The Ocean Race: “11 Th Hour Racing” wins stage 5 in Aarhus and takes the overall lead

And that’s two for 11th Hour Racing Team on their Imoca designed by Guillaume Verdier. The crew led by Charlie Enright won the 5th leg of The Ocean Race in Aarhus, Denmark, in the early hours of Monday morning. Having already won the previous leg in Newport, 11th Hour Racing Team took advantage of this double points victory to take the overall lead from Holcim-PRB.

11th Hour Racing Team held on. In a frenetic finale, the American boat was the first to cross the finish line of Monday’s 5th leg in Aarhus, at 4:56 and 29 seconds. Led for a long time by Holcim-PRB, this fifth leg with double points paid off handsomely for 11th Hour Racing Team. Winner of stage 4 in Newport, Charlie Enright’s crew also took the overall lead from Holcim-PRB, second on the stage by just a few minutes.

A fine performance for the day’s winner. This 5th leg saw Holcim-PRB and then Team Malizia successively break records for distance covered in a single day, a sign of the great competition between the leading boats. And it wasn’t all plain sailing for Enright and his crew, who collided with a marine mammal last Thursday. But it was the American boat, with Amory Ross’s arm in a sling and Charlie Dalin’s face badly bruised, that took the lead.

A finer tactician in the last two days of the race, Enright was better able to maneuver her way through European waters, from the archipelagos of Norwegian islets to the port of Aarhus, Denmark. Buoyed by the Scandinavian winds in the finale, 11th Hour Racing Team was able to manage its fifty-knot lead while avoiding the risks of the more unpredictable coastal winds. “The race won’t be over until it’s really over,” was the suspicion of the crew’s strategist, Marcel van Triest. But after all the ups and downs of the last few days, the last few miles in Danish waters almost seemed peaceful, the better to let the joy of the members on board burst forth in a postcard setting, in the rising sun.

More than just pretty pictures, this victory could be decisive for the event’s overall win. With the points for this fifth leg doubled, 11th Hour Racing Team takes the overall lead from Holcim-PRB, with two legs to go. Kévin Escoffier’s boat took second place in Aarhus in a breathless sprint. The Swiss crew saved its runner-up position for just 5 minutes and 47 seconds ahead of Team Malizia, which came back at full speed in the last 48 hours.