America's Cup crew enter Worrell 1000

Oracle crews sign up for next year's arduous cat sailing marathon

Thursday August 29th 2002, Author: Mike Worrell, Location: United States
With the addition of Oracle BMW Racing I and Oracle BMW Racing II to the starting lineup for next year's Worrell 1000, the number of registered teams for 2003 stands at seventeen as of Friday, August 23.

Both teams are in Auckland, New Zealand as members of Oracle BMW Racing, one of three U.S. syndicates preparing to challenge for the XXXI America's Cup starting in October 2002 and running through March 2003. Sailing Oracle BMW Racing I will be Jonathan S. Ziskind, age 30, of San Francisco, CA and Philip B. Jameson, 25, of Auckland. Sailing Oracle BMW Racing II will be Cameron C. Daniel, 30, of Auckland and Rodney C. Daniel, 30, of Forster, NWS, Australia.

The entry of these America's Cup sailors is the latest in what may prove to be the most competitive and diverse field of racers to ever compete in this extreme, 1,000 mile race for beach cats held every year in May. Also entered is David Scully, 44, of Charleston, SC, the boat captain of Playstation, the 125 foot maxi-cat, holder of numerous sailing records and arguably one of the fastest sailboats in the world.

Add to this mix, two-time Olympic Silver medalist and six-time winner of the Worrell 1000, Randy Smyth, 48, of Fort Walton Beach, FL and the 2002 / 2001 Worrell 1000 winners Brian Lambert, 37, of Fort Walton Beach and Jamie Livingston, 40, of Jupiter, FL and the field gets real intense. And back for his twelve try, winner of three Worrells and the only present day competitor to have raced under the 24-hour non-stop format which was discontinued in 1983 is another Aussie, Rod Waterhouse, 44, of Sydney, Australia.

Returning with Waterhouse is one of three female sailors registered for 2003, Sandra Tartaglino, 42, of Redwood Shores, CA. Sandra broke her leg in the 2001 Worrell 1000 and set out the ‘02 race following surgery on her leg. Another Worrell winner, in 2000 with Smyth, and 2002 Alter Cup Champion is Matt Struble, 30, of Bay City, MI, sailing with W.F. Oliver, 43, of Virginia Beach, VA.

Back for their second try are William Sunnucks, 46, and Mark Self, 34, both of Essex, England who finished 5th in 2000, one of the highest finishes ever for a first time team. In 1997, Sunnucks was first to finish and set an overall time record sailing a Tornado in the Round Texel race in the Netherlands billed as the largest cat race in the world with an annual turnout of over 700 boats.

It all began as a bet over a couple of beers in the Worrell Bros. restaurant in Virginia Beach, VA. It was October, 1974 and the America's Cup was still firmly bolted to its stand at the New York Yacht Club. The first Whitbread Round The World Race had just begun and the first catamaran to compete in the Olympics was still two years away. That one could not sail a 16-foot beach cat 1,000 miles from the front door of Worrell Bros. to southern Florida seemed like a safe bet. It had never been done before. Twenty days later the bet was won - and the idea for the first Worrell 1000 in 1976 was born.

For most of the early years the race was considered a catamaran cult classic. Beach cat sailors around the world knew of the event and many participated. But, recently the race has begun attracting a much larger audience and more diverse group of sailors. "I would say, that to my surprise, 30 to 40 percent of the 2003 entry inquiries are coming from non-cat sailors," commented race director Mike Worrell.

The 2003 Worrell 1000 starts on Sunday, May 4 in South Beach, Florida and finishes in Virginia Beach, Virginia on Saturday, May 17, 2003.

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