The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 came to a close at the weekend, but the legacy of an unforgettable event 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 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 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 homeport of Newport, Rhode Island (RI), USA.
Since the start of the race last October in Alicante, Spain, 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 onboard before they headed out to the open seas.
In addition to raising the funds for the designated charities, skipper Enright, 30, of Bristol, RI, and watch captain Mark Towill, 26, of Kanehoe, Hawaii, and other crew members visited children recovering from heart disease at most of the stopovers as seen in this team video.
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. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of American women and men.
“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.”
Enright’s crew finished fifth in the overall standings of the race which finished on Saturday. The young American skipper was making his debut.
*Image credits: Volvo Ocean Race/Juerg Kaufman/Victor Fraile/Ricardo Pinto