The Ocean Race ended in a series of highs and lows for 11th Hour Racing Team. For the first American-flagged team to win the race in 50 years, it’s been a long time coming.
This is skipper Charlie Enright’s third attempt to conquer the around the world race. He sailed in every leg of this edition of the race and celebrates the win as the first American to skipper a US-flagged boat to victory. “To be the first US team to lift this trophy is an exceptional honour, and to be sharing the message and showcasing action and innovation for ocean health has made this a truly impactful, global campaign. It’s not the way I would have drawn this up, but the victory is sweet all the same,” said Enright.
Another first comes for Francesca Clapcich as the first Italian sailor to win the race.
It could have gone either way
After the collision with GUYOT environnement – Team Europe at the start of leg 7, the team worked overtime to repair their boat so they could sail across the finish line in Genova. The Team applied for redress for the incident, and on Thursday 29 June after a long deliberation, the World Sailing International Jury awarded the team 4 points of redress – enough to put them on top of the leaderboard and take the overall win of The Ocean Race. These 4 points were based on an average of their results in the race to date.
Team CEO Mark Towill was present for the redress and spoke at the media briefing following the announcement of their win. 11th Hour Racing Team experienced multiple knock backs before rebounding with three consecutive Leg victories and whilst they imagined racing against competitors up to the finish line, they expressed the exceptional honour they felt to be lifting the trophy.
Watch the full day’s excitement here.
The final leaderboard sees 11th Hour Racing Team on 37 points, 3 points clear of Team Holcim-PRB in second place, with Team Malizia in third on 32 points, Biotherm in fourth place with 23 points and GUYOT environnement – Team Europe finish fifth with 2 points.
After a grueling 32,700 nautical mile race around the world that has tested the resilience and fortitude of the sailors and teams with immense challenges throughout, 11th Hour Racing Team arrived at the Ocean Live Park to a thunderous welcome and an incredible prize-giving moment.
The winning team
Skipper Charlie Enright is now the first American skipper to lead a US team to victory and hoist the iconic trophy in the 50-year history of The Ocean Race.
“I’m immensely proud of the effort our team has put in, from top to bottom,” he said. “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.”
He continued, “I’m absolutely ecstatic, this race takes everything out of you – emotionally, mentally, and physically. I’m incredibly proud of our whole team who have worked tirelessly for three years to get to this point. There have been highs, some incredible highs, but also lows that have knocked us all, but they were all worth it to hear this news today. When we launched our campaign in 2019, we never could have anticipated that it would finish in this way. Any sailor will tell you that they want to win races on the water and not in the jury room, and after winning three legs back to back we felt exceptionally strong and confident going into the final leg. We are pleased with the jury’s decision, although we wish we had had the chance to battle it out for this final leg on the water as Holcim-PRB have been exceptional competitors and pushed us all the way”.
Francesca Clapcich (ITA) is now the first Italian to win The Ocean Race: “It feels pretty surreal still – it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s been a lifetime dream to firstly be part of the race, and now to win the race, and so it feels very special. The first time for an American team and the first time an Italian sailor has won the race – it means a lot to me – I’m Italian, and I live in the US – it’s both of my worlds colliding together.”
Navigator Simon Fisher (GBR) is celebrating a second victory in The Ocean Race, with a previous win on his resume from the 2014-15 edition of the race. “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.”
Trimmer Jack Bouttell (AUS/GBR) has back-to-back wins in The Ocean Race, having won in the 2017-18 edition with Dongfeng Race Team: “For me, it has been a childhood dream to do this race, this big adventure. And to have won it back-to-back is an insane and incredible feeling. The Ocean Race is an incredible project – it takes a lot from you, but it gives a lot as well. These moments are pretty unique, both to live and to experience, and that’s what attracts me back each time.”
Media Crew Member Amory Ross (USA), has been responsible for documenting the onboard story of the team: “Since the start of the campaign, back in September 2019, we have strived to go about everything we do the right way – both the sailing and race preparation, as well as our commitment to create change for ocean health. I’m incredibly proud to share this moment with this group of people after going through so much together.”
11th Hour Racing Team 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