Worrell 1000: Isle of Palms, SC to Surfside Beach, SC

Published on May 13th, 2019

The 2019 Worrell 1000 Reunion Race brings back the beach cat contest which held 20 editions from 1976 to 2002. Beginning May 6 from South Florida, three teams take on the 1000 mile offshore adventure to Virginia Beach, VA. Here is the latest update from Beverley Simmons:

May 13: Leg 7 – Isle of Palms, SC to Surfside Beach, SC (approximately a 75 mile leg)
It had been a long night.

Team Cat in the Hat sustained significant damage to its boat. The port side hull had a 3-foot crack, the starboard hull had punctures, the trampoline needed to be re-sewn in multiple places. Team Australia also had to take the tramp completely off and find a shop for the repair.

With the help of some local sailors, a loft was found to do the trampoline work – not an easy feat on a Sunday, let alone Mother’s Day. Brett White of Team Australia worked with folks from both damaged teams to do fiberglass work until three in the morning.

The only team without repair work to be done was ironically the one team that had major repairs done over the last 4 legs and they were well aware of their good fortune.

At the Skipper’s meeting at 8am this morning, the Race Committee decided that closer inspection of all boats was necessary to ensure sea-worthiness. The safety of the competitors, above all else, is paramount. The race would be delayed one hour to ensure safety inspections were thorough and complete. No one was complaining.

For those who have followed this competition for the many years it had been run in the past, these circumstances were not surprising. This race is NOT for the faint of heart, the casual buoy sailor, or the weekend regatta-goer. This race is 1,000 miles of unpredictability – boat-body-and-soul crushing legs up an unforgiving coast – and a test of sheer will and endurance. And every single one of the competitors would have it NO OTHER WAY.

At 11am the final horn sounded – Team TCDYC and Australia were pushed through the low surf, kites up within minutes of launch, and were on their way. Team Cat in the Hat had a last-minute mainsheet issue – the Facebook live feed was rolling as Larry Ferber, Team Skipper, worked methodically to get it done and done right. No need to rush. Do it right the first time or pay for it later. They pushed off the beach six minutes late – but made up the time quickly, surpassing the second place boat, TCDYC, roughly 1/3 of the way up the leg.

The sail was a beautiful one – winds 10-15 knots with gusts up to 20, flat seas and no major shoals or jetties in the way.

Team Australia – even with the fact they programmed the wrong coordinates into their GPS – arrived first through the finish at Surfside beach with an elapsed time of just 5h 23m 24s. Team Cat in the Hat were not far behind with an elapsed time of 6h 22m 57s, with TCDYC right behind, coming in at 6h 57m 56s. The first leg of the series that saw all the teams arrive within two hours of each other AND with no boat damage.

The race teams are enjoying social time at the bar – Race Committee members took the time to catch up on the latest episodes of Game of Thrones – and all are looking forward to a restful night in comfy beds – see you at the start tomorrow – 10am. Sharp.

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