20 June 2023
11th Hour Racing Team has left The Hague, The Netherlands after its shore team worked collectively to repair its raceboat in less than 72 hours following a no-fault collision soon after the start of Leg 7 of The Ocean Race 2022-23.
After receiving the all-clear following Non-Destructive Testing by an independent surveyor, the race crew, led by Skipper, Charlie Enright, slipped their lines at 1815 for the 2,500 nautical mile [2,877 mile|4,630 km] delivery to Genoa.
The “race-within-a-race” is now on, with the team needing to arrive in Genoa before the In-Port Race on July 1.
In the overall standings for The Ocean Race 2022-23, 11th Hour Racing Team currently lies at the top of the leaderboard with 33 points, a two-point lead over Swiss entry Team Holcim-PRB, and six points ahead of German entry Team Malizia.
At the start of Leg 7 on Thursday 15 June 2023, the American team needed to finish no less than two boats behind Holcim-PRB to win the 14th edition of the race.
The collision happened just 17 minutes after the start of Leg 7 and while the fleet was taking part in the two-lap inshore departure section of the race and saw the 60-foot race boat Mālama hit by competitor GUYOT environnement – Team Europe leaving a large hole in the aft section of the boat. There were no injuries on either crew, but extensive damage to both boats saw them return to port in The Hague.
11th Hour Racing Team was forced to retire from the leg and has requested redress from the World Sailing International Jury, and a date for the hearing will be issued to all interested parties in due course.
11th Hour Racing Team’s shore crew has worked collectively for over 600-hours to repair the hole in the side of the boat, and, following Non-Destructive Testing by an independent surveyor, were given the all-clear to not only deliver the boat to Genoa, but also to take part in the In-Port Race.
“We were determined that this would not put an end to our Ocean Race campaign,” commented Skipper Charlie Enright (USA), “And I hope it is far from over. It is a testament to the hard work of the entire team that, just 72 hours after the incident, we are able to get back out to sea.
“We are very tight on time but we will do everything we can to get to Genoa to join the rest of the fleet for the Grand Finale of The Ocean Race. We want to be there in time for the start of the In-Port Race on July 1, to give us the opportunity to compete in, and win, the In-Port Race Series. It’s a race-within-a-race, and the countdown is now on.”
For the delivery to Genoa, it’s a return to the original Leg 1 & 2 crew for 11th Hour Racing Team. Skipper Charlie Enright (USA) will be sailing alongside Navigator Simon Fisher (GBR), Trimmers Jack Bouttell (AUS/GBR) and Francesca Clapcich (ITA), and Media Crew Member Amory Ross (USA).
Jeremy Pochman, CEO and co-founder of title sponsor 11th Hour Racing, commented, “After what 11th Hour Racing Team had already experienced through the previous five months of this grueling, epic race, to suffer a collision 17 minutes into the final leg … our hearts truly broke with the team.
“After moments of despair, which could have led to defeat, everyone rallied together to get Mālama back on the water to sail to Genoa. What an incredible feat by each and every single team member. That is the heart of champions. That is why we believe in this team. Go Team 11th Hour Racing! We will see you in Genoa.”
The latest routing for the delivery has the team arriving in Genoa on June 30. It will be possible to track the team’s progress on The Ocean Race tracker here.