Smyth finishes what he starts, taking Worrell 4th time in row

Annapolis duo perseveres, comes in despite dismasting

Sailing

May 21, 2000|By Gilbert A. Lewthwaite | Gilbert A. Lewthwaite,SUN STAFF

Randy Smyth sailed to his fourth straight overall victory, beating 18 other crews in the Worrell 1000 race for 20-foot catamarans when the 1,000-mile run from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., finished in Virginia Beach, Va. yesterday.

Maryland professional sailors Rick Deppe and Tom Weaver, dogged by mishap throughout their debut in a race that prides itself on being for "plastic boats, iron men," ended the 12-leg competition in last position.

For the second time in consecutive races, the two Annapolis residents were dismasted off Cape Hatteras.

They were crewing aboard Baltimorean George Collins' Chessie Racing when it was dismasted during the inaugural Key West-to-Baltimore race earlier this month.

Friday, the "stick" of their catamaran broke above the spreaders, leaving them about 12 feet of mast. They declined emergency help and fashioned a jury rig to carry them to Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

They were back on the starting line yesterday for the final leg."Randy Smyth is the closest thing to a sailing machine I have ever seen," said Mike Worrell, who originated the race after a 1974 barroom bet that he couldn't sail a catamaran from Virginia to Florida. "But Rick Deppe and Tom Weaver personify the essence of the event. They had problems all along, but no matter how far behind they fell or how many problems they had, they always resumed and kept coming on."We have a saying with the event - the first time you learn it, the second time you come back to race. If these guys come back in a few years, they will definitely do well."

In the other major race to finish yesterday, Californian Mark Reynolds won the Nautica 2000 World Class Championships, finishing at the head of a 112-boat fleet after six days of racing.

Reynolds, partnered by Magnus Liljedahl, came in 28th in the final race yesterday, but had established enough of an overall lead in the week-long race to be declared provisional winner. He has already been selected to sail for the U.S. in the Olympic Star competition in Sydney this fall.

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