11th Hour Racing Team has crossed the start line in Alicante, Spain, of the world’s longest and toughest sporting event – The Ocean Race 2022-23.
The 31,700 nautical mile (nm) [36,500 mile, 58,700 kilometer] race will see the team sail 24/7 for weeks at a time. The course for the 14th edition of the race is made up of seven legs visiting eight cities (with a fly-by past Kiel, Germany), and will finish in Genoa in June 2023.
This edition also includes the longest leg in the race’s 50-year history. Leg 3 is a 12,750nm [14,672 mile, 23,613 kilometer] one-month-long marathon from Cape Town, South Africa around the bottom of the world to Itajaí, Brazil. During this leg, the crews will, for the first time in the history of the race, pass all three great southern Capes: Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin, and Cape Horn.
At the 1615 (1515 UTC) starting gun, the five teams racing in the IMOCA Class, appearing for the first time in this round-the-world race, were treated to perfect foiling conditions with a flat sea state and 12-14 knots of breeze. After completing a rectangular-shaped course close to the shore for the gathered spectator boats, 11th Hour Racing Team pushed out into the Mediterranean Sea, sailing between 15-20 knots [17mph/28kmph-23mph/37kmph], as they headed towards the Strait of Gibraltar.
Skipper Charlie Enright (USA), speaking moments before the team left the dock said, “It’s a huge day today, to get going and to put our best foot forward. We have done everything we can at 11th Hour Racing Team to prepare, but that doesn’t mean it is a day without nerves and butterflies – all things which I think are good!
“It looks like a generally pretty windy and fast leg to Cabo Verde. The first 36 hours are pretty tricky, and the forecast for the next couple of days is definitely at the top of our minds; we know we need to preserve the boat,” Enright concluded.
Enright has hand-picked a team of international sailors to race onboard the state-of-the-art, 60-foot IMOCA, Mālama, which means ‘to care for and protect’ in Hawaiian. Joining him for Leg 1 to Cabo Verde is Navigator Simon Fisher (GBR), Trimmers Jack Bouttell (AUS/GBR) and Francesca Clapcich (ITA), along with Media Crew Member, Amory Ross (USA).
Wendy Schmidt, Philanthropist and Co-founder of team title sponsor 11th Hour Racing commented, “As we watch our team making their last-minute preparations ahead of the start of The Ocean Race, we are humbled by how the simplest tasks can add up to the most critical aspects of readiness for anything they might encounter in the race. The team has worked relentlessly over the past three years through the pandemic, pushing boundaries and accelerating positive change, united by the goal of winning on and off the water, and believing in something bigger than the competition itself.
“Now it’s GO time — when it all comes together — courage, commitment, creativity, resilience, and teamwork. We wish the 11th Hour Racing Team sailors fair winds in this great adventure on their colorful boat Mãlama, as they travel through the Ocean’s most remote places, conveying the message that the sailors in this race and in this sport are committed to the health of our blue planet,” she concluded.
As the shore team, partners and sponsors gathered for the last time before the sailors headed to the boat, Enright had one final message. “The start of The Ocean Race is the culmination of three years of preparation and hard work by everyone here. We are honored to be carrying the colors of 11th Hour Racing and to be using the international platform of The Ocean Race to be showcasing our story with tangible examples of how innovation and collaboration can bring positive action for ocean health. We look forward to sharing our race story with you all, and bringing the Race, our team, and our boat home to Newport in May.”
11th Hour Racing Team Crew for Leg 1 of The Ocean Race 2022-23:
Charlie Enright (USA) – Skipper
Simon Fisher (GBR) – Navigator
Jack Bouttell (AUS/GBR) – Trimmer
Francesca Clapcich (ITA) – Trimmer
Amory Ross (USA) – Media Crew Member
The Ocean Race 2022-23 Route:
Leg 1: Alicante, Spain to Cabo Verde
Leg 2: Mindelo, 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