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Worrell 1000 Race 2022 Leg 12 - Hatteras to Kill Devil Hills

by Worrell 1000 20 May 2022 16:37 PDT 9-22 May 2022
Worrell 1000 2022 © Robert L. Feldman

The expansive beach at ORV Ramp 49 in Frisco (near Cape Hatteras) was filled with spectators; Most, here for the spectacle that is the Worrell 1000. Not because they're sailors or that they know anything about racing these F18 beasts... they just know that this is exciting.

As the live broadcast on Facebook began, onlookers crept closely to the camera, trying desperately to hear-in on the commentary. This was the second-to-last leg of the event, and all 13 teams were still on the line. Team Restream - which took a DNF just the day before - were rigged and ready to go. I can't stress ENOUGH the immense feat it truly is that all teams that started back in Hollywood Florida more than a week ago were ALL here. The excitement that was building felt incredible.

The winds and the conditions for this leg were extremely favorable: 12-14 knot winds out of the South meant the teams would enjoy what salty sailors call a "sleigh ride": The teams would launch their spinnakers, lean back and just let the boat GO. But -They had to get through the surf first. All teams were permitted two pushers today, but for two of the teams, this would not help. Within yards of the beach line, two boats were hit hard while they were sideways to the surf and flipped. Team Fast Forward Composites (Tommy Gonzales and Sam Ingham) were able to float their boat back to the start line, right it, and get pushed back out rather quickly, with only a top batten in the square-top main snapped.

Team Allen, William Sunnucks and Mark Self of Great Britain, would NOT be so lucky. Every batten in their main sail was decimated. It was truly amazing to me, as I watched cordless drills, replacement battens and ground crew materialized out of nowhere. It was a collective, focused effort of ALL to get Team Allen patched up and back out on the course. While these repairs were being made, Team Australia was heading back to shore: they lost a rudder-arm tendon connection to the tiller cross-bar. They made a quick repair and re-launched through the surf, however - they experienced a spinnaker tack-line failure and had to beach on Cape Hatteras to lash the tack of the kite to the tip of the spinnaker pole before relaunching yet again. They finished 8th this day, with their repairs still in place.

The conditions prevented any team from really pulling away from the pack with all finishing within an hour of each other. This resulted in zero change in the overall standings with just one, short leg to go. Regardless, the 2022 event has solidified a position in Worrell history as a staggeringly difficult event, and yet - all 13 teams are poised to complete the course. Tune in tomorrow for the final leg to the finish at VA Beach.

Overall Results as well as elapsed times for individual legs can be found at worrell1000race.com/results

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