The pace isn't letting up at the Team Telefónica base and with more than 24 hours to go until the fleet hear the starting signal sound for the start of the round the world regatta, Iker Martínez, Skipper on “Telefónica” admits that “we are all a bit on edge and itching to get out sailing”.
During the day yesterday the Spanish team have been adding the final touches to the project they've been nurturing for some two years now, and as the double Olympic-medallist explains: “What we are most looking forward to about this first leg is starting the regatta. We have been preparing this for a long time and whilst we have enjoyed the design, build and training stages, of course we did them all so that we could get out and race. What's coming is what we love doing most and it's what everyone wants to see: the efficiency of these boats, the level of the crew and basically to see where we'll come”.
It's worth noting too that Iker Martínez is taking on this round the world regatta as the sole Skipper on the Spanish boat, which means added responsibility for the Basque sailor: “You have to look out for the others to a greater extent but also remember that the risks taken won't be taken alone, they'll be everybody's. So you have to be more careful and you have to remember that everyone is affected by a good call or by a bad decision you might make. It changes things and I think overall it makes you more careful in many ways, and like with everything in life it's good to take it on with humility and to learn at the same time, because this is a trade and it has to be learnt, little by little and with the people around us, all of them are great pros and I think that is an incredible help when it comes to trying not to make any big mistakes”. Even so, his experience as runner-up in the Barcelona World Race is something of a guarantee.
Team Telefónica is heading for the start with their homework done, but there are always final touches to attend to. In this case it's the sails they'll be taking on board with them on the first leg of the round the world regatta. The first leg promises an array of weather conditions so meetings between Skipper Iker Martínez, Navigator Andrew Cape, the Sails Team headed up by Jordi Calafat, the Meteorologist and the rest of the crew are essential.
“What concerns me most about this leg is the choice of sails. It's the only thing really left to work on because once the boat itself has gone through the measuring process it is what it is: the appendages are what you have and the crew is the crew you've got. Of course the only other decision that you can really take is whether to take more or less food on board, but the really tricky one is what sails you'll use and what sails you'll take”, said the Skipper of the Spanish team who went on to add: “With the new restrictions for this edition things have changed a lot and now we find ourselves always missing one sail or another and that's going to make a big difference. So, choosing the right sail is very important and if you don't you'll be suffering the whole leg”.
No clear bets
It is now a countdown to the unveiling of the mysteries contained within this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. With just 24 hours to go until the moment of truth is here, very few people are daring to clearly name their favourites or even a potential winner at this point. Once again Iker Martínez chose to highlight the equal footing of the teams lining up at the start: “I would be surprised if there was a boat that was really superior to the others and I'd be surprised if there was a team who steamed ahead of the rest. I think that things will be very even, that in certain conditions some will do better and in others the same, but every boat will have their moment. I'd be very surprised indeed if there wasn't a great similarity in performance across at least four or five of the entries”.
Talking about your rivals is never an easy matter, but Iker Martínez is pretty clear about the strong points of the other teams. If “Groupama” stands for offshore experience then for the Basque sailor “Abu Dhabi” is a Volvo Ocean Race revolution, whilst “Puma” is heir to the “Ericsson 4” spirit of racing. “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” is a team with great potential and “Team Sanya” will be a team “to talk about”.
Today, a family day
Traditionally, the day before the start is set aside for the families. However, at the Team Telefónica base there are still a few bags to be sealed and some meetings to be held.
With the loading already started, today is the last day for getting everything ready.
The first night on the route to Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) wasn't easy on Iker Martínez and “Telefónica”, nor was it easy on the rest of the fleet. ...
Spanish boat “Telefónica” dominated today in a brilliant coastal race in Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa. Basque Skipper Iker Martínez and his crew have now added six new ...
On Sunday the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race will kick off, with 30 new points to play for and over 5,400 miles of racing ahead between the South ...
16 days after winning the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and setting a milestone in Spanish sailing history by becoming the first Spanish boat to take the lead ...
Pirate attacks in the conflict-ridden waters off the East coast of Africa, in particular opposite Somalia have unfortunately been big news in the national and international press over the past ...