Worrell 1000

Team TCDYC of Texas deploys its spinnaker (blue sail) in the foreground, as Worrell 1000 Reunion Race leader Team Australia already has it's flying at the start of the leg from Atlantic Beach to Hatteras.

While the end is in sight, it won't be smooth sailing just yet for teams competing in the Worrell 1000 Reunion Race.

Today's leg from Frisco on Hatteras Island to Kitty Hawk has notoriously been the most dangerous. Cape Point can be a washing machine of clashing currents from the north and south, even when surrounding waters are slick calm.

There is a reason why the area around The Point is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. The bottom is littered with the remains of dozens of boats and ships that have fallen victim to it's rough waters and shallow shoals. Conditions there in previous Worrells have knocked contenders out of the race.

The first Worrell in 17 years concludes Saturday on the sand at the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier.

Team Australia has led from the start and built on its overall lead on Thursday's leg from Atlantic Beach to Hatteras Island despite a one-hour penalty for jumping the gun at the start. Australia finished an hour and six minutes ahead of Team Cat in the Hat — an advantage cut to just six minutes because of the penalty.

Team TCDYC was just three minutes behind Cat in the Hat.

Australia's overall lead over Cat in the Hat is now nearly seven hours, and the difference between the Aussies and TCDYC is 8½ hours.

But while this race is a competition, it's run under a high level of sportsmanship, with the goal of getting as many teams to the finish line as possible.

Once the teams are clear of The Point's dangers, it should be an extremely fast sail to Kitty Hawk. Winds will be perfect for flying spinnakers, blowing out of the west-southwest at 20-25 mph. Beach combers should get a good view of the teams screaming up the coast, since skippers likely will keep their catamarans close to the beach to avoid sea swells forecast to build to six feet.

The final leg to Virginia Beach should be similar, if not fasters — as winds are expected blow even harder.

Lee Tolliver, 757-222-5844, lee.tolliver@pilotonline.com


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