2018-05-10 / Front Page

Vestas captures bronze in leg to Newport


The Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew represented the Rhode Island “Hope” flag after arriving at Fort Adams in third place during the eighth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. In the bottom left, Newport Mayor Henry Winthrop and stopover director Susan Maffei Plowden, a Jamestown resident, applaud the home team. 
JESUS RENEDO/VOLVO OCEAN RACE The Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew represented the Rhode Island “Hope” flag after arriving at Fort Adams in third place during the eighth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. In the bottom left, Newport Mayor Henry Winthrop and stopover director Susan Maffei Plowden, a Jamestown resident, applaud the home team. JESUS RENEDO/VOLVO OCEAN RACE After about 5,700 nautical miles of racing from Itajai, Brazil, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet experienced a complete restart in the early hours Tuesday. In the final approach into Narragansett Bay, the wind died and the distances between the top four boats decreased to less than a mile.

“We knew it was going to be a close finish as soon as we left Brazil,” said Rhode Islander Charlie Enright, skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing. “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.”

The American-flagged boat crossed the finish line at 7:59 a.m., just 15 minutes behind the top two finishers, earning its third podium finish of the global circumnavigation.

The Newport stopover is a homecoming for the blue boat. Enright is from nearby Bristol, boat captain Nick Dana is a Newport native and team director Mark Towill attended Brown University in Providence. Furthermore, 11th Hour Racing, the team’s title co-sponsor, is headquartered in the historic sailing town.

“It’s special to sail into my home,” said Dana, whose family owns the Newport Shipyard. “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 puts together an amazing stopover and we look forward to making the most of our stay here.”

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 in 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 said it was “all about the subtleties.”

“The transitions were the hardest part of this leg,” he explained. “We sailed a little too high out of 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 play the current, which I think definitely helped us get on the podium.”

Now in Newport, the sailors and shore crew will rest and prepare for the upcoming double-points transatlantic leg to Cardiff, Wales, which starts May 20.

Before they depart, sailors will participate in the scheduled inshore race. They also will visit a local marsh with Save The Bay to learn about the agency’s coastal restoration work, which is part of 11th Hour Racing’s legacy project with the team.

Return to top