Photos: Maria Muina/Telefonica

Telefonica look ahead to leg seven

The passage across the north Atlantic is one to be respected

Wednesday May 16th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

The next leg of the Volvo Ocean Race sets sail from Miami on Sunday at 1700 UTC.

Overall race leader Telefónica has been back training on the water since yesterday. Today Iker Martínez and the Spanish boat's crew will be heading out again to the South Beach bay to carry out some five hours of training out prior to tomorrow's official training race. This is followed on Friday with the ProAm and on Saturday the In Port racing.

For the team there have been just three days 'off' - in inverted commas because the crew have all been following the physical training programme at the gym under the supervision of the team's physical trainer Iñigo Losada, as well as the recovery sessions with the team's physiotherapist José Ramón Sánchez, who has also travelled out to Miami.

Iker Martínez and Andrew Cape attended the skippers and navigators meeting with the Race Director to discuss the upcoming leg. Navigator Andrew Cape has crossed the 'pond' on numerous occasions, although he's made the journey from eastbound five times in total; the first in the 1993-1994 Whitbread aboard the W60 Tokio.

“In weather terms it's always a tricky leg, but a good leg," says Cape. "We mustn't forget that it's a serious one, and you only need to look back and remember that not so long ago, just six years ago a boat and and a crew member were lost, so we've got to be very aware of that and take it very seriously”.

Since reaching Miami Cape has been working with the team's meteorologists looking at possible routing and conditions that may come up after Sunday. “We're facing the best leg of the regatta, because it's almost as if we have the whole regatta in a leg in a short space of time: just 12 days. We'll get it all; light airs, strong winds, high downwind speeds, reaching conditions, some heat and some cold... It's always a good leg from that point of view and it should be very interesting”.

That is why it is also difficult to know whether this is a good leg for any particular boat design because “as I said, there will be a mix of conditions, differing greatly and each boat will have their moment. They'll be something for everyone to play with," he says.

Telefónica will set off from Miami as the regatta leader, with the top four entries bunched within 17 points of one another and the Spanish team's lead over second placed Groupama was reduced on the last leg to 11 points.

Many have questioned whether this will now affect how Team Telefónica takes on this Atlantic crossing and the two European legs afterwards. For Cape there's no doubt about that: "We set off on every leg to win and we sail to win and that's what we always do, although the legs might not always finish in victory. We've now got a bigger points difference that we had at the start of the regatta [after the first leg the difference with the second placed entry was just two points and after leg two it was eight, and after the third, nine]. We're still in front overall and we're in good shape, as are the rest of the fleet. We are where we are and we have to keep on moving forward."

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