A legacy of giving: Volvo Ocean Race finishes its epic adventure

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PHOTO CREDITS TO RICARDO PINTO/VOLVO OCEAN RACE
adventure has helped raised thousands for children’s heart charities and initiatives

THE greatest ocean race in the world has come to a close, but the legacy of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 will live long in the memory, especially for one team who made sure that a special group of children were among the biggest winners.
Team Alvimedica’s global children’s heart health initiative raised more than $87,000 (€79,000) for 11 heart charities in nine stopover ports by auctioning off once-in-a-lifetime sailing experiences with Charlie Enright’s (USA) crew.
Additionally, the Turkish/American team raised another $14,500 (€13,000) from auctioning sailing experiences and contributing the proceeds from a special edition team bracelet to Sail Newport, the not-for-profit community sailing organisation in their home port of Newport, Rhode Island (RI), USA.
Since the start of the race last October in Alicante an online auction on the team’s website allowed sailing fans to bid for pro-am racing spots and the coveted ‘Jump Seat’ to support the World Heart Health Charity Tour.
For each leg departure, a race fan could make a bid to be the team’s ‘jumper’ off the boat and see the crew in action from on board before they headed out to the open seas.
In addition to raising the funds for the designated charities, skipper Enright, aged 30, of Bristol, RI, and watch captain Mark Towill, aged 26, of Kanehoe, Hawaii, and other crew members visited children recovering from heart disease at most of the stopovers.
Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect and affects at least one in every 100 children with between 20-40 percent of children affected needing surgery: “Team Alvimedica gave us an incredible opportunity to touch a number of local communities and it’s great that we could give back most everywhere we went,” Enright said. “The World Heart Health Charity Tour initiative gave us a more global perspective to appreciate what else is going on in the world as we sailed around it. The Volvo Ocean Race provides an amazing opportunity to race globally yet give back locally all around the world.”
The Volvo Ocean Race was launched in Alicante last October with the teams battling across 38,739 nautical miles to visit 11 ports before finishing in Gothenburg, Sweden. Enright’s crew finished fifth in the overall standings of the race behind winners Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing; Team Brunel; Dongfeng Race Team and Mapfre. The all female crew of Team SCA came in sixth and Team Vestas Wind seventh.
At the final in port race in Gothenburg, Spain’s former King Juan Carlos joined the crew of the Spanish challengers Mapfre, as the heiress to the Swedish throne, Crown Princess Victoria, joined the all-women crew Team SCA on their boat. Neither of their regal passengers was allowed to help sail their boats, but both had the perfect spectators’ positions on board.
King Juan Carlos, who stepped down in 2014 to make way for his son King Felipe, said before boarding that he had not had the opportunity to sail on a racing yacht for four years. He is well known for his love of sailing and is a prominent supporter of the race.

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