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11th Hour Racing: Lightning strikes again

Published on November 21st, 2021

The 11th Hour Racing Team’s campaign to win The Ocean Race 2022-23 is in need of better luck. Led by American Charlie Enright, it has been one thing or another.

In June, they had multiple collisions and damaged a foil during The Ocean Race Europe. In September, they had to drop out of the Défi Azimut race with a broken steering system.

And now in the Transat Jacques Vabre, a double-handed race from Le Havre, France across the Atlantic to Martinique, their older IMOCA was dismasted while their new IMOCA reports keel damage. Enright provides an update on November 21, 2021:

We’ve been dealing with a lot of breakages throughout the course of this race, such is the nature of a new boat on an action packed and competitive track like this one.

None of these “little incidents” compares to what we went through yesterday. While reaching along in what I will refer to as a typical doldrums squall, we hit 28 knots of boat speed with the J2 and a Full Main. Shortly thereafter, the boat essentially tripped over itself and we were no longer able to achieve speed.

Assuming we’d caught something, we proceeded to try and “broach” it off the keel. When that didn’t work, we backed down…and then backed down again. I took a look in the endoscope and saw what I thought was a line.

In a last ditch effort to figure out what was going on, we tacked the boat, hove to with the keel to leeward and went over the side to inspect.

It wasn’t a rope at all, it was the intake tube that lives in the aft keel fairing…and the aft keel fairing itself, was gone. Since then, we’ve been limping toward the turning mark at Fernando De Noronha with limited sail in an effort to limit vibration.

We can no longer sail at more than 70 percent of the boat’s ability because we’re missing 1/3 of the keel surface and because it seems like the safest course of action. These things don’t happen in an instant; who knows how long it had been going on.

With our trip extended, we’re doing our best to finish with what we have onboard. Pascal and I have gone from cut throat ocean racers, to yacht preservers and an odd couple experiencing the South Atlantic and soon to be Caribbean like no one else ever has before.

Race detailsYouTubeFacebookTracker

The Transat Jacques Vabre is a double-handed race featuring four classes of boats starting November 7 from Le Havre, France. At nearly 30 years old, having first run in 1993 and every two years since, the 15th edition in 2021 attracted a record-breaking 79 boats: 5 Ultimes, 7 Ocean Fifty, 22 Imoca and 45 Class40s.

The course endures often brutal winter conditions, with a shift this year for the finish, moving from South America to Martinique in the Caribbean, in addition to various mid-Atlantic turning marks for the four classes.

Race Course:

Source: Transat Jacques Vabre

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