Sunday, 12th February. 27º C. 14:00 in Sanya (China). “Telefónica” is back on the water and the team are gearing up for a crucial week in the land of the red dragon. Since taking its third leg victory on the 4th of February, the boat has spent some eight days out of its natural habitat, being showered with the attentions of a shore crew who are happy with the job done.
Repairs, checks, ultrasound scanning, improvements and more checks. Nothing can be left to chance. The Spanish yacht was the second of the boats in the fleet to return to the water and a new phase kicks off for the team today. That may mean a second bid for victory in China.
You Spain, me China
Most of the "Telefónica" crew have taken a few days off to rest, with some heading home and others staying in Sanya. The latter option was taken by Spain's “Ñeti” Cuervas-Mons and also by fellow Bowman Zane Gills, as well as the team's Navigator Andrew Cape. Boat Captain Pepe Ribes from Alicante also stayed in China where he was joined by his wife Sandra and his son Pepe.
"The journey back home is pretty tough so I chose to use the opportunity to get some rest and to get to know the island a bit. This is the first time I've been to China and it's been great to see how people live here and it really is quite a change from our culture and it's been really interesting", said “Ñeti” Cuervas-Mons.
A rest? With training...
Despite the time off, everyone must keep up with the training plan which kicks in 48 hours after the finish. It's focussed mainly on building the guys back up and getting them ready for the race preparation phase: "We've been with the team's physio and we've been going to the gym every morning", said "Neti". "You have to rest but at the same time build yourself back up because the next two legs are going to be very hard and the stopover in New Zealand is a really short one", he warned.
The guys who headed home must also keep up with the regime. Iñigo Losada, the Team Telefónica Physical Trainer explains how the team's Health Department has planned everything with these journeys in mind, as well as contacting health professionals in Spain to ensure that the crew make the best possible recovery from the leg: "For many different reasons we've found that on this leg many of the crew have chosen to return home to visit their families. This is something that we've had to factor into our planning, especially given the current weather situation in Europe, the considerable length of the journey there and back and the fact that with each finish the crew's immune systems are somewhat debilitated".
"This has also meant that we've had to contact other sports health professionals at different geographical points in Spain to carry out the treatments on the schedule, to make sure that their recovery is supervised and that the crew are all in a position to follow the schedule laid out for their return", added Losada.
Tuesday: First training session in China?
With most of the crew back on Chinese soil and in Sanya on Monday and the boat now back on the water, the Spanish team intends to carry out the first session of training in Chinese waters on Tuesday 14th February.
Yet again another week begins with a hectic schedule and everyone must be ready for it: on Thursday the training race will take place, on Friday it's the Pro-Am, on Saturday the in-shore race and on Sunday it's the start of the fourth leg (Sanya, China - Auckland, New Zealand).