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Eager to see how they perform

Published on March 29th, 2021

While typically raced in solo or two-handed, the 60-foot IMOCA is to be used in full-crew configuration for The Ocean Race (formerly Volvo Ocean Race) when it takes off on it around the world course in 2022-23.

IMOCAs will get an early taste of their full potential on a three-stage round-Europe ocean course, starting from Lorient in Brittany and finishing in Genoa in Italy, via stopovers at Cascais in Portugal with a third stopover in Spain expected to be announced imminently.

The Ocean Race Europe will see each boat with up to five crew, including at least one female sailor and a media crew. The race starts on the last weekend in May with up to seven IMOCAs expected to be racing.

For skipper Charlie Enright (USA), he is making the transition from the VO65 he led in the past two Volvo Ocean Races and is eager to see where his 11th Hour Racing Team ranks in the fleet. Here’s an update:

Why is this race important to your team?
The Ocean Race Europe will be a great opportunity to line up with the other IMOCA 60s and for the first time fully crewed. Even though it looks like we’ll have one of the only older generation boats, the plan is to have new foils and we are eager to see how they perform.

How will the short sprints of The Ocean Race Europe compare to the marathon pace of the around the world race?
These sprints are very different from the typical Ocean Race legs that last 20 or more days, or the non-stop laps of the planet that take 70 plus days. In a lot of ways these shorter legs are more difficult because you’re always on, and rarely get into any kind of watch system.

Tactical decisions can become more important because you don’t get a lot of time to catch-up if you get them wrong, but as always…speed can make you look pretty smart!

How does The Ocean Race Europe fit into the team’s overall program as you prepare for the around the world edition of The Ocean Race in 2022-23?
The Ocean Race Europe is a great opportunity to introduce IMOCA teams to the concept of crewed racing. It will be great to see the boats pushed to their fullest potential, with extra hands, over the course of entire legs. Given the race course, we should see a lot of different conditions which will help our overall development a lot, particularly around our sail program. We are all really looking forward to getting back out there and racing again.

Any other thoughts as you look ahead to the race?
France is unique in that they’ve been able to sail shorthanded through most of the pandemic. For most of us, it will just be great to just get racing again!

Source: The Ocean Race

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