Saturday, 27 August 2011

VOR : “Telefónica” bound for Galicia

Following three months of training at Marina Rubicón the Spanish boat racing in the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race has set off on the 1,000 journey to her base at Sanxenxo (Pontevedra, Spain)

Image copyright Maria Muina/Team Telefonica

by Helena Paz

Spanish entry “Telefónica” has turned yet another page in her preparation in the run-up to the Volvo Ocean Race. Following three months of training and preparation at Marina Rubicón (Lanzarote), the yacht skippered by Iker Martínez cast off her lines yesterday afternoon to set course for her next destination: the team base at Sanxenxo, in Pontevedra, Northern Spain.

With just two months to go until the start of the round the world competition, a brand new phase of preparation for Team Telefónica has kicked off.

“These three months have given us so much”

Following the time spent in Lanzarote, a weighing up of the experience and what's been achieved and learned by Team Telefónica up until now is unavoidable. “After three months it's clear that coming here was the right decision”, confessed Iker Martínez during his last few minutes in Lanzarote. “The crew have been very happy here and we've also done some really good sailing”.

Xabi Fernández, Trimmer on “Telefónica” also looked back over the experience before casting off: “To begin with, these three months have flown by because we've been happy both on the water and on shore. These seas were exactly what we were looking for, with good conditions in terms of wind and the water and we have been able to try out the whole sail program as well as the boat itself. We are really happy, not only because of what we've found here, but also with the feedback we got from the boat. We feel a lot more prepared for this one than we did for the last two Volvos I was involved in. We've sailed a lot, an average of five or six times a week and we have really made the most of being here”.

The crew on “Telefónica” are now focussed on what's ahead, as Martínez points out: “Now, rather than looking back at what we have done, we are focussed on what's left to do. Now's the time to think about the next step”.

Five days of sailing ahead

Image copyright Maria Muina/Team Telefonica

With the yacht in regatta mode, “Telefónica” is now taking on the almost 1,000 mile climb up the Atlantic Ocean, where the course will be mainly upwind, with the wind coming at the yacht head-on.

“We will reach the halfway point along the length of Portugal with Northeasterly winds and then we'll get North winds, with four days of pure close-hauling”, said Xabi Fernández. “It's not the most fun sail for us, but it's good for us as here we've been sailing on more open courses. We'll be setting off in regatta mode and we will try to get to know the boat even better. We hope these days will be quick so we can get stuck into the next phase of training in Sanxenxo”, he concluded.

I'm going to Sanxenxo, and you're going to Alicante

The logistics behind a round the world sailing team is anything but simple. Whilst “Telefónica” and her entire crew are climbing North, the Shore Crew (riggers, sail-makers, boat-builders, electronics experts, purchasing department, logistics crew, etc...) were working hard to dismantle the Team Telefónica base in the Canaries. It's a process that began days ago with the packing of a lot of equipment and finished yesterday.

The base, which is made up of various 40-foot containers, other smaller containers which will remain in situ and two tents for the sail loft and the composites and boat-building team, was completely dismantled. A new process will now begin: sending off the containers to Alicante.

The 40-foot containers will leave Lanzarote at the end of the month. They'll go from Marina Rubicón to the island's capital Arrecife, where they'll then be loaded onto a ship for Alicante where the Team Telefónica base will then be set up at the port of departure for the Volvo Ocean Race.

What will be transported? All of the spares and working equipment, the tools, the team rib (seven metres long), the forklift, each crew and shore members personal items including suitcases, bicycles, surfboards etc., office equipment... Everything bound for Alicante.

Image copyright Maria Muina/Team Telefonica

What about Sanxenxo? A van is travelling to the team base in Galicia with all of the team's baggage. Another van is travelling with any spares the team might need and will be in Sanxenxo when “Telefónica” ties up at the Galician port.

The vans are driven by two of the Shore Crew: the “Jorges” (Jorge Blanco and George Peacock). Both started today the long journey across land and sea, a total of almost 60 hours from Marina Rubicón – Arrecife – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria – Portimao – Sanxenxo.

Tuesday 30th, in Galicia

“Telefónica” is forecasted to reach Vigo on Tuesday 30th at around 11:30 am, with a stopover of some four hours at the Real Club Náutico de Vigo, the royal yacht club. Another 17 miles will take the crew to Sanxenxo, where they will also be greeted by local authorities and sailing fans.

“Both at Vigo and Sanxenxo we'll get a warm welcome, which we are really looking forward to”, said Iker Martínez. “Sanxenxo is also the Team Telefónica offshore sailing base. It has been for years and it is also where we prepared our round the world BWR challenge and where the Volvo team have been working for a year, so many people are waiting for us and we are really looking forward to being there too”.

As one phase draws to an end, another commences...

Team Telefonica
Volvo Ocean Race