Interview: Charles Enright – skipper of Team Alvimedica

Charlie Enright pic by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Charlie Enright
pic by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Alvimedica pic by GILLES MARTIN-RAGET

Alvimedica
pic by GILLES MARTIN-RAGET

Richard Crockett interviewed Charles Enright, skipper of Team Alvimedica

Were you hoping to do better on this leg?
You can always do better. Our leg had some good moments and some moments we probably want back, but by and large it was a pretty good foundation for moving forward.

In terms of your young crew – did they perform as you expected them to?
I think one of our strengths right now is our team because everybody has a good perspective and I think everybody’s head is in the right place as far as their goals, their expectations and our process for going about achieving them.

You were part of that whole Disney Morning Light programme and movie. Was that a great experience for you and the guys involved? It has obviously opened some good doors for you?
Yea it was an incredible programme, it really was. It ended up being much more than I ever thought it would be. It created some opportunities, and opportunities are really only as good as you make them, so we were fortunate to maximise that opportunity and leverage it into more while working hard at the sport we love. And here we are!

Is there likely to be another programme like that or was it a unique one-off?
I hope so, but all I can really say is that there will never be another man like Roy Disney. His passion for the sport and for young people was really unprecedented. I don’t think we will see another guy who gives back quite like he did. We tried to do our own thing on a small scale a couple of years back and we found that to be pretty successful. If people get in the right mind-set and create opportunities for others and growing the sport by involving young people, the sky is the limit.

In terms of the first leg of the race are there any issues that you had on the boat – any breakages or were you actually quite clean all the way?
We were pretty clean all the way. Unfortunately for us we weren’t able to get as far south as we would have liked where some of the bigger breezes were. The fact that our boat is in good nick is testament to our sailing team, our boat captain Nick Dana, and our shore crew who all worked tirelessly. In my opinion preventative maintenance is the best maintenance. To watch those guys be as meticulous as they are and then to have the boat in pretty good shape when we get here is no coincidence.

Is the one-design route the right route to go?
I am biassed, but yes. We have only done one leg, but I think the results kind of speak for themselves. Last race there were only three finishers to leg one. This time we had seven very competitive boats not only start, but finish this leg. The stats show everybody led at one point, everyone had their moment, and you know it has made the sailors happy. It has gotta make the sponsors happy, so yea I think the race is in a very healthy spot.

Are the boats equal?
Yes.

Are we likely to see as close finishes during the race?
I would imagine so. These legs are so long, they have so many different stages, there are a lot of resets, and park-ups and there is definitely light air at the end -so I am sure the racing will remain this tight all the way around.

The second leg. Any major obstacles you have to look at?
Tons! You know, it is a tough leg. This is one of the most rugged places I have ever been. Getting out of here could be pretty difficult, and then we have a number of exclusions zones along the way – one for Africa, one for Somalia, one for Iran. Plus we have a little ice gate that will probably feature at some stage. So there is plenty to take into account – and then you have the lighter airs as we get north. The fact of the matter is there is not a lot of historical weather for this particular part of the world. There is also not a lot of actual hands on sailing experience for this area so there are going to be a lot of new things for everybody. We are just going to have to continue to work on the decision making process and stick to the plan and hopefully come out all right in the end.

Are you enjoying South Africa?
Incredibly much. My wife has been here for two weeks and it is going to be hard for her to leave.