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2001 Worrell 1000 - Leg 8 Finish

by Zack Leonard 14 May 2001 15:52 BST

Photo ©: Walter Cooper

Team Alexander's on the Bay
Team Guidant must have drawn inspiration from the return of injured teammate Sandra Tartaglino. They arrived 10 minutes ahead of second place, Tommy Bahama, and 31 minutes up on fourth place, Alexander's, to cut into the big lead Alexander's has been building. Tartaglino has rejoined the race as a spectator after undergoing surgery to help repair the fractured leg she suffered on the first leg. "I plan to sail next year," said an upbeat Tartaglino, "it's a way to make sure I push my rehab to get back to normal as quickly as possible."

Sail for Sight, crewed by Carl Roberts and David Lennard, were satisfied with their third place finish. "Carl just wanted to beat the black boat (Alexander's), now he's happy," remarked Lennard, "we finally got those guys."

Nigel Pitt, of Tommy Bahama, is extremely impressed with Guidant's speed. "There was a boat we couldn't identify and then they just disappeared going so fast. It must have been Guidant, they are the only ones who have had that much speed on us."

The breeze was from the East for most of the race, but died as the leg progressed. The leaders all stayed as close to shore as possible after Cape Romaine. They were able to fly the spinnaker for more than an hour paralleling the beach in the light winds. "We actually sailed inside the surf-line with the spinnaker for a long time," commented Carl Roberts. He and Lennard heard breaking waves outside of them at several points in the evening. Jamie Livingston of Alexander's figures that the time they lost on Guidant was due to getting a little too far off the beach at the Cape.

The leg was extremely long and was made longer and more difficult by a wind shift just miles from the finish. At about 5 AM, the wind shifted North, and what had been a tight jib reach straight to the finish turned into a beat. Anybody who was off shore at all got hammered and was still out there at 7:24 AM. As the Northerly filled the temperature dropped and the teams that arrived in the dawn were cold.

The boats that were behind lost more time due to the wind shift. Arriving fifth was Key Sailing, sailed by Kirk Newkirk and Glenn Holmes. After Key Sailing there was a big gap, then a bunch arrived in a short spurt. Team Tybee Island, Spitfire Racing, LexisNexis and Team Castrol finished sixth through ninth.

The cat and mouse game of boat identification is tricky at night. Some teams try to illuminate their closest rivals to identify how they are doing while some try to sail stealth, hiding their identity. But one thing is sure - the flashlight is a safety tool when commercial ships approach at night. Alex Shafer, of Tommy Bahama, shined a light on his own sail to illuminate his boat as a shrimp boat approached in the early morning hours. "It seemed like he headed right at us after we made ourselves known," noted a bemused Shafer.

Shore Crew Bonus

It's very difficult to exaggerate how hard the shore support teams work in this race. The first boats hit the beach in the darkness just before the dawn this morning. But the real spectacle was the shore crews. Splayed out on beach chairs and wrapped in hotel bedspreads like cocoons, the shore crews stood a loyal vigil, waiting for their boats. Some of the racer's called their teams to let them know it would be a late finish and to get some sleep, but others got "No Service" when they tried to make the call. At least 50 people slept on the beach awaiting the finish. The shore crews have been tested more and earlier than usual this year. There were quite a few late nights of boat repairs early in the race. Add the usual grind of hotel logistics, van hassles, laundry and then an all-night wait for the finish on this night leg and you have some tired teams. The racers and their support crews both sorely need the day off today. It is probably a relief to some shore support teams that the wind was so light last night. The boats are unlikely to need repairs. The start will move back to 10 AM tomorrow morning.

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