Charlie Enright: Doing what he knows

Published on October 25th, 2017

Charlie Enright

Charlie Enright (USA) had not only never done the Volvo Ocean Race, but for the 2014-15 edition, he was skippering an entry. That was a lot to take on, but now he benefits from the experience as he skippers the Vestas 11th Hour Racing team in the current race. Here he shares what will be some of the gains.

How do you prepare mentally for something like this?
The mental and emotional side of it is certainly a lot more daunting than the physical aspects. That’s one of the things that I, personally, underestimated last time round. It’s tough to have anything to prepare you for it because it’s a very unique scenario. Staying switched on, mentally, 24/7 is very difficult. The more you keep your mind engaged, the better your result. If you can keep yourself more engaged than your competitors, that’s what makes the difference in the end.

Is that where the race is won and lost?

The cost benefit process that occurs during the decision making process, what the little decisions are, what the big decisions are, when to push, when not to push, when to take a chance, when to be conservative, all that kind of stuff is certainly the most difficult.

All those decisions are a lot easier if the boat is going quickly through the water and at the end of the day, the fastest boat will win this race. It’s no different than any other sail boat race in that regard, but how fast you are in respect to the competition affects how you play the game.

That’s kind of the crux of it for guys like myself.

Is there a special moment that stands out from your first Volvo Ocean Race?
During the last race, it was definitely Cape Horn. Rounding it is certainly a personal Everest but doing it in the manner that we did was pretty special. With the whole fleet behind us on a nice day, with a helicopter there to take a picture, that was pretty neat.

What makes you want to take part in something like this? Or come back and do it again?
It’s all I know really. The Volvo Ocean Race is the pinnacle of crewed off-shore sailing and you always want to be the best and compete against the best in whatever it is that you do. People that have those desires eventually land here.

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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)
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)

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 11-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. A maximum of eight teams will compete.

Source: Volvo Ocean Race

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