Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 starts from Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concludes in July 2012 in Galway, Ireland after taking in eight other ports in four continents.
One of the world's most respected navigators, Australia's Andrew Cape will be part of the Telefónica Volvo Ocean Race crew, as confirmed today. Alongside this announcement, another key name has been revealed: that of Media Crew Member, Spaniard Diego Fructuoso, also one of the 'Under 30’s' on the Spanish yacht.
Both share a common denominator: they both manage the IT systems on Telefónica, although in different directions. Whilst Cape is in charge of analysing data received, Fructuoso is responsible for sending out pictures, film and text about life on board the yacht.
Cape rejoins the ranks of the Spanish team having formed part of the 2005 Volvo Ocean Race Movistar crew. He received many different offers to take part in this edition of the round the world regatta, but Andrew Cape chose to join the crew headed up by Olympic champion Iker Martínez. 'Well I was speaking to a few people after the last race about doing this next race and Iker was one of the first, and as things developed, Iker was the one and Telefónica was the one I favoured the most and thought had the best chances. I snapped it up. I'm looking forward to doing it; we are a good team, a good set-up. We'll do the business.'
With the knowledge of one who has completed five circumnavigations of the globe and has an America's Cup to his name, Andrew Cape will be Telefónica's Navigator. All of the on board positions are important, but navigator is a fundamental role. He will be responsible for gathering and analysing all of the telemetric and meteorological information to then communicate this to the skipper and the rest of the crew for decisions on tactics and to plot the course.
It is a meticulous job which begins with the gathering of large amounts of data and parameters during training, a phase the Telefónica boat is currently immersed in and which Cape says he is very happy with: 'The whole boat from the very conception to what we are doing now in terms of testing has been exceptional. I'm very pleased with every aspect of it. I'm really looking forward to getting against the other boats and seeing how we compare and I'm confident.'
Spaniard Diego Fructuoso is facing what is set to be the challenge of a lifetime. Not only is he making his début in the Volvo Ocean Race with Team Telefónica, but he's doing so as their Media Crew, a position requiring communications and technical skills editing and filming, photography and journalism, all carried out in the extreme on board conditions experienced in this round the world competition. He will be in charge of transmitting all of the on board action and of telling the world about life on board Telefónica.
'The Volvo Ocean Race is the most historic offshore regatta and in the world of sailing it is also one of the most important. Having spent some years in the Olympic qualifying squad, this is a great step for me,' confessed Fructuoso. 'In terms of my on board role, it is something that I have been preparing for some time. It's a tough but beautiful job and I love the idea that I am contributing to helping more people get to know the sport and this competition, which is much harder to show than other competitive sports. Helping sailing and getting people to follow the sport is very important to me, and it's something I also thoroughly enjoy doing.'
As a sailor Diego has long been involved in Olympic sailing, mainly in the Finn and Star classes, reaching European runner-up in 2002. Fructuoso also has experience in the TP 52 class, having taken part in the MedCup Circuit with the Spanish teams Caixagalicia and Balearia.
This time things will be very different for Diego, as the Media Crew Member is not allowed to take part in any manoeuvres, tactical decisions or boat maintenance: 'It's hard because I'm not used to being on board a boat without giving a hand, but my role requires constant attention and awareness of what can happen in order to capture every detail. Creating content in a context such as this, working with video-editing, photos and writing at a computer and then sending it all... as well as many other tasks, takes up almost the entire day.'
Over the coming weeks more names of new crew members will be unveiled and added to the Telefónica crew list for the ten In-Port and Pro-Am races as well as nine offshore legs in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. Crew list for Telefónica to date:
Iker Martínez (ESP), Skipper
Andrew Cape (AUS), Navigator
Xabi Fernández (ESP), Trimmer
Pepe Ribes (ESP), Boat Captain
Diego Fructuosos (ESP), Media Crew Member Team Telefónica website Volvo Ocean Race website