid August -- turns out I was wrong, especially when considering my plans. I intended to return the course to Corpus Christi for Ruff Riders 2011. Details of the exact finish location are still being worked out but will be within sight of the JFK bridge. I will warn you now, services provided at the midway point will be adequate but sparse for the first year until we can get our feet under us.

This is no small task and I will not be able to do it alone. I am asking for volunteers to assist in particular tasks. My plan is to assemble a committee of volunteers to share the workload. Areas where help is really needed are beach captains, on the water transport, race committee, and midway workers. Several people that have powerboats which can be used for the weekend are needed. We need to get all the equipment to the halfway point and also have a boat or two for chase boats. We will need spare hands at the midway point who are not sailing that can cook and serve dinner/breakfast. Beach Captains will be responsible for all activities occurring on their particular beach. Start captain will organize the registration, Friday sign in party, and the skippers meeting. Midway captain will organize dinner and breakfast at the midway point. Finish captain will organize the awards and finish activities.

Current Regatta Leadership
Regatta Director – Shannon Galway
Regatta Treasurer – Scott Kee
Start Beach Captain – Scott Kee
Midway Beach Captain – Andrew Tatton 
Finish Beach Captain – Dennis Banks 
Race Committee -- Open
Midway Workers – Open

Another area where help is DESPERATELY needed is attendance. I need everyone that is receiving this message to spread the word that we need more boats at the start line. The more people that register, the cheaper the registration fee is for everyone.

I look forward to the next year and I encourage anyone that has constructive ideas for this regatta to make them known on the website forum. I really want to make sure this is the regatta you want it to be. I must thank the people that have already volunteered to help and Scott and Ana for making this transition as smooth as possible. I’m glad to be here.

Shannon Galway 

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