The five-race VOR veteran (who won with Groupama in the 2011-12 race) and Afloat.ie’s International Sailor of the Month for June last year has been named among the 10-strong crew for Vestas 11th Hour Racing that will depart from Alicante less than 100 days from now.
The line-up, comprising six nationalities and six previous VOR winners, includes Simon Fisher — who returns for his fifth edition and first after lifting the trophy as winning navigator with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in 2015.
Also on the squad are two-time winner Phil Harmer, who’s hunting a hat-trick of successive victories, and Tony Mutter, who like Foxall is back for his sixth 45,000-nautical-mile lap of the planet.
“It’s amazing to be back in the Volvo Ocean Race with some old acquaintances as well as inspiring new talent,” said Fisher.
“This time we’re focusing on performance, as well as a sponsorship with an important message, backed by two partners, Vestas and 11th Hour Racing, fully committed to making a positive change.
“It’s a privilege to be given the chance and the platform to share the message of sustainability and ocean health. I’ve dodged everything from telegraph poles to old fridge-freezers while at sea. We’ve got to act now, and as a group, this is what we aspire this campaign to be about.”
Others on the Vestas 11th Hour crew include Tom Johnson, fresh from the America’s Cup as part of Team Oracle USA, and two female sailors: Britain’s Hannah Diamond and Jena Mai Hansen, an Olympic medallist for Denmark, both of whom will be racing their first VOR.
“It was actually my first-ever full night at sea - an intimidating but amazing experience,” said Hansen of her recent transatlantic trial. “Helming a Volvo Ocean 65 boat in the middle of the Atlantic in pitch dark, in 40 knots, is without a doubt one of the craziest things I’ve ever done. I’m hungry for more and excited to be part of a skilled, international team. Bring it on!”
Between them, the crew have competed in the VOR over 20 times — and skipper Charlie Enright says that he’s delighted with the preparations with just a few months remaining until the start line.
“We’ve taken our time to get this right, and we couldn’t ask for a better group of sailors,” he said.
The team are currently preparing to travel to Gosport in the UK for pre-race activation and Leg Zero commitments, lining up against the other teams for the first time in the Round-the-Island race during Cowes week, followed by the Rolex Fastnet Race, and finishing up in Lisbon after sailing via St Malo in mid-August.