Brazil's Joao Signorini (“Joca”) and Spaniard Pablo Arrarte will be Watch Captain and Helmsman of Spain's Team Telefónica, as announced today.
Both started off in Olympic sailing where they coincided in the Olympic Games in Athens 2004, although competing in different classes; Finn in the case of the Brazilian and Arrarte in the Star Class.
With this brand new announcement, the Spanish team “Telefónica” now notches up three Olympic champions on board, as well as two America's Cup winners, three runners-up in the Barcelona World Race (the non-stop, two handed race around the world), a Volvo Ocean Race winner, a total of nine Olympians and 22 circumnavigations on board the Spanish boat.
“Joca” Signorini, aiming for a second Volvo Ocean Race victory
Joao Signorini, widely known as “Joca”, became a sailing fan at just seven years old, and until moving into offshore classes, Olympic sailing was his chosen battleground. He was part of Brazil's Laser Olympic Qualifying Team until 2000, combining sailing with his university studies in Mechanical Engineering. He then moved into the Finn class where he took tenth place at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, a preparation for the Beijing Games in 2008 which he eventually chose to withdraw from in order to be part of the round the world project with Torben Grael in 2008-2009.
He is the only “Telefónica” crew member who knows what it feels like to win a Volvo Ocean Race. Following his début in 2005 as Trimmer and Helmsman on “Brasil 1”, it was in his second round the world challenge at the age of 31 that the Brazilian took the win, on board “Ericsson 4”. Despite this, the desire and focus on this brand new edition of the race are the same as ever: “The fact that I have already won this regatta brings experience to the team when it comes to training, but really it's no different. You go into a project with a clear idea of the objectives and you work as best you can to get there,” he says.
“Joca” joins Neal McDonald as Watch Captain on “Telefónica”, a different role for him in this regatta, which has allowed him to gain experience “in taking part in the big decisions in terms of boat design and sails, so I'm learning a lot. I'm happy to bring my Olympic experience and my two Volvo Ocean Races to the team. I like my work and I'm really looking forward to start the regatta.”
Pablo Arrarte, Helmsman and an “Under 30”
Spaniard Pablo Arrarte will be one of “Telefónica”'s “Under 30” crew, as stipulated in the Volvo Ocean Race Rules, specifying that three members of the crew (with the exception of the Media Crew Member) must be 30 or under on September 1st 2011.
Pablo therefore forms part of the regatta's youngest participants. From Santander, in the North of Spain, Pablo will be one of the Helmsmen on the Spanish boat and will join fellow Spaniard Iker Martínez yet again. “We know Pablo well because he did the last round the world race on board “Telefónica Blue”,”explains the Basque skipper. “He is also a great multi-tasker, as well as a very good driver.”
Pablo Arrarte will have to improve on the third place in the 2009 edition with “Telefónica Blue”. That's no easy task, but by no means an impossibility: “We know that this edition is going to be even more competitive, with the boats very equal, so the crew is more important than ever. Saying that, I think we have a very good team. The others are strong too, but we are confident we can beat them,” he says.
“Telefónica” crew list to date:
Iker Martínez (ESP), Skipper.
Andrew Cape (AUS), Navigator.
Jordi Calafat (ESP), Trimmer/ Helmsman and Sail Coordinator.
Neal McDonald (GBR), Watch Captain.
Xabi Fernández (ESP), Trimmer.
Joao Signorini “Joca” (BRA), Watch Captain.
Pepe Ribes (ESP), Boat Captain.
Pablo Arrarte (ESP), Helmsman.
Diego Fructuoso (ESP), Media Crew Member.
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