Volvo Ocean Race : Telefonica first boat to set up in Alicante port

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Spanish boat is already tied up opposite her base at the Muelle de Levante in the Alicante port

At midday today the Spanish Volvo Open 70 “Telefónica” made her entrance into the mouth of the Muelle de Levante in Alicante, Spain. The yacht skippered by Iker Martínez arrived from Sanxenxo in Pontevedra on the Northern Spanish coast and has now become the first entry in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 to officially set up at the starting port for the regatta, due to kick off on the 29th of October with the first coastal race.

The crew that will set off from Alicante bound for Cape Town on the 5th of November were received by VOR colleague, the CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, Norway's Knut Frostad.

“Being here in Alicante is great for us. When you are at home and you are the home team, everything is that bit easier. People remember us from the last edition of the regatta here, they speak our language, we know where to go to get everything and out families are over the moon we are here...,” said the skipper once he was back on land and in front of the many members of the press gathered at the port to attend the date with the Spanish team.

“I think it's an advantage to be able to prepare for the start and for the beginning of the whole competition, which is so important,” added the Spaniard. “Now we are back here in Alicante, where we put the boat on the water four months ago and where we have always felt very at home. We feel very well-prepared and we are looking forward to the regatta and I think that that is also down to the advantage of being able to train and prepare on home soil.”

These three days of sailing along the Portuguese coast, the Gibraltar Strait and up the Mediterranean have meant some 1,000 miles of sailing for “Telefónica”, which pushes the total of miles sailed by the Spanish Volvo Open 70 up to 9,000 since the yacht hit the water.

In that respect Skipper Iker Martínez is quite happy, in that up to now “we've trained as much as we can and we have prepared well. We've had the time and everything necessary available to us to be able to reach a very high standard indeed.”

What is certain is that the crew on “Telefónica” are looking forward to starting the regatta and to squaring up to their rivals on the water to see the fruits of almost a year and a half of hard training. “Now it's down to us and the work we've done. We still need to wait to have all the boats together to see exactly where we stand. The truth is that we don't really know where we'll be, but we've put in our best and we hope it'll be out in front to be able to put up a good fight. I think so,” said Martínez.

Alicante's Pepe Ribes returns home

On board “Telefónica” is the only sailor from Alicante sailing in the regatta: Pepe Ribes. He's from the town of Benissa and was greeted by his parents, whom he hadn't seen for a couple of months and his sister and his nephew, whom Ribes hadn't seen since he finished the Barcelona World Race on the 9th of April.

The Team Telefónica Boat Captain gave straight replies to the questions from the press: “Our aims are to win... and to win. Our aim is always to win but in this case we have also trained hard and done some great preparation, and whilst a bit of luck is always useful in an around the world regatta, we have a good boat and a good crew. We are working hard and Iker [Martínez] is doing a fantastic job in terms of choosing designers, shipyards and crew: so the aim is to win.”

Pepe Ribes will be sailing his fifth circumnavigation of the globe and his fourth Volvo Ocean Race and there's no doubt that he is one of the most experienced sailors in the competition. Despite this, every edition is different and for the Alicante sportsman this one is no exception: “I think that this edition will be very different to the last edition because there are other teams that have prepared for the race like we have. In 2008-2009 “Ericsson” had prepared much better than anyone else, but in this edition five teams have prepared very well for the regatta and so I think that we'll find that this edition will be a lot tougher than the last.”

Final sprint in Alicante: fine tuning

On April the 26th this year the “Telefónica” hull left the King Marine shipyard at Alginet (Valencia, Spain) where it was built for the first time. It was transported on road in a special transfer between Alginet and Alicante, over 156 km, reaching the city's port in the early hours of the 27th of April. It is the first of the yachts taking the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 to arrive in Alicante ahead of the race.

It's where the yacht was assembled and the very first offshore training sessions were carried out 20 days later, completing the 1,000 mile course between the regatta starting port and Marina Rubicón (Lanzarote), the team base in the Canary Islands where the team trained for three months.

With over 7,000 miles under their belts, the entire Telefónica team packed their suitcases again and headed back to the team's offshore base at Sanxenxo (Pontevedra, Galicia). They had already spent over a year there training with the old “Telefónica Blue”, but this time they stopped off for two weeks. Last Saturday the Spanish team said goodbye to Galicia to head back to Alicante for the final 'sprint' to the start.

What's now in store for the team? Iker Martínez replied to that: “Here in Alicante only the final touches need to be done. We want to focus on the details and then get on with the legal requirements and formalities. Only the finer details are left, but they matter too as later on winning a leg or a coastal race can depend on those; on that little bit more that the details might give you. It's all a matter of fine tuning those final details.”

There are 39 days left until Team Telefónica starts the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012.

Team Telefonica

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 September 2011 )