Nagel sets sail for prestigious ocean race
Emily Nagel and her 11th Hour Racing Team colleagues have launched their preparations for one of the world’s most prestigious ocean races.
The American racing syndicate, led by CEO Mark Towill and skipper Charlie Enright, departed from Concarneau, France to Newport, Rhode Island at the weekend to commence a two-year preparation plan for the next instalment of The Ocean Race in 2022-23.
The team underwent offshore training in Brittany, France in preparation for the transatlantic sail after their boat went back in the water last month following a refit.
To ensure health and safety amid the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the ocean crossing, the team has created a tight-knit, bubble environment for training and have implemented a detailed team operating policy that is regularly updated according to regional and global regulations.
Towill and Enright’s team achieved two In-Port Race victories and also won the final ocean leg to place fifth among the seven entries that competed in the previous Volvo Ocean Race held between 2018-19.
The start of the next edition of The Ocean Race was postponed until the Fall of 2022 due to the outbreak of Covid-19, which also brought 11th Hour Racing Team’s preparations to a grinding halt.
Bermudian Nagel is among a trio of new additions to the team that also includes five-times Ocean Race veteran Simon Fisher and America’s Cup and SailGP winner Kyle Langford.
Naval Architect Nagel made her debut in The Ocean Race in 2017-18 as a member of Team AkzoNobel and also competed in this year’s iconic Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.
She has worked for America’s Cup teams and SailGP on the technical and design side and also represented Great Britain at European and World Championship sailing events.
“We have pulled together a wealth of experience and talent for this transatlantic,” Enright said.
“We are obviously itching to get miles and offshore training under our belts with the delays we’ve had this year. This is an experienced crew and a dynamic training group that brings together a broad range of skills as we look ahead to 2022.”
During the transatlantic sail the team will put to the test a next-generation wing foil and other new systems from the boat’s recent refit.
“We have built a foil with the latest generation of technology,” Towill said. “The new T-foil design basically does two things: it creates lift and reduces leeway. During the transatlantic, we will be testing out the new rake system with different sail combinations.”
The current training boat is one of the first-generation IMOCA 60s to foil, meaning its hull can lift out of the water at high speeds. The new foil has been designed and refined using computer simulation tools. The latest IMOCA rule provides for a “second degree of freedom,” allowing foils the ability to rake backwards and forwards several degrees.
“It’s very important to test these concepts in reality and validate the projected performance against actual data,” Towill added. “This learning process is very important in our efforts to have the most competitive platform for The Ocean Race in two years time,” added Towill. Once the team arrives in Rhode Island, the home of their title sponsor 11th Hour Racing, the sailors will base themselves out of Newport for a fall season of offshore training, sea trials and on-land activations and sustainability initiatives.
“While the one year postponement of the race has changed our timelines, planning and the location of our training base for the short term, we think having the next few months in Newport gives us a great jumping off point to begin sailing and working together as a unit,” Enright added.
“Our emphasis is on training safely and testing new systems with the goal of putting the best and fastest possible team at the start line of The Ocean Race in Alicante, Spain in 2022.”
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