Charlie’s blog: It’s always good to head home…

It’s always good to head home …

Today, we set out for the “États Unis”. Sailing into Newport is always special. I vividly remember every time I’ve done it. The first time was in 2011 as part of the Annapolis-Newport Race and this most recent endeavor will be, hopefully, the completion of my 15th Trans-Atlantic crossing since that memorable day ten years ago. How time flies!

Every homecoming has its own storyline. Whether it’s a race or training, it’s always about more than just the journey. Past narratives include: our first-time sailing home, our first east to west crossing, our first-time as part of The Ocean Race, my first-time with my kids on the dock, our first-time having to stick a swab up our noses upon arrival … and now … our first-time on an IMOCA that we’ve conceived and built as a team. 

We’ve been based out of Brittany, France, since 2019. It’s been four years of accumulating knowledge and eating at the same small-town boulangeries day-in and day-out. And we’ve absolutely loved it.

Brittany is the heart of the offshore sailing world as evidenced by the handful of 100-foot-plus trimarans and the 40 IMCOAs that are regularly campaigned here.

The goals of 11th Hour Racing Team are lofty. We want to win The Ocean Race 2022-23 with sustainability at the core of all team operations, but we also want to repatriate everything we’ve learned from being embedded in this sailing-ravenous and sustainably-minded culture.

There’s a successful blueprint over here for performance yacht racing and pleasure boating. If we can bring elements of that blueprint back to Newport, it could benefit the entire coastal community. Hopefully, this campaign, and in some senses this symbolic passage, can be a big step in this longer-term vision. We’ve got a jam-packed schedule while the boat is in Newport, and we’d love to engage with as many people as we can!

But … between here and there we have 3,000 miles of early-season North Atlantic. It looks like we’ll be up against a ton of low pressure and the ever-changing forecasts that come with sailing against the gain this time of year.

We are looking forward to it all – the journey and the destination. 

Adios for now, 


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