The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race has not only been attracting more participants in recent months, but has also become more interesting for sailing fans in the United States.
First came news that U.S. Olympic veteran Sally Barkow had signed on with the all-female Swedish-flagged Team SCA. Now comes the announcement that a pair of young U.S. veterans from the Disney-produced Morning Light documentary film and Transpac campaign have launched a new team sponsored by the Turkish medical-devices firm Alvimedica.
Rhode Island native Charlie Enright, 29, and Hawaiian sailor Mark Towill, 26, first met in college and cemented their friendship during the 2006 Transpac aboard the TP52 Morning Light. Since then both sailors have also played integral roles in the Oakcliff All American Offshore team, based in Oyster Bay, New York, and Enright has been working for North Sails.
Enright will serve as skipper in the upcoming VOR and Towill will be team manager. The team CEO is Team Oracle BMW veteran Bill Erkelens. Job one for the fetal campaign, to be based in Rhode Island, is to fill the roster with other young sailors. Given that this VOR is, for the first time, a one-design event, they at least won’t have to worry about what boat they’ll be sailing.
"We’re looking for trimmers and drivers who can really push the new VO65,” Enright says. “A successful program will have a team that pushes their boat for maximum speed and also knows when to hold back. Beyond that, we’re searching for sailors who can put the team above themselves. It’s a long, difficult race. Meshing as a team will be vital to our success.”
It’s no secret we lack the experience of seasoned Volvo Ocean Race veterans,” he adds. “We’re a young team and have no illusions that this is going to be easy, but we’re hungry, and we will be ready when Team Alvimedica hits the start line in Alicante."
At press time, the duo had just nine months to prepare for their 38,739-mile “lap.” The race starts October 4 with an in-port race in Alicante, Spain. Whatever happens between now and then, there’s no doubt things will be a lot more fun on this side of the Atlantic now that we’ve got some skin in the game. For more on this latest VOR entry visit allamericanoceanracing.org.
Photos courtesy of Amory Ross/VOR