Photo; Maria Muina/Team Telefonica

Breezy finish for Telefonica

Spanish team claim leg one Volvo Ocean Race honours

Saturday November 26th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: South Africa

Telefónica has won the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Spanish VO70, skippered by Iker Martinez reached Cape Town 1814 UTC (2014 local time) with the breeze having built to 40 knots as she approached the South African port. Her elapsed time for leg one was 21 days five hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds to complete the 6,500 mile leg from Alicante. It is the first time in the history of the fully crewed round the world race that a Spanish team has been leading.

Iker Martínez and his crew stepped ashore to a summer’s evening in Cape Town and a rapturous welcome from a crowd of sailing fans, shore crew and loved ones.

“The feeling is fantastic. It's something that you only dream of," said Martinez. "We've seen what can happen and we have achieved much more than we thought we could."

Navigator, Andrew Cape said of the team’s success: “It’s hard to put your finger on one thing, but it comes down to solid decision-making. We were always pretty sure of where we wanted to go, that’s just my aspect of it. The guys kept the boat moving fast and everything in working order, which is massive because you don’t go anywhere with stuff breaking or if you’re not trimming fast.  The whole crew worked really hard to keep this show on the road and it has worked out really well.”

It was on day four, 8 November, that Telefónica first took over the lead from Puma’s Mar Mostro. The pair had covered each other’s moves as they raced down the Atlantic and at Fernando de Noronha Puma led Telefónica by just 55 minutes. After the Brazilian mandatory waypoint Telefonica took a more easterly route and had regained the lead. However Puma was maintaining the pressure until day 17 (21 November) when, lying 31nm behind Telefónica, when Mar Mostro dismasted.

Telefónica now leads the Volvo Ocean Race with a total of 31 points - 30 for victory in the first offshore leg and one point for when they finished last in the Iberdrola In-Port Race a week prior to the start of leg one in Alicante. 

At the time Telefónica crossed the line, Camper was around 200 nm behind and is due into Cape Town on Sunday morning with Franck Cammas' Groupama a further 825 nm behind.

And of course we all know what winning the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race means...

From Ian Roman/

From Paul Todd/


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