America's Cup- Iker Martinez splits from Italian Challenger
by Richard Gladwell on 23 Jan 2013
In a tightly worded statement on their website, Luna Rossa Challenge have announced the departure of one of their helmsmen, Iker Martinez from the team.
Departed Luna Rossa team member, and former Telefonica skipper Iker Martinez is a double Olympic medalist and triple World Champion, with two previous circumnavigations. © Richard Gladwell http://www.richardgladwell.com
The statement reads in full:
'We decided together to close our working relationship. The entire Team has enormous respect for Iker, he is a great sailor, which is why he was selected to enter the Luna Rossa Team ' Max Sirena declared.
We thank Iker very much for making a great contribution to the Team with his talent and his technical and tactical skills in this sport. We wish him all the best for his future challenges.
Martinez (ESP), a double Olympic Medalist - Gold in 2004 and Silver in 2008 in the 49er skiff class, joined the Italian Challenge soon after the conclusion of the 2012 Olympic Regatta where he represented Spain, again, and from skippering Telefonica in the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race. He joined another Olympic medalist in the 49er class, Chris Draper as a helmsman on the Italian Challenger.
First major assignment for Martinez was to take the helm of one of Luna Rossa's two AC45's for the last round of the America's Cup World Series, where his crew finished 11th in the 11 boat fleet.
Martinez commented at the time: 'I am obviously very disappointed by the result; I know that if this were my standard of performance I would not be here today! Needless to say I was hoping to do better and it could be that my sailing was affected by an 'indigestion' of many nautical miles and by the huge demands of races such as have been the Volvo and the Olympic Games. After this 'under-performance' however I am more determined than ever to reach my habitual level of competitiveness as quickly as possible on this type of boat.'
Chris Draper who placed ninth in the same series, is expected to assume the duties of principal helmsman on Luna Rossa's only AC72, with team boss, Max Sirena as backup.
On August 21, 2012, Luna Rossa announced that five new crew had joined the team. These included Martinez's long-time crew in the 49er, Xabi Fernandez. There has been no published announcement on Xabi's ongoing role with the team.