At 1320 EST, 11th Hour Racing Team crossed the start line for the 52nd edition of the Newport Bermuda Race. As the only entry in the Open Division, the team will take on the 635-nautical mile (730-mile or 1,022-kilometer) race to their final destination – Bermuda – in its first major race of 2022.
The crew consists of Skipper Charlie Enright (USA), Justine Mettraux (SUI) and special guests big wave surfer Ian Walsh (USA) and backcountry snowboarder Elena Hight (USA), alongside Media Crew Member Amory Ross (USA).
Leaving the dock earlier, Skipper Charlie Enright said: “Growing up in Rhode Island, arguably the home of offshore sailing in the USA, this race celebrates everything that’s great about the sport. There are always huge crowds on Castle Hill to send us on our way and the challenging features like the Gulf Stream really draw sailors in to participate.
“My priority for this race is our crew, the boat and the race in that order. We have a strong team, and I’m really pleased that we have two of the country’s top extreme sports athletes joining us in Elena and Ian.
“For us at 11th Hour Racing Team this event is important as it is our first major race of 2022. It’s a chance for the whole team – shore and sailing – to practice our race build up, preparations and tactics as we keep one eye on the start of The Ocean Race early next year.
“The forecast is looking pretty fruity, and it’s going to be quite different for Ian and Elena compared to the training they’ve done with us so far. I do really look forward to them both experiencing ‘The Ocean View Effect’ as we leave land behind and embrace the vastness and power of the ocean together.
“It will be intense but there will be a great feeling of accomplishment for them both.”
The forecast is predicting southwesterly winds between 17 and 22 knots (20-25mph) at the start, lasting into the evening, with waves of 8 to 10 feet offshore. 11th Hour Racing Team Navigator Simon Fisher, who has been supporting the crew with weather data and routing said:“The forecast all hinges on a cold front and its timing as it moves off the East coast of the US and out over the Atlantic. For our team it will be all about sailing fast to make sure they stay out ahead of this front for the duration of the race, but they will have to carefully manage their course in order to optimize both the wind speeds they are sailing in, and their wind angles in order to stay on the fastest course to Bermuda.”
Weather experts are predicting it could take Mālama as little as 36 hours to reach Bermuda. All news and updates will be available on 11th Hour Racing Team’s live blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and you can follow the race via the tracker here.
The Newport Bermuda Race is the culmination of a week’s worth of activities organized by team title sponsor, 11th Hour Racing, for school children and the local community. Activities included an Ocean Hologram Exhibit, creative educational sessions around ocean health in collaboration with The Ocean Race Learning Program, and an on-site premiere with NewportFILM of 11th Hour Racing Team’s new documentary, Under the Hull.
Notes to editors:
* The course record in the Open Division is 34 hours and 42 minutes (18.3 knot average speed), set by the 100-foot maxi yacht Comanche in 2016. (Open Division yachts are not eligible for the overall race prizes.)