After a 17-year hiatus, which finally ended in 2019, one of the most iconic and dangerous sailboat races in the world is now headed towards Hatteras Island once again, with the May 2022 competition already promising to be bigger and better than ever.
With just 200 days to go until the race begins in Florida on May 9, 2022, the Worrell 1000 already has a full roster of 17 teams representing six countries, including returning champions Randy Smyth, (six-time Worrell Champion), and Rod Waterhouse, (four-time Worrell Champion).
Other stand-outs in this year’s roster include Katie Pettibone and Carolijn Brouwer – a pair of sailors with Volvo Cup and Olympic Campaigns under their belts – as well as return competitors Gerard Loos from Spain, Chris Green and Larry Ferber from the 2019 race, and a son of a former competitor – Jared Sonnenklar – who will be continuing the family legacy of Worrell racing.
The Worrell Race technically began in 1974, when the race’s namesake, Michael Worrell, was having a conversation and a few beers with sailing buddies, and the topic turned to the improbability of sailing a catamaran vessel up the East Coast.
That initial beer-fueled conversation turned into action, and two years later in 1976, the inaugural Worrell Brothers Coastwise Race was launched with a total of four teams.
Growing in popularity, the race quickly became a fixture on the sailing scene in the 26 years that followed, and it became world-renowned among sailors with an adventurous inclination.
Prior to 2019, the last time that the Worrell Race was held was in 2002, when it featured roughly 25 teams, and was covered in-depth for the May 27, 2002 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine. Unfortunately, after the 2002 run, the race was quietly canceled in 2003, and more or less disappeared from modern memory in the decades that followed.
But the Worrell 1000 reappeared in May of 2019 to the delight of global sailing fans, as well as local Hatteras Island spectators who flocked to the Frisco beach when the competing teams made an overnight stop along their 1,000-mile journey. Now, visitors will have another opportunity to catch the show, with the return of the infamous race already slated for the spring of 2022.
The rules of the race are deceivingly simple. From southern Florida, competitors head north up the coastline, stopping at 13 checkpoint stops along the way, before finishing at the Virginia Beach oceanfront.
The race plays out in multiple stages, (from checkpoint to checkpoint), and the team with the shortest overall combined time wins.
Hatteras Island is at the last leg of the journey, and in 2019, three competing teams rolled onto the beach close to ORV Ramp 49 in Frisco before they launched the following day, making a treacherous run north around Cape Point, and through the Diamond Shoals.
Though the race was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Worrell 1000’s popularity clearly has not dwindled in the past two years. 2019’s event had a total of three teams, but 2021’s race has already reached 17 teams total, with nations around the globe participating in the multi-day race up the Eastern Seaboard.
For more information on the Worrell 1000 Race, and to keep up with the action in the months leading up to the 2021 event, visit https://worrell1000race.com/.