Allen’s Landing Cruise
October 8-10, 2021
Attention all TMCA members! We are happy to announce information for the upcoming cruise to Allen’s Landing. TMCA has been doing this cruise since at least 1998, but in those days it was a day cruise…, up and back in the same day without ever stopping, and also without any USCG permission required. After 9/11 however a Port Security Zone was created and for our 2003 cruise permission to enter the Security Zone was required. And that year it was still a day cruise, but we did however all tie up at the landing for an hour for lunch. In 2004 that year’s Cruise Captain Philip Kropf proposed that, despite the fact that there were no boater services (water and electricity) at Allen’s Landing, that we do it as a one-night overnight cruise, and 19 boats eagerly participated!! And then once it was realized that a one-night cruise did not leave very much time downtown for fun social activities, the 2005 cruise was scheduled for two nights (with 14 boats), and that is pretty much the way we have done it ever since!
The 2021 Allen’s Landing Cruise will begin for some, that is those who are able to take an extra day off, with a short voyage up to Bayland Marina on Thursday afternoon October 7, this partly to avoid the very early wake-up call otherwise required for a Friday departure directly from Clear Lake! But for everyone else the departure for Allen’s Landing will be on Friday morning, October 8.
All boats departing from Clear Lake will assemble on Friday, no later than 8:15am, in the open bay area west of HSC light #87, which is just below Morgan’s Point, and about 7.0nm from marker #2 in the Clear Creek channel. Actual departure from this assembly point will be at 8:30am, and the Clear Lake boats will then link up with any Bayland boats in the area of the ship channel just south of the Fred Hartman Bridge. The return leg of the cruise will begin Sunday October 10 at 10:00am. Philip Kropf is the Cruise Leader and will coordinate all logistics and communications with the Coast Guard. And the name of the Social Events Coordinator for the weekend should be announced soon.
Interest in this annual TMCA cruise is usually very high and thus applications will be taken on a “first come, first serve” basis. Due to docking limitations, the flotilla is limited to 22 powerboats All boats will need to be able to pass under a 25ft high bridge at the HSC Turning Basin, and also be capable of running at 8 knots, although our actual speed cruising through the port is usually somewhere between 6 and 7 knots. Since the route to Allen’s Landing passes through the security-restricted Port of Houston, this is a trip we can only make with permission from the Coast Guard. TMCA makes this cruise only once each year, and it truly is a privilege to be able to travel through the Houston Ship Channel and dock at Allen’s Landing, the birthplace of Houston 185 years ago in 1836! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen%27s_Landing) Allen’s Landing is located at 1001 Commerce St. in downtown Houston, just east of the Main Street viaduct. For more location information, go to: www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMRD6.
Bayland Marina on Thursday, October 7. (optional)
On the Sign-up Form please note if you want a slip at Bayland. (www.baylandmarina.com) The Cruise Leader will help coordinate generally with Bayland management, but actual slip reservations with the marina will need to be made by each boat captain. Since boats going to Bayland will probably arrive at various times during the afternoon and evening, no specific dinner arrangements are planned.
Departure at 8:30am on Friday October 8 from the designated assembly area.
The Coast Guard requires us to stay in a single line while transiting the Port, and line-up assignments will allow us to arrive in proper docking order. The Cruise Leader will create and distribute a line-up order list to assign each boat a spot in the line-up. It is each captain’s responsibility to find their assigned place in line and then to maintain that position throughout the trip at every point between the Hartman Bridge and Allen’s Landing. By Coast Guard requirement, all boats must fly a TMCA burgee. The trip from the Hartman Bridge to Allen’s Landing should take about 4 ½ hours. Docking space is very limited at Allen’s Landing, and prior to the cruise, the Cruise Leader will distribute a docking plan which corresponds to the line-up assignments. More detailed notes and guidelines for boat captains will be distributed later after the flotilla is set. Depending upon the number of boats participating, double, and even triple, rafting will probably be required!
Weekend activities: As this is write-up is being posted it is too early to be able to list the weekend’s activities, but in the past they have included such things as, after our arrival, a Downtown Tunnel Tour & Pub Check, and then on Friday evening a Dock Party, sometimes with live music, at the landing.
For Saturday there is usually planned a morning dinghy exploration up Buffalo Bayou, sometimes getting as far upstream as Memorial Park. And for many years our weekend downtown has coincided (and it will again this time) with the “Bayou City Art Festival”, and folks have always enjoyed browsing this event and buying art. Other year’s activities have included a major Pub Tour on Saturday afternoon, and other folks have sometimes ridden the Metro train out to the Museum District to tour establishments there. Saturday evenings have sometimes included dinner for the entire group at a downtown restaurant (one year a restaurant even hired Kelly McGuire to entertain us!), and other times just small groups going off to eat on their own. The Social Coordinator will have to make that decision as to what we do this year, but either way it will for sure be fun!
And the final social activity is usually a shared Breakfast on the Landing prior to our departure on Sunday morning. These tentative events, and perhaps others, will get finalized as we get closer to the cruise weekend, and information will get posted and publicized on the website and our facebook page. And so stay tuned for this information as it gets released.
Other Trip Logistics:
Fixed costs of the trip will be divided among all participating boats. Based upon past experience, the amount should be approximately $100.00, and it goes to the cost of overnight security by an off-duty HPD officer, a porta-potty rental fee, the Friday evening musical entertainment, and other miscellaneous costs. The actual number of boats participating will determine the final cost, and so we really won’t know this until we have a pretty definitive list of boats wishing to participate sometime after the start of registration. (Some changes have taken place since previous cruises and so details of exactly how and when you will need to make your payment have not yet been fully determined.) Note however to passengers & crew: Please be prepared to split the trip cost with the captain of your vessel, but it is left up to the individual captains to determine how best to split these fixed costs, and any possible additional ones such as fuel.
Registration for this cruise will be a two-step process:
1) A website sign-up (similar to other TMCA cruise sign-ups) will begin at 8:00pm on August 15, 2021. This website sign-up will give the organizers a pretty quick idea of how many boats want to do this cruise, but each boat will NOT however actually have a confirmed place in the lineup until they have submitted all of the required boat and crew information by the scheduled deadline. But the order in which you sign-up on the website is important, especially if we exceed the limit on the number of boats. (There will be a wait list as necessary.)
2) Then to complete your registration the captain of each boat will be responsible for e-mailing their fully-completed Sign-up Form to Philip Kropf at firstname.lastname@example.org. ( Note: The Sign-up Form will be made available a week or so prior to the Aug 15 date.) Philip will keep the information on the forms confidential and will be the only person to have access to the Coast Guard-required driver’s license numbers and dates of birth. It will be up to each boat captain to collect the required information from their passengers/crew. Only fully-completed forms will be accepted to hold a place on the trip. And “completed” means having ALL of the blanks filled in on the Sign-up Form! (If additional passengers/crew (see below) get added/assigned to your vessel, we will capture their information later.)
Important Note: Even if you are not 100% sure at this point of your intent to participate in this cruise (and similarly, for any of your passengers/crew), it is preferable to go ahead and sign-up now, and then if you must, withdraw later, or delete crew as applicable. The Coast Guard needs time to review all of the required information, and it is easier for all concerned to later delete a boat, or people, than it is to add them.
A preliminary submission to the Coast Guard will be made on September 13 of those signed up at that point, and so that is the first deadline that you must meet. In the past we have tried to make that submission 85-90% complete, and so it would be great if we can have most of our sign-ups completed by then. A final submission to the CG however will be made on September 27. There can be no additions of either boats, or people, after the September 27 date, although boats and crew can be deleted if circumstances dictate that.
NOTE:There will be a Captain’s Meeting at 6:00pm prior to the TMCA General Meeting on September 17. This is for everyone already signed up, and also for anyone still wanting to participate. Please do your best to attend this meeting in order that we can get lots of questions asked and answered. More information, with lots of additional details, will however be sent to each fully signed-up participant via email between now and departure time. If you have any questions on any of this material, particularly those of you who have not previously made this trip, please do give the Cruise Leader a call.
For those who sailors, or otherwise power-boatless TMCA’ers, who would like to participate in this Allen’s Landing adventure, but need some options, here are some:
1. If you are friends with a TMCA powerboat owner you can sign up directly with them, but make sure that they collect the required USCG information from you and then send that information to me.
Or..., if you do not know a powerboater, sign up if you would like to ride inbound (Friday), or outbound (Sunday), or both ways, by e-mailing Philip at email@example.com . In your e-mail provide the Coast Guard-required sign-up info of your name (as it appears on your driver's license), your 8-digit TDL number, and your birthdate. Once we have the list of participating boats, we will see who might have room for you to ride along with them. (You can have a car parked downtown near Allen’s Landing, or stay at the hotel.)
2. Drive downtown and party with us on the Landing for the Friday Dock Party, or at any other time during the weekend.
3. In the past we have usually been able to reserve a block of reduced-rate rooms at a downtown hotel, and will probably be able to do that again. And depending upon the hotel it will probably be easily accessible via the Metro train on the Main Street viaduct above Allen’s Landing.
IMPORTANT FULL DISCLOSURE NOTE: As mentioned above, we are able to do this cruise only with the approval of the USCG, and we always need to be on our very best behavior when doing it so as to not cause any issues when passing through the Port (both inside of and outside of the Security Zone).
Also…, please note that at any point the CG can stop this cruise! This could be for several reasons, amongst which could be dangerous weather conditions (like strong currents in Buffalo Bayou or the HSC), some kind of a security incident within the Port, a channel closure due to a ship or tow collision or allision, and such a cancellation could conceivably happen even if we were already out on the water and underway! And several years ago there was even a situation where Houston Yacht Club boats had to stay at the landing for an extra 3 days due to a major HSC closure.
ONE OTHER POINT: This is a very complicated cruise to organize and have it come off successfully! And just like with this initial website cruise announcement, there is a LOT of information to read and digest!! Please do read this posting, and also all other documents which you will receive, as hopefully most questions will be answered by doing so. Thank you!!!
So sign up for this cruise on the website on August 15, and then finish your registration as soon as possible by e-mailing your completed Sign-up form to Philip by the listed deadline. And then make sure that your boat is running in tip-top form and get ready for a great October weekend on the water at a very special cruising destination.
After a Covid-required hiatus for this event in 2020, we are looking forward to a really great Allen’s Landing Cruise in 2021!!
Philip Kropf, Cruise Leader, 713-598-6454, firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Coordinator: to be announced
Allen's Landing "Not-su-oh" Festival in 1910.
TMCA at Allen's Landing - October 2015