Third Time the Charm For The Ocean Race Winners

On his third attempt, skipper Charlie Enright got the Ocean Race win he's sought for more than a decade. The talented team alongside him made it all possible.

11th Hour Racing founder, Wendy Schmidt and skipper Charlie Enright hoist The Ocean Race overall trophy in Genoa after being declared the winner this morning. The Ocean Race/Sailing Energy

Skipper Charlie Enright can now stop chasing the elusive round-the-world victory that has consumed him and many others for more than a decade. This morning off the coast of Genoa, Italy, Enright and his teammates on the 11th Hour Racing, were delivered the news: with redress points granted following a collision in the minutes of the final leg, they remained firmly atop the scoreboard. The Ocean Race is a long game, and their previous leg wins all but guaranteed a strong redress average. It was an average they earned the hard way by keeping the boat in one piece and completing every leg, except the last of course, by no fault of their own. Indeed, this was, in the end, their race to win.

Dial back the clock to 2014, and recall how the young sailmaker at North Sails, borrowed a page from his boss’s (Ken Read) sabbatical playbook and entered the Volvo Ocean Race with Team Alvimedica. Dubbed the young guns back the day, Enright, 29 at the time, and his cohort Mark Towill, 25, dove into the race with open eyes and humbled expectations. Fourth overall was a tease. Then came the next attempt with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a strong performance marred by calamitous and unpredictable incidents—a nighttime collision near Hong Kong, and a dismasting near Cape Horn.

With a jump start for this edition of the race, a heavy investment in the development the team’s IMOCA 60 and its foils, Enright and company were more confident than ever that this edition of the race was theirs to lose when they set off last fall. And they were losing until some introspection in Brazil and a philosophical 180 turned their fortunes around. First into Newport was the start. Then, with a double-points transatlantic leg win, followed up by another victory into the Hague on the penultimate leg, it was indeed their race to win. Until Guyot Environment plowed into their portside in the opening minutes of the final leg to Genoa.

When CEO Mark Towill delivered the news of victory this morning by sat phone to the team as the slowly made their way to the party as a retired vessel, the long-sought moment of crossing the finish line after a full and often brutal lap didn’t come as most sailboat race races do, but it came nonetheless and with navigator Simon Fisher, boat captain Jack Bouttell, Francesca Clapchic and onboard reporter Amory Ross now at the dock and reunited with families, friends and the shore team that worked miracles to get them around the planet and out of the Hague, the culmination of more than a decade of chasing the dream finally became a reality.

“We’re immensely proud of the effort our team has put in, from top to bottom,” Enright said. “I feel like it hasn’t really sunk in yet, and I don’t think it will until we hit the dock. We’re very excited and appreciative and can’t wait to be with everyone else. One thing we like to pride ourselves on is never getting too high, never getting too low, and just working through everything. We say in the team, if you’re not winning, you’re learning, and this whole race, we’ve just tried to improve in every single area.”

Simon Fisher, having completed his sixth race, said, “Waking up this morning – we were all preparing ourselves for the decision, and the whole redress situation really hit home for us all. I have felt from the outset that as a team, we had done everything we could have done, everything in the right way on the race course, everything by the book in terms of what happened with the collision. It was always my belief that redress is destined for situations just like that, but honestly, you never know until you know; there is always a little bit of doubt. As much as I wanted to believe that the team would get the result we deserved, it was never a sure thing until the news was in.”

Francesca Clapchic, Jack Bouttell, Simon Fisher, Charlie Enright and Amory Ross celebrate their win of the 2022-2023 edition of The Ocean Race

Charlie has done a great job under what can only be described as a mountain of pressure. He has kept a cool, calm head and stayed objective, and this speaks volumes about his leadership. I’ve done this race six times now, and it has consumed almost 20 years of my life. It’s nice at this stage of my career that I can be involved with a campaign that’s trying to do something more than ‘just’ be competitive and has a positive impact on the sport, the wider community, environment, people, and planet. That’s really important to me. Winning is important, and it is what we all strive for, but personally for me, I hold a lot of value in winning the right way and doing things the right way. And so, to win The Ocean Race with 11th Hour Racing, a team like this, with such a great group of people and a positive mission, is really incredible.”

11th Hour Racing Team overall crew list for The Ocean Race 2022-23:

Charlie Enright (USA) – Skipper

Simon Fisher (GBR) – Navigator

Jack Bouttell (AUS/GBR) – Trimmer

Franck Cammas (FRA) – Trimmer

Francesca Clapcich (ITA) – Trimmer

Charlie Dalin (FRA) – Trimmer

Damian Foxall (IRL) – Trimmer

Justine Mettraux (FRA) – Trimmer

Pierre Bouras (FRA) – Media Crew Member

Amory Ross (USA) – Media Crew Member

The Ocean Race 2022-23 Final Overall Leaderboard:

5 points = first; 4 points = second etc.

Note: Leg 3 and Leg 5 scored double points

1. 11th Hour Racing Team – 37 points (4+3+3+3+5+10+5+4**)

2. Team Holcim – PRB – 34 points (5+5+5+4+0+8+4+3)

3. Team Malizia – 32 points (3+2+4+5+4+6+3+5)

4. Biotherm Racing – 23 points (2+4+2+2+3+4+2+4)

5. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe – 2 points (1+1+0+0+0+0+1+0)*

* GUYOT penalized -1 point for exceeding the permitted number of sails

** Given redress

In-Port Race Leaderboard:

5 points = first; 4 points = second etc.

1. 11th Hour Racing Team – 24 points (4+4+5+4+3+4)

2. Team Malizia – 21 points (5+3+3+5+2+3)

3. Biotherm – 16 points (3+0+4+2+5+2)

4. Holcim-PRB – 15 points (0+5+2+3+4+1)

5. GUYOT environnement – team Europe 10 points (2+2+1+0+0+5)

The Ocean Race 2022-23 Route:

Leg 1: Alicante, Spain to Mindelo, Cabo Verde

Leg 2: Cabo Verde to Cape Town, South Africa

Leg 3: Cape Town, South Africa to Itajaí, Brazil

Leg 4: Itajaí, Brazil, to Newport, Rhode Island

Leg 5: Newport, Rhode Island to Aarhus, Denmark

Leg 6: Aarhus, Denmark to The Hague, The Netherlands (with a flyby past Kiel, Germany)

Leg 7: The Hague, The Netherlands to Genoa, Italy

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