A new format, two trophies, and another North Sails-powered circumnavigation completed
After six months, nine stopover cities, and 32,000 nautical miles, The Ocean Race 2022-23 sailed its final miles and crowned two winners at the finale in Genoa, Italy. Skipper Charlie Enright (USA) and his 11th Hour Racing Team hoisted The Ocean Race Trophy, while Pablo Arrarte (ESP) and the WindWhisper Racing Team claimed the VO65 Sprint Cup.
The 50th edition of the race ushered in a new era of competition with two classes, the one design VO65 and the exciting IMOCA development class, as well as featuring the longest leg in the history of the race. We also saw the fall of the 24-hour monohull speed record, which stood for eight years only to be broken back to back during Leg 5.
📸 Sailing Energy / The Ocean Race
True to form, The Ocean Race 2022-23 pushed boundaries, expectations, and at times, the patience of the teams and fans worldwide.
No one is better suited than Enright to speak firsthand on the long road to the start line and the ups and downs of this lap around the planet.
11th Hour Racing Team was leading the race overall when they experienced a devastating collision at the start of the final leg. The incident forced the team to retire from Leg 7, but the sailing and shore teams turned their heartbreak into heroic efforts to get the boat sailing again while also filing for redress. Following the redress hearing on June 29th, the International Jury awarded the team 4 points, putting them on the top of the leaderboard and securing Enright's place in history as the first American skipper to win The Ocean Race.
The 11th Hour Racing skipper comments on his team's win:
"I'm absolutely ecstatic. This race takes everything out of you - emotionally, mentally, and physically. I'm incredibly proud of our whole team who have worked tirelessly for three years to get to this point. There have been highs, some incredible highs, but also lows that have knocked us all, but they were all worth it to hear this news today."
"When we launched our campaign in 2019, we never could have anticipated that it would finish in this way. Any sailor will tell you that they want to win races on the water and not in the jury room, and after winning three legs back to back we felt exceptionally strong and confident going into the final leg. We are pleased with the jury's decision, although we wish we had had the chance to battle it out for this final leg on the water as Holcim-PRB have been exceptional competitors and pushed us all the way"
📸 Sailing Energy / The Ocean Race
The Ocean Race 2022-23 welcomed the IMOCA class to the race route for the first time. And for the IMOCA class, the race was the first time these high-performance foiling machines were sailed fully crewed.
It was a bold move from a race that had sailed in the one design VO65 for the previous three editions. But the 60ft development class reinvigorated The Ocean Race with innovation and gave the fans awe-inspiring drone footage from the world's most remote locations.
Antoine Mermod, president of the IMOCA Class comments: “The Ocean Race was great. All of us within the class enjoyed it very much. The sailors loved racing and pushed these boats to their limits for six months. Technically and athletically, we learned a lot, as the boats were used more intensively and for longer than in the past. The understanding we collected from this edition will carry that forward for the next race. The IMCOA class shares a strong partnership with The Ocean Race, which we're really proud of. We've still got lots of questions on the table for the future, but we've also got really valuable first answers.”
📸 Amory Ross / 11th Hour Racing Team / Ocean Race
At North Sails, we have always been at the forefront of sailmaking innovation, and our contributions to The Ocean Race 2022-23 are no exception. Our sail technologies, including the revolutionary North 3Di and Helix Sails, have redefined the boundaries of performance and endurance in the most challenging conditions.
North Sails President and three-time Volvo Ocean Race race veteran comments:
"The Ocean Race is one of the hardest competitions in our sport for teams and their equipment. Everyone sets out to win, and in doing so, they put the best sailors, designers, and engineers on their project to help them achieve that goal. With the Ocean Race, our challenge is engineering sails that balance high performance and reliability to endure thousands of miles in brutal conditions. This edition we've witnessed the fully-crewed IMOCA pushed harder than ever. Races like this force creative thinking and fast-tracks innovation at North Sails."
The North Sails team and our products will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping innovations for The Ocean Race, the IMOCA class, and the wider offshore racing community. Our brand was first named the exclusive supplier to the then-new VO65 one design class in 2013. Two editions later, North Sails has once again proven itself worthy of delivering consistency across the one design fleet, and North Sails is the sailmaker of choice for four or the five IMOCAs. Our sails and, more recently, the North Sails Performance foul weather gear enable the teams to push their boats and themselves harder than ever.
THE OCEAN RACE 2022-2023 LIVE DEBRIEF
Join Ken Read, 11th Hour Racing Team skipper Charlie Enright and WindWhisper Racing Team skipper Pablo Arrarte for a live debrief of The Ocean Race 2022-23 on July 11, 2023. This webinar with the winners is free and open to everyone
If you’re interested but unable to attend this live webinar, register anyway, and we’ll send you a link to the recording once it’s ready.
Click here to register ➤