Harken Derm

Americans have Foundation for Future Campaign

Published on June 28th, 2015

As the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 completed its final event, the Gothenburg Inmarsat In-Port Race on June 27, it drew to a close the nine-month journey for the young Team Alvimedica that exceeded expectations with an impressive debut in sailing’s premier ocean race.

American skipper Charlie Enright, 30, of Bristol, RI, USA, the youngest skipper in the fleet, along with team co-founder Mark Towill, 26, of Kanehoe, HI, led the young team to exceed performance expectations over the course of the nine-month, 10-stage race around the world.

The team’s achievements included winning the final leg of the race into Gothenburg, two In-Port victories, nine podium finishes (four offshore and five in-port) and first to Cape Horn, the iconic landmark for offshore sailors.

“When we started this we had the most to learn,” Enright said. “We were the least experienced team and that was no secret. You can do your homework and you can go over everything that people tell you about what this race is like, but there’s nothing that prepares you better than actually doing it. It’s been a long journey.”

Enright credits Australian navigator Will Oxley with fast-forwarding the team’s knowledge base. “He’s kind of professorial in a way. He likes to bestow knowledge on others. At times, we were soaking it up as fast as he could dish it out. At times it took a little bit longer to process. I think that’s the nature of our team. We’ve put together a great team and it was always going to be the strength of our team that helped us be competitive.”

Towill was just 18 when he met Enright as a fellow sailor in the Disney film, Morning Light, a documentary that followed the training and participation of a young team in the 2007 Transpac Race. The pair also went to Brown University together and continued to pursue their shared dream to compete in the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. The team was announced in early 2014 and the race crew announced less than a year ago.

“We’re proud of the team that we put together,” Enright reflected.” We made the least number of crew substitutions throughout the course of the race. We had one very choreographed change for the Southern Ocean Leg (bringing on race veteran Stu Bannatyne of New Zealand). Other than that it’s been the same players and we’ve improved together and we’ve grown as a group. It’s interesting in a way, we feel like NOW we’re ready to sail around the world. Which is a little ironic – 40,000 miles later.”

Towill says this team provides the foundation for a future campaign in the next Volvo Ocean Race. “It’s a real testament to our team about how far we’ve come. We started off in Alicante with no real expectation as the underdogs. We proved we can hang with the best and it says a lot about our future in this race.”

Brad Read, Sail Newport Executive Director and head of the North American stopover of the race, express the pride he has for the hometown team. “Throughout the process of sailing and learning and having an open mind, they’ve evolved as a team as you would expect, as you would hope,” Read said of Team Alvimedica. “We’re all really proud of the leadership that Mark Towill and Charlie put into the race to make this team not only get around the world safely, but compete at the highest level of the sport.”

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Leg 5 to Itajai

Charlie Enright (left) and Mark Towill, passing Cape Horn

Team Alvimedica race crew: Alberto Bolzan, 33, (ITA); Nick Dana, 29, (Newport, RI, USA); Charlie Enright, 30, (Bristol, RI, USA); Ryan Houston, 32, (NZL); Sebastien Marsset, 30, (Lorient, FRA); Will Oxley, 50, (AUS); Dave Swete, 30, (NZL); Mark Towill, 26, (Kanehoe, HI, USA); and Onboard Reporter Amory Ross, 30, (Newport, RI, USA).

Team Alvimedica Shore and Support Team: Nate Campbell (Boat-Builder), Jane Eagleson (Communications), Bill Erkelens (COO), Cristina Femenia (Hospitality), Chris Higgins (Shore Team Manager), Toby Ingrey (Rigger), Marta Lobato (Logistics), Anderson Reggio (Navigation Support), Andrea Tagliamacco (Marketing), Kristi Wilson (Digital Content Manager), Paul Wilson (Physiotherapist).

Race websiteTrackingScoreboardVideos


Team Alvimedica is the youngest entry in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, the world’s toughest and longest sporting event. The crew is led by American skipper Charlie Enright, age 30. Alvimedica, the European based medical devices company, is the team’s owner. Founded in 2007, Alvimedica is a fast growing challenger in the global field of interventional cardiology, committed to developing minimally-invasive technologies. This is the team’s first entry in the extremely challenging 39,000-mile race that started October 11, 2014 from Alicante, Spain and features stopovers in 11 ports around the world.

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