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Martínez: victory took total team effort

Team Telefonica, skippered by Iker Martinez from Spain won the Sanya Haitang Bay © Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race
Team Telefonica, skippered by Iker Martinez from Spain won the Sanya Haitang Bay © Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race

It was Telefónica’s sailing team who masterminded their second in-port race victory on Saturday, but according to skipper Iker Martínez, it was the countless shore-crew on land that made the win possible.

It has been a hectic time for Telefónica’s shore crew having made a last minute decision to replace the rigging just two days before the start of Saturday’s Sanya Haitang Bay In-Port Race.

While it took just four hours to remove the mast, detach the old rigging, fit the new rigging and re-step the mast, it took a whole day’s sailing to tune to rig to satisfaction -- and what proved to be winning form.

Martínez and his crew claimed their second in-port victory in four races, edging out second place PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG by 41 seconds.

“I give 100 per cent credit to our shore crew and riggers,’’ Martínez said. “Our race was not perfect, we had some issues with the spinnaker, it is difficult to do those manoeuvres with only 10 guys on board, but the rest was perfect.

“I think the weather guys, the coach and Jordi (Calafat) all together made great preparation for the race and they made the right call and then after that it was a little bit easier for us.”

Martínez said knowing that the team’s chief rigger -- his good mate Fernando “Harry” Sales -- was happy with the replacement rigging gave him and his team the confidence to push hard on the 10.8 nautical mile course.

“Harry has been with us for a long time, he worked with us on the Barcelona World Race and has been with us on this campaign from the beginning,’’ Martínez said.

“When he says we have to change the rigging, we trust him. When he says he has 100 per cent confidence in the rigging, we also believe that.’’

Harry said the team were sending the former rigging back to the manufacturer Southern Spars in America, where it will be examined for any problems. The 35-year-old Spaniard reckons it will take about one month for results.

As for his own opinion, Harry said he was dumbfounded as to what had caused the rigging to return abnormal tension readings.

“For me, it’s the first time I’ve worked with carbon rigging,’’ he said. “I really don’t know. Maybe some wires are broken, we just really don’t know. We checked everything we could, but we did not find anything. 

“We saw in the photos and in the way the boat sailed that it was not the same rigging we started the race with. When the rigging is not right the trimmers go crazy because they cannot set their sails, and we cannot get boat speed.”

Harry said he and his colleagues had been extra cautious given two boats have lost their mast in Leg 1 and the forecast for Leg 4 predicted gale force winds and a treacherous sea state.

“It is a case of it’s better to be safe than sorry,’’ he said. “We need to ensure the rig is exactly as we expect just to be safe. We want to check everything, and check it again, otherwise we can’t sleep once they’re out there racing.’’


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