Mark your calendars for this year’s Gulf-West events.

Mark your calendars for this year’s Gulf-West events.

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Described as the largest in-water boat show in the Southwest, the Southwest International Boat Show begins March 26-29, 2015. Photo: Troy Gilbert.

With boating season warming up on the Texas Coast, thoughts turn to cruising destinations on the Laguna Madre or docking at the waterfront restaurants in Corpus Christi, Galveston or the Kemah Boardwalk with friends and family. Beyond the old tried-and-true destinations are on-the-water events such as regattas or group cruises put on by local yacht clubs or even large boat shows with their spectacle and activities for young and old alike. While everyone has their favorite port of call, these events offer an unmatched boating experience as marinas and yacht clubs fill up for their post-event parties with live music, food and sailors from throughout the Gulf Coast. Put these events, regattas and cruises on your radar for 2015—many have facilities to accommodate transient cruisers or spectator boats.

Southwest International Boat Show – League City, TX – March 26-29: Described as the largest in-water boat show in the Southwest, the event features salt and freshwater boats from 10 to 100 feet for sale, boating seminars, demos, and over 200 vendors sporting marine gear and equipment. southwestinternationalboatshow.com

Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance
Seabrook, TX – May 2-3: Celebrating their 20th anniversary and located on the grounds of the Lakewood Yacht Club, Keels & Wheels is a vintage car and boat show that tailors to admirers of classic cars and wooden boats. keels-wheels.com

Race to the Border – Galveston to South Padre Island, TX – May 30-June 3: The 7th running of this biennial regatta hosted by the Galveston Bay Cruising Association and the Laguna Madre Yacht Club offers the perfect opportunity for cruisers and powerboaters to participate in a distance event along the Texas coast. Running for 240 miles, the event has specific classes tailored for cruisers and even has a “Jalapeno” class, which is geared for floating parties. Regatta participants overrun the town of Port Isabel and the nearby beaches. racetotheborder.com

Harvest Moon Regatta – Galveston to Port Aransas, TX – October 22-25: One of the largest cruising and sailing events on the entire Gulf Coast, nearly 200 yachts participate in this regatta to Port Aransas hosted by the Lakewood Yacht Club. Many large powerboats make the cruise alongside the regatta, but it is recommended to register slip space early. harvestmoonregatta.com

This is just a sampling of the many events along the Texas coast in 2015 for you to mark on your calendars. From cruising clubs at your local yacht club to major regattas where anchoring in the spectators’ area provides great views of the action, there are ample opportunities to get out on the water with friends and family and make new Texas boating memories this year.

By Harlen Leslie, Southern Boating March 2015