Getting to know Iker and Xabi
They've been sailing together for over ten years. They've enjoyed a successful sporting life together, brimming with victories, and of course the odd tough moment. They are Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández.
Twice medallists and Olympic champions, three-time World and European champions, a gold Royal Order Medal for Sporting Achievement, and round the world sailors... Now they are co-skippers on the IMOCA Open 60 Mapfre and on 31 December they will set out on what will be the toughest challenge of their careers so far: 25,000 miles ahead of them, the two skippers alone in the immensity of the ocean.
So what makes these sailing legends tick?
Your favourite dish?
Xabi: Fried eggs and chips.
Sleeping on a boat or at home?
I.: At home, for sure.
X.: At home.
Which regatta have you watched the most times?
I.: The Olympic Games.
X.: I couldn't pick one!
I.: Torben Grael.
X.: Jane Abascal.
The strangest prize you've ever received?
I.: No particular one that springs to mind…
X.: Perhaps the one we got from the Gastronomy Society.
Maximum boat speed?
I.: 36.5 knots in a Volvo Open 70.
X.: 34 - 35 knots in a VO 70.
The best regatta?
I.: Probably the Olympic Games in China.
X.: The Olympic Games in Athens.
I.: Lazy people.
X.: Dragging behind.
I.: Hard workers.
X.: Winning a regatta.
The best advice you have ever been given?
I.: Be patient.
X.: I can't say, because I didn't follow it.
A favourite phrase?
I.: You'd have to ask Xabi.
A day without sailing is…
I.: A very fun or a very boring day.
X.: A day off.
Olympic or offshore sailing?
I.: My passion, since I was a boy: Olympic sailing. I'm starting to like offshore sailing very much.
X.: A little bit of everything.
I.: Airbag (a Spanish comedy).
X.: Airbag (ditto...).
I.: There are too many good ones! Perhaps “the basics”: the lightbulb and the wheel.
X.: The canting keel.
I.: Hondarribia (Basque Country).
A personal quality?
I.: Working hard.
X.: Many as well.
I.: That something happens to somebody.
X.: That either of us get hurt during the regatta.
Your strongest rival?
I.: “Foncia”, “Paprec Virbac” and “President”.
X.: “Foncia”, “Paprec Virbac” and “President”, on one hand, and the entries from the Barcelona base such as “Estrella Damm” and the IMOCA “Renault Z. E.”.
I.: My loved ones.
X.: This boat, for now.
I.: That everything goes well for us and without a hitch, and that nothing happens to Xabi or me during the race.
X.: That the regatta finishes well.