Bridgid Murphy

Newport, RI, January 30, 2014 - North Sails is proud to announce that Charlie Enright (29, of Rhode Island) will be taking sabbatical from his duties at North Sails to skipper Team Alvimedica in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Securing a sponsor and building a team is no easy feat, and Team Alvimedica’s entry into the Volvo Ocean Race is a project that has taken Charlie and his team manager, Mark Towill (26, of Hawaii) seven years to accomplish.

Enright and Towill met while filming Morning Light, a Disney documentary featuring a young team’s road to sailing the 2007 Transpacific Yacht Race (Transpac). Somewhere along all the offshore miles, Charlie and Mark caught the Volvo Ocean Race bug. Shortly thereafter, the two formed All-American Ocean Racing, a young program that took every opportunity to log offshore miles with the ultimate goal of sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race.

“We’ve seen firsthand the years of hard work Charlie has put into making his Volvo Ocean Race dream a reality,” said president of North sails and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Ken Read. “A young team will be a welcome addition to the race and we’re proud that the skipper is one of our own. I really look forward to watching this version of the race, and Charlie’s progress, from the comfort of my warm, dry couch!”

After fielding countless potentials, Enright and Towill found an ideal sponsor match in Alvimedica, a Turkish medical device company whose mission includes the core values of agility, collaboration, courage and caring. The company has sponsored the Alvimedica Sailing Team in Turkey since 2011. His sponsor is leaning on Enright and Team Alvimedica to inspire youth through their Volvo Ocean Race adventure.

“You can add up all your offshore miles over the years but you’ve either sailed around the world or you haven’t,” said Enright. “It’s no secret we lack the experience of the seasoned Volvo Ocean Race veterans. We’re a young team and under no illusions this is going to be easy, but we’re hungry and will be ready once Team Alvimedica hits the start line in Alicante.”

With the skipper and sponsor announced, Enright and Towill will now focus on building their team. In addition to his role of team manager, Towill is the only other crew member to be announced at this point. Onshore operation will be headed up by team CEO Bill Erkelens. Team Alvimedica will announce their core crew in the coming month. It’s the sponsor's ambition for Team Alvimedica to be the youngest crew in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.

If Enright has taken anything away from his Volvo Ocean Race mentors, it’s that he and Mark need to surround themselves with good teammates. “We’re looking for a combination of trimmers and drivers who can push the new VO65. A successful program will be the team that can balance pushing their boat for maximum boatspeed and knowing when to hold back,” explained Enright. “Beyond that, sailors who can put the team above themselves is a quality we’re searching for. It’s a long, difficult race - meshing as a team will be vital to our success.”

Team Alvimedica has a little over nine months to prepare for the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Enright and his crew will build their endurance logging offshore miles on the water and hours in the gym building physical strength. “You can control sailing time and strength,” explained Enright. “The mental preparation is more difficult. I’m not sure you can ever fully prepare mentally for a nine-month ocean race, but I have been gathering advice from my mentors who have done this before.”

“I’m most looking forward to the day this race starts,” said Enright. “The push is on for the next nine months, but this all becomes real when we cast off the dock in October for Leg One to Cape Town.”

“All of us at North Sails are excited for Charlie to take a lap around the world,” said Ken Read. Even while sailing, Charlie will very much remain part of the North Sails family. North Sails founder Lowell North built our company on hiring the best sailors and we encourage our guys to seek out these opportunities. Having North guys being hands-on and leading teams, helps our designers innovate better sails. Better sails result in a better on-the-water experience for our customers.”


About the Volvo Ocean Race:

The next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will be the 12th running of the 40-year-old event, which started in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World. The race will start on October 4, 2014, day of the first In-Port Race in Alicante, Spain, and finish with one last In-Port Race on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo. The 38,739-nautical mile route will also include stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajai (Brazil), Newport, Rhode Island (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France). A 24-hour pit-stop in The Hague is scheduled between France and Sweden.

The next two editions will be contested in a new high-performance boat, the Volvo Ocean 65, designed by Farr Yacht Design in the United States and built by a consortium of boatyards in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Switzerland. The new 65-foot monohull racing yachts will be strictly One Design and delivered with all North Sails. The boats incorporate the latest video, satellite and content production facilities to further enhance the Onboard Reporter program that has been in place since 2008-09.

Five teams have been announced so far. The all-female Team SCA is the first all-women’s team to compete in the race since 2001-02. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are once again skippered by Britain’s twice Olympic silver medalist Ian Walker. Dongfeng Racing come from China and are backed by Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle. Team Brunel from the Netherlands are skippered by race veteran Bouwe Bekking. Team Alvimedica, with a double flag Turkey/USA, are the latest to confirm participation. The youth challenge will be led by All American Ocean Racing. More teams will be announced in the coming months. The previous Volvo Ocean Race started in October 2011 in Alicante and was won by Groupama sailing team, skippered by frenchman Franck Cammas, in July 2012.