Wednesday, 20 April 2011

VOR: Iker Martínez, Skipper of "Telefonica" in the Volvo Ocean Race

Team mate Xabi Fernández also joins the team for what will be his third Volvo Ocean Race

Iker Martinez (right) - skipper of Telefonica - and teammate Xabi Fernandez. Image copyright Chapi.

by Helena Paz

Following the press conference this morning in which Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández revealed what their sporting futures hold, Pedro Campos, CEO of the Spanish team in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012, has named Iker Martínez skipper on the Volvo Open 70 “Telefónica”. The Basque sailor is back in the Volvo Ocean Race to captain the project that also includes his colleague Xabi Fernández. Together they will form a more than prolific tandem battling to sew some fresh seeds of victory for Spanish offshore sailing.

Pedro Campos, CEO of the Spanish team said: "Ever since the finish of the last Volvo Ocean Race we have wanted to keep both options open to Iker and Xabi: offshore racing and the Olympic Games. Thanks to their exceptional sporting abilities and personal qualities, Iker and Xabi have managed to work excellently across both fronts, winning the 49er World Championships on the one hand last year, and directing the preparation for "Telefónica" in the Volvo Ocean Race, as well as finishing the Barcelona World Race in a fantastic second place with "MAPFRE". Today, with the decision to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race taken and the door wide open to the Olympic Games, it only remains for me to confirm that they will be taking the overall responsibility for the sporting and technical preparation of the boat; Iker as skipper and Xabi as a key member of the crew”.

Campos added: “Winning a round the world challenge is a box that Spain is yet to tick and we are preparing thoroughly to try to achieve this. I couldn't be any happier if that happened with a Spanish project, lead by Iker and with Xabi as crew. If they are also able to get another Olympic medal for Spain's archive of Olympic successes, I think that we'd not only be making history, but we would also be maximising the support received from our sponsors. We will therefore do everything in our power and provide all that we can to make this dream a reality."

Iker and Xabi: the legend grows

Iker Martínez, 33 years old, will be taking part in what will be his third Volvo Ocean Race. His first step into offshore sailing and into this event was the 2005-06 edition of the race, on "movistar" where he was tactician for the inshore races. In the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009 he co-skippered “Telefónica Blue”, taking third place on the podium and victory in the inshore race rankings.

Iker Martínez will be captaining a crew "that's a great team and we think we have a real chance of winning. It is a very important regatta, which Spain has yet to win, so doing so would mean so much to everyone."

The past 12 years of his sporting career have been intrinsically linked with those of fellow Spaniard Xabi Fernández, with whom he has notched up many successes. Along with a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and silver in Beijing 2008, Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández have 3 World Championships in the Olympic 49er class and three European Championships to their names. Their latest success is the runner up position in the overall rankings of the Barcelona World Race, the non-stop, round the world challenge, where they were also the first entry to complete the race with no stopovers on land, as well as the leading Spanish entry.

Less than seven months to go until the start

Following the announcement on April 12th that the Spanish team in the Volvo Ocean Race was back, "Telefónica", directed by Pedro Campos has been continuing to move towards the starting line on October 29th with the best possible guarantees. The first inshore race is on November 5th, with this edition kicking off in Alicante, before heading to Cape Town (South Africa) to complete the first leg.

Coming soon, the next step: the completion of the Volvo Open 70 “Telefónica” and the first training sessions on the water.

Volvo Ocean Race