Today as the new Spanish King Felipe VI was crowned in Madrid came the not expected news that veteran VOR and Olympic campaigners Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández will spearhead Spain's Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 entry.
The Spanish campaign, which is being mounted by Galician sailor/businessman Pedro Campos, is the sixth crew announced so far for the Race which begins in Alicante on October 4 with the in-port race there followed by the departure on leg one to Cape Town a week later. There is a seventh VOR 65 boat ready for one more team to complete the field.
The Campos team, who had been working with Emirates Team New Zealand to mount a joint entry, which ended when Grant Dalton announced last month that the ETNZ would not be involved in this year’s race, choosing to focus on the America's Cup 2017.
The Spanish team which will be announcing their title sponsor and skipper shortly, has already taken possession of their one-design Volvo Ocean 65 boat in Southampton, England.
Pedro Campos and the Olympic sailors Xabi Fernandez and Iker Martinez will lead the Spanish team in next Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. - Maria Muina Click Here to view large photo
There’s unfinished business in the Volvo Ocean Race for Martínez and Fernández. The Olympic 49er gold medallists from Athens dominated the early stages of the last edition in 2011-12 on board Telefónica but a broken rudder in the penultimate stage ruined their hopes of overall victory that was taken by French team Groupama.
Sail-World will be covering the 2014-2015 race in detail as you'd expect. We will be in Alicante for the start not long after the ISAF Santander World Championships.
One by one, it seems that any objections to the 2017 America's Cup Protocol are being eliminated. Oracle Team USA CEO, Russell Coutts, has repeated the offer of a second AC62 for the Challengers in the 35th America's Cup, removing a major criticism of the Protocol surrounding the event.
Coutts' offer followed a comment made by Oracle Team USA skipper, Jimmy Spithill in the course of a radio interview broadcast a week ago in NZ. When questioned as to why Oracle, as Defender, had been allowed to have two AC62's yet the Challengers were restricted to one, Spithill responded that the same option had been put to the Challengers, but they had not taken it up.
Writing on his Facebook page in response to a NZ Herald article critical of some aspects of the Protocol, one of which was the single AC62 for the Challengers, Coutts responded:
In negotiations for the current Protocol, Oracle Team USA proposed that all teams should have the option of building two sets of hulls on the same terms as currently apply to Oracle Team USA (namely no extra wings or components, very limited sailing time, have to race the first set of hulls, second set of hulls built from same moulds). Oracle Team USA would continue to support that position should the Challengers wish to reconsider their position. Note that Oracle Team USA can’t unilaterally change the Protocol: it can only be changed by majority vote.
Some spluttering in the Kiwi camp as the realisation that while a second boat is security against major damage to the first boat, it’s a significant extra cost.
Critical words are cheap, the reality looks expensive.
Lots more news from the Oz and international scenes today.