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2001 Worrell 1000 - Leg 11 Finish

by Zack Leonard 18 May 2001 15:40 BST

Long Slow Day and Night On the Sandy Coast, Leg 11 Finish

Photo ©: Walter Cooper

Second start pushes off
The drive from Atlantic Beach to Cedar Island weaves through beautiful wetlands and terminates at the ferry to Ocracoke Island. The ride wasn't quite as hectic as last year. The light winds have doomed the racers to a day at least as long as yesterday. The shore crews knew the pressure was off and the pace reflected their mood. Team Tybee Island fed the whole Worrell 1000 crew a sloppy joe feast on the 2 hour ferry trip to Ocracoke. The Tybee Island "Minnie Winnie" is indeed a righteous camper and the chow was well received by all.

Grant Livingston, brother of Jamie, has been following the race from the beginning. Grant is a folk singer who does the circuit of coffee houses and folk festivals. Today he broke out his small-body Taylor acoustic and demonstrated some finger picking styles to the sloppy joe eaters. There was singing and the whole group was smiling when the ferry arrived on the barrier island. After a short helicopter-escorted drive across Ocracoke, the caravan boarded the smaller ferry for the short trip across to Hatteras.

Leg 11 Finish

At 1:15 AM Brian Lambert and Jamie Livingston of Alexander's on the Bay ghosted onto the beach to win their 9th leg of this race. While 15 hours doesn't touch the longest leg ever in Worrell 1000 history it was insult to injury after the previous leg had been long and trying as well. Surprisingly most of the sailors arrived happy and adrenalized.

Team Guidant, sailed by Rod Waterhouse and Katie Pettibone finished 2nd, Tommy Bahama was third, and Castrol finished 4th. Tommy Bahama got sideways to the large surf in the darkness and a big wave pushed the boat over the pole holding the strobe light that marked the finish. The pole snapped like a toothpick, knocking race official Adam Brightwell onto his rear end violently. It was an anxious moment as crew members rushed to help him in the darkness fearing another major injury.

The wind was less than 6 knots and sometimes nonexistent from dead upwind all day and night. A large part of the fleet finished extremely close together, causing several collisions on the beach.

Brian Lambert was surprised they had pulled off yet another victory. "I thought we were 5th," laughed an elated Lambert, "Rod passed us before the dark and the wind shifted at least 5 times after that, then we almost got sucked into the Hatteras inlet when the wind was dead."

Race officials and shore crews slept on the beach and shared sketchy information on the whereabouts of the fleet as they awaited the racers. Jamie Livingston says the longest leg he's ever sailed on this race was 22 hours. This short jaunt hardly dented his good humor.

Cape Hatteras

Hatteras is an outdoorsman's dream. Fishing, surfing, and sailing are kings here. Pickups, towing campers, arrive by the minute. Four wheelers with rod-holders welded to the front bumper outnumber passenger cars. The North Carolina Beach Buggy Association reigns here. No, we're not talking about a Nascar feeder circuit running little cars with big tires around a dirt track. The North Carolina Beach Buggy Association is a powerful lobby that works to keep the beaches accessible to the public and to ensure that these beautiful beaches remain unspoiled. Tomorrow the Dune Buggy Association will escort photographers, spectators and race officials to the very tip of the legendary Cape Hatteras to watch the fleet negotiate the Diamond shoals.

This ever shifting spit of sand is a surfcasters paradise. The beach is lined with fisherman politely conversing and hauling in every type of species you can think of. As I walked down the beach I watched a good-hearted sportsman trying to carefully remove his hook from the mouth of a 10 inch long, 1 inch diameter Sand Shark. The little predator was a perfect miniature replica of its future self and looked almost like a rubber toy. The fisherman was able to save him and cast him back before he suffocated.

The sand on Hatteras squeaks a bit underfoot. Since we began this Odyssey in Miami, it seems that we have experienced almost every conceivable variety of sand. We've seen fine sand, course sand, black sand, white sand, yellow sand, red sand, car-crushed-chalk-dust sand, moist sand, dry sand, hard pack sand, deep sand, and now we've seen squeaky sand.

After last night's leg there are only two short legs remaining. Leg 12 will start at Hatteras and finish 65 miles later at Kill Devil Hills. The final leg is a 60 mile sprint from Kill Devil Hills to the finish at Virginia Beach. Brian Lambert and Jamie Livingston have lulled the fleet to sleep winning all but 2 of the 11 legs. Their lead is almost insurmountable. Barring a catastrophe at Hatteras, they will claim the trophy. Their performance thus far has been efficient and workmanlike, but the numbers speak for themselves. The duo has methodically dismantled the competition with excellent preparation, teamwork, speed, strategy and seamanship. They survived the Jensen Beach fiasco and raced better than the fleet on the light, tactical legs.

The forecast for today calls for a light Southwesterly that could build to as much as 20 knots by the late morning. If the breeze comes early, Hatteras will be crazy.

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