When the five IMOCA teams are on The Ocean Race start line for Leg 4 from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, USA on April 23, the US-flagged 11th Hour Racing Team Skipper Charlie Enright will be joined by Navigator Simon Fisher (GBR), Trimmers Francesca Clapcich (ITA), and six-time race veteran Damian Foxall (IRL), along with media crew member Amory Ross (USA).

“We have two changes to the onboard team for this upcoming leg to our hometown of Newport,” noted Enright. “We are bringing back Francesca in place of Justine Mettraux [SUI], and new to the line-up onboard Mālama is the hugely experienced Damian Foxall, in place of Jack Bouttell.

“We are very lucky to have such a deep bench in our team. The Southern Ocean leg took its toll on us all – the boat as well as the people! We had always planned to give our team members a rest and, looking around the fleet, a lot of the other teams are doing the same. Relative to the competition, we continue to feel strong.”

This will be the first leg of The Ocean Race 2022-23 sailed by Foxall, who has over 450,000 nautical miles under his belt. “I was really pleased when Charlie asked me if I would sail onboard for this next Leg to Newport,” commented Foxall.

“Every time the race has come to Itajaí, I’ve either sailed into or out of the city, so I’m really proud to be doing it once again. I’ll be stepping into some big boots and racing alongside fantastic sailors across the fleet, but we have what I believe is one of the best boats for this leg, so I’m looking forward to getting going.”

Foxall also manages the Sustainability Program for 11th Hour Racing Team, delivering on the team’s Planet Positive commitment, including measuring the climate impact of the team’s complete operations, reducing where possible, insetting, and finally compensating, drawing down 20% more greenhouse gases than the team emits.

Having sailed onboard Mālama from Alicante to Cape Town in Legs 1 and 2, Clapcich returns to the team’s 60-foot IMOCA, replacing Justine Mettraux (SUI), who raced onboard for the mammoth 37-day, 20-hour leg from Cape Town, South Africa to Itajaí, Brazil.

Olympian Clapcich is looking forward to getting back onboard the boat. “It has been almost two months since I’ve raced onboard, and I have missed it. I am raring to go, and we will be pushing as hard as we can to climb that leaderboard; now is our time.

“Before leaving home, I told my wife: we are going to win this leg. I also think it’s good to come in fresh, without having sailed the previous leg, which is what Damian and I will be doing. This is an important leg for the team, and I’m pleased to be onboard for it.”

Both Mettraux and Bouttell are scheduled to step back onboard for Leg 5 from Newport, Rhode Island to Aarhus, Denmark.

The 5,550-nautical mile fourth leg of The Ocean Race 2022-23 is a complex northerly passage that takes the teams back into the northern hemisphere on the way to 11th Hour Racing Team’s US base in Newport, Rhode Island.

Picking the route from Itajaí to Newport will be a challenging one for the team’s Navigator, Simon Fisher, as he negotiates the team’s route up the coast of Brazil, picking their route through the Doldrums, tackling the trade winds, and crossing the Gulf Stream, before the notoriously tricky approach to the Ocean State.

“This leg will be a massive contrast to the Southern Ocean,” explained Fisher. “It is a nice opportunity to get back into the style of sailing where it is all about the small decisions. In the last leg, it could be described as painting in broad strokes, but this leg is all about getting the small details right to make the overall plan work out.”

Previous editions of The Ocean Race have seen light wind finishes on this route, and no matter how familiar the waters of Narragansett Bay may be to them, the 11th Hour Racing Team sailors will be taking nothing for granted until Mālama’s bow crosses the finish line off Newport’s Fort Adams State Park.

Media crew member, Amory Ross, is looking forward to sailing back to his home state. “Anyone who calls Newport home knows the passion and enthusiasm for sailing the Rhode Islanders have, and this is the reason why we all choose to make it home,” he commented.

“One great thing about sailing to a place like Newport in a race like The Ocean Race is that we get to share it with the rest of the world. I’m always very proud of the turnout and enthusiasm for the event, and I know it will be the same with this edition of the race. It is something that motivates us hugely on the water.”

With a second and two third places secured in the race so far, Enright is looking for a strong result as they head home to Newport. “I certainly wouldn’t get on the boat with a crew that I didn’t think could win a leg that was really important to me,” he said. “We look forward to getting out there and getting into it.”

Overall Leaderboard (after 3 of 7 legs)

1. Team Holcim-PRB — 19 points

2. Team Malizia — 14 points

3. 11th Hour Racing Team — 13 points

4. Biotherm — 10 points

5. GUYOT environnement – Team Europe — 2 points