The Volvo Ocean Race finished in Galway (Ireland) yesterday with the final in-port race in this edition of the competition. Iker Martínez and his “Telefónica” bid farewell to the racing fans with a podium finish, picking up the third place in the in-port race.
Aims reached and still to reach
“Before the round the world race I said that a winning team wasn't necessarily the winner, but a team that did everything possible to win and in that sense no one can argue that we're not a winning team”. These are the words which Pedro Campos opened his intervention with today, before giving thanks for the efforts and support from sponsors, the crew, the shore crew and all of the families of the team members involved.
“We had various aims”, he added. “The main aim was to project a positive image of Spain, at a time where we really need it: that has clearly been achieved, showing our technological, industrial and financial ability. The other aim was to win and we were really close at times, although it wasn't to be in the end, so all that's left is to say congratulations to 'Groupama' for their win”.
Iker Martínez also did some reflection of his own, highlighting the CEO's efforts: “I'd like to thank Pedro for the fact that we've had absolutely everything we've needed to be able to win this round the world regatta. I want everyone to know that we haven't wanted for anything and even Pedro himself pushed things forward at times to get us exactly what we needed”.
“Saying that, with everything we had available to us, there's really no excuse. We should have won this. It was our aim and we didn't achieve it and I'm not happy about that. If I am happy about something today it's that we've all come home safely, and that's the priority when you sail a round the world regatta. You really can't imagine right now how much I'd love to be able to have a rematch for this at some point”.
One of the questions that lots of people are asking themselves now is, what is the future of the Spanish team in the regatta? Faced with the question, both Pedro Campos and Iker Martínez have been clear in their individual positions.
The Spanish CEO touched on the points that in his opinion the organisers should take into consideration to improve the regatta, stating also his intention to meet with Volvo Ocean Race to discuss them, as “constructive criticism because we think that the system in place is unfair, although we fully accept it as valid and we knew the rules and those are the rules which we chose to compete under, but that doesn't take away from the fact that there is a bot of injustice when it comes to these rules. For example, for the first time in history the fastest boat isn't the winner. We took exactly 125 days, four hours, 13 minutes and 33 seconds to complete this round the world race. The boat after us took six days more and the following boat took eleven days more than us, no less. It's obvious that this is not fair and it's an offshore competition, that's how we view it and I repeat that we'll be fighting so that this is somehow taken into consideration, as it was in the past, either by following a mixed or other formula”.
Campos supports a change in the scoring system for future editions of the race, which in his words “to us seem fair, and we said that in the last edition of the race when we were the best boat in the in-port races. We don't think that the scoring for the in-ports should be so high, nor that it's fair that a leg like the Southern Ocean leg, with all of the endurance, risk, and everything else implied should be scored the same as the final leg which is barely one long night in length”.
The question on whether we'll be seeing the Spanish team in the next Volvo Ocean Race with the new boat designs was sure to come up.
“We're at a moment of uncertainty where almost everything is changing. I'll say again that what we want to do is to fight for this to be a fairer regatta in terms of offshore racing in our view and so I think it'll take us two or three months to see what is decided and to look at how these rules work and based on that we'll decide if we go for it agin or if we take some time out. We'll only be back in the Volvo Ocean Race if we think we've got a chance at winning. That means: very clear rules, objective rules which don't leave anything to chance, which is what any sportsperson would ask for. It's taken Spain a lot to get to the level we have reached”, said Pedro Campos.
With the Volvo Ocean Race's latest announcement on the new design, designer and the build process etc. Spain has been pushed out of the game in terms of industry, research and development and Campos has an opinion about that: “I think that on the ground, Spain is the country that has done the most for the Volvo Ocean Race: It has set off from Spain for three editions now, there have been four boats... and they need to listen to us, also because we are asking for fair and just things, reasonable and objective things. If we were listened to, I think that it would make for a better regatta and if they don't listen to us, well we won't want to take part. It's a right we think we have and we really believe in it”.
Iker Martínez also opened up on the subject: “personally I can't really see myself in the next edition of the race and I don't think that from a sporting point of view right now we even have enough time to launch it. There are so many uncertainties, so many things still up in the air; a rule we're not sure we know how will work, a class that we don't know what will be like and there are less than two years to go, so personally today I don't see myself there. We'll see have to see further ahead”.
The uncertainty of the new class of boat
Knut Frostad presented the new class of boat to the press at Lorient (France). It will be a one-design designed exclusively by Bruce Farr and only shipyards in England, Switzerland, Italy and France will be involved.
Iker Martínez gave his opinion from a sporting perspective, whilst Pedro Campos focussed on a more strategic response.
The Basque skipper's reply began like so: “If there's something that I can really feel proud of it's that we finished a round the world race and that the boat was designed and built at home and it's our boat. First of all, on a personal level, I'm not crazy about buying a boat abroad. It looks like it will have to be that way and I don't like it”.
Martínez added that “I also think that there's a very important part of this regatta to consider and that is development, but also safety. You're in the Southern Ocean where the seas are treacherous and things can get tricky... Going to places like these with a boat when I'm not exactly sure how it's been built, or designed, and I'm not really sure how it will respond... Well, I'm not really sure that it will be worth my while. I don't think that I would be able to take overall responsibility for eleven crew on a boat without having absolute and total control. As I'm the first person on the boat to decide when to really push, I'd like to be able to do it within the safety of the knowledge that the boat will respond”.
For Pedro Campos the changes do have a basis: “To drive down costs, which in theory is true, although in theory only. It basically uses the same mould, the same design... Everything else, in my opinion, is a drawback”.
“We also aren't sure why nothing will be done in Spain, but I think that we at least deserved the option to offer our shipyards and designers... The designed of the past three winning Volvo Ocean Race boats is in Valencia and 24 people work in his studio and the designer of the second placed entry in this edition is Marcelino Botín, who is Spanish”.
“We also know that with one designs there are never two identical boats and there are always differences in speed. There's also the matter of finance, which may seem like a paradox, but it's true. When you have the freedom to choose your design you can build a different keel, a different distribution of weight... and have a winning boat if you make the right decisions. When the boats are the same every single detail is expensive and they require hours and hours of research and study... So if we get into it, they're not actually cheap at all”.
To say goodbye to the Volvo Ocean Race, “Telefónica” finished on the podium of the in-port race held in Galway, Ireland yesterday taking third place after 55 minute and 8 seconds of racing.
“We've finished now and although there weren't any positions left to play for we had an-port with some great conditions and we were lucky enough to get back up onto the podium which was an experience we had been missing”, said Iker Martínez.
The final in-port race in this edition of the round the world race began at 13:00 local time with an 8.2 mile course. The start was given with 12 knots of southwesterly breeze which held up for almost the whole race. Iker Martínez and his crew had a change in line-up for today and their physical trainer, Iñigo Losada took the place of Xabi Fernández who was out with back problems.
The Spanish crew strengthened after coming back from the start, pushing ahead of 'Groupama' on the last leg and scooping third place. Ken Read and his US crew won the race with the boat from New Zealand in second place.
FINAL In-Port Race Galway (Ireland)
1. Puma powered by Berg (Ken Read). 53:12
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson). + 1:19
3. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez). +1:56
4. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas). +2:29
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker). +3:59
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson). +4:30
FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS. Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012.
1. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas), 253 points
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), 231 points
3. Puma powered by Berg (Ken Read), 226 points
4. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 213 points
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), 131 points
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), 51 points
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