As skipper Charlie Enright put it, this wasn’t the finish they wanted, but it was a massive achievement all the same.
He was referring to a third place result in Leg 3 for 11th Hour Racing Team, who battled increasing amounts of damage to their boat from the first moments after the start in Cape Town all the way through the finish line in Itajaí.
At one point as the team approached the southern latitudes ahead of the scoring gate with damage to both rudders (the teams carry one spare) it wasn’t clear they would be able to continue at all, or for how long.
But Enright and his crew kept bouncing back, finding repair solutions, and eventually gliding into Itajaí in the pre-dawn glow on Wednesday morning. After a tough leg, the crew appeared extremely happy to reach shore.
“There’s definitely a feeling of positivity and accomplishment, more than I could have imagined,” said Charlie Enright. “That leg was gruelling. It was the ultimate test.
“It didn’t go the way that we’d wanted it to go. But I think every single team would have said that. It was extremely challenging. It tested the people and tested the boat.
“The resilience that our group showed was absolutely outstanding. You know, sometimes you need to be your strongest at your lowest moments and I’m just really proud of our team.”
Less than three hours later, with the morning sun beating down, it was Biotherm’s turn to ghost across the finish line to claim fourth place. Like their counterparts on 11th Hour Racing Team, it was clear from the smiles on board that the team felt proud in its accomplishment of taking on the longest Leg in the history of The Ocean Race and rising to meet each challenge.
“Mostly I’m very, very happy,” said skipper Paul Meilhat. “We managed to get a very new boat through the south and we had to deal with a lot of issues to get here. Of course, I’m also a competitor and so I can’t say I’m very happy with fourth place. But I know what we went through to get here and overall it’s very positive. “
Both boats suffered significant damage during the race from Cape Town, whether the mainsail and rudders on 11th Hour Racing Team, or the port foil and casing and hull leaking on Biotherm.
And so the race to be ready for Leg 4 is now underway. Before each boat had its lines secure on the dock, shore crew and technicians were already climbing over lifelines to get a look at what lies ahead.
The boats are to be launched ahead of the Pro-Am races in Itajaí in two weeks. It’s a tall order.
On the overall points table, Team Malizia takes over second place from 11th Hour Racing Team by just one point. But more than half of the race points are still available for collection on the remaing legs as the teams race towards the Grand Finale in Genova at the June.
Leg 3 Results
1. Team Malizia — 5 points
2. Team Holcim-PRB — 4 points
3. 11th Hour Racing Team — 3 points
4. Biotherm — 2 points
5. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe — did not finish — 0 points
Race Leaderboard (after Leg 3)
1. Team Holcim-PRB — 19 points
2. Team Malizia — 14 points
3. 11th Hour Racing Team — 13 points
4. Biotherm — 10 points
5. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe — 2 points