Charlie Enright: It’s all about the process

Published on October 9th, 2014

American Charlie Enright may be leading the youngest Volvo Ocean Race crew as skipper of Team Alvimedica, but their convincing win in the Alicante In-Port Race on October 4 shows that the ‘young guns’ have ammo and they’re not afraid to use it. Here Charlie peels back the curtain on getting to the start line for the 2014-15 edition…

Building the team
The biggest challenge for us was finding sailors that fit with our team ethos, and carried a skill set that fit the bill. The first step was securing a few key players into a core group. From there we established what skills we were lacking, and grew the team along those guidelines. These are the people that you’ll spend the next nine months of your life with. We tried to be selective. There were certain times where people’s skill sets shined, and moments where challenges were clear. The second transatlantic race was very telling for us. At this point, I feel that overall we’ve managed to build team chemistry and have a range of skills sets to pull from. Team dynamic is a priority for us and it was important that we got it right.

Crazy factor
So far, the Volvo Ocean Race has happened all at once. The experience has been fast-paced, and it’s no secret that this is new for many of the guys on our team. However, we are good sailors with an understanding of the skills under our belts, and a reasonable understanding of what is ahead of us. We are positive, hungry for this experience, and willing to learn as we go. I expect this race to be more challenging than any I’ve done before. As a team, we remind ourselves that it’s only a boat race, and we are as prepared as possible for this race.

Expectations
Our expectations are realistic. We have a group of fast sailors and an excellent navigator. The boats are all the same, so we are prepared to make the difference onboard and improve throughout the race. Keeping it all in perspective is important. I’ve found it is important to manage stress levels and keep expectations, both of ourselves and others, in check. For us, its all about the process.

The team certainly feels ready. We feel good about our offshore driving, trimming, and crossover knowledge. Our offshore boat handling is very tight. The In-port racing does not count for the overall anymore, but everyone (including our sponsors) still sees it, so we will continue to tighten that up… but at the end of the day it’s still eight guys sailing a 65 foot boat around the cans!

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