Helping Others Follow Their Dreams

Published on May 12th, 2017

After the transatlantic training by Vestas 11th Hour Racing, the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 entrant has met up with two members from the Oakcliff Development Team (Oyster Bay, New York) to begin what hopes to be a fruitful partnership of mentoring and enlightenment.

With Vestas 11th Hour Racing based in Newport, RI, program graduates Sean O’Halloran ’16 and Madeline Gill ’12 spent the past two weeks elbow-deep in the hard work of what it takes to prepare a Volvo Team.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing Co-Founder, Mark Towill explains why this partnership is important. “This team is bigger than just a race around the world. It is about changing the world. We are working to change the way we treat our environment but we are also working to create new pathways for young deserving Americans to follow their dreams. The partnership with Oakcliff is an example of this.”

The Oakcliff Development Team is comprised of graduates with skills in all aspects of professional sailing from shore to the water. They also have a continuing desire to continue their progress to joining the top echelons of our sport. For those in the program, this is the final step in the Oakcliff pathway which sees trainees go from fresh and keen to solid and experienced sailors and citizens and eventually end up valuable parts of professional teams.

“We’ve all been where these young people are today, and there’s no better way to set out than working behind the scenes, all the time inspiring them to re-think the impact they can have on the world,” insists experienced team Shore Manager, Bill Erkelens. “There are many logistical and technical complexities in any race, and the Volvo Ocean Race is no exception – replicating the set-up, and attending to the needs of the boat and team in 12 ports around the world in nine months is no simple task!”

As dedicated environmental stewards, they are helping them understand what it takes to build a team and run a campaign sustainably as Vestas and 11th Hour Racing have joined the 2017-18 Race with the mission to achieve exemplary results in sport and be the most sustainable team in the race.

Oakcliff grad Madeline Gill agrees, “The past two weeks have been extremely insightful. I have a learned a lot about the scheduling, purchasing, provisioning, and boat maintenance efforts from the Vestas 11th Hour shore crew. Also, being able to observe the leadership and the coordination of a complicated program has been amazing and will help me in my future career.”

In recognition for the support Towill and team Co-Founder Charlie Enright received from the Morning Light and the Oakcliff All American Offshore Team, they will be offering additional young sailors this opportunity to start out in the world of competitive sailing.

Two Oakcliff graduates will be embedded with the team at each stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race. There are currently 165 graduates and the expected 40 or so program participants from this summer will also be eligible to participate.

“Oakcliff is proud of our graduates,” stated Oakcliff Executive Director Dawn Riley. “They work hard and are truly becoming American Leaders. Virtually all are employed in a career of their choice, many in the marine industry but absolutely all are great people. We are also very proud of Mark and Charlie who are using the power they have been given to make significant impacts in the lives of others.”

Follow @Vestas11thHour for updates.

Race detailsRace routeFacebook

2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)

Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 10-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. Seven teams are expected to compete with the hopes for one more.

Source: Oakliff Sailing

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