Photo: Maria Muina/Telefonica

Princess Letizia of Spain godmother to Telefonica VO70

Royal handing over of flag in Alicante

Friday October 7th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

The Princess of Asturias and Crown Princess of Spain, Letizia became 'Godmother' today to the Spanish VO70 Telefónica, competing in the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race. The naming of the Princess as Godmother took place today at midday at a ceremony held at the Port of Alicante, with Crown Prince Felipe also in attendance.

Telefonica team CEO Pedro Campos commented: “Our team has never rested on its laurels and has also never given up when faced with adversity and that is what makes us so strong."

The hum of activity at the Port of Alicante could be heard from early this morning. The Crown Prince and Princess arrived promptly at 11:30am at the Volvo Ocean Race Village, where the ceremony was held. Authorities present included: Sonia Castedo, the Mayoress of Alicante; Alberto Fabra, President of the Generalitat of Valencia; Leire Pajín, Spain's Health Minister; Pedro Campos and Knut Frostad, CEO of the regatta.

Following a brief business meeting, the Crown Prince and Princess made their way to Telefónica at 12:00 and the act began with Pedro Campos taking the opportunity to express his thanks to the sponsors, institutions, central government and in general to “everybody who has made Spain's presence in this great ocean adventure a splendid reality."

Campos added: “This is a very important day for our team and we've travelled a long road to get here. We enjoyed some great success in the last Volvo Ocean Race, as well as some difficult times and overall it was an extraordinarily positive experience for us all and the outcome was a definite decision-making factor for us to go for it again this time. Our team has never rested on its laurels and has also never given up when faced with adversity and that is what makes us so strong”.

Campos didn't want to miss out the Telefónica Team in his speech, nor, of course, the Spanish Royal Family: “Thank you to all of the people in our team: designers, builders, crew and shore crew for their total commitment, their professionalism and dedication. I thank our families who by giving up their free time and their family life follow us around the world. Above all, and in a very special way today, I'd like to thank Spain's 'first family', the Royal Family, for the continuing support and affection."

The Prince and Princess made their way down to the quayside, where, after greeting the crew Princess Letizia handed over the Spanish flag to Pedro Campos. Telefónica Skipper Iker Martínez was in charge of hoisting the flag on the Volvo Open 70 while the national anthem was played.

Following that, the yacht crew and shore crew on Telefónica invited the Prince and Princess to see the boat that the eleven-strong crew will take to this extreme challenge, with one clear objective: to try to win the Volvo Ocean Race for Spain.

With the Princess of Asturias now Godmother to Telefónica, the Spanish team are getting back to work, with the starting siren for the qualifying race at 15:00; starting at the Postiguet beach. The fleet will then set course for Cabo de las Huertas to then return to Alicante and from there to the island of Tabarca. After that they will set a course for Palma de Mallorca before returning to Alicante.

This is a very important test ahead of the start, as Iker Martínez explains: “It will be the first time that we'll be sailing alongside the other boats, so we are really looking forward to it. There's only a little wind here today but it looks like later on the course we'll have more breeze and then there'll be little or none towards the end, so we are looking forward to getting started."

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