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IKER: "THE SITUATION ON BOARD IS NORMAL BUT WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL AS WE ONLY HAVE ONE RUDDER AND IT'S DAMAGED"

06-15-2012 03:00

Hi everyone. It's 01:30 on Friday 15th June, Spanish time (23:30 UTC Thursday 14th). We are sailing without a problem towards Lorient at 12 knot speeds.

 

The situation on board is normal but we have to be very careful as we only have one rudder and it's damaged. Fortunately the rudder we are able to use is the port one, the one we need to sail tacked to starboard towards Lorient.

 

This afternoon we broke our starboard rudder, which something that has never happened before to me personally. We were able to change it for the spare rudder fairly quickly and that way we were back sailing soon after having only dropped back by eleven miles.

 

Before dusk we'd passed “Groupama” and were leading the rankings for the leg, but the most difficult decision still lay ahead: the final gybe to France. Those who gybed early would have the shift head on in the future and would pay dearly for having to gybe again later. Those who gybed later would possibly sail in some very strong winds and have to sail more miles.

 

We gybed where we thought was best (we'll see tomorrow if we were right) and then we saw that we were the first to gybe, sailing towards Lorient with “Groupama” astern.

 

On that stretch of water the port rudder was damaged and the starboard rudder broke as we came off a wave.

 

The strange thing is that we were sailing with a very safe rig at that point. There were 30 to 40 knot winds and we had decided to spend the night with a small storm jib and the mainsail up, not a particularly fast combination, but a safe one, given the tough conditions.

 

Without a rudder bringing down the mainsail was quite an adventure and in the process some of the battens broke...to add to the problems...

 

Now it's back in place and we're all fine. The mood on board is as good as it can be in circumstances like these, as we have just seen any chance of us winning this round the world regatta slip away. It's like two years work just disappearing into thin air in a matter of minutes - what a mess. Now I'll be happy if we all get to shore without any further problems.

 

I would like to say sorry from the bottom of my heart to our sponsors and more specifically to Pedro Campos who have risked so much to provide us with the necessary resources and time to be able to race in this regatta. I think that the only thing right now that that makes me feel any better is knowing that I've given one hundred per cent of myself to this for the past two years.

 

This is the first time that something like this has happened to me and I think it's going to be difficult to let it sink in, but I'll have to worry about that when we are all safely back on shore with no further risk.

 

I can't say much more right now. A sad day for “Telefónica” and it's my birthday tomorrow. All I can ask for is that we all get to shore safely.

 

Regards to everyone,

 

Iker.

CAPEY: "THE GYBE, THAT'S THE BIG QUESTION"

06-14-2012 10:00

We’re surviving. I’d use the word pretty hairy. Right now it’s not too bad, it’s moderated a bit. We had a 30 knot spell early in the morning, but the breeze will build a bit later so we’re going to have a pretty hectic afternoon and night with gale force winds predicted and 30 to 40 knot winds. It’s on edge, there’s a lot of water coming over the bow, so it’s a bit hairy.

 

If it keeps getting uncomfortable we’ll reduce more sail and sail different technique, maybe sail a bit lower to try and reduce speed. Right now we’re going flat out, with tight angles and trying to keep in front of the opposition. But when it gets windier and the waves get bigger you have to be careful.

 

It’ll probably be another three to four hours until we have to reduce our boat speed, it’ll still be high boat speed but just a little bit less cos we’ll be more cautious. But we’ll be sailing high boat speed until late evening when we gybe.

 

It won’t be a world sailing speed record, but we’ll be very close to the 2012 race record, we’ll just wait and see. CAMPER’s 553, that’s easy, we just did 541 and that’s just the beginning of the fast sailing, we have at least another four hours of big numbers and maybe a bit further, so that should topple. Whether it’s us or Groupama, we’ll wait and see. It wont’ mean much to us until we get to shore, everyone on board will just be happy to get through the day without breaking, or anything happening and that’s not going to be easy.

 

We have take the foot off, if you’ve got bad equipment it’s going to break anyway, so we just have to trust in the preparation the shore team has done and hope everything is up to the task. This sort of speed takes a toll on all the equipment, it’s very taxing on the steering, the halyards, rigging, it’s just painful when you push the boat into a wave. But fingers crossed, we’ve done alright so far, so we’ll just keep going like we have.

 

The sails we have are pretty big, and we’re pretty limited, but what we do is make sure we always have furling sails up so if something goes wrong you can quickly furl and re-deploy another sail without people on the bow, because you just cannot have a larger jib on right now, tacked on, and have people on the bow, it’s too dangerous. If we had a jib change now we could do that from the cockpit and sail quite happily like that at very high speeds.

 

Luckily because we’re not doing too many sail changes people can come down and do the proper watches. Some people are that worn out they come down and go straight to bed. I have noticed a lot of people are just going straight to bed, being out in the elements they’re just getting hosed and the first thing they want is to get dry and hit the bunk. They’re exhausted.

 

The gybe, that’s the big question. It’s going to be super crucial. That will decide the winner. It’s a question of how far you want to push into the low, do you want a bit more wind, is it too much wind, how much shift do you get up for the gybe, this is really crucial. It will be this evening some time as it gets dark, you’ll certainly see different ideas. It won’t be instantly who has the better idea, you won’t know till the end. When the breeze shifts a bit or picks up and you lay the finish you’ll know.

FRUCTUOSO REPORTS: A TOUGH FIGHT

06-12-2012 08:00

The day has been quite hard. We could see Groupama and PUMA all the time and we had to fight tooth and nail to defend our lead. There was quite a lot of wind and under reaching conditions like that, Groupama are generally quite fast. Luckily, we've done well and the two boats are very close.

Now the wind has gone down, we have around eight knots and it will keep going for the rest of the day. We have to continue at full strength to try to reach the Azores in first place and thus escape from the fleet. We have a little more than 24 hours of this mess and we´ll have to be quite radical moving weight forward and back, so that the boat sails at its best.

Everything's going well here, we've overcome the headaches and upset tummies we had during the first days and, luckily, this time I wasn't suffering myself. Yesterday a few people had cereal for breakfast and today we're out, which is a good sign.

 

Best,

 

Diego

LIVE-X CALL WITH XABI!

06-11-2012 12:50

"Everything is good here. We have very nice conditions and we're going fast, so it's good. It's quite a while since we've been in the lead so this makes us feel good. We had a very good night. We were very close to Groupama but we managed to pass them and now they are like two-and-a-half to three miles behind us. It's good. Everything is very close now so we have to push. We'll see what happens at the end of the day.

 

"Of course it's been a very hard weekend again for us. As you say, we are still second and with all the chances everything is still in our hands. So that's the only thing we can think -- keep pushing, try to do a very nice leg and try to be back in the lead as soon as possible. It's not only Groupama but PUMA are very close as well. We have to keep thinking forward and try to win the leg and be the best in the offshore racing. It's obvious we are not doing well in the inshore so we have to be good in the offshore and see what happens.

 

"We have between 17 and 20 knots, a 90 true wind angle so we're just reaching with an J1 staysail and full main. We were playing with one reef through the night in and out. We're reaching and averaging between 16 and 20 knots boat speed so it's good and fast.

 

"We will have a very good day and do a lot of miles.

 

"Capey reckons we will have a good day today... We will keep going and see what happens. We are all very close...and there will be some compression tonight but we'll keep pushing and see what happens and if we can get these extra miles it's always good."

 

"It looks like it's quite clear. All the boats are doing the same route. You are always nervous when you go into a zone with no wind. We will have a very hard 24 hours maybe tomorrow or the next day. It's clear that the first one going out of the light air is going to be the winner, or have a lot of chance, so we have to fight hard in the light air conditions.

 

"It's been very hard. Someone said the other day we have only 10 or 15 days' sailing left. It looks like there is plenty left. The beginning was good for us but then we have been slipping a little bit. But we have enjoyed this experience from two years ago. We did a lot of training to be well prepared here. Whatever happens we were well enough prepared to win the race. We're happy with our performance, very happy with our team and the boat. We're enjoying it.

 

I think "Groupama" and "Puma" are not letting us think too much about the Olympics. Of course it's a very nice goal after this race but we have to be completely concentrated now as it's getting very hard now. Even in the stopovers we have to think about how to make the boat go faster and sail better. It's gonna come and I think we will be as well prepared as possible but right now this is the priority and it's about finishing this one as well as possible.

QUOTES BEFORE THE START IN LISBON!

06-10-2012 13:00

IKER MARTÍNEZ, skipper. We've prepared for this leg in the same way we prepared for the others, with the utmost care, aiming to be spot on with the sails, by putting a lot of work into the meteorology where we're sure to hit some tricky spots...

We all know each other very well on board and we all want the same thing. Lately things haven't been going too well, and in particular what happened yesterday was very unfair and we are all pretty angry with the Jury and the Organisers for how the whole thing was handled, but having said that, I suppose it's the same for everybody and there's nothing more to it. The best boat has to win and that's why it's important to sail better than the rest, to put yesterday behind us and to focus on the leg, heading out there at one hundred per cent. There's no point in lamenting the loss of points. Now the leg is starting and we have to fight for the points ahead.
 
PEPE RIBES, boat captain.
It is going to be a tricky leg because there will be all types of conditions and there is a chance we'll get a lot of breeze towards the end, so we'll really have to push hard near the finish. The Azores may be something of a lottery. If the high sits where it is right now we may get a couple of days with no breeze and when that happens it turns into a lottery, but we have high hopes for this leg and we are really looking forward to reaching Lorient in a very good position.

XABI FERNÁNDEZ, trimmer.
Just after we put the Azores behind us we'll be setting course north to catch the low pressure and the first boat to catch it will spend a day or a day and a half pushing away, pushing away with more breeze than the rest. The leg is likely to speed up towards the coast of Lorient, which will also throw up its own issues, but we trust Capey [Andrew Cape, navigator] to negotiate that successfully.
 
ANTONIO “ÑETI” CUERVAS-MONS, bowman
We've all wiped the slate clean for today and we must start this again, as if this were the first day of this regatta, giving it all we've got. We're going to sail how we know best. We've demonstrated that we know how to be ahead and I think that the only thing we can hope to do is to give it our all and to do the best we can.

LUIS SÁENZ, TEAM TELEFÓNICA'S LEGAL ADVISOR

06-09-2012 19:35

What the umpire is saying is that we infringed Rule 17 which says that if an overlap occurs from clear astern you must not sail above your proper course. My conclusion is that the umpires have made a serious error here and confused a leeward tack by “Puma” to hoist the spinnaker with a luff by “Telefónica”.

They said what they saw on the water and they say that out on the water they saw a luff by “Telefónica” which meant that they weren't able to keep clear of “Puma”, but the reality is that in cases like these, the rules are structured in a very simple fashion. There is a basic rule, which is the Windward-Leeward rule. Leeward has the right of way over windward. We were leeward and “Puma” was windward. “Puma” had to keep clear and they did absolutely nothing to keep clear. Then there are a series of limitations which state that we can't luff too forcefully, that we can't sail above our proper course... but these are exceptions applied in case of doubt and in this case “Puma” did nothing to keep clear and there was a moment where they did not halt the hoisting of the spinnaker and it touched our shrouds.

The umpire's decision is final and the matter is closed out on the water. There is nothing to be done and there is no channel for a protest or an appeal.

IKER: "I'M ONE HUNDRED PER CENT SURE THAT THE JURY'S DECISION WAS A TOTALLY INCORRECT ONE"

06-09-2012 17:15

We had to make a penalty turn at the start which obviously pushed us right to the back of the race. I think that it's vey unfair that this happens, because the inshore races can decide the round the world regatta, but it's the same for us all, but the juries need to take the correct decisions and I'm one hundred per cent sure that today's was a totally incorrect decision, so I'm very angry about that, but well, that doesn't take away from the fact that "Groupama" sailed a great race and I congratulate them for that as they've also boosted their lead by five points, which is an important advantage for them.


I hope that this doesn't define the regatta, as it might do and I hope not and all that's left is to say congratulations to "Groupama" and to think that hopefully the Jury decisions in the future will be very different, because I am one hundred per cent sure that we are right, so I'm very unhappy and disappointed. 

IKER MARTÍNEZ: "ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN"

05-30-2012 11:40

It’s good to be sailing a little bit forward, we were last for some days, we had a very hard leg where we were lacking in some moments. It’s good now to be fighting again for some positions. Now it looks like it’s going to be very, very close until the end of the leg, anything can happen. We have in front of us a big wall with no wind, so anything can happen. Right now we’re thinking how we’re going to cross the ridge, first we have to steer well and then once we’re inside the ridge it’s going to be difficult to cross it, it’s going to be very difficult.

 

Is the ridge a good thing for Tele because it brings a catch-up opportunity

It is, for sure, it is. We’ve seen how these things work, anything can happen. Since the beginning of the leg we’ve seen different things happen, we were leading then the other guys got a different wind and we couldn’t do anything, we went from fighting for the lead to last. Hopefully that happens for us here.

 

For sure, the crew are trying to do their best. Obviously when these things happen it’s tough. We didn’t make big mistakes, what was happening was really, really bad luck. What happened in this leg isn’t usual at all, but it happened. After that, everyone is just looking ahead, and looking for opportunities. For sure we’re going to keep trying, I really would like to be where Abu Dhabi and PUMA are now, I’d swap places with them for sure but unfortunately we cannot so we have to try to use our skills.



Have you considered the overall points

One plus the other, we’ve had a lot of time here to think about everything. Given the position we are now, the overall lead can change easily, hopefully not but it looks like this can happen. We’ll see. We have to try to take as many points as we can, it is very difficult for us but we just have to try to take as many points as we can. Tomorrow is another day. We’re just going to give 100 per cent. We’ll keep fighting as always.

FRUCTUOSO REPORTS: FULL TILT!

05-29-2012 10:20

Hi there. We continue going full tilt on "Telefónica" and it looks like we've started the comeback. We were in a very difficult situation because, according to Iker, we had a front coming from behind that brought with it very little wind. So our hopes of getting a good result in the leg rested on sailing as fast as possible and getting close to the boats in front. And that's what we're working on. On the approach to Lisbon the light breeze will come again and if we get close anything could happen...

The crew are happy because at last we're sailing the boat fast. The conditions are fantastic, 20 or so knots of wind and we're going with the fractional spinnaker. There's quite a bit of water on deck but it's not especially cold. The waves are nice and friendly so you can be inside and get some rest.

The iPod exchange is going strong. Some people have downloaded television series and when we get a chance we watch an episode just to disconnect. We also listen to a lot of music and every now and then we grab someone else's iPod just to hear something different.

We're heading into Lisbon, land of our friend and colleague João Cabeçadas. I'm sure he'll be there waiting for us, ready to give us a hug.

 

Cheers!

Diego.

FRUCTUOSO REPORTS: DOWNWIND, AT LAST!

05-28-2012 10:45

Yesterday we spent all day with "Groupama" in sight and even though it's not turning out to be a nice leg for us or them, you always enjoy racing alongside another boat. Otherwise, we now have the downwind conditions we were waiting for and we're sailing as fast as we know how and are able to. We've got close to all the boats except "Abu Dhabi", who are sailing a great race and have got away a bit.

Capey says today will be like this all day, downwind in 20 knots, which is great fun in this type of boat because you go at a good speed without even noticing it. There's not much water on deck and the temperature is much better after the much colder area we went through the other day.

I hope "Telefónica" goes very fast today and we gain miles on everyone. These days with 20 knots downwind are important, with the prospect of little breeze as we get close to Lisbon. If we're close to our rivals we'll have a chance to overtake them.

 

Cheers!

 

Diego.

FRUCTUOSO REPORTS: WINDLESS

05-27-2012 09:50

We continue to fight it out against the wind and our rivals. It looks like all of us, with the exception of "Abu Dhabi" who are sailing very well and have got away, are quite close together and anything can happen. The weather information said that we should have had breeze from last night but right now we remain basically becalmed.

Of all our rivals, "Abu Dhabi" are the ones who are furthest behind in terms of points on the scoreboard so if we can't get away or win this leg, we'd prefer it to be them. But having said that, there's still a long way to go and I hope we have a chance of winning in Lisbon.

The cold has come suddenly. I don't know what the water temperature is but on deck and inside the boat the sensation is of a lot of cold. We've all put on our "sheepskin" coats and still it seems the cold gets right inside you. I've just woken up and I've noticed the typical sore throat you get when it's very cold. Some electric blankets would suit us just fine! I hope that when the sun comes out things get a bit better.

 

Cheers,

 

Diego.

A CHAT WITH... NEAL McDONALD!

05-06-2012 11:00

On moving into second:

“We’ve been toying with second for a few days now, and we don’t put too much into it. There’s a long way to go and a lot of water to pass under the bridge yet.

 

On the supermoon:

“The moon has been making things beautiful at night. It’s almost too hot during the day so night time was the best time to be on deck. Under a full moon it’s been glorious sailing.

 

On going round the outside of the next archipelago:

“Our options have become less open as time goes on, and things change so quickly that we just have to keep our eye on what happens.

 

On catching "Puma":

“The whole race could easily turn inside out overnight. Once you get into the parking lot just a small separation could make a huge difference – one boat could have no wind while another could have two or three knots more. Within hours the gaps that we have at the moment could be closed down. We have to be very careful, it’s a very tricky situation coming up over the next few days.

 

How important is staying consistent?

“Consistency is what we have to keep up, and so far our offshore legs have been very consistent. They’re where all the points lie. We’ve just got to keep plugging away at it, be aware that things can change, and not take too many big jumps.

 

Mood on board?

“Although it’s pleasant sailing it’s quite stressful when the weather changes so often. You can see all your hard work disappear in a matter of hours. Our weather team were telling us it was going to be a longer leg than expected so we’re not too surprised at that, but for sure the weather has not been as good as we’d have liked and with the trade winds shutting down it has made it a touch stressful. It’s easy sailing in physical terms but stressful in mental terms. It’s easy to see leads change very quickly.”

 



CAPEY: "TODAY IS GONNA BE A SLOW & LONG DAY, FOR SURE"

05-04-2012 11:00

The remaining bit to the finish is a bit touch and go. There’s going to be a lot of changes, put it that way. It’s going to be a tricky one. There’s going to be opportunities both ways but certainly the team that gets it right will be the winner. 

 

We’re where we wanted to be, but this is the very first stage of about 25 that we need to get right. You’ve got to run your own plan and stick with it. You have to sail your own race and not follow everyone else otherwise you’ll never get to the front. 

 

Right now we’re doing about 12 knots in 10 knots of wind but the forecast is for 10 knots for about the next six days. Today will be a long, slow day for sure. There are chances for puffs of wind further ahead but we won’t know until we get the latest forecasts through.

 

Andrew Cape.

NEAL McDONALD: "IT'S GONNA BE A LITTLE SLOW INTO MIAMI"

04-29-2012 13:00

We have been getting some gybing practice in. We are on port now heading west.

 

The forecast hasn’t been quite as we would have liked really and I think it is going to be a little slow into Miami. There is still breeze at the moment and we are whizzing along quite nicely.

 

There is current and a few other reasons we want to get west while we can and I imagine everyone will have the same game plan in the big picture. It looks like we will all get back towards the coast and into a bit more pressure and then the wind will flick back and we will get back on to starboard again.

 

Most of yesterday we could see both “Puma” and “Camper”, for the last 48 hours we have had those guys in our sights. Right now “Puma” has got the better of both of us slipped ahead. I think the kiwis and us are going to be head to head though for the next couple of days.

 

This morning they crossed about a mile and half behind us, which was quite pleasing. We will have to see what will happen next but that was a good moment for us.

 

I think everyone is learning their boats and refining their wardrobe and peaking at the same sort of time. It’s just the fine changes in conditions that make one boat go faster than another.

 

Although the forecast for the rest of the Leg to Miami is a slow one, I think the Doldrums won’t be too unpleasant. I’m hoping this crossing won’t be too memorable.

 

It still could be anybody’s race. I think “Groupama” has got a bit of ground to make up but there are going to be starts and stops and the boats are close enough that although some of the distances look big the boats eat up those miles so we are very much looking behind us as looking in front.

 

Neal McDonald.

Team Telefónica Watch Captain

CAPEY: "OUR INMEDIATE PLAN DIDN'T WORK OUT"

04-27-2012 11:00

Right now we’re just going fast compared to yesterday, we’re to leeward of the fleet and we’re just making sure we stay safe with regards to the coast. There are some long, long, long, long, long miles to clear the land, and some long, long, long, long miles before the West Indies so, there’s a lot of sailing to do, we’re going to turn up the heat and win the race.

 

It’s been a great leg so far, the conditions have been good, the water is warm, it’s sunny and not a lot of water on the deck.

 

Our immediate plan, didn’t work out, I think we were luckier than some of the others, but we are where we are. It didn’t cost us 100 miles, but it didn’t give us the lead either. "Groupama" are now at the back of the pack, they came up short, and they just have to start again. And we, we just have to keep battling on.

 

There is a light spot coming up today, that will be interesting, we’ just have to work our way through that and see what happens, it’s not super straight forward, but I have an idea so we’ll try and win them back. Then after that we have the Doldrums, or what there will be of the Doldrums, we have a few choices, there a few things to sort out yet.

 

It is a lot more random, so anything can happen to anyone, the race is right open. The race is long, there may still be a drag race which we’re pretty good at, and you know we’re confident, in those sort of conditions we’re pretty good. There’s a long way to go, and we can do it. We’ve only done 22, 23 per cent of the course, there’s a lot more to go. There’s a lot of race to be done.

 

Andrew Cape.

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