Since the announcement that two-time Volvo Ocean Race competitor Charlie Enright (USA) has committed to the IMOCA 60 for the 2021-22 The Ocean Race, Enright will start his education in this new class in the upcoming 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre, a two-handed race across the Atlantic that starts October 27 in Le Havre, FranceEnright will be teaming up with former winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre, Frenchman Pascal Bidégorry, who has more than 30 transatlantic crossings on his resume and holds numerous trophies, records and titles in races such as The Ocean Race 2017-18 (formerly Volvo Ocean Race), Multi One Championships and Solitaire du Figaro.
In 2005, Bidégorry won the Transat Jacques Vabre on the ORMA 60 trimaran and 10 years later was victorious again in the Transat Jacques Vabre in the Ultime class of trimarans on board MACIF with compatriot Francois Gabart.
“We are in full preparation mode for the start of the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre and can’t wait to arrive in Le Havre on October 18 to take in the atmosphere and get in that racing mindset,” said Enright about his first appearance in the race that finishes in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.
The pair will race on the 11th Hour Racing IMOCA 60 boat formerly named Hugo Boss that made its debut at the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre and finished as runner-up in the 2016 Vendee Globe. It will be Bidégorry’s seventh time participating in the Transat Jacques Vabre.
More recently, Bidégorry was the navigator on board Dongfeng Race Team that was the surprise winner of The Ocean Race in 2017-18, making the bold decision to sail the coast-hugging route into the finish in The Hague, Netherlands on the final day of offshore sailing and narrowly hold off two other boats further offshore for the overall victory.
“Pascal knows the nuances, the ins-and-outs, and all the particulars of sailing on these foiling IMOCA 60 boats, which is exactly the experience that we were looking for in this initial transatlantic race for 11th Hour Racing,” said Enright. “We’ve had a steep learning curve in our first two months out on the water and Pascal has been a big part of that.”
“We started working almost two months ago with the team, including the whole shore team, with a focus on the performance of the boat, and to improve each day,” said Bidégorry. “We have a lot still to be done but it’s all very exciting and I am really happy to be here as part of it.”
The pair will compete in the Azimut Challenge (Le Défi Azimut) September 18-23, one day after appearing at the Transat Jacques Vabre media day in Paris on September 17. Other training camps scheduled include several days offshore throughout September through early October and some side-by-side training with the new Apivia IMOCA 60 sailed by Charlie Dalin.
“For me, the most eye opening aspect in training has been that we have to do everything on these boats,” said Enright about the initial training. “My past two round-the-world experiences have been fully-crewed VO65 boats and sailing these boats two-handed — we are doing it all.”
Additional information: http://11thhourracingteam.org/
The Ocean Race (formerly The Volvo Ocean Race), scheduled to start in 2021, will be raced in two classes of boats: the high-performance, foiling, IMOCA 60 class and the one-design VO65 class which has been used for the last two editions of the race. Entries in the IMOCA 60 class will compete for The Ocean Race trophy, while those racing the VO65s will chase the Ocean Challenge Trophy.
The race course of the 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race will be determined in 2019. The race will start from Alicante, Spain in the autumn of 2021 and finish in Europe in early summer of 2022. There will be up to nine stopover ports.
• IMOCA – Team Malizia (GER)- Boris Herrmann (GER)
• VO65 – Racing For The Planet (POR)
• IMOCA – Paul Meilhat (FRA)
• IMOCA – 11th Hour Racing (USA) – Charlie Enright & Mark Towill (USA)
Source: 11th Hour Racing Team