Vestas 11th Hour Racing might have won the opening leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 in spectacular style but skipper Charlie Enright is notoriously modest.
“You couldn't ask for a better start, but that was just one leg and we're in it for something bigger,” the 33-year-old American said.
“It's a long race – 45,000 miles – of which we've sailed 1,500 miles. Luckily we've been awarded ten per cent of the points. We'll take those points and learn from the leg what we can.”
Vestas 11th Hour Racing's victory in the short sprint from the Volvo Ocean Race's home port of Alicante in Spain to Portugal's capital Lisbon certainly opened a few eyes.
They were among the later teams to be announced, and Enright admits they haven't enjoyed the same amount of preparation some of the others – like pre-race favourites MAPFRE and Dongfeng Race Team – have.
But one look at their team sheet shows a strength in depth that includes Volvo Ocean Race winners such as navigator Simon Fisher, hat-trick hunter Phil Harmer and veteran Tony Mutter, 2014-15 returnees such as Tom Johnson, Stacey Jackson and Nick Dana and a smattering of super-talented young sailors including Brit Hannah Diamond and Olympic medallist Jena Mai Hansen.
It's clear that in Vestas 11th Hour Racing Enright, alongside his long-term sailing partner Mark Towill, has built a formidable crew capable of taking the fight to any of their Volvo Ocean Race rivals.
“We came to the game a little late,” he said. “There was a lot of chatter about the red boats and deservedly so, they've been going for a long time, but we're just going to keep doing what we need to do. Hopefully over the course of time that will pay dividends.”
Enright might be the youngest skipper in the fleet but his age belies his experience.
The first to the team base on the day of a leg start, he leads his crew in a 'team stretch' to switch them on mentally before getting down to business.
Enright's leadership was needed just a few hours into Leg 1 when the team discovered the tap to their water maker – the device that turns sea water into drinkable fresh water - was broken.
Enright deployed seasoned Volvo Ocean Race sailor Nick Dana, the onboard handyman, to solve the problem. A few hours later the watermaker was back in business.
An early jump on their rivals afforded Vestas 11th Hour Racing an opportunity they had been been craving – to experiment with sail combinations and catch up a little on their rival crews.
“We're still learning a lot about sail combinations,” Enright said. “It's still early days and there's still a lot of experimenting to do. Having a lead allowed us to do that. If you're not constantly evolving you will fall behind.”
The crew sailed a near-perfect leg, keeping closest opponents MAPFRE and Dongfeng at bay until the finish line.
Their Leg 1 victory came by almost three hours, which is especially impressive given that second-placed MAPFRE pipped Dongfeng by just 18 minutes.
On Sunday 5 November, the seven-strong fleet will head out into open water once more for Leg 2, a 7,000-mile marathon leg to Cape Town that will take around three weeks to complete.
Historically teams have been sent round the tiny island of Fernando de Noronha, around 200 miles east of the Brazilian port of Fortaleza, but this time they are free to pick their own route south.
“It's going to be more interesting than in the past because they've taken out Fernando as a rounding mark, and that opens up a host of climatological implications,” Emright said.
“Usually you go all the way to Brazil – west is best as the saying goes – but we could find ourselves beating down the African coast. It's not likely but we don't know exactly how it's going to play out.”
After exiting Lisbon's River Tagus the fleet will face a multitude of challenges – from the tradewinds through the Doldrums then down the South Atlantic and into the Southern Ocean before making it to Cape Town.
“It's a tricky leg but one we're looking forward to,” Enright added. “It'll be long but that's what we signed up for.”
Asked whether he believes the Volvo Ocean Race's 'legend of leg one' – the one that says the team that wins the opener goes on to claim the crown – Enright is typically reserved.
“I'm not much of a historian – I didn't know that was a thing,” he said with a chuckle.
“It would be great if it were the case, and we're going to try like hell to make it so. But there's a lot of sailing – like 43,000 miles – that needs to happen between now and then so we'll focus on that.”