Enright and 11th Hour Racing crew ready to start 14th Ocean Race, Jan 15

Enright chronicles 2022, In Port Race starts on Sunday

Posted 1/4/23

The 11th Hour Racing Team, skippered by Charlie Enright of Barrington, is currently undergoing final preparations for the start of the 14th edition of The Ocean Race on January 15. “We’d …

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Enright and 11th Hour Racing crew ready to start 14th Ocean Race, Jan 15

Enright chronicles 2022, In Port Race starts on Sunday


The 11th Hour Racing Team, skippered by Charlie Enright of Barrington, is currently undergoing final preparations for the start of the 14th edition of The Ocean Race on January 15. “We’d like to thank everyone for their support over these past few years,” Enright said. “This race has been a long time coming, but we feel ready.”

“We need to be confident in where we are now and we are in a good place,” said Jack Bouttell, an 11th Hour Racing crewman. "The boat is sorted, the team is sorted, and we couldn't have done anything more to be ready for the start. In every project that I have ever worked on, the magnitude doesn’t hit you until you’re in the starting port. That’s always the point when you realize what an amazing opportunity lies ahead. I think I’m in this transitional phase right now where I am excited and apprehensive, the stress of the start hasn’t quite crept up on me yet.” 

The teams are set to start the In Port Race on January, 8, before embarking on the seven leg, 32,000 nautical-mile race around the world that includes a stop in Newport in May. The first leg is a 1,900 nautical-mile sprint from Alicante to Cabo Verde. It is the first time that the race has stopped at the African archipelago. Historically, the fleet has sailed past the islands as they head south, down the Atlantic.

While home for the holidays, Enright chronicles 2022 

While home in Barrington for the holidays, Enright chronicled the team’s journey in 2022 in a news letter that came out this week. “As I sit here, in cold and blustery Rhode Island, 3,500 miles from Alicante, Spain, we’re just three short weeks from the start of The Ocean Race,” Enright said. “It’s safe to say that the lead-up to the race has been anything but normal. We’ve all competed in races we thought would never end, but for a while I thought this one would never begin.” 

The year began with Mãlama in the shed

The year started in the shed after a hastily sailed Transat Jacques Vabre race last winter, he said. The job list could have filled a four-month shed period before we pushed off the dock in Le Havre, France, and we encountered plenty more along the way to Martinique. “All to be expected for a boat undergoing its first transatlantic test,” said Enright. The team completed a four-week training session to shake off the dust and verify everything we’d worked on throughout the winter maintenance period. After testing the boat in some big springtime Brittany conditions, we quickly felt that the boat was ready for its next test, a trip to Newport for the Newport Bermuda Race, and a summer full of local activations with our title sponsor, 11th Hour Racing, he said. The team left France in May to head across the pond, as Enright called it, and were set to experience some big weather and surf along the way. “We sailed in 40 knots and five meter seas, just ten miles from the Newfoundland coast. It was a good test and a good passing grade for a boat that was still coming of age,” said Enright.

Newport-Bermuda Race a highlight for Enright 

The Newport Bermuda Race was a real personal highlight for Enright. “I had the pleasure of sailing south with teammates Justine Mettraux and Amory Ross, plus professional surfer Ian Walsh and professional snowboarder Elena Hight,” he said. “In what ended up being another windy affair, we made quick work of the 630-mile course and left the rest of the fleet in our wake.” Enright kept Mãlama, “In front of the front,” and finished almost 24 hours ahead of the next monohull. “Sharing that experience and spreading our team message to a new group of followers was a privilege and a treat,” he said. “It was surreal for me to sail a boat that we’d built 3,000 miles away, through waters that I grew up sailing on, I had to pinch myself on more than one occasion.”

After training and working with sponsors much of July, the team left Newport for more training and race preparation in France. The team had good breeze and quiet seas the whole way. “This turned out to be a record-setting trip,” he said. “Seven days, and a 24-hour period that saw us cover over 560 nautical miles. It was a real dream of a trip. I’m sure we won’t be that lucky during the big show, but a very good testing opportunity, nonetheless.”

Back in Brittany means back in the shed for Mãlama

Back in Brittany, meant back in the shed for Mãlama, he said. After three-plus months in the water, there was plenty of refinement as we prepared for our first crewed test in the Défi Azimut, a unique race format comprised of speed runs. One 48-hour dash around the Bay of Biscay and a more traditional ‘Round the cans’ race, that saw four of the five Ocean Race teams lined up for the first time. “The 48-hour sprint started in light air that quickly built and lifted as we headed south into the Bay of Biscay towards the first mark,” Enright said. “After a couple of late-night gybes, we rounded the first mark in the lead and began our reach across the bottom of the bay. I guess what goes down must come up, because after turning mark two, we had a long beat back to the barn, by-way-of the Glenan Islands. In the end, we were able to stave off the competition and hoist the trophy.” It was a good test against the other crewed boats, but equally as good to get some data points against the top solo sailors who know their boats so well and sail them at an incredibly high level, he said.

Leaving for Portugal and then on to Valencia 

After the races, the team experienced 50 knot winds attempting to leave the Bay of Biscay for Cascais, Portugal, where they signed off new foils and new sails during the European Fall. The team underwent four weeks of training sessions at the Clube de Naval De Cascais led by team coach Anje-Marijcke. We went through physiological training, some comms filming, and sustainability training, as well as generally, re-acclimating to life on the road.” Next the sailors set off on Mãlama for King Marine in Valencia, 100 miles from the startline in Alicante. They sailed through two days of light air conditions, down the coast of Portugal and Spain, towards Gibraltar and into the Mediterranean Sea. “We finally got a good breeze with 12 hours to go,” said Enright, “We threw down some big speeds before tucking around the corner into the Bay of Valencia.” The team completed NDT, Non-Destructive testing, and went over everything one final time. They left the boat reassembled, ready, and waiting for everyone to return from there much-needed holiday break. “Big kudos to the tech team who put in long hours all year to get the boat ready to go,” he said. 

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