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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 January 2019

Spaniards keep up the tradition, to compete in Volvo Ocean Race

Six teams are now in the fray for the race as Iberian nation is all set to be represented for eighth time in 12 years.
Iker Martinez, who has been with Telefonica, will take up a new assignment this season. Ravindranath K / The National
Iker Martinez, who has been with Telefonica, will take up a new assignment this season. Ravindranath K / The National

A sixth team has entered the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race, with a Spanish boat spearheaded by two of the country’s leading sailors, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, joining the competition.

It is the eighth time in the 12 editions of the race that Spain has been represented in the 41-year-old event. The campaign, which is being mounted by sailor/businessman Pedro Campos, is the sixth crew announced so far for the race, which begins in Alicante on October 4 with an in-port race, followed by the departure on Leg 1 to Cape Town a week later.

The Campos team, who will announce a title sponsor and skipper shortly, have already taken possession of their Volvo Ocean 65 boat in Southampton, England, and are currently preparing the boat to be launched.

“We’re happy to see Spain’s presence again in sailing’s leading offshore race, the Volvo Ocean Race,” Campos said. “For our team, it is an honour to have a fifth boat participating in succession, a record in the history of the race.

“We know that it will be a very difficult edition, with all the boats identical, but as always, we’ll try to raise the Spanish flag at its highest as much as possible.”

Campos said that Martinez and Fernandez would be “pillars” of the Spanish sailing crew.

There is unfinished business in the race for the pair. The Olympic gold medallists from Athens dominated the early stages of the last edition in 2011/12 on board Telefonica, but a broken rudder in the penultimate stage ruined their hopes of overall victory, which was claimed by French team Groupama.

No Spanish team has won offshore sailing’s toughest and most prestigious race – formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Knut Frostad, chief executive of the race, which is based in Alicante, Spain, said he was delighted to welcome the Campos team alongside what is probably the most evenly matched fleet in the event’s history.

“The Spanish team has some of the most-versatile and experienced sailors in the world involved and I am sure they are in the race to do well,” he said. “It’s great to see this team back for the fourth edition in a row.”

The Spanish team will line up in Alicante alongside the all-women’s crew of Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Dongfeng Race Team, Team Brunel and Team Alvimedica, who have already been announced.

Previous Campos teams to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race are movistar (2005/06), Telefonica (two boats in 2008/09) and Team Telefonica (2011/12), the latter skippered by Martinez.

sports@thenational.ae

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Updated: June 20, 2014 04:00 AM

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