Telefonica goes yachting
This kicks off the team's ocean training sessions in preparation for the Volvo Ocean Race, which starts with the coastal race out of Alicante on 29 October prior to the first race properly on 5 November.
After 20 days of preparation at the Alicante base, from when the hull of the new Telefónica was unveiled at her builders in Valencia so the Spanish campaign enters a new phase, focussing on optimising the performance of the new boat. Iker Martínez, skipper of Telefónica commented before casting off: "this build has taken some nine months, so everyone is really looking forward to getting out there and sailing to see how everything is working."
The double Olympic medallist and Olympic champion, who recently was runner-up in the Barcelona World Race spoke about Telefónica's first steps in Alicante: "We've done some sailing this week in Alicante and it really is a great place to carry out the first test sails. With these sails we've been treading very carefully so nothing would break, and we have been looking at what works well and what doesn't work. Now we are starting to get comfortable with the boat and we are facing this ocean sail to the Canaries, over one thousand miles, so it's a pretty serious matter."
As well as carrying out the first tests on the ocean, the Spanish boat will also attempt to complete her 2,000 mile qualification passage.
"We are going to Lanzarote to try to make the most of the wonderful wind conditions there," commented Martinez. "Now is the time we are going to try to break everything there is to break. That may sound crazy, but it will mean fewer problems when racing and it will help us to learn about the boat and how to sail her in tough wind conditions and medium breeze conditions".
Xabi Fernández, trimmer on board, emphasised that "the objective will continue to be that of testing out the boat, pushing her and the equipment and to attempt the 2000 qualifying miles, and of course this summer there will be lots of training where we top those 2000 miles, but it's always good to get them out of the way while we can"
Fernández spoke about the plan of action and the aims on board for these first test sails: "We will have a week of sailing at first, where I hope everything while go well. We will try to use the maximum number of sails we have ready, and we'll continue to test out the mast and the boat itself. We'll be exiting the Mediterranean and heading towards the Atlantic and I'm sure we'll get some tough conditions that we'll also see in the regatta. We need to get to know the boat. It's the first time for almost all of the crew this is the first time we have sailed on a Juan K boat and we are really looking forward to it, especially after seeing the performance they have given in previous Volvo Ocean Races. We are sure everything will be a success".