Iker Mart’nez will again be leading the Spanish challenge for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2014-15, his team confirmed this week.
The 37-year-old Basque sailor, who has just been crowned European champion in the Nacra 17 multihull class, is looking forward to his second campaign as a skipper following the Team Telef—nica entry in 2011-12.
On that occasion, Mart’nez had the luxury of many months of preparation that helped propel the Spanish boat to a big early lead in the last Volvo Ocean Race before being overhauled by eventual winners, Groupama of France. Telef—nica eventually finished fourth.
This time, he does not have so much time to oversee the Spanish team's challenge as it was only announced last month.
Mart’nez, Olympic 49er champion in 2004, is still relishing the opportunity, however.
"I am very happy to be skipper of this project again, flying the flag of our country," he said. "It is a big challenge - not only because the Volvo Ocean Race is such a long and tough race for all the crew members - but also because we know we do not have much time left before the first leg start on October 11.
"We know that we're really pressed for time and the other teams are far ahead in terms of preparation but we are working hard to make up the difference."
On Saturday, the Spanish team whose title sponsor has yet to be announced, competed in the Round the Canary Islands race in their Volvo Ocean 65s against Volvo Ocean Race competitors Team Brunel and the all-female crew of Team SCA.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 will begin on October 4 with the Alicante in-port race followed by the start of the first leg on October 11 to Cape Town.