30 days until the start of the Worrell 1000 50th anniversary race – OBX Today

30 days until the start of the Worrell 1000 50th anniversary race - OBX Today
[Courtesy Worrell 1000 Race Facebook]

The countdown timer on the official website for the Worrell 1000 is now down to just 30 days.

Twelve teams representing five countries will descend upon the beach adjacent to the Hollywood Beach Marriott in Florida, and when the race timer hits zero at 10am on May 12. You’ll want to be there to see these teams push off into the surf on their journey of 1000 miles to glory.

From that bar-room bet between brothers in 1974, to the 1st official “Worrell Brothers Coastwise Race” in 1976, 2024 marks the 23rd running of the race. From 1976 to 1982, the race ran in a 24-hour, continuous format on Hobie 16’s. Reckless and dangerous, teams of 3 rotating sailors kept to the very simple rules of the time: Keep the continent to your left, go as fast as you can and come ashore at 8 scattered checkpoints up the coast to phone into Race HQ. Each stop lasted just long enough to find a payphone, switch out a crew member, and push back out to sea. It was a grueling, extreme test of will not only for the sailors, but the ground crews who followed along by land – caring for the one sailor who was rotated off the boat by getting them fed, rested (usually by a matt and blankets in the back of a van), cleaned up and ready to hop back on the boat to relieve another crewmate at the next checkpoint.

By 1983, Michael Worrell made the decision that would bring the event into what it is today; A 13-checkpoint race, with overnight stops at 12, with a grand finish in VA Beach. This made it much easier for local and national media to cover the race, created enormous excitement at each beach every start & finish, and allowed the teams to not only rest (if they were fortunate enough to make the checkpoint before the 10am start the next day) but also allowed those teams to give their valuable sponsors exposure to that far-reaching media. It was an incredibly wise decision – and it catapulted the Worrell 1000 into the world-renowned event it is today.

Communications Director Beverley Simmons states “The response to the 50th Anniversary Event has been incredible! Worrell vets from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s have emailed or privately messaged us on our Social Media pages telling us how amazing it is that the event is still being run. We welcome each and every one of them to come out to one or more of our checkpoint stops to share in the excitement, and say a word or two to our live broadcast audiences that top 20k views EACH DAY. There is a reason this event just won’t die – Catamaran Sailors around the world recognize this as THE race to top off their competitive sailing career.” And why DO these sailors compete in the Worrell? It certainly isn’t for prize money (there is none) – It’s for the camaraderie that makes itself evident each leg of the race, the unbreakable bond every team forms with themselves, their ground crews and their competitors, and the GLORY of finishing the most sought-after, extreme distance race in the world.

For more information about the race, please visit their official website at www.worrell1000race.com  and be sure to like and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.