11th Hour Racing Team has announced its plan to deliver its 60-foot race boat, Mālama, to Genoa, Italy, after the huge collision during the inshore section of the Leg 7 start, which saw the team forced to retire from the final leg of The Ocean Race 2022-23. 11th Hour Racing Team’s boat was hit by competitor GUYOT environnement – Team Europe just 17 minutes into the start of the leg, on its port side, leaving a large hole in the aft section of the boat.
The US team’s shore crew has worked in shift patterns 24/7, since the incident on Thursday, June 15, to get the boat ready to not only sail to Genoa, but also race in the final In-Port Race on July 1. The work has been completed in less than 72 hours. The earliest the team can depart The Hague is from 1800 CEST (1600 UTC), and will have to pass Non-Destructive Testing of the boat, which ensures the boat is structurally sound.
The crew onboard for the delivery to Genoa will be the Leg 7 sailors – Skipper Charlie Enright (USA) alongside Navigator Simon Fisher (GBR), Trimmers Jack Bouttell (AUS/GBR) and Francesca Clapcich (ITA), and Media Crew Member Amory Ross (USA).
“Our shore team has worked 24/7 for three days to repair our boat and, subject to passing final Non-Destructive Tests this afternoon, we will get the green light to deliver the boat to Genoa,” commented Skipper Charlie Enright (USA). “It has been a monumental task, but the whole team has risen to the challenge. This is a race against time, and the final hurdle will be the weather en route to Genoa, but we will do everything we can to be there for the Grande Finale and to race the final In-Port Race on July 1.”
James O’Mahony, the team’s Boat Captain, has been part of the technical crew repairing the damage to the boat. “Immediately after the incident happened, and after ensuring all crew were safe, the sailors’ priority was to make the boat safe and get her to the dock so the shore team could fully assess the damage. To do this, we had to cut back and chop out all the damage, the NOMEX core, the deck, and the foam, to strip right back to the original, undamaged structure.
“We then liaised with our designers to understand exactly what structure had to be reinstated and how many layers of laminate were needed to build everything back again. We then built the sections on a table in the team base and took them down to the boat to shape them to fit back in the boat – a bit like carving puzzle pieces to join together. We reinstated all the structural elements of the deck – the uni-directional fibers that stiffen the boat, the core, and all the laminate. There were many, many steps to get her not only seaworthy again but also ready to race,” O’Mahoney concluded.
11th Hour Racing Team is leading the overall standings by two points going into the final leg over Swiss entry Team Holcim-PRB, and six points ahead of German entry Team Malizia. In addition, the team is also leading the In-Port Race leaderboard by three points over Team Malizia, and eight points over Biotherm.
11th Hour Racing Team has requested redress from the World Sailing International Jury, and a date for the hearing will be issued to all interested parties in due course.
The International Jury is appointed by the Organizing Authority – in this case The Ocean Race – and approved by the governing body of the sport – World Sailing. The five-strong International Jury are highly experienced rules experts, and their role is to hear the evidence from all sides of an incident, and apply a ruling in accordance to the Racing Rules of Sailing.
“I have been blown away by the messages of support we have had coming in – from friends, old and new, from classrooms back in the U.S., and from fans of the race around the world,” commented Enright. “We have felt the support and energy, and to know that we have thousands of hands on our backs is incredibly humbling. I am so proud of how our whole team has come together to push through this final hurdle. The shore team has worked tirelessly to get the boat not only seaworthy, but race-ready, and although this isn’t the end to The Ocean Race we could ever have anticipated, we will do everything we can to be on that final startline on July 1.”
The boat will be tracked on The Ocean Race tracker as it makes its delivery to Genoa; the latest routing has the team arriving in Italy on June 30.