Worrell 1000 set to go

Tom Weaver sets the scene in Miami as the 1000 mile catamaran race up the East Coast of the United States gets ready to go

Monday May 7th 2001, Author: Tom Weaver, Location: United Kingdom
Under the blazing Florida sun 21 beachcat teams are mixing it up with the hip and trendy sunbathing crowd, America's beautiful people. Fighting for space in the bright white sand and trying to concentrate on the job of preparing for the most extreme small boat race on the planet, in the part of country where the thong bikini rules - for both girls and boys.
For the uninitiated this is a 1000 mile race up the East Coast of the United States sailed by two person teams in the 20 foot high-performance Inter 20 Beach catamaran, Storms, waves, sharks, turtles, sunburn, dehydration and sheer exhaustion are all major players in the race where typically only 50% of the entries finish

Rick Deppe and I, both ex-patriate Englishmen, have been lured back for the adventure, sailing Pyacht Boys. We have brought along some friends for the 2001 event - the darlings of the fleet Katie Pettibone from Michigan and Eleanor Hay from Lymington - sailing as Pyacht Girls, the first all-women's team to compete in this tough event. Mike Worrell the event’s founder might have to re-write its credo - iron men, plastic boats.

It has been said last year's race was easy, the drop-out rate was low and the overall time was fast. This year the mixed up weather patterns up north are looking to make things interesting. The wind has been blowing hard out of the north east for days with severe thunderstorms kicking up a good size swell and ensuring the early legs will be up wind, so there will be no warm-up legs.

The team has been staying at the Avalon and Majestic Hotel right in the middle of the action on Ocean Drive. The crowded sidewalks of sun and fun lovers, where models, movie stars and now beach cat sailors mingle is a far cry from the harsh reality of a deserted sand bank in the Carolinas. But like a final cigarette before an execution, it feels really good. Rick and I might have a hard time leaving, we must be absolutely crazy but this race can get under your skin.

Today we sprint from Miami to Ft Lauderdale; being only 22 miles the finish should be tight and exciting, but then again this is the Worrell 1000 and anything could happen.

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