Dating back to the early 1950s, Turnback Canyon Regatta (TBC) is full of contrasts in its history. Originally called the Bluebonnet Cruise, six to ten boats participated in the two-day event. The boats sailing in the first event were mostly homemade and ranged from Snipes to T24’s and a T28 where T proudly stood for TEXAS.
The boats were wood and the sails were cotton but the sailing strategies were the same then as today. Starting from the vicinity of AYC (which was then known as The Austin Sailing Club), the participants raced to an overnight point, near the current Turnback Canyon cove on Saturday, anchored overnight, and returned to AYC on Sunday. Overnight destination anchorages over the years have included Cow Creek, Briarcliff, Lago Vista Resort, and the current Lago Vista Bar-K Ranch Park. BUT — no matter the start or the destination, the regatta was always focused on the beauty of sailing, and fun.
From the small start of six to ten boats, during the 1970s and ’80s, TBC Regatta became the largest event sponsored by AYC. With participation levels up to 300 boats and as many as 100 multi-hull boats, TBC Regatta spawned another long-standing tradition of great parties, which included drinks, sea stories, BBQ meals, bands, dancing, and lots of fun.
TBC Regatta has been sailed in ideal weather and sometimes — not so ideal weather. Conditions have varied from hot and no wind to cold and way too much wind, sometimes with or without rain, hail, lightning, and tornadoes. TBC Regatta started with a lake level so low (around 620msl) that sand bars and old debris (lurking just beneath the surface) snagged a few boats here and there. But, the TBC regatta has also experienced very full lake conditions up to 699msl in 1957. In recent years, the lake has varied from 645msl to 685msl. For 2023 below-normal lake conditions of 639msl are expected, but no matter the wind, weather, or lake level the regatta was always fun.
In 1984 a special perpetual trophy was commissioned by the AYC Board of Directors in memory of Bill Levens, Sr.,a long time AYC sailor who always supported and never missed a Turnback Canyon Regatta. The Levens Trophy is awarded to the best corrected time keelboat for the race to Turnback. This trophy has been won by notables such as Hap Arnold, Ray Shull, and the Henson/Vaughan team. Quite a variety of boats have won this trophy over the years — Ensigns, Catalina 22’s, J29’s, and Hobie 33’s are just a few. Here’s a Turnback Regatta handbook from 1987.
For this year's event, we want to thank our sponsors:
The skipper and all crew must be registered for this regatta. Registration will be open online prior to 4/19/23 at 7:59 pm. Late online registration will be available from 4/19/23 at 8:00 pm until 4/21/23 at 5:00 pm online. After that time, only on-site registration will be accepted Saturday morning from 8:00 am until 9:30 am.
Current schedule of events:
Late Registration: 8 am – 9:30 am
Breakfast: 8 am – 10 am
Check-in and Packet Pickup: 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Competitors’ Briefing: 10:00 am
First Warning Signal at 11:00 am
Last Warning Signal by 3:00 pm
Dinner: 6:00 pm
Live Entertainment 7:00 pm
Breakfast: 8am – 10 am
First Warning Signal at 10:00 am
Last Warning Signal by 2:00 pm
Snacks, beverages, and awards ceremony approximately 4:30 pm
Note: Due to the low water level of Lake Travis, we have determined that it is not safe to race to Lago Vista and attempt overnight anchorage. All races will either be out-and-back or windward-leeward within the basin.
Click here to view the latest Turnback Canyon Regatta results.
Click here to purchase Turnback Canyon Regatta merchandise.
Turnback Canyon Regatta registrations.
Click here to view the crew list