Worrell drama

Nigel Cherrie speaks to Michael Worrell about an extraordinary finish to the 2002 event.
Hollywood producers need a wake up call as one of the most remarkable long distance, small boat sailing events in the world has just finished on their doorstep with an Oscar winning storyline. The American Worrell 1000 is one of the most radical sailing events in the world but this years event raised the bar further. Eighteen teams, sailing identical Inter 20 catamarans, set out from Fort Lauderdale in Florida 13 days ago on a north-bound sailing marathon and the outcome wasn't decided until the winning boat broke the line yesterday. "I think it was probably one of the best events ever, both in drama and competition," event organiser Michael Worrell told madfor sailing. "It was the fastest overall as we beat time [for the 1000 mile course] by four hours and we set seven new leg records and the outcome of the race was in doubt right up until the finish. "There was one second separating overall first and overall second at the start of the last leg. Volvo would pay for that kind of closeness," he said, tongue in cheek. At the start of the final leg (there are 13 stages), Steve Lohmayer and Kenny Pierce on Tybee Island led Team Castol's Joseph Sonnenklar and John Casey by a mere one second after some 65 hours of close, exhausting racing. Alexander's on the Bay sailors Brian Lambert and Jamie Livingston looked secure for third overall, but not threatening to the leaders. " Alexander's on the Bay were twenty minutes back at the start of the leg and it was a sixty mile sprint up a straight piece coast. There was no way they could have made up the time without something major happening." And it did; 50-knot winds knocked the fleet of 20ft multihulls for six between Kill Devil Hills