Cape Horn, at Latitude 55 degrees South, is one of the most remote and iconic places on the planet. Known for is ferocious storms, gale force winds, and rogue waves, it’s often described as the Mount Everest of sailing. Cape Horn’s nautical history and significance has lured sailors and mariners for centuries. A safe passage represents more than just a successful journey through the Southern Ocean; it represents a life-defining achievement and a nautical right of passage.
On March 30, 2015, competing as Team Alvimedica in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, our team rounded Cape Horn for the first time in our sailing careers in spectacular fashion – as if catching it during the day time, blazing downwind in thirty knots of wind, while close enough to soak in all if its magic in plain view wasn’t enough, we were leading the fleet following a brutally wet and trying fourteen days of racing from Auckland, NZ. The photo to your left, taken that day from a helicopter, is a glimpse into a moment that we have been working toward for a lifetime. It’s only natural that our team name embodies that achievement and all of the hard work and passion that went into making it a reality.
Later in 2018, competing as Vestas 11th Hour Racing, we once again saw our dream become reality when we rounded Cape Horn for the second time after one of the toughest Southern Ocean crossings in Volvo Ocean Race history.
Who We Are
Co-Founder & Skipper
Charlie is a Bristol, Rhode Island native with two Volvo Ocean Races under his belt and numerous other offshore and inshore racing accolades to his name. From a young age, Charlie knew he would have a passion for sailing as soon as his grandfather – a boatbuilder – introduced him to the sport. While attending Brown University concentrating on Business Economics, he was given the opportunity to participate in entirely youth Trans-Pac crew as part of the Disney movie – Morning Light. There he met, Mark Towill where they started their dream of one day joining the Volvo Ocean Race.
After graduating and before dedicating his full-time efforts to a Volvo Ocean Race campaign, Charlie was working as a sailmaker at North Sails Rhode Island where he managed multiple sailing campaigns for 55 South and other private clients. In 2015-2016, Towill and he completed their first around-the-world race with the youngest team in the race as Team Alvimedica. Then three years later, they partnered with Vestas and 11th Hour Racing to pursue another lap around the planet but this time with a bigger message of sustainability and ocean conservation. Now a father of two young children, Charlie continues to pursue his dream of making a career sailing and hopes to inspire future generations.
Co-Founder & Principal
As a Hawaiian native, the ocean was Mark’s playground where he naturally gained a tremendous amount of experience across multiple facets of professional sailing. After graduating from Brown University with a dual degree in Business and Environmental Studies, he and his longtime friend Charlie Enright co-founded 55 South with the goal of one day sailing around the world. Mark was integral in the sponsorship acquisition process leading up to, and managing many of the business and team aspects throughout the race.
On board, Mark is a co-skipper with Charlie leading the team through both achievements and challenges. Building upon the experience of his first Volvo Ocean Race as Team Alvimedica in 2014-15 and his passion for environmental conservation, they sought sustainable partners who could help leverage their platform to spread a larger message of ocean health. Competing as Vestas 11th Hour Racing in the 2017-18 edition – a team with the goal of being the most sustainable team in the race through operations, logistics, and outreach education, Mark hopes to continue to build upon the successes of running a sustainable campaign to inspire future sports teams to also lead sustainable practices.
As sailors, we have a direct connection to the ocean. It’s our office, our playground, and our livelihood; ultimately we are responsible for taking care of it. Our first circumnavigation of the globe opened our eyes to the tremendous amount of pollution that exists and has motivated us to do something about it.
In collaboration with our partner, 11th Hour Racing, we are committed to being the most sustainable team in the Volvo Ocean Race by bring sustainability into every level of the campaign from logistics and operations to outreach and communications.
Throughout the 2017-18 edition, we tracked the carbon footprint of the campaign and will be compensating for the impact on the environment through Blue Carbon – coastal restoration projects that sequester carbon 4x more than the Amazon rainforest.
We have now developed a template and set a benchmark for how we can continue to improve and inspire other sporting events and teams to follow our example.
Get On Board
Reaching audiences worldwide across
countless industries, and presenting connection
opportunities ranging from app clicks
to handshakes, 55 South and the Volvo Ocean
Race offer an ideal integrated marketing
platform. Partner with us to go beyond raising
visibility and start driving meaningful audience
Spanning four oceans, nine months and ten unique ports, this around-the-world race pits teams and their boats against one another in some of the most demanding conditions on earth. Ever since 1973, when the first fleet departed Portsmouth England and headed due south to Cape Town, South Africa, offshore adventurers the world over have been flocking to this event to find their limits – and then go beyond them.
Ten-meter waves, finger-numbing freezing temperatures and extreme fatigue are par for the course in this game – and that’s not the worst of it.
For sailors and fans, the race is the undisputed Everest of ocean racing. For brands, it is an ideal global platform for exposure and engagement. Combining unrelenting on-the-water action with cutting-edge digital activation and unmatched corporate hospitality opportunities, the Volvo Ocean Race creates lasting connections with your audience.
The new M32 Series –multiple regional series with a global footprint.
At the heart of the new M32 Series is a simple philosophical approach – to enable talented sailors to compete in the fastest, most dynamic and competitive sailing events in the world, but at an affordable cost and thus on a regional basis. The new M32 Series fills an obvious void in the current sailing marketplace between the budgets needed for small boat dingy racing and the seemingly inaccessible world of large professional competition.
The new M32 Series sets out to provide a platform that is commercially viable for the teams, partners and sponsors as well as being exciting for the audience. For the amateur sailor, it provides a path for new, aspiring teams looking for a stepping stone to a career in professional racing and delivers them exciting and challenging arena-style racing that is attractive to the sailors and sponsors alike. For the professional racer, the new M32 Series delivers the highest levels of competition against their fellow accomplished sailors, themselves looking for a new series to complement their existing programs such as America’s Cup, Olympic Sailing, Extreme Sailing Series, World Match Racing Tour, IMOCA and Volvo Ocean Race