After a two-year hiatus, one of the most iconic and dangerous sailboat races in the world is once again heading to Hatteras Island, with a Frisco landing scheduled for Thursday, May 19.
The Worrell 1000 Race launched from Hollywood Beach, Florida, on May 9, marking the start of an approximately 1,000-mile catamaran sailboat race up the East Coast to the Virginia Beach finish line.
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 a checkpoint at the last leg of the journey, and on Thursday, the 13 competing teams will eventually cruise onto the beach close to ORV Ramp 49 in Frisco before they launch the following day, making a treacherous run north around Cape Point, and through the Diamond Shoals.
At this Hatteras Island checkpoint, the sailors will take a well-deserved overnight break at the Cape Hatteras Motel, which also hosted the race teams at the last Worrell 1000 in 2019.
“It has been an honor and a privilege for us not only to host the crews this year, [but] to be able to be one of the sponsors for this year’s event,” said Janet Morrow Dawson, owner of the Cape Hatteras Motel. “They have had some rough legs thus far, so we’re hoping to give them smooth sailing to and from Hatteras.”
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 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 long journey.
After being canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Worrell 1000’s popularity clearly has not dwindled in the past two years, and beachgoers on Thursday afternoon should expect a hefty crowd of spectators to cheer on the competing teams.
For more information on the Worrell 1000 Race, and to keep up with the action in the hours leading up to the teams’ Frisco arrival, visit https://worrell1000race.com/.