Twenty-two teams of experienced catamaran sailors will set out Wednesday on the first leg of a 10-day race along the coast and through the offshore islands, encompassing 1,000 miles of sailing.
The grueling event is patterned after the East Coast's Worrell 1,000 from Florida to Virginia, won last year by Randy Smyth and Jay Glaser of Huntington Beach.
Smyth will be sailing in the Pacific 1,000 with a different crew, Jim Hill of San Francisco, since Glaser is in the Soviet Union, crewing for Tornado skipper Skip Elliott in the Goodwill Games.
Smyth and Hill will be sailing a modified Prindle-19.
"These types of events require the same planning and preparation as an Olympic campaign," said Smyth, a silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics. "But there's a big difference in sailing these small catamarans over long distances in the open ocean."
The only female entry will be skippered by Stephanie Elliott of Santa Ana. She will have a two-woman crew, Theresa Funara of Cerritos, and Judy Kolosvary of Long Beach, former Prindle-18 class champion.
"Our strategy is not just to beat the men, but to prove that we can sail facing the same risks and pressures and still do well," Elliott said.
Other contenders are Roy Seaman of Malibu, a three-time Nacra class champion and veteran Tornado sailor, and Chris Cairns, world champion Tornado sailor from Australia.
The sailors will beach their craft after each leg and launch through the surf for the next day's race.
The first leg will be from Long Beach to Avalon, Catalina Island, starting at noon Wednesday.
The following day, they will start from Avalon and race around the island--from east end to west end--and back to Avalon.
The other legs: Friday--Avalon to Long Beach; July 26--Long Beach to Dana Point; July 27--Dana Point to San Diego; July 28--San Diego to Newport Beach; July 29--Newport Beach to Redondo Beach; July 30--Redondo Beach to Oxnard; July 31--Oxnard to Santa Barbara, leaving Anacapa Island to starboard; Aug. 1--Santa Barbara to Oxnard, leaving Santa Cruz Island to port; Aug. 2--Lay day; Aug 3--Finish at Huntington Beach.