VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - On Wednesday afternoon, a huge crowd gathered at Rudee's Restaurant in Virginia Beach.
The occasion? A kickoff party for the Worrell 1000, which is a long-distance beach catamaran sailboat race. Team Rudee's will be the lone Virginia team taking part in the event.
The sailing teams will travel one thousand miles up the East Coast in a trip that takes two weeks to complete.
"There's not a whole lot of races in the world, in fact I know of no other races in the world, that go one thousand miles. This is one of these climbing Mount Everest type of events," Team Rudee's manager Mike Eason said. "You do it not for the money, because there's no money involved. You do it for the fact that you put that on your resume that I competed in, or I finished first or second, in the Worrell 1000.
"If you're in the sailing community that means a lot to people."
The Worrell 1000 first took place in the 1970s.
Eason competed in the event from 1988-91 and describes the event as one where "you'll have one or two days that are great, you'll have some days that are not too good, then you'll have those days, like around Hatteras, with the Northeast wind and the Northeast storm that is just brutal.
"All you're trying to do is survive. It's from great days to terrible days, and you hope you have more of the great days than you do the worst days."
This year's race begins in Hollywood, Florida on May 9, ending in Virginia Beach May 21.