Returning to the Volvo Ocean Race

Published on January 6th, 2016

Two years ago, Americans Charlie Enright and Mark Towill were just 29 and 26 years respectively when they launched their 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race campaign. Leading the Team Alvimedica crew, the two upstarts had made it into the big leagues, but they had little interest in being one-hit wonders. So when the the race ended in June, the echo of ‘what’s next?’ was deafening. Now we now.

The duo have announced the formation of their new racing team, 55 South. Enright and Towill will train and race under 55 South as they work toward their ultimate goal of returning to the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18.

Joining them for 2016 is the sustainability organization, 11th Hour Racing, which is based in Newport, Rhode Island. The newly formed team will compete in 2016 as 55 South – 11th Hour Racing and aim to set the example for a more responsible relationship with energy and water resources in the sport of sailing.

As Team Alvimedica, Enright and Towill were the first to round Cape Horn, considered to be one of the most remote and iconic places on the planet. Now committed to return to the 2017-18 edition, they are using that moment as motivation. Cape Horn is at Latitude 55 degrees South.

During their last campaign, both Enright and Towill became acutely aware of the significant amount of marine debris they saw around the globe. Together with 2016 title sponsor 11th Hour Racing, 55 South will use their racing as a platform to promote environmental sustainability amongst sailors, clubs and events, and across the marine industry.

Co-Founder/Skipper, Charlie Enright, “After the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, both Mark I were proud of many of our accomplishments, but recognized there are improvements to be made and unfinished business to be settled. It’s going to be a tough road back to the start-line filled with training, racing and fundraising. We named the team 55 South to provide us with a daily reminder of Cape Horn, how epic it is and what it takes to get there. Getting there requires the support of our partners and sponsors and I am excited to have 11th Hour Racing as our title sponsor for 2016. As first hand witnesses of our planet’s marine debris epidemic we feel like we can bring value to an already amazing organization by spreading awareness and helping to source solutions. It was great to start a working relationship with 11th Hour during the Ocean Summit at the [Volvo Ocean Race] Newport Stopover and Mark and I are excited to continue the relationship into the future.”

Co-Founder/Principle, Mark Towill, “Both Charlie and I are excited to be back on the water racing with our own team again. I’m also extremely happy to be working with 11th Hour Racing to help raise the awareness for ocean health. We are looking forward to promoting sustainability solutions at the events we race in and to the wider sailing community. And of course, I’m always looking towards our ultimate goal of returning to 55 South.”

11th Hour Racing Co-Founder Rob MacMillan stated, “The goal of 11th Hour Racing’s sponsorship of 55 South is to show that a top level racing team can be successful while incorporating ocean stewardship and environmental responsibility. When we met Mark and Charlie, we saw a young, eager duo that expressed genuine concern for ocean health. We recognize that the Volvo Ocean Race is the premier crewed race around the world and we’re happy to be supporting 55 South as they work towards returning to the start line.”

The 2016 race campaign for 55 South-11th Hour Racing is currently scheduled to include the M32 Bermuda Series along with speaking engagements promoting ocean health and environmental sustainability. The first race will be January 8-10. For a current schedule and update on 55 South-11th Hour Racing’s schedule and events, visit 55South.us

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