Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailing Holidays 2019 - TOP
Product Feature
Zhik ZK Seaboot 900
Zhik ZK Seaboot 900

MerConcept and 11th Hour Racing Team announce strategic partnership

by 11th Hour Racing 14 Sep 2019 15:04 BST
Merconcept hosts panel with 11th Hour Racing, Macif, and Station Marine de Concarneau to discuss sustainability initiatives and restoring ocean health. © Kristi Wilson / 11th Hour Racing

MerConcept, the French offshore sailing company founded by sailing legend François Gabart, and 11th Hour Racing Team, headed by leading American ocean racers Mark Towill and Charlie Enright, announced a strategic partnership today.

The two sides will work closely on technical and performance aspects of the 11th Hour Racing Team, and will collaborate on legacy projects in France, including 11th Hour Racing grants to the Station Marine de Concarneau and the Explore research incubator.

The Gabart-led consultancy has worked with offshore sailing programs for over a decade as technical and performance partners, developing cutting-edge boat technology, new systems and training programs to prepare a sailing team for an array of racing campaigns.

"We have a huge appreciation for the approach that François and MerConcept have with developing race teams, working alongside sailors and making them faster," said Towill, speaking yesterday from an event in Nantes, France. "Partnering with MerConcept puts us at the heart of the sailing valley in Brittany, as it's often called, both for training and technological advancements as we continue to lay the foundation for our campaign in The Ocean Race for 2021-2022."

11th Hour Racing, based in Newport, RI, establishes strategic partnerships within the sailing and maritime communities to promote collaborative, systemic change benefitting the health of the ocean. It will apply its extensive know-how to work with MerConcept on developing new ideas and drive change within the sailing industry.

"Our livelihoods and our passions are tied to healthy oceans, and focusing on the discovery and promotion of sustainable practices across our sport and industry, is one of our top priorities", said Rob MacMillan, Co-Founder and President of 11th Hour Racing. "Collaborating with MerConcept offers the opportunity to forge a powerful alliance with key players in the world of ocean sailing -- developing a nuanced understanding of key environmental issues and investing in tangible solutions."

As part of the legacy grants project developed and implemented with Towill and Enright during the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, 11th Hour Racing will collaborate with MerConcept to engage and invest with community partners in France working on ocean health and marine technology projects.

The first two grantees have been designated including the Station Marine de Concarneau -- part of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle and the world's oldest marine research facility dating back to 1859 -- and the Explore research lab founded by French sailor and activist Roland Jourdain.

"Charlie and Mark are great sailors, with another sailing culture, another approach, and it's a pleasure to work with champions like them," said François Gabart, founder of MerConcept and a past winner of the Vendee Globe. "Beyond the sports project, MerConcept will collaborate with 11th Hour Racing as an organization given their experience on sustainable development in order to transform the maritime industry."

While partnering with MerConcept, the 11th Hour Racing Team sailors and crew plan to spend time training out of south Brittany, France.

"This is a fantastic place for us to set up a base as we prepare for the Transat Jacques Vabre later next month and other races next year," said Towill of his team's ties to France. "Southern Brittany has some of the most ideal conditions for offshore training and a wealth of know-how in ocean racing that we hope to take in. This technical and performance partnership is one of the most important boxes we can check off, as we slowly put together the pieces for another Ocean Race campaign in a few years."

11th Hour Racing's first big test is the Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre, France to Salvador, Brazil - the old coffee route as it is called in France - that begins on October 27, 2019. Charlie Enright will skipper 11th Hour Racing Team alongside French sailor Pascal Bidégorry, who won the 2015 Transat Jacques Vabre with Gabart and was the navigator on-board the winning Dongfeng Race Team in The Ocean Race in 2017-18.

Related Articles

11th Hour Racing and Musto team up
Musto will provide high performance clothing for the next three years Musto, the world's leading premium technical sailing brand, has signed on with 11th Hour Racing Team as an official supplier for the next three years. Posted on 14 Jan
11th Hour Racing awards 12 new grants
To address environmental challenges of Coastal Communities 11th Hour Racing announced today a dozen new global grants to organizations that are addressing sea-level rise, habitat loss, science education for underserved students and plastics pollution. Posted on 12 Dec 2019
Shifting gears after the Transat Jacques Vabre
What's next for 11th Hour Racing? With the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre now in the rearview mirror, team leaders Mark Towill and Charlie Enright have quickly shifted focus to the next phase of 11th Hour Racing's campaign towards The Ocean Race in two years time. Posted on 26 Nov 2019
Food waste that protects soil & sea
200 million pounds of turkey is thrown away on Thanksgiving Did you know that Americans throw away 200 million pounds of turkey (NRDC) on Thanksgiving — and 40 million tons (EPA) of food annually? With only 326 towns and cities out of more than 19,000 (USPRIG) in the US offering curbside food waste collection Posted on 22 Nov 2019
11th Hour Racing sign Sustainability Policy
Mark Towill and Charlie Enright together with COO Bill Erkelens The team's Sustainability Policy defines the mission and vision of the team, while also committing the team to feature sustainability as a core value, demonstrating leadership, innovation, collaboration and leaving a legacy. Posted on 26 Oct 2019
11th Hour Racing start final countdown
Transat Jacques Vabre is their first big test Ever since serious discussions came together over the formation of the 11th Hour Racing Team, the two team leaders knew that the biennial transatlantic race from France to South America would be where 11th Hour Racing would first cut its teeth. Posted on 25 Oct 2019
11th Hour Racing announces official supplier
Marlow will be supplying the team with high performing lines Marlow Ropes Inc., the leading manufacturer of high performance cordage, has signed on with 11th Hour Racing Team as official supplier for the team's campaign focused on the next edition of The Ocean Race in 2021-2022. Posted on 8 Oct 2019
11th Hour Racing continues support of eXXpedition
All-female round the world 2019-2021 voyage This all-female pioneering ocean sailing expedition will circumnavigate the globe, raising awareness of and explore solutions to, the devastating environmental and health impacts of single-use plastics and toxic substances in the world's oceans. Posted on 28 Sep 2019
11th Hour Racing Team in the Azimut Challenge
Podium finish in team's first official race This past week marked the first official race for 11th Hour Racing Team in the Defi Azimut (Azimut Challenge) out of Lorient, France a city 40 miles south of where the team has been training for the Transat Jacques Vabre Posted on 25 Sep 2019
Pascal & Charlie team up for Transat Jacques Vabre
The pair will race on the 11th Hour Racing IMOCA 60 boat formerly named Hugo Boss A former winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre, Frenchman Pascal Bidégorry, will pair up with American offshore sailor Charlie Enright as co-skippers on board 11th Hour Racing for the upcoming 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre. Posted on 11 Sep 2019