Team 11th Hour Racing finished in fourth place this past week among the 29 IMOCA 60s competing in the 4,335-mile doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre, France, to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.
Aboard were American Charlie Enright and French sailor Pascal Bidégorry, both veterans of the Volvo Ocean Race. For 11th Hour Racing, the Transat Jacques Vabre was intended to serve as a kind of a warmup in the team’s campaign to compete in The Ocean Race: which is succeeding the VOR as the latest iteration of the fabled Whitbread and will employ the IMOCA 60 as its boat of choice.
“It was a wild race. I went in with no expectations for us but the race itself lived up to everything I thought it would be. It was a great race,” said Enright after the finish. “We were always pushing, always pushing, always pushing, and it went both ways. Both of us were pushing each other.”
“You know, Charlie’s American, I’m French,” said Pascal. “We’ve only sailed together for a few months, and sometimes the language was difficult. Understanding each other isn’t always easy. But I think it was a good story for this race. We arrived together with a good finish and we sailed well with a good system.”
Indeed, by almost any measure, the top-four finish was an impressive result for the team, given it has only been sailing together since this summer and bodes well for its longer-term prospects. (The Ocean Race is set to take place in 2021-2022.) Taking the top three spots in the IMOCA fleet were, in order, Apivia, PRB and Charal, all crewed by Frenchmen.
As a side note, while it’s great to see 11 Hour Racing finishing strong, it’s also great to see the media letting their hair down in the video above. All too often the corporate nature of today’s pro sailing seems to result in robotic, corporatized behavior on the part of the sailors, but not here. Nice work, guys. Remember, sailing is supposed to be fun!
For complete details on the races, including full result not only in the IMOCA class but the Class40 and Multi50 classes as well, click here.