Risk versus reward


Iker Martinez (left) with Xabi Fernandez
Iker Martinez (left) with Xabi Fernandez
Second in the Barcelona World Race, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez tell us what they learned and look forward to the Volvo Ocean Race
There is a new force to be reckoned with in shorthanded racing for it can be no coincidence that in the Barcelona World Race the second, third and fourth placed teams were all Spanish. Time will tell whether this new found enthusiasm/skill transfers on to the Vendee Globe or whether the Spanish sailors are only interested in sailing doublehanded, for another observation to made about this Barcelona World Race, the second time the non-stop round the world race has been held, is that it has now come of age as an event and perhaps has also properly established the sport of two-handed ocean racing. No longer is the Transat Jacques Vabre the only doublehanded event in the IMOCA Open 60 calendar – now there is an event that could one day rival the Vendee Globe as the class’ no1 event. This race has also proved - just as Mark Turner shrewdly planned when he originally conceived the event – that is can attract top sailors from other disciplines, in particular the Volvo Ocean Race with the likes of Iker Martinez, Xabi Fernandez and Pepe Ribes, now hooked on what for them is an entirely new discipline within sailing that is less intimidating than solo sailing. A particularly impressive display during this race was that of double Olympic 49er gold medallists turned Volvo Ocean Race sailors Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, sailing Mapfre, formerly Michel Desjoyeaux’s Foncia, the Farr-designed winner of the last Vendee Globe. Her crew arrived in Barcelona a week ago look decidedly svelt – Fernandez having lost 17kg and Martinez 10. “It was good fun,” Martinez admitted to us of their race. “Obviously there were some moments when you think ‘what are we doing here? I’d rather be at home’, but overall it was very nice. Xabi and myself are good

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