Perhaps no word has been more misused than ‘extreme’ over the past decade, but every now and again, there’s a sailing event that justifies it. The Tybee 500 is just one of those races. That’s why we’ve rolled out the full On-The-Water Anarchy treatment for this year’s event – and the weather forecast makes truly extreme action extremely probably.
If, despite our unrelenting reminders, you still don’t know what the Tybee is, here’s a little summary: A record-breaking 24 2-man crews will line up on the beach on Monday morning in their F-18 and I-20 cats. When the gun sounds, they will shove their cats down the sand, through the surf, and blast Northward roughly a hundred miles. After they’re out of sight, roughly a hundred shore crew will jump into their trucks, vans, jeeps, and RVs, convoying their way up the coast to the first leg’s finish in Hollywood, Florida. They’ll be waiting for their sailors to crash through the breakers (built up by strong thermals each afternoon) to the finish. While they wait, the beach party begins – this is a lifestyle race for the ground crews just as much as it is an extreme challenge for the racers. There are four more legs until the finish in Tybee Island, GA – each with a chance for glory or disaster. The event’s got tons of history too, being born decades ago as the legendary Worrell 1000. We won’t recap that race here – you can read a great Outside Magazine piece about it from back in the day.
The forecast is relatively benign for Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday things are looking…lively. Our buddies at WxRouting call for a major front to drive 25+ knots of NE’ly breeze across the fleet sometime on Wednesday, with frightening surf building for Thursday morning. The Tybee is always a race of attrition, but this one could be epic.