Friday, November 10, 2017

Congrats to Charlie, Mark & Nick- VOR Leg#1!

Team Vestas- winners Volvo Ocean Race- Leg 1 (Lisbon, Portugal)- Congrats to Newport sailing duo Charlie Enright and Mark Towill and the rest of the VESTAS 11th Hour Racing crew (including Newport Shipyard’s Nick Dana, son of Charlie Dana- owner of the yard) on their first leg win in the Volvo Ocean Race!

VESTAS 11th Hour Racing won Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race, crossing the finish line in the River Tagus in Lisbon, Portugal with a 2.5 hour time cushion over the second place boat.

It’s a tremendous victory for American skipper Charlie Enright and his team, who earn 8 points for their efforts (including a one point ‘bonus’ for winning the leg).

It wasn’t easy. The wind shut down on the final approach, and an early morning lead of 34-nautical miles over second-placed MAPFRE was whittled down to 10-miles, with the finish in sight.

Nevertheless, the crew on the VESTAS 11TH Hour held their nerve; tacking and zigzagging towards the line, into agonizingly light headwinds, and finally securing victory.

“It’s incredible,” said Mark Towill, Team Director, from on board the boat moments before the finish.  “What a way to kick off the event. It’s been an incredible performance for the team… It’s been a challenging leg. We still have a lot to improve and long way to go… Today is our day, we’ll enjoy it, but then we have to get back to work and focus on the next leg.”

J/24 Champion Charlie Enright skippering Team VestasCharlie Enright is the third American skipper to win Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race. The others were John Kostecki, on illbruck in 2001-02, and Paul Cayard on EF Language in 1997-98. Both of those teams went on to an overall victory – so the omens for Charlie Enright are certainly good.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing – which carries US and Danish flags – are the first American flagged team to win Leg 1. They are also the first Danish team to win a leg.

“We have a long way to go certainly, but this was a good way to start,” said skipper Charlie Enright. “SiFi (navigator Simon Fisher) did a great job. He didn’t really make any missteps. But every sked is nerve-wracking, especially when you’re stuck in a river going backwards!

Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing sailing Volvo race“But we pride ourselves on not getting too high or too low and I think we executed that on this leg. It’s about having confidence in ourselves and committing to the process and now we’re starting to see the results of that.”

From a J/Boats sailor perspective, it’s interesting to note the top three boats were all led by very experienced J/sailors.  Charlie Enright was a J/24 World champion; the second place skipper- Xabi Fernández of MAPFRE and the third place skipper- Charles Caudrelier on Dongfeng Racing Team- both have had extensive experience sailing J/80s at a National and European level.

The next leg, a 7,000 nm course from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa, starts November 5th, 2017.  For more Volvo Ocean Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.