Photos; Maria Muina/Telefonica

Telefonica depart Lanzarote

Spanish Volvo Ocean Race team return to Sansenxo

Friday August 26th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

Following three months of training at Marina Rubicón, the Telefonica teams are returning to their base in Sanxenxo, Spain. In doing so, the Spanish Volvo Ocean Race team has turned yet another page in her preparation for this autumn's round the world race. After three months of training and preparation in Lanzarote, the team and their VO70, skippered by Iker Martínez, cast off yesterday afternoon.

Following the time in Lanzarote, the team have been weighing what they have learned. “After three months it's clear that coming here was the right decision”, advised 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, added: "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 looking 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”.

The crew now have five days of sailing ahead as the Telefónica VO70 makes the 1,000 mile return up the Atlantic, where the course will be mainly upwind.

“We will reach the halfway point along the length of Portugal in northeasterly winds and then we'll get northerly winds, with four days of pure close-hauling”, said 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.”

The logistics behind a round the world sailing campaign is anything but simple. While Telefónica and her crew are heading North, the Shore Crew (riggers, sail-makers, boat-builders, electronics experts, purchasing department, logistics crew, etc...) have been working hard to dismantle their 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 comprises a number of 40ft containers, plus 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. Now the containers are bound for Alicante, the start port of the Volvo Ocean Race. Inside these are 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..."

The Telefónica VO70 is forecasted to reach Vigo on Tuesday 30 August at around 11:30, 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.




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