With their newly refitted boat and core team in place, Vestas 11th Hour Racing have set off on a transatlantic training leg from Lisbon, Portugal to Newport, Rhode Island. The east coast town of Newport is not only a Volvo Ocean Race Host City but also home to American sailors Charlie and the team’s co-title sponsor 11th Hour Racing.
“A lot of work has gone into this transatlantic crossing, so I’m pleased it’s finally time to leave,” said skipper Charlie Enright. “The Boatyard have done an incredible job with our Volvo Ocean 65 but it feels like it’s time to reclaim it and take it to do what it’s meant to do – race! We’re looking at a hard downwind crossing with cold weather but we’re so ready for this.”
Enright will lead the team alongside his close friend and Team Director Mark Towill. “Our boat looks fantastic and we’ve been dreaming about this day for a while,” said Towill. “The beauty of a transatlantic crossing is that it’s just long enough for you to be able to put a watch system in place and simulate a real 20+ day leg. We feel it’s a great way to kick start the campaign.”
Vestas 11th Hour Racing will be the first team of the 2017-18 line-up to go across the Atlantic and as they enter the next phase of the campaign it is all about testing, testing, testing.
“We will be using this to test potential crew members, and onboard we will have a mixed team,” said Enright. “We have a good core team in place but it’s constantly evolving and this is the perfect opportunity to get to know potential crew members. We have some incredible partners onboard with this campaign and now it’s time for us to make sure the crew we choose are the right fit for the project. Our main priority is winning this race whilst promoting renewable energy and sustainability and we need quality people who share the same goals.”
And with a newly refitted and rather stunning Volvo Ocean 65, fresh out of the shed it’s also about getting to know their boat.
“Another focus of ours during this crossing is to get to know the boats as much as possible. Charlie and I know a lot from the last race but it’s going to be so interesting to get out on the water and see the differences. I think some improvements will be obvious immediately and others less so… We’re really excited about this but I will just say that I still think everything will come down to the crew, this race will be won by the best team.”
Follow @Vestas11thHour for updates!