After months of racing around the world the outcome of the 27,000-mile The Ocean Race came down to a jury decision after a collision at the start of the final leg

Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team has won The Ocean Race after a jury awarded them redress of 4 points in the final leg of the round the world race, from which they were forced to retire.

The Ocean Race – previously the Volvo Ocean Race – took place in IMOCA 60s for the first time ever this year, with the usually one-or-two person semi-foilers optimised for ‘fully-crewed’ use for this race. However 11th Hour Racing was the only team to launch a new IMOCA 60 with the primary aim of winning The Ocean Race and thus went into the event as favourites.

While Holcim-PRB was the stand-out team for the opening stages, and Malizia impressive in the gripping Southern Ocean leg, 11th Hour Racing, who had not delivered on their potential early on, were delivering a zero-to-hero comeback story.

Having overcome several potentially race-ending breakages on the long Southern Ocean Leg 3, to win back to back wins over Legs 4, 5 and 6 – including into their home port of Newport – it was shaping up to be a fairy tale finish for the US team, and with just two points separating 11th Hour and Holcim-PRB over the unpredictable leg from northern Europe, across Biscay and deep into the Mediterranean, there was potential for a nail-biting finale.

However, disaster struck just 17 minutes into the start of Leg 7, from The Hague to Genoa in Italy, in a port-starboard incident between the 11th Hour and Guyot-environnement IMOCA 60s. Guyot-environnement, on port, did not see 11th Hour Racing and did not alter course in time to avoid them. The result was a full-bore ’T-bone’, with Guyot’s bowsprit spearing into the side of 11th Hour’s cockpit, missing skipper Charlie Enright by inches, while Guyot’s bow smashed into the port aft quarter of the 11th Hour IMOCA Malama, leaving a substantial hole.

Incredibly, no crew members were hurt, though all were deeply shocked by the incident.

After deliberation, the World Sailing International Jury awarded 11th Hour Racing Team 4 points of redress – based on an average of their results in the race to date – to put them at the top of the leaderboard.

The final leaderboard sees 11th Hour Racing Team 3 points clear of Team Holcim-PRB in second place, with Team Malizia in third, Biotherm is fourth place and GUYOT environnement – Team Europe fifth.

11th Hour Racing Team are the first US-flagged team to win the Race, and sailor Francesca Clapcich will arrive in Genova on Thursday afternoon as the first Italian sailor to win the race.

Speaking from onboard Mālama as the team delivered the boat to Genova, Skipper Charlie Enright commented, “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.”

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