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Day 4 Dawns On Worrell 1000 Team With New Enthusiasm

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  • Day 4 Dawns On Worrell 1000 Team With New Enthusiasm

    Worrell 1000 Leg 4: Daytona to Jacksonville

    The Worrell Teams scattered the beach at Daytona, with sailors and ground crew busy prepping their boats with a noticeably, more energetic cadence. All were feeling the positive affects of having the last leg (Cocoa to Daytona) cancelled, and the social event’s frivolity from the previous evening elevated everyone’s disposition. However - looking down on them from the 3rd floor balcony - something was off. I counted 12 masts pointing to the sky…..ah. There it was. One boat was completely upside down, and the steady hum of a hand-held sander could be heard even from this vantage point. Team Restream, Mike Beurlein and Philippe Bettler, would not be racing today. After the last few legs, they noticed a crack in the bottom of their port hull. No worries - They brought a spare boat. All seemed well until, when pulling down the spare - they noticed a crack in ITS hull as well. With the large swell, high winds and the washboard surf still looming over the race course - they decided to stay back and do some boat repair. Our fleet of 13 would be just 12 for the leg.

    The usual skipper’s meeting had a twist this day - because only 4 boats completed the last leg, the remaining 9 were all scored DNF and tied for 5th. As the boats for the start are lined up in the order that they finished, cards had to be drawn to determine places 5-13. Team Rudee’s was up 1st - they drew 12th position. Cackles from the group abound, and one (jokingly, of course) commented “See what you get for going 1st?” It proved not to matter at all. At the sounding horn, 10 of the 12 boats made it through the extended, Jensen-like surf with relative ease - Rudee’s being one of them, and as I watched - Randy Smyth took off like a rocket, was the 1st to tack north, and rolled the approaching fleet, all still on the tack out to sea. There’s a reason why he is a 6-time Worrell champ.

    The leg would prove much kinder for the racers, as the winds slowly eased throughout the day, and the swells were lower and less frequent. Although the wind was still coming from the undesirable North, boats started finishing a more civilized 8.5 hours later, with groupings of boats finishing within 10 to 20 minutes of each other. By 20 minutes to 8pm, 7 of the 12 had finished, the next 2 coming in at 8:30 and 8:36.

    That left just 3 boats to go. The Race Committee was starting to realize they wouldn’t be on the beach until midnight. Small joys! When Team Cat in the Hat, Larry Ferber and Brett White (Zack Panetti retired from the race due to illness and was replaced by Australia Team Manager, Brett White), it became clear why the trackers had shown them lagging the last 30 miles:

    Their port hull was completely full of water. So much so that water was flowing out from the port hole like a rushing waterfall…for several minutes….with no indication of slowing down. Another 1/2 hour went by….it was now 10 pm and the wind was dying, and it was overcast and very dark. The trackers showed Team Recreational8 should be at the pier, with Team The Netherlands just a few miles behind. Relying on the trackers, the Race Committee moved closer to the water - flashlights lighting the finish line flags from below. Craig VanEaton and his 14-year-old son Adam appeared just 30 yards from shore, seemingly out of black fog. With a smooth-as-silk glide through the finish line, they had enough velocity to slide almost to the tide line, needing just a short trip to their place in line for the following day.

    Adam, gifted with the energy of youth, said he was excited and had a great time - after over 12 hours of an entirely upwind leg! His dad echoed the same - with maybe just a smidge less exuberance. Gerard Loos and Fred Sarafin would be the last to finish, 33 minutes later at 10:40pm. The Netherlands Team had shown they were consistently behind the pack the entire leg, and Gerard explained that he had chosen to reef the main from the start, and would hoist it the remainder of the way at sea when conditions eased - as fate would have it, the main did not cooperate, and they had to sail the entire leg with the reefed main. Although the team was frustrated with this reality, they were happy to be “home”.

    The day however, did not end without some injury to both boat and body:

    Sam Ingham was tossed over the front beam when Team Fast Forward Composites stuffed a wave, getting his foot caught in the jib sheets, and twisted it badly trying to get back on the boat. X-rays were done - he would be fine, and said he was looking forward to the next leg. Trey Garrison, Team Manager for The Clean Sailors, fell hard on the port rudder of the team’s Cirrus 901 while pushing the team through the surf at the start and received a nasty gash on his chest that needed 12 staples.

    Team Sonnenklar broke a rudder, The Clean Sailors had to sail the last 40 miles without a jib (Chris Green was launched into at at one point) and Cat in the Hat of course, had a cracked hull.

    Even with these realities - all accepted the Race Committee’s decision for an earlier start the next morning for the leg to Tybee. With it being the longest leg of the race (128 miles), they were grateful for at least the smaller possibility of arriving in the dark. Off to food, showers, sleep and contemplation…..

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  • #2

    It was 8am, and the PRO (Principal Race Officer) John Williams was starting the daily Skipper’s meeting. The general feeling in the air was one of mild "dis-jointedness”… just a little “off”. The reason was likely due to the fact that the start of the leg this day had been moved up to 9am - an hour earlier than usual. And, that the teams were facing the longest leg of the event: Jacksonville Beach, FL to Tybee Island, GA - Roughly 128 miles on a rhumb line. To put this in perspective, the previous legs were all under 90, although those upwind legs made for a tack fest that added another 20 or more miles over ground. Friday, the forecast called for winds that would slowly start to clock around toward a more Southerly and appealing direction - the spinnakers would finally be needed and a more direct course could be sailed. Still - the wind was expected to diminish quickly in the late afternoon and evening, making it a very real possibility that the Worrell would get its third “night leg” of the event.

    At the start line, 11 of the 13 boats pushed off through the surf with two pushers instead of the rule-dictated one - the Race Committee decided to allow this again as with the last leg, and it almost produced the desired outcome: 9 of the 11 made it through the surf with relative ease, and without dangerous collisions, however - Team Outer Banks (Hardy Peters and James Eaton) became sideways to the surf, flipped, and were washed back to shore. They managed to right the boat at the beach, suffering only a broken top batten in the square-top main, and off again they went. This time, getting through unscathed. Two boats weren’t quite ready to make the earlier start at 9am: Cat in the Hat, Larry Ferber and Brett White moved up to the line after all boats moved off the start, finished some last minute rigging and were on their way about 15 minutes after official start. The German Team, Way of Life (Stefan Rumpf and Andre Hauschke) had a trapeze line that they were still working on from the previous day - They worked it out and also got underway several minutes late, but made it through the surf without incident.

    With the leg to Tybee, there is a wicked temptress of a rhumb line: A straight as an arrow shot, avoiding shoreline dangers and additional mileage to the island of Tybee - seemingly do-able in a slightly-curvy line under spinnaker. However, if you ask veteran Worrell Sailors…..she is a temptress not worth her wiles: the rhumb line rarely pays. Watching the trackers, it was surprising to see that only one boat decided to stay below the rhumb line and follow the coast - Team Netherlands - and they enjoyed an early lead that lasted half the day, as the remaining 12 boats headed for the temptress.

    About five hours in, the leaders of the rhumb line pack, Team Rudee’s (Randy Smyth and Dalton Tebo), Team Australia (Rod Waterhouse and Chris Way) and The Clean Sailors (Chris Green and Mathieu Marfaing) all caught the gist: Gerard Loos and Fred Serafin had it right - the winds on the rhumb were hurting them. Those three jibed away towards the coast, and the pack followed. From there, the winds started to turn, and by the time the fleet was passing Little Saint Simon Island, the kites started launching. Once the fleet was on this below-the-rhumb line course, that’s when separation really started: Six boats passed The Netherlands and would maintain a leaders “pod” through the finish: The Clean Sailors, Rudee’s, Australia, Restream and Team Allen would stay within minutes of each other until the last 12 miles to the finish. And even then, the top five all finished within 30 minutes of each other:

    Rudee’s at 11:46:01pm (total elapsed time 14h 46m 01s)
    Australia at 11:46:47pm (total elapsed time 14h 46m 47s)
    The Clean Sailors at 12:05:43am (total elapsed time 15h 05m 43s)
    Team Restream at 12:15:31am (total elapsed time 15h 15m 31s)
    Team Allen at 12:23:31am (total; elapsed time 15h 23m 31s)
    Fast Forward Composites at 12:30:27am (total elapsed time 15h 30m 27s)

    It would prove to be an overnight sail for the teams and the Race Committee, with the next 2 boats not finishing until after 2am and the final 2 boats (both, having gotten stuck on the shoals less than half a mile from the finish) not reaching the finish line until almost 5am…..

    The sunrise would reach the beach at Tybee in an hour and a half and by that time, all were just starting the hazy list into R.E.M dreams….dreams I am sure of sailing into glorious sunsets just beyond a tropical island destination, on a forgiving, soft and easy breeze with no care to the time it takes to get there…..

    There will be no racing Saturday, May 14th as this is a scheduled Lay Day for the Worrell 1000.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3

      The 7th Leg of the Worrell 1000 2022 started from Folly Beach - A new checkpoint to the event, and although the racers were not pleased to be so close to a pier that was under construction, the Race Committee moved the start Line well South to take it out of play. With the morning, Southerly breeze of about 8 knots, the teams were able to easily navigate through the surf with 2 pushers, and the start went off smoothly, without incident.

      all images copyright Jonathon Peyton https://jpeytonphotographyllc.pixies...rrell1000race/

      Our Facebook Live broadcast this morning was from the air - with Pilot (and distance catamaran sailor) Trey Brown at the controls, we were able to skim a mere 500 feet above the sailors, watching them all launch their colorful spinnakers within minutes of the start. We stayed with them until they reached the first obstacle to avoid in this leg: The Charleston Harbor Jetty - a long, obtrusive & stoney finger pointing out to sea, constructed more than a century ago to stabilizing the entrance channel into Charleston Harbor. But today, the steadily building winds would prove to be the bigger concern.

      By the time the fleet reached the halfway point of the journey (roughly 40 miles out), the winds had increased to 18 knots. The fleet started to spread out, with Team The Clean Sailors (Chris Green and Mathieu Marfaing) leading the pack. They would remain there and eventually win their 1st leg of this event - coming in 16 minutes and 24 seconds ahead of Team Rudee’s, enduring winds at 24 knots with gusts - both teams stating the long spinnaker reach tossed them around with Mathieu, laughing & reporting about a capsize during a Jibe. They could put it behind them now - they won the leg - others were not so jovial.

      Each team that finished reported either a flip or a near flip within the last 10 miles of the leg. Nine boats would all finish in the next 2 hours, many - within minutes of each other. It appeared as though we would have another great day of all boats making it home in time for a civilized dinner. Then, the Race Committee received word the last 2 boats had flipped, and that one of those boats was adrift without it’s sailors. Tense minutes went by until it was confirmed that it was Team The Netherlands. The Race Committee coordinated with the team manager, Scott Hubel (a Worrell Veteran himself) to immediately contact the Coast Guard and local Law Enforcement/Rescue; the search for the sailors was on. Someone shouted “I see a boat!” - It was the German Team, Way of Life (Stefan Rumpf and Andre Hauschke). Boat 11 would make it home - all attention turned to Netherlands.

      Coast Guard Wilmington made an area-wide hail to all vessels to keep a sharp eye along the coast. The Race Committee provided the Coast Guard the coordinates of the capsize and tracking info for the drifting boat, which was expected to land along the sandy shore 4 or 5 miles south of the finish. Another reason to be thankful for GPS trackers. The team’s Ground Crew began driving south along the coast road, but it was Fire & Rescue that found the two sailors (Gerard Loos and Fred Serafin) and delivered them to their boat that had indeed, washed ashore just 4 miles from the finish - bringing the tense hour we all awaited word, to a positive close and relief to the fleet & followers of the race. Gerard, still in a sandy wet suit, strode into the Hotel Bar to the cheers of his fellow competitors and began joyfully telling his tale of “woe”. He said that as they passed the final point along the shoreline, the rudder pintles failed, causing them to flip. When they righted the boat, the position of the rudder prevented them from turning the boat into the wind. Without this control, Gerard and Fred were dragged along beneath the boat for as long as they could hold on. Ultimately, unable to gain control, the sailors released the boat, which again capsized, and drifted towards shore. To him, this all seemed an adventure! He informed the Race Committee that the boat (and his crew) sustained little damage - and that they would be on the street line the next day. What a Worrell it has been…...

      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4
        Looks like fun,
        Except the tomb stoning in the break part...