Please select your home edition
Doyle Sails 2020 - Redefining Boundaries 728x90 TOP

International sailing squad 11th Hour Racing Team lines up two boats to compete at Le Défi Azimut

by 11th Hour Racing Team 15 Sep 2021 02:02 PDT
11th Hour Racing Team © Vincent Curutchet / 11th Hour Racing

The international elite of offshore yachting is gathering in Lorient on the Atlantic coast of France to battle for glory at Le Défi Azimut, a unique showcase regatta over four consecutive days.

The event brings together 32 of the world's best offshore skippers, split into 16 teams of two. Competing in the IMOCA class, which every four years contests the Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race, these men and women will be putting their high-performance yachts through their paces on inshore courses, on a two-handed offshore race and, to finish, a round the island race.

11th Hour Racing Team is competing with two crews: one consists of Justine Mettraux (SUI) and Simon Fisher (GBR), who recently scored a third place in their debut as a double-handed sailing crew at the prestigious Rolex Fastnet Race. The second team is formed by Charlie Enright (USA) and Pascal Bidégorry (FRA), who will be premiering the Team's brand-new yacht as it takes to the racecourse for the first time.

The new boat is the new-generation IMOCA yacht designed to be sailed both in a fully-crewed and solo or single-handed set-up. The team is aiming to win The Ocean Race 2022-23, the unofficial world championship of offshore ocean racing, with this boat carrying the name Malama (Hawaiian for: 'to care for' - more on the boat's name and naming ceremony here).

Excelling in sporting performance is, however, not the only goal of 11th Hour Racing Team. Dedicated to raising awareness about ocean health and driving positive change in the marine industry, the Team has worked with alternative materials and put sustainable innovation at its center when building the new boat.

Skipper Charlie Enright commented on the upcoming race: "The moment to stretch Malama's legs has come! We haven't had a lot of time to train on our new boat, so we look forward to testing everything out at Le Défi Azimut. Our focus this year is the Transat Jacques Vabre and we want to make sure the boat runs smoothly before taking on a race across the Atlantic."

An event still not well-known outside France, Le Défi Azimut is a standout regatta in offshore yachting with a unique format. Divided into three parts, it consists of different challenges requiring the crews to demonstrate their skills in a variety of situations:

September 15: Speed Runs

Time to push those boats to full speed! Each team will attempt to break the IMOCA 60 record over a one nautical-mile course [1.15 miles; 1.85 km] between Lorient and Ile de Groix. There are up to four goes for each crew who will sail the course on their own each time, offering plenty of opportunities for spectators to witness great action.

September 16-18: 48H Azimut

For the flagship event of Le Défi Azimut, the crews do an overnight loop into the Atlantic Ocean. 48 hours is short in offshore sailing terms but long enough for the competition to heat up between the teams. The skippers are supported by an onboard media man, making the race an inclusive virtual experience to be followed online.

September 19: Tour de I'île de Groix

For the grand final, the teams will sail around the picturesque Ile de Groix off Lorient. During this last race, the skippers can showcase their inshore racing skills and their ability to get their best out of their boats when in close proximity to their rivals on a short course.

Le Défi Azimut is part of the IMOCA Globe Series, a multi-event circuit of prestigious yacht races including the solo Vendée Globe and Route de Rhum, the fully-crewed Ocean Race, and the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre. All the teams signed up for the event will start the Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) in November this year, leaving from Le Havre, France to the French Caribbean Island of Martinique.

Simon Fisher, currently leading the IMOCA Globe Series alongside co-skipper Justine Mettraux, is looking forward to getting started: "All these events are new to me, so I am really excited," he said. "The transition into double-handed sailing with Justine has been great, and we look forward to building up our level of competitiveness over the next few weeks leading up to the TJV. We have probably both surprised each other with how smooth everything goes between the two of us onboard. We really work well together as a team, and it feels great!"

The official event program and more information can also be found on the Défi Azimut - Lorient Agglomeration's website.

Related Articles

11th Hour Racing sets off for Concarneau, France
After an incredible two months in Newport, Rhode Island 11th Hour Racing Team has set off from its homeport of Newport, Rhode Island bound for France, after two months of community engagement and racing in the State. Posted on 2 Aug
Newport Bermuda Race: "A wild ride"
Elena Hight and Ian Walsh on11th Hour Racing Team cross the finish line At 06:48 EDT, 11th Hour Racing Team crossed the finish line of the 2022 Newport Bermuda Race after a grueling 41 hours and 28 minutes 43 seconds at sea. Posted on 19 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team starts Newport Bermuda Race
Starting at 1320 EST, the only entry in the Open Division At 1320 EST, 11th Hour Racing Team crossed the start line for the 52nd edition of the Newport Bermuda Race. Posted on 17 Jun
Under the Hull now available on YouTube
Brand new 11th Hour Racing Team documentary Under the Hull is now available on YouTube Premiere, allowing viewers to enjoy the first showing of the feature length documentary from anywhere in the world. Posted on 16 Jun
Elena Hight & Ian Walsh join 11th Hour Racing Team
For the 635-nautical mile Newport Bermuda Race Extreme sports icons Elena Hight (USA) and Ian Walsh (USA) will join 11th Hour Racing Team for the 635-nautical mile (730-mile or 1,022-kilometer) dash from Newport, Rhode Island, down to the North Atlantic island of Bermuda, departing on June 17. Posted on 16 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team to release TJV documentary
Under the Hull will be a feature length documentary 11th Hour Racing Team will release Under the Hull a feature length documentary following the offshore sailing team as they take on the infamous French race, the Transat Jacques Vabre Posted on 10 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team arrive in Newport, RI
Signifying the first visit of the new IMOCA race boat Malama to the USA The new IMOCA race boat Malama arrived in its home port of Newport, Rhode Island, this evening at sundown following a successful 10 day transatlantic training run from Concarneau, France. Posted on 7 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team work with EMG
Teaming up with Environmental Monitoring Group for clean water in Cape Town 11th Hour Racing Team to support South African NGO Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) as part of the Team's legacy grantee program during The Ocean Race 2022-23. Posted on 31 May
Celebrate our Blue Planet at #OceanHour Week
Immerse yourself in the culture of professional sailing with 11th Hour Racing 11th Hour Racing will host a free week-long, ocean-themed initiative in Newport, R.I., from June 12 to 18, to celebrate 11th Hour Racing Team's return to Narragansett Bay, the organization announced today. Posted on 29 May
11th Hour Racing Team sets sail for Newport
Skipper Charlie Enright joined by newcomer to the team Francesca Clapcich Professional offshore sailing outfit, 11th Hour Racing Team, has set off for its first major ocean crossing in its new IMOCA race boat - Malama. Posted on 27 May
Sea Sure 2020 - FOOTERLloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px2 BOTTOMC-Tech 2021 America's Cup 728x90 BOTTOM