, 2022-09-12 18:04:56,
In the year since Charlie Enright and Mark Towill’s 11th Hour Racing Team became the first of The Ocean Race IMOCA syndicates to launch their new 60-foot boat, the USA squad has crossed the Atlantic no less than four times and racked up an estimated 20,000 nautical miles aboard the Guillaume Verdier-designed Mālama.
Despite accumulating such an impressive open ocean mileage, according to skipper Enright, it was only after the team’s recent fourth transatlantic that Mālama “finally started to feel like a boat and not a construction project”.
“These yachts definitely have a sweet spot after they are launched, tested, and become reliable,” he said. “We have put a lot of miles on our boat. We have sailed back and forth across the Atlantic and done some other training, as well as the Newport Bermuda Race.”
Enright said that the four Atlantic crossings – including his participation with French training skipper Pascal Bidégorry in the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race in November last year – had been key for the team to gather important performance data and to learn vital lessons about how to coax the best out of the US-flagged IMOCA.
Despite having had little time to prepare and subsequently encountering performance limiting keel problems during the Jacques Vabre, Enright said there were still plenty of lessons learned from the race in which despite their issues they finished 13th in the 23-boat field.
“The Jacques Vabre…
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