The Ocean Race left Alicante, Spain, on January 15, and the round-the-world race has just finished in Genoa, Italy. After redress following a collision at the start of the final leg of The Ocean Race, 11th Hour Racing Team has won The Ocean Race — the world’s longest and toughest team sporting event. The Newport, RI-based team is the first US-flagged entry to win The Ocean Race in its 50-year history.
In unprecedented scenes, the crew heard about their win via a satellite phone call from team CEO Mark Towill as they delivered their 60-foot IMOCA, Mālama, to Genoa. This followed a redress hearing by the World Sailing International Jury, which awarded the team four points for the final leg, following a no-fault collision just 17 minutes into the start of the final stage of the round-the-world race that forced them to return immediately to port and retire.
The four points of redress put 11th Hour Racing Team three points ahead of Team Holcim-PRB in second place, with Team Malizia in third, Biotherm in fourth place, and GUYOT environnement – Team Europe in fifth.
11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright sailed aboard the TP52 Morning Light during the Transpac in 2007 along with Hawaiian sailor Mark Towill, CEO of 11th Hour Racing, who worked alongside 11th Hour Racing COO, Bay Area sailor Bill Erkelens. Another The Ocean Race participant, Robbie Kane, aboard VO65 class winner Windwhisper, was also aboard Morning Light in 2007 and was part of the cast for the Morning Light documentary produced by Disney Studios in 2008. Roy Pat Disney, son of Morning Light Executive Producer Roy Disney, will head off on his 25th Transpac on Saturday aboard his Andrews 68 Pyewacket.
11th Hour Racing is sponsored by Wendy Schmidt, wife of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who has been using ocean racing as a platform to create a team built around ocean and planetary sustainability. She commented, “This victory is an extraordinary accomplishment — but it’s about more than a team winning a race. We want to engage people in the bigger task of protecting our planet, of restoring ocean health, because there is no life on Earth without a healthy ocean.
“This race around the world is a symbol of that task, and we want everyone to be on our team. I am extraordinarily proud of the entire 11th Hour Racing Team and all they have overcome. They did more than sail around the world. They carried the message of sustainability, with the singular focus of restoring ocean health. Today, the real winner of this race is the ocean.”
It was a grueling, high-speed race around the world featuring the longest leg in the history of the race from Cape Town, South Africa, to Itajai, Brazil — a distance of almost 13,000 miles. There were two dismastings, but, amazingly, these blazing-fast foiling boats remained upright and intact while traveling at high speed around the world. We’ll now be waiting to see if and when the dates of the next edition of The Ocean Race are announced.