11th Hour Racing Team has won the Genoa In-Port Race, the final battle of The Ocean Race 2022-23, bagging the US team the top spot in the overall In-Port Race Series. The US-flagged team adds the In-Port Race Series trophy to the overall Ocean Race trophy – the first time an American team has won the round the world marathon in the 50-year history of the race.
Before leaving the dock for this final In-Port Race, 11th Hour Racing Team skipper Charlie Enright knew he had to finish no more than two places behind Team Malizia – their only rival for the top spot of the In-Port Race Series – to win the short course series trophy.
In light and tricky conditions in the Gulf of Genoa, with a sea breeze of just 4-5 knots, the four teams crawled across the startline. “We normally do a reaching course, but the wind wasn’t really playing ball for the Race Committee,” commented Navigator Simon Fisher (GBR). “So we started on a run, which made it a little bit more tactical and interesting to sail. We didn’t have the greatest of starts because the wind really did shut down just before the starting gun went off, but our pace was good and we rounded the first mark in third.
“The course was then shortened so we didn’t make one full lap of the course, but with the pressure from the shore, we were able to extend a lead and Charlie did a really nice job of gliding us through the finish line to snatch the win from Malizia right at the very end. A really nice job by everyone on a very light and tricky day.”
11th Hour Racing Team took the win, finishing ahead of Team Malizia in second, Biotherm in third, and Team Holcim-PRB in fourth.
Charlie Enright (USA) who became the first American to skipper a US-flagged team to Ocean Race victory was clearly delighted with the win as they returned to the dock. “It was a complicated day out there with not a lot of wind, a pretty whacky racecourse, and not the greatest start for us. But I think that the performance was pretty typical of our team, you know? We kept fighting and took the opportunity when it presented itself. Today was probably a case of better lucky than good but I guess when you are rolling you are rolling, so I’ll take it!
“It’s a fairy tale ending to what has been a great experience for this whole campaign.”
Trimmer Francesca Clapcich (ITA) became the first Italian to ever win The Ocean Race in the 50-year history of the round the world marathon. Speaking on the dock as she waved to the thousands of spectators on shore, the double-Olympian from Trieste, couldn’t hide her emotions.
“I think one more time we have shown how resilient as a team we are. We knew that Genova can bring some tricky conditions, especially this time of year, and we never gave up and worked hard between the five of us, with good communication all the way to the end. Even when it is hard we shine pretty good.
“I almost can’t believe what a day it has been – it has been incredibly special. I spent ten years in the Italian Air Force, and on the water today we were joined by the Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian Naval Academy Tall Ship, and the Frecce Tricolori – the Italian Air Force’s aerobatic display team. It was such an impressive sight.
“To be here, to win The Ocean Race in the country I have represented all my life and competed for in two Olympic Games, and with a team under an American flag, where I live with my wife – it’s like both my worlds are colliding. I thought I could handle the emotions, but they are just bursting out today.”
For Simon Fisher – a two-times winner of The Ocean Race, the win today marked the end of his sixth round the world campaign. “I think if you ask anyone on the team they will tell you that we were determined we put our stamp on the In-Port Race Series today, as well as the overall leaderboard.
“It was important, not only because it serves as a tie-breaker for the overall series, but because of everything that happened in The Hague; we really wanted to come back strong and sail a good race. It is a fantastic achievement that we got the win today and wrapped up the In-Port Series as well; it hammers home that we have been the best team in the race.”
Trimming onboard Mālama was Jack Bouttell, another two-time winner of The Ocean Race, and now with back-to-back wins. “Today was the cherry on the top – it was a really nice way to finish the campaign. As amazing as the last leg was, finishing the race in the way we did with the redress hearing it has been frustrating not to be able to actually race the boat.
“Winning the In-Port Race today, and the In-Port Race Series, was a really nice way to finish it off, back out on the water, sailing well, and bringing home the win. It’s been a cool end to an incredible race.”
For Media Crew Member, Amory Ross (USA), this edition was his fourth participation in the round the world race. “The race today was a microcosm of our overall race. We were on the backfoot early, the last boat across the line, and everyone kept their composure. We stuck with our plan, believed in the way things were going for us, and we had good communication with an optimistic outlook. It was a fun last day on the water as a team and a great way to close the campaign off.”
The crew onboard 11th Hour Racing Team for the final In-Port Race was Skipper Charlie Enright (USA), Navigator Simon Fisher (GBR), Trimmers Jack Bouttell (AUS/GBR) and Francesca Clapcich (ITA), and Media Crew Member Amory Ross (USA).