Cocoa Beach hosts third-leg start of Worrell 1000 catamaran race to Virginia Beach

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The Worrell 1000 kicked off its third leg of its 50th anniversary race from Cocoa Beach at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Worrell 1000 race is from Hollywood, Florida, to Virginia Beach with teams racing F18 class catamarans.

According to the race website, "The Worrell 1000 Race” is an offshore long distance beach catamaran sailboat race that will cover approximately 1000 miles with overnight stops at multiple locations along the East Coast of the United States. 

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Sports | ‘Over-the-top’ Worrell 1000 catamaran race…

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Sports | ‘Over-the-top’ Worrell 1000 catamaran race starts Sunday in Florida, set to finish in Virginia Beach

Worrell 1000 catamarans leave the beach at North Carolina's Cape Hatteras during the 2016 race. STAFF FILE

The Worrell 1000 is an offshore long-distance catamaran sailboat race that starts on the shores of Hollywood, Florida, at 10 a.m. Sunday. Sailors will log countless hours over 12 legs that span more than 1,000 miles over the water up the East Coast until the finish line. Racing is scheduled to conclude on the afternoon of May 24 in Virginia Beach.

“It was an East Coast race to begin with,” said Randy Smyth, at the helm of Virginia Beach’s Team Rudee’s boat for the second consecutive race. He has competed in eight previous Worrell 1000s, winning six.

“It kept getting so much press coverage locally — each little town would cover it. Then, a lot of the sailing magazines would cover it. So no matter where you were in the world you lived, you could read about it. It was a story about an event you didn’t have to race in to understand that it’s an over-the-top kind of race. It’s built up that reputation. For anybody that races a beach catamaran and wants a full adventure, this is it.”

Rich history

Over the years, the race has had a tumultuous history. It started as a bet between bar owners and brothers Michael and Chris Worrell, transformed from its original continuous format to daily checkpoint races, and then went into hiatus for 17 years starting in 2002.

This year’s event will be the third time it’s been run in its current format by the Worrell 1000 Reunion Race organizing authority, a 501c3 non-profit, having just three boats compete when it was resurrected in 2019.

“We thought we were going to have five boats, but we only ended up with only three,” said Beverly Simmons, the Worrell 1000 communications director. “It didn’t matter. We had to prove to the world that it could be done.”

That race brought teams from Australia, Florida and Texas, and it again caught the world’s attention. It was scheduled to be held again in 2021, but was postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, 13 teams from six countries competed. Twelve teams finished, and the last was dismasted on the final leg.

This year will be the 23rd running of the race during its 50 years of existence. Twelve teams are again vying for bragging rights with competitors from all over the world, including Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. Smyth and teammate Dalton Tebo will be the crew representing the aforementioned local entry, Team Rudee’s, which finished second in 2022. There is also an entry from North Carolina, Team Outer Banks, comprised of Hardy Peters and James Eaton.

Aside from respect, the teams are also seeking the Ron Anthony Memorial Perpetual Trophy for course record, which is held by Jamie Livingston and Brian Lambert of Team Alexander’s on the Bay, set in 2002 with a time of 71 hours, 32 minutes and 55 seconds.

‘The clock’s always ticking’

Smyth explained that the Worrell 1000 is not a regatta in the sense where there are multiple races and a team’s score is based on its placement in those races, so a couple of bad finishes won’t be the end-all. It’s a race based on cumulative time.

A team can win 11 of the 12 legs, but if it doesn’t finish a single leg, then that team won’t have completed the entire race. Or if a team wins a number of early legs and then goes six hours behind on a subsequent leg because of going the wrong direction, that can have a huge adverse effect on its total time. It’s much like how the Tour de France is run, which both Simmons and principal race officer John Williams offered as a comparison.

“Every minute counts because the clock’s always ticking,” Smyth said. “You never know how much time you’ll need at the finish to do well, so that puts pressure on all the teams to always be racing. There’s never a moment when you’re up two minutes on a competitor and thinking I’m going to beat him. No, you’re thinking I need to make this three minutes because every minute counts.”

Smyth, who is also a National Sailing Hall of Fame inductee and an America’s Cup participant and winner aboard Stars & Stripes in 1988, said all the beach catamarans in the race are in the Formula 18s class. A catamaran is a multihull design boat with two pontoons at the waterline with a trampoline for a deck. The Formula 18s distinction signifies that the boats have all the same parameters — same length (18 feet), same sail area and same weight, which also factors in the weight of the two crew members, food and water and safety equipment.

But various manufacturers can build boats with different designs that look and perform differently, which makes for a class that evolves — similar to how auto racing works. With the boats all having similar performance expectations, it’s the skill of the crew and weather and nature conditions that determine the race results.

‘We know there are going to be stories’

“Every day is so different,” Smyth said. “Florida is a wide beach, so you just go straight to the finish line. Once you get past that, the Georgia coast where there’s a whole bunch of islands or Cape Lookout, Cape Fear and Cape Hatteras, there’s a lot more navigation involved. And some of the longer legs end up being night legs if it isn’t that windy the day of. A lot of the testing for the teams quite often is when you get further up the course closer to the finish line.”

Randy Smyth is one of the most successful sailors in Worrell 1000 history. STAFF FILE

Smyth said each leg averages about 70 miles — a substantially long race for a beach catamaran.

“What really takes you out on the Worrell 1000 is the fact that it’s not a one-day race. Each day is cumulative body damage,” Smyth explained. “Day 2, you’re a little more tired, and then Day 3 and so on. So when you’re dealing with the surf and the shoals around Cape Fear and further when our bodies are tired, that is the test the Worrell 1000 gives you — each day is a little more difficult as you get closer to the finish.”

Things like submarines and marine life can also be unexpected obstacles. Smyth recalled one year a shark hitting the daggerboard (underwater fin that keeps either of the pontoons stable) of a boat he was on and creating a hole in the hull, so the boat started to sink.

Navigating through rough surf on starts and finishes, where boats can break rudders and even tip over, represents even more perils on the water. In 23 tries, every team reaching the finish line has happened just four times.

“We don’t know what the stories are going to be, but we know there are going to be stories,” Smyth said. “You don’t know until you get there that day whether the shoals or sandbars have moved and how you’ll get through them. There’s all kinds of treachery and ways that things can go wrong out there — you can’t put a location in your GPS and get all the answers.”

And although it’s a competition, there’s still a strong sense of community and camaraderie among all the teams. Most of the teams are friends outside of racing. Simmons said the race committee and organizing authority won’t let teams compete if they don’t personally know them or if their credentials to race can’t be vetted by the tight sailing community.

“In 2022, Team Great Britain had a collision at the start and they went over. Every single batten in their main sail was broken,” Simmons said. “They limped to shore. Every single crewman from all the teams magically appeared with tools, sail tape and new battens. And within 15 minutes, they were back out on the course. That’s the spirit of this race.”

And it’s that idea — the spirit of the closeness of the competitors — that keeps the fire burning that is the Worrell 1000 race.

“There were some events that tried to emulate what had been done in the past, but they weren’t coming to Virginia Beach. None of them stuck. It’s just not the same,” Williams said. “There’s a recognition worldwide that this is a one-of-a-kind event. There’s nothing else like it.

“It’s this 1,000 miles that crosses the beautiful beaches of Florida, the graveyard of the Atlantic and the Outer Banks and finishes in the idyllic setting of Virginia Beach. That’s why we get so much international attention and participation.”

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2024 Worrell 1000 Race

Worrell 1000

50th Anniversary - 2024

Celebrating "The Spark that Lit The Flame"

Join Us May 12th through May 25th 2024!

It is with regret that we anounce two teams who have had to drop out of the event this year: Team Rocket 88 Racing, Brendan Busch and Jeremy Boyette and Team Sonnenklar, Jared Sonnenklar and David Cerdas. Although they will be missed on the start line, we hope to see them in future Worrell 1000 events. Best wishes to both teams - We hope they will be following the event on our Social Media Platforms!

The Worrell 1000 Organizing Authority closely monitors conditions at checkpoints and takes several trips a year to assess the conditions of potential checkpoint locations in person. Due to recent information received, the OA made a trip to assess the Hatteras location.

Unfortunately, what they found is that due to erosion of the beaches, the Hatteras checkpoint options are no longer viable for the 2024 race. The OA has made the decision therefore to relocate to Ocracoke Island for the 2024 Worrell 1000:

Wednesday, May 22nd: Atlantic Beach, NC to Ocracoke, NC Thursday, May 23rd: Ocracoke, NC to Kill Devil Hills, NC

We have been in touch with the fine folks at Visit Ocracoke, North Carolina and they are thrilled to host us! They are even hosting a Social Event the evening of our arrival!

What does this mean for the racers? The leg from Atlantic Beach to Ocracoke will be approximately 20 miles shorter, making the sail around Cape Hatteras the following day so much more likely to occur in the daytime instead of at the end of a leg.

If you haven't visited Ocracoke Island, please visit their official website here: There is so much natural beauty and they have wonderful shops and restaurants - we hope you join us there in 2024!!!! #visitocracokenc

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Closing in on just 200 days to go until the event, the Worrell 1000 welcomes another major sponsor to the team - ZHIK! They are hopping aboard in a big way, providing cool merch, prizes and race support. Please visit our "2024 Sponsors" page to see a full list of our partners, visit their websites and show them some love!

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The Organizing Authority has decided to open the field to the remaining Alternate Teams!

We have heard back from the Australians, and there will be TWO teams coming to compete instead of 3. Brett Burvill has combined forces with Rod Waterhouse and they will comprise Team Australia 1. Team Australia 2 will be Pete Skewes and Bailey Skewes.

Two Trees Sailing and Team NED/GER are in as well!


Still thinking about entering? The Alternate List is now wide open!

Click the "Registration" tab above. Who knows? You MAY just get lucky and be on the start line in 2024!

The 2024 NoR has been updated as of 10JUL2023. Dates and Checkpoints are set!

Please Click the "NoR" tab above

Join us in May 2024 for the 50th Golden Anniversary of the Worrell 1000 Race!

If it wasn't for that liquid-courage-fuelled bar bet between the Worrell brothers, the race would not be in existence. And although the first organized race wasn't until 1976, it was that fateful trip between Mike and Chris Worrell in October of 1974 that really lit a fire in Michael Worrell to make this race a world-wide sensation.


  “The Worrell 1000 Race” is an offshore long-distance beach catamaran sailboat race to be held in May 2024 in the Atlantic waters between Florida and Virginia Beach, VA. The race will cover approximately 1000 miles with overnight stops at multiple locations along the East Coast of the United States. The Organizing Authority (OA) for the 2022 Worrell 1000 Race will be “Worrell 1000 Race Reunion Race, Inc.”, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, (dba “Worrell 1000 Race”).


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Australia and Denmark share the lead after the 1st day of racing at SailGP on Sydney harbor

USA SailGP Team helmed by Taylor Canfield leads the SailGP fleet in fleet race one, with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the distance on Race Day 1 of the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Simon Bruty/SailGP via AP)

USA SailGP Team helmed by Taylor Canfield leads the SailGP fleet in fleet race one, with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the distance on Race Day 1 of the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Simon Bruty/SailGP via AP)

USA SailGP Team helmed by Taylor Canfield leads the SailGP fleet in fleet race one on Race Day 1 of the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Simon Bruty/SailGP via AP)

In this photo provided by SailGP, drivers and athletes for the Australia Sail Grand Prix pose for a group photo near the Royal Botanic Gardens on Mrs Macquaries Point in Sydney on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, overlooking the Australia Sail Grand Prix racecourse featuring the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Racing takes places in Sydney Harbour this weekend. Three-time SailGP champion and current Season 4 league leader Tom Slingsby, center front, driver of Australia SailGP Team, stands alongside Nathan Outteridge, back from left, interim driver of New Zealand SailGP Team, Sebastien Schneiter, driver of Switzerland SailGP Team, Phil Robertson, driver of Canada SailGP Team, Quentin Delapierre, driver of France SailGP Team, Anna Barth, strategist of Germany SailGP Team, Nicolai Sehested, driver of ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP Team, Diego Botin, driver of Spain SailGP Team, Anna Weis, strategist of USA SailGP Team, and Giles Scott, driver of Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team. (Bob Martin/SailGP via AP)

In this photo provided by SailGP, three-time SailGP champion and current Season 4 league leader Tom Slingsby, driver of Australia SailGP Team, stands near the Royal Botanic Gardens on Mrs Macquaries Point in Sydney on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, overlooking the Australia Sail Grand Prix racecourse featuring the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Racing takes places in Sydney Harbour this weekend. (Bob Martin/SailGP via AP)

The German SailGP catamaran sails past the Sydney Opera House during a practice session on Sydney Harbour, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. The finals of the Australia Sail Grand Prix will race on the harbor on Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The German SailGP catamaran sails past the Sydney Harbour bridge during a practice session on Sydney Harbour, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. The finals of the Australia Sail Grand Prix will race on the harbor on Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The German, right, and United States SailGP catamarans sail past the Sydney Harbour bridge during a practice session on Sydney Harbour, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. The finals of the Australia Sail Grand Prix will race on the harbor on Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby leads New Zealand SailGP Team helmed by interim driver Nathan Outteridge, Spain SailGP Team helmed by Diego Botin and Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team helmed by Giles Scott as they sail past the Sydney skyline on Race Day 1 of the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Simon Bruty/SailGP via AP)

The United States SailGP catamaran sails past the Sydney Harbour Bridge during a practice session on Sydney Harbour, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. The finals of the Australia Sail Grand Prix will race on the harbor on Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The United States SailGP catamaran sails past the Sydney Opera House during a practice session on Sydney Harbour, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. The finals of the Australia Sail Grand Prix will race on the harbor on Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The German SailGP catamaran sails past the Sydney skyline as a seaplane takes off during a practice session on Sydney Harbour, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. The finals of the Australia Sail Grand Prix will race on the harbor on Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

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SYDNEY (AP) — Australia shared the lead with Denmark after the first day of SailGP racing on Sydney harbor, with the home side in pursuit of its first overall win of the season.

In stronger winds than at any of the seven previous events, Denmark and Tom Slingsby’s Australia finished level after three races. Team New Zealand was in third place.

Looking to recover from a season-worst seventh-place finish at last month’s Abu Dhabi SailGP, Australia won the first race, came second in the second and finished fourth in the third.

“I felt like we sailed as well as we have all season,” skipper Tom Slingsby said. “It would’ve been so easy to over-react after Abu Dhabi and change processes which have worked really well for us for a few years. But we didn’t really change much.

“We’re going to go into tomorrow with a good chance of winning.”

Three-time defending champion Team Australia went into the race having not won a regatta in Season 4 of the global league that features F50 foiling catamarans. S lingsby admitted his team needed to stop Team New Zealand, which had won three straight and four overall this season.

Racing will continue on Sunday in Sydney with two more fleet races and a final for the three best-performing boats across the event to that point.

Macarthur FC player Ulises Davila passes the ball during an A-League match against Melbourne City in Sydney, March 1, 2024. Davila and fellow players Kearyn Baccus and Clayton Lewis have been arrested, Friday, May 17, 2024, over their alleged involvement in a the betting fix, which police say has led to hundreds of thousands of dollars being paid out in winnings. (Mark Evans/AAP Image via AP)

The Canadian and German boats were at the center of drama on Saturday. Languishing in eighth spot on the rankings ahead of the Sydney races, Canada withdrew after experiencing mechanical issues and finishing last in the first race, reducing the fleet to nine boats.

Contesting their first Sydney SailGP, Germany came close to capsizing late in the second race as they attempted to evade the French crew around the penultimate mark. The boat had to give way to France, the defending Sydney SailGP champions, but hesitated and missed the mark, eventually finishing the race in eighth spot.

Australia dominated race one, foiling on its way to the third mark to take the lead over the American entry. Slingsby quickly turned the race into a runaway and finished 65 seconds ahead of the second-place Danes.

Just after the fourth mark in the second race, Australia made the best of upwind conditions to sail past Denmark and to the top of the chasing pack. Around the penultimate mark, Slingsby’s boat was closing in on the young Spanish team but could not take the lead and had to be content with second.

Under the guidance of fill-in driver Nathan Outteridge, New Zealand built up a big lead sailing downwind from the second mark of the final race.

“I don’t think there’s anyone we’d rather beat than the Aussies tomorrow. That’d be good, but let’s see,” Danish driver Nicolai Sehested, back for his first race since paternity leave, said. “They’re a great team. We’ve just got to keep our cool.”

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SailGP Teams, Back at Full Strength, Power to the $1 Million Prize

Japan is the leader as racing begins in Cádiz, and with crews back from the Olympics, boats now have their A-teams.

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By David Schmidt

With $1 million and a season’s title up for grabs, attracting some of the world’s best sailors to SailGP was easy. But, with the allure of the Olympics and one star sailor’s paternity leave, keeping them on the boats for every race has been harder.

SailGP’s second season began in April in Bermuda, where eight teams from as many countries competed aboard identical F50 catamarans. The 36th America’s Cup had just concluded, so crew members who had competed in that regatta had time to return to their SailGP teams for the start of the season.

But then came the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and some SailGP teams were stripped of their best sailors as they headed for Japan. The Great Britain SailGP Team also lost Ben Ainslie , its driver, who had won an America’s Cup and five Olympic medals, for two events when he took leave around the birth of his son.

The absences caused the racing in Italy in June and Britain in July to be less competitive.

“The fact of the matter is, in any sport, if you don’t have your best athletes who you can field on the field, you’re more than likely not going to get as strong a result,” said Russell Coutts, SailGP’s chief executive and a five-time America’s Cup winner. “You can’t just sub a good sailor in that hasn’t had the training on a F50. The teams that have tried that this year, it hasn’t worked, it’s failed.”

But the top talent, including Ainslie , returned before the regattas in Denmark in August and France in September, and now — with just three left in Season 2 — competition is stiffening ahead of the regatta in Spain, which will take place at Cádiz on Saturday and Sunday.

The teams will be seeking to increase their chances of qualifying for the season finale in San Francisco next March. Only the three highest-ranked teams will advance to the Grand Final, which comes with the championship title and that $1 million.

Ainslie’s team is in fourth place. Asked if the absence of top sailors had made a difference in the level of competition, he said, “How much of a difference, that’s arguable, but definitely [it] would have made a difference.”

Instead, Ainslie points to the teamwork needed to sail these boats at top form as more critical. “That’s just as important, if not more important, than who’s steering the thing,” he said.

Teamwork may be crucial aboard boats that race on hydrofoils at highway speeds, but losing a significant percentage of A-listers early in the season was still challenging.

“The positive parts of having so many Olympians on your team is that you have an incredibly high level of sailing talent in the group,” said Peter Burling , driver of the New Zealand SailGP Team , which is in sixth place. “We had five out of our team competing at the Olympics.”

This group included Burling and Blair Tuke , the team’s wing trimmer. They arrived in SailGP after helping Emirates Team New Zealand win the America’s Cup, but left after Bermuda for the Olympics, where they won silver .

“The Olympics ended up right in the middle of SailGP season, and there’s a lot of us on the team [for whom] the Olympics and Tokyo had been a goal for a long time,” Tuke said. “So that was where the priority lay, but now that’s fully shifted and everyone is focused.”

Focus matters, but so do results.

“You could say it was definitely difficult,” Burling said about maintaining leadership continuity throughout the season. Despite the team’s standing, he sees its Olympic involvement as a positive. “It really does help sharpen your skills.”

Coutts did not agree and said the Olympic timeout had “been a disadvantage.”

“You’re racing against the best guys in the world,” he said “If you give them more time against you, you’re going to get hurt, aren’t you?”

Time matters greatly. SailGP’s rules restrict each team’s on-the-water practices. Unlike Olympic-class boats, F50s regularly see 90-knot closing speeds, so learning curves are steep, and experience brings results.

“The biggest thing is really, how consistent can you keep your roster?” said Jimmy Spithill, a two-time America’s Cup winner and the driver of the United States SailGP Team. “This fleet is very short time as it is — there’s not very much practice, you can’t really train between the events — so the time you spend together is very important.”

The boats, which cost about $4 million each, are identical. Larry Ellison, a two-time America’s Cup winner and the founder of Oracle, is the majority owner of SailGP. Ellison also owns seven of the teams, Coutts said. The boats may be the same, but how each team sails them is not. So much of practice is spent developing a playbook of choreographed maneuvers.

“We feel a lot more competitive now than we were in Bermuda,” said Rome Kirby , an America’s Cup winner and the United States SailGP Team’s flight controller. It is “time in the boat, time together as a team.” And time spent polishing the playbook. “You need to do it together. There’s no cheat code.”

Each boat is equipped with electronic sensors that constantly gather data and send it to an Oracle-run cloud where it is available — along with onboard video footage and audio from microphones worn by the crew — to all the teams.

“It speeds up the learning and therefore the competitiveness,” Coutts said about the shared data.

Teams also receive the same hardware and software upgrades. “No one can completely dominate, because you can’t get every decision right,” he said. “The fact that the boats are so close in performance, even with the technique differences, means that we see different winners at events regularly.

“The design teams are just continuously working on improving the performance of the boats, and also we’re looking at the racing and seeing how” it can be enhanced it, Coutts said.

So the boats constantly evolve, but if sailors miss events, they can find themselves and their team less competitive. Spithill said the entire fleet was more competitive now because crews “have more races and more time on the boats.”

Japan is currently on top of the standings, followed by the United States and Australia, which are tied. Those three teams are separated by just two points.

“All of the teams are acutely aware that we’re halfway through the season and every race is critical,” Coutts said. “There’s definitely an added dimension to that.”

This awareness and the bolstered rosters mean that racing in Spain, and beyond, should intensify.

“We’re at a point now where we’re very similar to the crews that people sailed with in Bermuda,” Burling said. “And I think each team had their best foot forward in Bermuda.”

While having stronger teams is great for fans, it is telling that even some teams that are led by America’s Cup- and Olympic-winning sailors have not even managed to finish in third place this season.

“SailGP is probably one of the most competitive classes or circuits” in the world right now, Kirby said. “I would say that it’s probably more competitive than the America’s Cup.”

SailGP also puts something else in play: serious money.

When asked what was the bigger motivator — the title or the cash — teams had different answers.

“The prize purse is something that would be very nice to split around the team, but for us, the focus is definitely on trying to win the competition,” Burling said.

Others are more pragmatic.

“I mean, how could you not be motivated for a million dollars?” said Spithill, whose team has battled adversity this season, including collisions, a capsize and a serious injury, yet is still in second place. And if other teams do not care about the money, “then no worries, we won’t give them the million dollars.”

Other Sports | Photos: Mubadala SailGP Season 3 Grand Final…

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Other sports | sf giants’ jung hoo lee to undergo season-ending surgery, other sports | photos: mubadala sailgp season 3 grand final practice of world’s fastest sailboats in san francisco, f50 catamarans are the world’s fastest boats.

Jane Tyska, photojournalist, The East Bay Times, for the Wordpress profile. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

The Mubadala SailGP Season 3 Grand Final kicks off in San Francisco this weekend with some of the best sailors in the world from nine countries, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the United States vying for the championship.

The weekend’s racing will decide who will compete against Season 3 leader Australia in the Grand Final race, a winner-take-all, final sprint to claim the $1 million grand prize. The U.S. SailGP Team, helmed by sailing legend Jimmy Spithill, is mathematically unable to qualify for the Grand Final, but hopes to win the weekend Grand Prix on home turf.

The event will also include onshore entertainment and activities for fans in the Marina Green Race Village, including live music, food and beverage vendors, and interactive exhibits. To purchase limited tickets and learn more, see their website .

Team USA practices on their F50 catamaran in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, May 4, 2023. Nine teams from across the globe are competing to decide the overall season champion this weekend during the Mubadala SailGP Season 3 Grand Final. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

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Catamaran Racing In Paradise

  • By Todd Riccardi
  • April 1, 2022

Cata Cup race

With St. Barts’ Gustavia Harbor disappearing behind us and the island’s mountainous terrain towering to our right, it feels so good to be sailing into the beautiful Caribbean Sea with a gusty 15-knot breeze and calm seas. Wind and spray rid us of three days of the sweaty boatwork we’ve put in to get our Formula 18 catamaran out of the shipping container, to the beach and meticulously rigged for the St. Barth Cata Cup.

We cruise the coast for a few miles and take in the sights, and suddenly find ourselves in the hard-hitting Atlantic Ocean. We’ve never sailed an F18 in anything like this, with 15-foot whitecapped rollers all around us. Launching off the crest and back down into the troughs of these giants is thrilling, but in the back of my mind, I’m starting to wonder how competitive we’ll be in these crazy conditions. As first-timers to this Cata Cup thing, we might just be out of our league.

The time comes for our first tack. My crew Matt Keenan, who I had pulled back into catamaran sailing after a hiatus, was rediscovering his trapeze skills when he swings into the boat, catches his foot in the hiking strap and tears it right off the trampoline. After a deep breath, I say aloud, “Well, we are going to have to do better than that.”

Keenan agrees, and a few heart-racing miles later we turn it into St. Jean Bay, point our bows toward the white, sandy strip, and run it up like a real beach-cat landing. We’ve arrived in the epicenter of the Cata Cup. It’s 2012, and I’m about to begin a 10-year run of participating in the best catamaran regatta in the world.

A truly one-of-a-kind event, the St. Barth Cata Cup began as a competition between Caribbean-based ­catamaran teams, but was reborn in 2008 as an open catamaran regatta. The switch to Formula 18s came a year later. This “modern version,” as sailors and organizers call it, is the brainchild of a group of locals who formed St. Barth Multihulls. This was the group with a vision to bring professional and amateur cat sailors from around the world to their island. But they didn’t just create another buoy-racing regatta. Their idea of fun is four days of exhilarating distance races, or “raids,” in big winds and big waves matched onshore by world-class social activities.

Competitive racing in a legit, high-caliber international class—in an exotic location and for an absurdly low entry fee—is too good to be true. For the roughly $1,200 entry fee, organizers house us, feed us, provide a rental car, and even ship our boat from Miami.

The hype surrounding the event is noticeable everywhere on the island: Local sponsors go all in, and the community ensures everyone has an amazing time, welcoming the sailors as if they were family. It’s been this way right on up to the 2021 edition, which hosted 62 teams, myself included for the fifth time since 2012. In 2017, only two months after a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, which destroyed buildings and stripped nearly every tree bare of its leaves, organizers made the event happen without missing a beat. Every year, they come back with surprises and changes—from the parties to the racecourses. The event is never exactly the same, and every competitor leaves wanting to come back for more. And it’s also why entry is a lottery, which opens seven months out from the regatta, with many teams not making the cut.

On the morning of my first Cata Cup race back in 2012, I recall the regatta’s principal race officer sounding a horn to gather the competitors around an easel with a big chart and an outline of the course explained in French. Our interpretation of the course is a bit confused, but given our rough delivery sail the day before, we agree to approach the first race conservatively. We have no expectations of actually leading, so our strategy is to follow the boats ahead of us. The only thing we’re certain of is that the windward mark will be set off La Tortue, an aptly named turtle-shaped rock. We’ll just sail in that general direction.

At the start, the wind peaks at 15 knots, and the waves are down to 10 feet. These are new conditions for us, and after sailing upwind for 20 minutes, we stare at a giant pile of rocks awash in the big waves. We realize then that there is no mark. The rocks are the mark. There is no one in front of us.

So much for following the boats ahead of us.

We forge on between La Tortue and the rock pile, oblivious to how close we can go before we have to tack. In this harried moment of uncertainty, Olympian and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Carolijn Brouwer is closing in fast. I’m pretty sure she’s telling us to tack, and I respond, “You first!”

It was a great lesson to learn the adrenaline and skill it takes to navigate the courses at this event, and that you can sail quite close to most of the rocks.

The local sponsorship works by partnering with a team and putting signage on the boats. As luck would have it, we scored the famous and posh Nikki Beach Club, which is right next door to the regatta headquarters, where the majority of the boats sail from. With one or two raids per day, all the competitors return to shore in between races for a satisfying supplied lunch, some beach recovery, and even a nap if needed.

It’s all very civilized, but well-deserved after beating up our bodies every race. Each year, the round-the-island race serves as the pinnacle of the event. Weaving in and out of bays and tearing out into the big seas, there’s a magical mixture of upwind crashing through waves, blast jib reaching, and cruising through pristine waters on the south side of the island. While an opportunity to take in the beautiful scenery, the competitive spirit remains tense to keep racing until the end. On this particular race around, we enjoy a tight battle with Olympian and catamaran legend Enrique Figueroa. Trust me, we’re more than ecstatic to place second to “Quique.” And to top it off, as soon as our bows tap the powder-soft sand, hostesses from our boat sponsor Nikki Beach serve us chilled Champagne. It’s all a bit surreal and unexpected, the overall theme of this event that you must learn to embrace.

While many regattas have a party, the Cata Cup sets a new bar after each day of sailing, with dinner served and followed by a concert from top entertainers. Daily winners are called on stage and given a bottle of fine local rum. And after the prizes are doled out, the band that’s been jetted in for the night ignites the dance floor. During their set break, a slick, professionally edited video projects onto an oversize inflatable screen on the beach. It’s a visual feast of tropical high- performance cat sailing—as if we need to be reminded how lucky we are.

Every time I go and as soon as I step on the island, the smile on my face is permanent for days—no, weeks—afterward. All of us have regatta memories, but this has become a dream I want to relive every year. Thankfully, there are plenty of event videos to hold me over until next year.

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Sunday is D-Day for six solo ocean racers as Arkea Ultim Challenge - Brest starts

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The Around French Island National Catamaran Challenge 

Race results 2024 - click here.

2024 Video link

RACE DAY: 23 March 2024 

What:  an 'australian sailing' national race hosted by cowes yacht club inc.  23rd march 2024 for a 1200hrs start (briefing at 1000hrs). resail: 24th march 2024..

Entries close 20th March 2024 (unless maximum entries received prior to this)

To watch the race please click this link

Notice of race - click here sailing instructions - click here.

Event Summary Booklet     2023 Results 2023 Photos

Arrival details:  2023 road arrival details Dinner bookings for Saturday:   Book here

***Further catering info for the day***


Latest news articles:

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The 2022 & 2023 Around French Island Catamaran Challenge events (AFI) were an outstanding successes, and the 2024 event is shaping up to be even bigger and better!

We will be restricting numbers to 70 boats for the 2024 event (no prizes for 71st!) so you need to save the date right now and put a circle around 23 March 2024 (with resail on 24 March 2024 if required). The 2023 event had an amazing level of excitement and energy supported by an awesome team of volunteers and we are expecting the 2024 race to be sold out.  If you are wondering what it all looked like in 2023 then feast your eyes on the video production above or else have a look at the teaser below which shows the excitement from the 2022 event, or have a read of 2022 second place  Gary Maskiell's account here !

In 2024, there will $11,350 in prize money generously provided by Australian Air Safaris, this will be spread over 3 divisions with prizes for the first 3 places in each division, as well as, numerous spot prizes.

The event is scheduled for a 12.00 pm start on Saturday March 23, 2024 with a resail day scheduled for Sunday March 24, 2024 (if required). The race averages approximately 4 to 5 hours duration (wind dependent) with the most direct route being approximately 70 kms. However, the data from the 2022 GPS Trackers showed most boats sailed roughly 100kms, making this race a marathon plus! Repeat: it is a marathon, not a sprint! This type of race tests the skill level as well as endurance. The race exposes boats and crews to many and varied weather conditions with anything possible, from a drifter to heavy weather with consequent stormy wind and water conditions. Combine this with strong multi directional tides and current, variable water depths and exotic land/sea/wind conditions around French Island and within Westernport Bay means all boats and crews will be tested to the max!

Race conditions and rules are conducted under the guidance of Australia Sailing via RACING RULES of SAILING . All boats must comply with AS Safety requirements for " Off the beach sailing " and are subject to audit on the day of the race. All entries must be class legal and comply with class rules. So what are you waiting for – put this date in your diary NOW and remember to keep an eye on the COWES YACHT CLUB Web site ( ) for further details to be released soon.

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RACE HISTORY The history of this signature Cowes Yacht Club event goes back decades. The Isle of Wight hotel was once the original sponsor—with the winner having their name engraved on the "Isle of Wight" trophy and receiving some samples of the iconic pub's wares to celebrate their win. This trophy is still in use today, and sailors are very keen to add their name alongside other French Island legends. 

In previous years the event was run as a fun event giving local catamaran sailors the chance to circumnavigate the historic French Island in company and safety. In 2022 this all changed. 

With a total prize pool of $10,000, the use of GPS monitors on every competing boat and a fleet of over 10 support / rescue boats all controlled via radio from the Cowes Yacht Club tower ensures the event has become safer and more competitive. The use of the GPS monitors even allows support staff and families to watch the race live from the comfort of Cowes Yacht Club and treat themselves to a coffee (or something a little stronger) while the sailor’s battle it out on the race course.

The 2022&2023 races attracted sailors from 4 States with numerous state and national champions with a number of crews having international experience, thus ensuring a very high level of competition. The vibe is even more exciting for 2024, with a number of classes indicating even more support for the 2024 race. 

The 2024 event will have 3 Divisions (similar to the 2023 race). The difference being the 1st, 2nd and 3rd finishers in each division being in the money (subject to numbers in each division). This will ensure an even greater level of competition within each division and a wider spread of prizes throughout the fleet.

2023 Results 2022 Results

Tourist Information:

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Files available for download

Australian Air Safaris

His dad gave him water on way to winning O.C. Marathon. He got disqualified for drinking it

A video screenshot from a cyclist course marshal shows Esteban Prado, left, receiving a bottle of water from his father.

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A father sees that his son is thirsty. Very, very thirsty. So he hands a bottle of water to his grateful offspring, who takes a slug.

Is that so wrong?

Well, yes, it is a rules violation during a marathon, and it resulted in Esteban Prado being disqualified Sunday as the winner of the Orange County Marathon . Prado led for most of the 26.2-mile course and finished in 2 hours, 24 minutes, 54 seconds.

It’s called unauthorized assistance in marathon lingo — runners can only get water at official hydration stations — and apparently the fact that Prado’s father pulled alongside him on a bicycle to hand him the water made the violation a double no-no.

“We were forced to disqualify a participant after it was confirmed they received unauthorized assistance from an individual on a bicycle, in violation of USA Track & Field rules and our race regulations,” race director Gary Kutscher said. “We take these rules seriously to ensure fairness and the integrity of our event for all competitors.”

Must Reads: Is this 70-year-old marathon runner from East L.A. a record setter or a cheater?

It wasn’t until Frank Meza checked the internet that he realized so many people were talking about him.

June 21, 2019

The incident called to mind two other disqualifications, including one 10 years ago, also in the O.C. Marathon.

The brother of runner-up Stephan Shay produced a video of race winner Mohamed Fadil having a friend on a bicycle ride alongside him. Kutscher, who has been race director since 2009, disqualified Fadil because in addition to supplying water , the bike buddy provided illegal pacing .

“We were able to see that yes, in fact, the bicyclist was illegally pacing, if you will,” Kutscher said. As a result, I determined this was something that needed to be overturned and put Stephan Shay as our winner.”

The video was taken by Stephan Shay’s brother Nathan, who also confronted the bicyclist about breaking the rules.

To which the bicyclist replied, “Why don’t you relax, buddy. Just because your brother got beat.”

The Shays got the last word, with Stephan taking home the first-place medal and $4,000 prize.

IRVINE, CA - MARCH 10, 2024: Evan Kim, 12, ran a 2:58 in the Ventura marathon recently, making her the fastest girl or woman age 1-19 and the second fastest overall on March 10, 2024 in Irvine, California. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

She’s 12. She runs an under-3-hour marathon. And she’s prepping for the 2028 Olympics

Evan Kim is a 5-foot-tall tween who wants to be an elementary school teacher — and the fastest 12-year-old marathoner ever.

March 14, 2024

More was at stake last November when Ethan Hermann finished the Philadelphia Marathon in 2:17:03, nearly a minute under the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying mark of 2:18:00. Yet Hermann, who was running in his first marathon, was disqualified and denied a shot at the Olympic Trials because his coach handed him a water bottle at a hydration station.

Only designated volunteers are allowed to do that. It may seem petty, but the rule is in place to help ensure runners aren’t given a liquid that might contain something that enhances performance.

“I ran my first marathon in front of my favorite city in the world, my family, my friends, my second family, and so many people who treat me like family,” Hermann posted on Instagram . “I had the most special day and I ran my heart and legs out.

“With that being said, as a first-time marathoner there comes a learning curve. I was not as educated as I thought about everything, not all the right things happened the way they needed to and I was ultimately given a disqualification from the race.”

As for the O.C. Marathon on Sunday, the winner now is Jason Yang of San Pedro with a time of 2:25.11.

Dominic Ngeno raises his arms as he crosses the finish line, winning the elite male division of the 39th L.A. Marathon

Dominic Ngeno, Stacy Ndiwa celebrate after winning 2024 L.A. Marathon

Stacy Ndiwa won the women’s elite division of the L.A. Marathon for the second consecutive year, shaving 5:32 off last year’s effort on Sunday.

March 17, 2024

More to Read

Runners start the 39th Los Angeles Marathon at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.

L.A. Marathon results: Check out the top finishers in the men’s and women’s fields

Kenya's Kelvin Kiptum crosses the finish line to win the men's race.

Marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum dies in car crash

Feb. 11, 2024

FILE - John Velazquez rides Medina Spirit across the finish line to win the 147th running.

Bob Baffert to end appeal of Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby disqualification

Jan. 22, 2024

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catamaran race winner

Steve Henson is a reporter with the Fast Break sports team at the Los Angeles Times. He previously served as an assistant editor and reporter in the Sports department. Henson was a leader in digital-only newsrooms from 2007-19 as a senior editor and columnist at Yahoo Sports and as senior editor at the USA Today Sports Media Group. This is his second stint at The Times, having covered the Dodgers and UCLA as well as doing enterprise, investigative and features writing from 1985-2007. Henson was awarded first place in sports features in 2021 by the L.A. Press Club and has been honored several times by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and also by the California News Publishers Assn., the Football Writers Assn. of America and U.S. Basketball Writers Assn.

More From the Los Angeles Times

Hepatitis A virus, HAV). Image produced from an image taken with transmission electron microscopy. (Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

L.A. County investigating reported hepatitis A case at Beverly Hills Whole Foods

May 17, 2024

JENNER, CA - APRIL 01: The cove at Stockhoff Creek in Jenner. Photographed on Friday, April 1, 2022. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

DNA helps identify woman whose body was found at bottom of Bay Area cliff nearly 60 years ago

PIRU, CA - JULY 13: Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub addresses a press conference after Ventura County Sheriff's Search and Rescue dive team located a body Monday morning in Lake Piru as the search continued for 33-year-old "Glee" actress Naya Rivera after her 4-year-old son was found alone on a boat she rented last Wednesday. Rivera rented the pontoon boat and had been swimming with her son who was the last one to see her before she went missing. The boy got back into the boat after a swim but his mother did not follow. Lake Piru on Monday, July 13, 2020 in Piru, CA. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Ventura County high school student accused of falsely reporting gunman on campus

Los Angeles, California-May 16, 2024-Jason Rios underwent emergency surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance on May 14, 2024 after he was brutally attacked while eating at a restaurant in Watts. Jason Rios celebrated his 15th birthday on May 10, 2024. (Courtesy Nayeli Rios)

Watts teen attacked while eating a burger; teenage suspect is arrested


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