Elena Hight and Ian Walsh Join 11th Hour Racing Team for the Newport Bermuda Race
Extreme sports icons Elena Hight (USA) and Ian Walsh (USA) will join 11th Hour Racing Team for the 635-nautical mile (730-mile or 1,022-kilometer) dash from Newport, Rhode Island, down to the North Atlantic island of Bermuda, departing on June 17.
Both legends in the world of extreme sport, Hight and Walsh will experience first-hand the adrenaline of offshore sailing. The thrill-seeking pair will join Skipper Charlie Enright (USA) and Justine Mettraux (SUI) to form a 50/50 gender-balanced crew along with Media Crew Member Amory Ross (USA) in the team’s foiling IMOCA 60 Mālama, as they test the boat in race conditions for the first time this year.
Kauai born and Lake Tahoe raised, Elena Hight is a stand-out amongst professional snowboarding’s best, a double Olympian and Protect Our Winters ambassador, as well as a dedicated advocate for environmental protection.
“I’ve always been drawn to sailing. It’s extreme and high adrenaline – which is what I seek out in sport. Conservation and sustainability is hugely important to me, both personally and professionally and that’s why I’ve chosen to come sailing with 11th Hour Racing Team. I’ve met the whole team now, and I can tell we are like-minded individuals – we all choose to live our lives with the same values and I think this will be a really refreshing experience. I have no idea what I’m getting myself into but I believe these are the best types of adventures! I’m ready to get going!”
Like Hight, professional surfer and Red Bull athlete Ian Walsh, a regular on the World Surf League Big Wave World Tour, is also renowned for pushing boundaries. Born in Newport, Rhode Island, and raised in Maui, Hawaii, he is no stranger to the ocean. Walsh has been tackling some of the biggest waves around the world since he was a teenager.
“I’m excited to go on this rocket ship! Obviously I’m a big fan of foiling, so seeing a sailboat of this magnitude on the water and getting a chance to crew onboard is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The adrenaline from this trip will be so different to what I’m used to, however, I know there’s going to be a lot that I can pull from this experience and apply to my life and my sport. I can also relate to the messaging of this team and what they stand for and that really matters. As athletes, ocean health and sustainability is at the heart of what we do – without it we wouldn’t be here.”
This year the Newport Bermuda race organizers are looking to achieve platinum-level Clean Regattas status by the standards of Sailors for the Sea. The regatta has laid out objectives to eliminate single-use plastic, maximize recycling and reuse, encourage thoughtful provisioning, and promote the use of environmentally friendly solvents. 11th Hour Racing Team is pro-actively contributing to this initiative and has nominated Amory Ross as the E-steward for the race.
The Newport Bermuda Race will depart from Sail Newport, Fort Adams on June 17. Over 150 boats will take part, and the IMOCA 60 Mālama will start the race at 1:30pm ET. There will be regular updates on the 11th Hour Racing Team’s digital channels, and the live tracker will be available here.
Header image credit: Amory Ross / 11th Hour Racing