Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía - Iker and Tara interview

ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca
Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía - Mallorca 2014
Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía is being held in Mallorca from 29th March to 5th April 2014. Iker Martínez and Tara Pacheco have only been sailing together for a year on the new Olympic multihull and they are already heading for a place on the podium at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia – ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca.

The twice 49er Olympic medallist Iker Martínez and the 470 World Champion Tara Pacheco will reach their first year as team on board the Nacra 17, the new Olympic multihull at the 45 Trofeo Princesa Sofia. Following twelve months of training, team Movistar arrives at the Majorcan regatta, to be held in the bay of Palma from 29th March to 5th April, after finishing very close to the podium in the previous ISAF Sailing World Cup, event in Miami and having claimed victory last week at the Arenal Training Camps Trophy, the training regatta for the Princesa Sofía.

You started sailing together in the Nacra 17 last year at the Trofeo Princesa Sofía. How was this first year?

Iker: An intense year full of surprises, but if after twelve months we continue with the project, this means things are moving forward.
Tara: After sailing together for one year we know we can be among the top places, but to be there we must put a lot of effort and train every day both afloat and ashore.

What has been the biggest difficulty you have faced?

Tara: Everything is new, but we are slowly adapting to become a team and to the demands of this new boat.
Iker: We have faced many difficulties, all of them important and resulting from starting something from scratch.

Iker, what is it like to sail with a woman? And with one who is a World champion?

Iker: It is very different, the personality is different, the way of doing things is different and a mixed crew creates a different relationship than the one of two men or two women, and this is something we are beginning to understand.

Tara, what is it like to sail with a man? And with a twice Olympic medallist?

Tara: Sailing with a man is completely different to sailing with a woman; and, especially with Iker - who has very clear ideas - the level of demand is much higher. That is why he has achieved what he has achieved. He is very meticulous.

How do you complement your personalities on board?

Iker: Well, we work a lot on communicating, as we had been sailing for many years with the same person and with this change we need to get to know each other better as sailors to give our best. We are basically focusing on making sure we work with things going smoothly between the coach, Tara and myself. When we reach this point constantly, we will then start to win races.
Tara: Little by Little we keep learning a bit more about each other and every day there is a better understanding.

Iker, how would you define the Nacra compared to the 49er?

Iker: It is very similar in downwind legs, manoeuvres and not so much in the beats to windward because the two hulls slow down the boat in the transitions and therefore you have to sail it differently. Some things are turning out more difficult than expected, like a change in Moto GP or something similar, but I cannot complain because the huge change has been for Tara, from 470 to Nacra 17, from skipper to crew, like changing from Moto GP to Formula 1.

Tara, how would you define the Nacra compared to the 470?

Tara: It is much faster than the 470 and, in my case, with a higher physical demand as I am now a crew and not the skipper.

You just finished fourth in Miami, close to the podium. Will you take the rematch in Mallorca?

Tara: We always sail for the best result possible and on this occasion, it will definitely will be our goal.
Iker: In Mallorca, if we finish among the top five it would be incredible and among the top ten it would be good. These twelve months of adaptation have gone by very fast. We have been able to start sailing with certain consistency and without major weak points recently. The time has come to consolidate all the work done and if we do well, we can take a step forward and think about being on the podium.

How do you plan the season?

Tara: This season it is very clear that our goal is no other than the Santander 2014 Worlds.
Iker: It is a very important season. The real goal for this year is that we can assure we can be competitive in the future, but at the end results are important and we need to finish among the top ten, also a podium every now and then to feel good and finish among the top ten at the Worlds to be able to classify Spain for the Olympic Games.

How is a typical day of training for Iker and Tara?

Iker: In the morning, from 09.00 it is physical training and boat trimming. Tara is responsible for her physical training programme, of utmost importance due to the needs of the Nacra crew. I am in charge of having the boat ready for sailing, something I combine with my physical preparation, less intense now, until we have the boat more under control and I will then dedicate more time to physical preparation as Tara. At midday, at twelve we meet and prepare the day’s sailing. We’re out on the water at around one or two and we sail until around five. Back ashore we get together to discuss the day and prepare the following one. Dinner time at seven and around eight the day is over, although it is very difficult to stop thinking about changes and improvements, until we fall asleep. And start again…

Is it time to train seriously for Río?

Tara: From the beginning, we have put all our energy in this project.
Iker: Every day you train your best but right now we are not training for Rio, we have a lot to learn before starting a specific training towards the Olympic Games. We need to keep overcoming obstacles and for this season holding onto the fleet will not be easy at all. Step by step.