11th Hour Racing Team welcomed into Genova as The Ocean Race conquering heroes
This one was a long time coming.
Two days after the IMOCA fleet arrived in Genova, Italy, 11th Hour Racing Team arrived at the Grand Finale venue as worthy champions of The Ocean Race.
It is the first time in 50 years that an American-flagged team has won the race.
For skipper Charlie Enright, the win comes in his third attempt to conquer the around the world race.
And with the victory, sailor Francesca Clapcich has become the first Italian to win the race.
This morning, the team waited patiently as the World Sailing International Jury considered its Request for Redress, hearing from all the IMOCA teams, before deliberating and awarding 11th Hour Racing Team four points – an average of its scores over the other legs in the race – as per the Racing Rules of Sailing (read more here).
While the team celebrated ashore and afloat, they would need to wait a few more hours before joining together to toast their incredible achievement.
But finally, just after 1730 local time in Genova, the 11th Hour Racing Team IMOCA, Mālama, eased into the port and arrived at Ocean Live Park to a thunderous welcome and an incredible prize-giving moment.
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.”
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