Galveston Weekend Cruise

Ruthless served as the sanctuary for six eager, tired, and stressed sailors as they met Friday, 10/5/07 onboard at HarborWalk Marina and Yacht Club. The goal for the weekend was to sail Saturday morning under the Galveston Bay Causeway and then out the Galveston Ship Channel jetties into the Gulf of Mexico.The cruise was dubbed “the Galveston Weekend Cruise.”

Donald arrived at the Ruthless slip with provisions shortly before Brenda and Mark arrived from Hondo, Texas and just after a squall line moved across Galveston Bay generated by a low pressure system.The three decided to have dinner at the Yacht Club expecting Christine, Matt and Ruth to arrive within the hour.

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The crew awoke on Saturday morning to the sound of rain on the deck of Ruthless. By 10 AM the skies began to clear and power cords were unplugged, stowed and dock lines were pulled onboard as Ruthless slowly eased out of her slip.

After a short stop at the service dock for a quick pumping of the heads, Donald turned Ruthless into the Intercoastal Waterway heading east to the Galveston Bay Causeway and Railway Bridge.

It seemed that even though Ruthless changed course the wind stayed on her nose. Finally, as she headed out toward the end of the Galveston jetties and the change of heading the crew finally unfurled the main and jib. Ruthless was then powered by the wind. Matt and Donald wanted to practice sail trim on tight upwind courses. The wind was varying 12-18 knots. The seas were 1-3 ft. varying in direction making the ride bumpy and rough. Brenda and Ruth were becoming a little
queasy. Matt suggested the crew turn back and head into Galveston where Donald had reserved a slip at the Harbor Marina at Pier 21. As Ruthless neared the entrance to the small, picturesque marina the Carnival cruise ship hailed her on the VHF radio.

Donald answered and assured the cruise ship captain that Ruthless would be out of the way of the departing ship in less than one minute. The crewed showered onboard Ruthless and dressed for dinner. Mark was kind enough to treat the crew to a complete, exquisite dinner at Slick Willie’s restaurant on the dock behind Ruthless. After the crew returned to Ruthless, Brenda and Mark exposed Matt and Donald to the domino game called 42. Ruth and Christine were ready for bed and much needed sleep.


The crew was awakened again on Sunday morning to sound of a hard rain. The little storm didn’t last more than about 15 minutes leaving the air full of humidity and cool. Matt, Donald, Christine and Mark all decided to take a walk around Pier 21. The small marina was next to the Shipman’s Museum and the Tall Ship Elissa.



Next to the Elissa dock was the Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal, host to daily departures and arrivals serving Carnival and other cruise ship lines.

Around 9 o’clock, new crew members arrived for the sail back to Harbor Walk. Billy, Kat, and Darryl carried their booty aboard and met the existing crew.


Shortly later, Donald started the genset and main engine as Matt, Christine and Mark retrieved the power cords and dock lines. Donald eased Ruthless out of the slip and the little marina out into the Galveston Ship Channel.


The crew began to introduce themselves. Brenda and Kat headed into the galley to prepare Bloody Mary’s for everyone. Everyone found their favorite task or location on the boat. Laughter and friendly voices overpowered the sound of the boat’s engine. The sails were deployed and Donald pushed the red engine kill button. The drown of the engine was silenced.

Ruthless turned north out of the Galveston Ship Channel for a short trip up the Texas City Channel to the Intercoastal Waterway and then west into the ICW and through the cut in Pelican Island. Donald called the Galveston Railroad Bridge to announce our approach. The bridge captain answered with instructions that a east bound tow was just short of an approach to the causeway and rail bridges. The bridge captain advised Ruthless she needed to be under power to pass through the bridge clearance. Donald advised back that Ruthless would be under power and requested to the crew to furl the jib and center the main.

After rounding the “reds” just east of Deer Island, another rain shower moved over the bay and Ruthless. She turned due west and headed toward the entrance channel to HarborWalk. The crew were vocal saying they were not ready to turn into the harbor and wanted to keep sailing. Ruthless continued to ease her way west along the ICW. Billy and Darryl have been fishing West Galveston Bay for years. As Ruthless neared Green’s Cut, Billy and Darryl pointed out the sandbar along the south side of the ICW and the narrow cut from the ICW into West Galveston Bay. Billy kept telling Donald to stay further to starboard to avoid the sandbars. The light brown color in the water was actually discolored water by the tide flow out of the bay. The unexpected slowing and immediate halt by Ruthless indicated she had run aground on the north side of the ICW. After the crew centered the main and then furled the sail, using the engine power Ruthless slowly inched forward and then finally into deeper water and free of the muddy bottom which minutes earlier was holding her firm.

The crew felt it was best to turn back and head for HarborWalk. Within 20 minutes, Ruthless was backed into her HarborWalk slip. The power cords were reattached, the dock lines secured, and everyone started gathering their personals. Matt, Christine and Mark started the final tasks of returning the cockpit cushion the salon for storage and soaping down the decks. Everyone said goodbye until the next adventure on Ruthless.

Galveston Cruise 2007

Weekend cruise in Galveston Bay.