2018-05-10 / Around Town

Local Racers Arrive in Fog for 3rd Place Finish


Vestas 11th Hour Racing crawls into Newport through the fog with the spectator boats. 
Photo by Onne van der Wal Vestas 11th Hour Racing crawls into Newport through the fog with the spectator boats. Photo by Onne van der Wal Where is Vestas? That was the question everyone was asking from the shore. Vestas 11th Hour Racing came in third in the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) in Leg 8 from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport.

After more than 5,000 nautical miles of racing from Itajaí, Brazil, the VOR fleet experienced a complete restart in the early hours of May 8 when, in the final approach into Narragansett Bay, the wind died and the distances between the top four boats decreased at one point to less than a mile.

“We knew it was going to be a close finish as soon as we left Brazil,” said Vestas 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright on the dock after crossing the Inmarsat Finish Line at 759 EST (1059 UTC) just 15 minutes behind the top two finishers. “For a foggy morning at 6 a.m., it was amazing to see how many people turned out. It’s great just to finish and great to be back on the podium.”

Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Nick Dana’s nephew welcomes him to Newport. Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Nick Dana’s nephew welcomes him to Newport. Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race The Newport stopover is a homecoming for the blue boat with multiple connections to the Ocean State for the team and shore crew. Enright is from nearby Bristol; boat captain Nick Dana is a Newport native; and team director and co-founder Mark Towill attended Brown University with Enright. Furthermore, team partner 11th Hour Racing is also headquartered in the historic sailing town.

“It’s special to sail into my home,” said Dana. “Not many ocean races end here so it is amazing to see all the family, friends, and fans who came out on the water and down to Fort Adams on this foggy, cold spring morning to welcome us.”

“It’s great to be in Newport again,” Towill added. “We did some training here last year, so it feels like sailing home. The team at Sail Newport always put together an amazing stopover and we look forward to making the most of our stay here.”


Newport native Nick Dana and Bristol native Charlie Enright welcomed by Mayor Harry Winthrop. (right) Newport native Nick Dana and Bristol native Charlie Enright welcomed by Mayor Harry Winthrop. (right) Enright, Dana, and Towill may have the local connections, but the entire crew was looking forward to this particular arrival. “I have heard so much about the Newport stopover,” said Jena Hansen, the Danish Olympic bronze medalist on her first Volvo Ocean Race. “Nick has told me all the places I must go to get some lobster rolls and local oysters this week.”

Looking back on the leg, British navigator Simon Fisher called it “all about the subtleties.”

“The transitions were the hardest part of this leg,” said Fisher. “We sailed a little too high out the Doldrums, so we lost some gauge on the fleet. The last 200 miles were tough because we saw 40 knots of wind go down to nearly zero in a matter of a few hours. Coming into the Bay, we relied on our local knowledge onboard with Charlie and Nick and knew how to the play the current which I think definitely helped us get on the podium.”


Charlie Enright warmly embraces his son upon arrival. (left) 
(Photos by Jen Carter) Charlie Enright warmly embraces his son upon arrival. (left) (Photos by Jen Carter) Moreover, the USA is a strategic market for the co-title sponsor, Vestas. As well as hosting guests from the North American energy sector, the Danish leader in wind energy will also provide the team with key meteorological data ahead of the In-Port race and Leg 9 to Cardiff, Wales.

Now in Newport, the sailors and shore crew will be resting and preparing for the upcoming double-points transatlantic leg to Cardiff which starts on May 20. During the stopover, sailors will also be participating in the scheduled inshore racing, as well as a number of events including the Ocean Summit and a visit to a local marsh with non-profit Save the Bay to learn about their coastal restoration work, as part of 11th Hour Racing’s legacy project with the team.

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