Charlie Enright: Dealing with the changes

Published on February 27th, 2023

Prior to the Leg 3 start of the The Ocean Race – the 12,750 nm third leg from Cape Town in South Africa to Itajai in Brazil – Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck checked in with 11th Hour Racing Team skipper Charlie Enright for an update:

Due to the race postponement, your boat was effectively designed and launched between nine to 12 months earlier than your competitors. How had the design target moved during the postponement?
That’s actually a really interesting question because we designed our boat to go to China, and New Zealand and back, which were legs that got eliminated after we launched. So we have a much more reaching oriented, all-round boat, than we do a downwind heavy weather big seas boat. And you can see that most in the bow profile.

You had to replace your foils after Leg 2 due to damage. Any answers why?
Well, there’s a bit of science and a bit of art that goes into the design and construction of the foils. And the goal of the first set was to make something big and reliable and robust, and that was a little bit more draggy, a little bit more powerful, but less prone to ventilation and cavitation.

And when those came out and worked exceptionally well, we pushed a bit back in the other direction and tried to go a little smaller, a little less draggy. They were a bit more of a evolution than a revolution with maybe higher top speeds but definitely not as powerful and robust. And it just didn’t work out!

How will the boat behave with the replacement foils?
As it behaved with success for 16 months prior to launching the V2s.

What decisions, sails, crew, etc were made specifically for Leg 3?
We did bring out a new sail for this leg and it’s a sail that we’ve been developing for a long time. When you look at the speeds the IMOCAs do at reaching angles, call it 60 TWA to 120, they’re like video game numbers! When you look at the boats trying to go downwind, the numbers, particularly in big breeze and sea state, the numbers are quite pedestrian.

So getting the boat to perform downwind in those conditions has been a big goal of the program, and we’re bringing a sail on to do that. Plus there’s some things that we do with our foils that help make the boat go in those conditions.

From a crew standpoint, we kind of have the same crew, with rotation in the female position. And Justine Mettraux had not been in the southern oceans previously with Team SCA in the 2014-15 race. It was the only leg she took off, but she’s looking to go there in the Vendée Globe in two years, so she’s keen to learn and we’re keen to have her!

Race detailsRouteTrackerTeamsContent from the boatsYouTube

IMOCA: Boat, Design, Skipper, Launch date
• Guyot Environnement – Team Europe (VPLP Verdier); Benjamin Dutreux (FRA)/Robert Stanjek (GER); September 1, 2015
• 11th Hour Racing Team (Guillaume Verdier); Charlie Enright (USA); August 24, 2021
• Holcim-PRB (Guillaume Verdier); Kevin Escoffier (FRA); May 8, 2022
• Team Malizia (VPLP); Boris Herrmann (GER); July 19, 2022
• Biotherm (Guillaume Verdier); Paul Meilhat (FRA); August 31 2022

The Ocean Race 2022-23 Race Schedule:
Alicante, Spain – Leg 1 (1900 nm) start: January 15, 2023
Cabo Verde – ETA: January 22; Leg 2 (4600 nm) start: January 25
Cape Town, South Africa – ETA: February 9; Leg 3 (12750 nm) start: February 26
Itajaí, Brazil – ETA: April 1; Leg 4 (5500 nm) start: April 23
Newport, RI, USA – ETA: May 10; Leg 5 (3500 nm) start: May 21
Aarhus, Denmark – ETA: May 30; Leg 6 (800 nm) start: June 8
Kiel, Germany (Fly-By) – June 9
The Hague, The Netherlands – ETA: June 11; Leg 7 (2200 nm) start: June 15
Genova, Italy – The Grand Finale – ETA: June 25, 2023; Final In-Port Race: July 1, 2023

The Ocean Race (formerly Volvo Ocean Race and Whitbread Round the World Race) was initially to be raced in two classes of boats: the high-performance, foiling, IMOCA 60 class and the one-design VO65 class which has been used for the last two editions of the race.

However, only the IMOCAs will be racing round the world while the VO65s will race in The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint which competes in Legs 1, 6, and 7 of The Ocean Race course.

Additionally, The Ocean Race also features the In-Port Series with races at seven of the course’s stopover cities around the world which allow local fans to get up close and personal to the teams as they battle it out around a short inshore course.

Although in-port races do not count towards a team’s overall points score, they do play an important part in the overall rankings as the In-Port Race Series standings are used to break any points ties that occur during the race around the world.

The 14th edition of The Ocean Race was originally planned for 2021-22 but was postponed one year due to the pandemic, with the first leg starting on January 15, 2023.

Source: Ed Gorman, IMOCA

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