Newport, RI – Following this year’s lockdowns around the globe and the recent announcement of a one-year postponement to the start of the next edition of The Ocean Race until Fall 2022, 11th Hour Racing Team leaders Charlie Enright and Mark Towill (USA) have reset their team calendar and training program for late summer.
The 11th Hour Racing Team boat went back in the water last week in Lorient, France and team members are gathering in Brittany this week for offshore training sessions and preparations for an early August transatlantic sail to Newport, RI, home to the team’s title sponsor 11th Hour Racing.
“Like most of the world, we have been watching the COVID-19 issues unfold in all parts of the globe, and we hope that leaders and societies can continue to take the right steps to minimize the spread of the virus and its tragic consequences as much as possible,” said Team CEO Mark Towill. “We naturally paused all of our in-person activities since February and are being meticulous in following local and international health and safety protocols as we return to sailing.”
The team had been focusing on restarting its French-based team operations and training as lockdowns and travel restrictions were slowly being lifted in Europe and around the world. The recent announcement that the start of The Ocean Race will be postponed until 2022, has compelled Towill and Enright to take a fresh look at the team’s plans through the rest of this year.
The boat returned to the water on July 16 after a refit with Multiplast that took over seven months instead of three as a result of the pandemic. After the hiatus from sailing, Enright also got back on the water with his first sail of 2020 on the IMOCA 60 earlier this week.
The team plans to leave for Newport in early August pending a test of all the boat’s systems and new hardware updates, including the installation of a new foil that will be tested on the transatlantic.
Placing an emphasis on health and safety, the team has focused on creating a tight-knit, bubble environment for training and have implemented a detailed team operating policy that is regularly updated according to regional and global regulations.
In Newport, the team is planning a social-distant homecoming event in mid-September, inviting local fans to see the boat and sailors. On September 16, members of the 11th Hour Racing Team will participate in the virtual Newport Ocean Race Summit.
“It’s great to finally have some clarity on sailing for the foreseeable future,” said Enright. “It’s still all very fluid right now but having the boat back on the water has been a huge boost for the campaign and team morale.
“Getting the boat over to Rhode Island will allow us more opportunities to sail together in the short term, connect with sailing fans in the local community, all while putting an emphasis on health and safety.”
Towill added, “The first half of the year was challenging with the global shutdown and The Ocean Race’s new timeline. But we’ve worked hard to make the best of it in order to optimize our technical program and build out our sustainability initiatives even further to leave a greater lasting legacy.”
Team details: https://11thhourracingteam.org/
Here was the plan prior to the 2022-23 postponement:
The Ocean Race 2021-22 (formerly The Volvo Ocean Race) 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.
Ten Stopovers for 14th Edition:
• Alicante, Spain: This historic Mediterranean port will host the start for the fifth consecutive edition in the autumn of 2021.
• Cabo Verde: More accustomed to having offshore teams sail by, or stop for repair, this archipelago of ten volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean will become just the second African venue the race has ever visited and the first West African nation to host the event. Details.
• Cape Town, South Africa: Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town, as the oldest urban area in South Africa, was developed by the United East India Company (VOC) as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Located at latitude 33.55° S, it’s approximately the same as Sydney and Buenos Aires and equivalent to Casablanca and Los Angeles in the northern hemisphere. Details.
• Shenzhen, China: Located in the southeast, the city is a modern metropolis that links Hong Kong to China’s mainland. It’s known for its shopping destinations and features contemporary buildings, such as the 600m-tall skyscraper Ping An International Finance Centre, and a number of amusement parks. The city is a leading global technology hub and was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world in the 1990s and the 2000s. Details.
• Auckland, New Zealand: European, Polynesian, Asian, and strong Maori heritages give Auckland its distinctive culture. Located in the North Island of New Zealand, it is the most populous urban area in the country with an urban population of around 1,570,100. Details.
• Itajaí, Brazil: To the south of Rio de Janeiro, Itajaí was founded in the mid-19th century by German and Italian colonists, and is now the commercial centre and Atlantic port for an agricultural region drained by the Itajaí River and its tributaries. Details.
• Newport, USA: Located on Aquidneck Island, Newport is 74 miles south of Boston and 180 miles northeast of New York City. It is known as a New England summer resort and is famous for its historic mansions and its rich sailing history. It was the location of every challenge to the America’s Cup between 1930 and 1983. It is also the home of Naval Station Newport, which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and an important Navy training center. This is the third consecutive edition of the race to stop in Newport. Details.
• Aarhus, Denmark: The course comes to the east coast of the Jutland peninsula during the spring of 2022, following a popular ‘Fly-By’ of the city during the final leg of the 2017-18 edition of the Race. Details.
• The Hague, Netherlands: This city along the North Sea coast will welcome the race for a third consecutive time, first coming as a ‘pitstop’ on the final leg of the 2014-15 edition and as the final finish port for the 2017-18 race. Details.
• Genoa, Italy: As the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, this first-time race host is Italy’s largest sea port yet remains full of grandeur as the gateway to the Riviera while offering weighty architectural heritage. Details.
Published on July 23rd, 2020