GAES has presented its team for the Barcelona World Race 2014-15. Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín will make up the crew on board GAES Centros Auditivos. This move sees the Barcelona based company renewing its sponsorship commitment to the regatta and also means the first official entry has now signed-up for the third edition of the competition.
Following its involvement in the last edition of the Barcelona World Race with GAES Centros Auditivos with Britain's Dee Caffari and Spain's Anna Corbella at the helm, GAES, a company specialising in hearing centres and apparatus, is making a return to the two-crew, non-stop, round the world challenge. This time the crew will be made up of two Spaniards, Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín, the first crew to sign up for this edition of the regatta.
Many fellow sailors attended the team's press launch at lunchtime yesterday at the GAES headquarters in Barcelona, as did Maite Fandos, President of the FNOB, Javier Vilalonga the Director of the FNOB's Sailing Team and Jan Santana, the Technical Director of the Sailing Team.
Antonio Gassó, CEO and Managing Director of GAES, opened the event by highlighting the significance of the company's bid to participate in the sport of sailing: 'We share values such as endeavour, teamwork, risk management and the desire to overcome adversity with sailing'.
Also at the same event, GAES announced its sponsorship of the Christmas Race in Palamós, Spain. Gassó laid out the company's relationship with the sport and also pointed out that 'these two races [the Christmas Race and the Barcelona World Race] are the eighth and ninth sailing projects that we have been involved in over the past three years'. The GAES CEO recalled regattas such as the Mini-Transat and the Transat AG2R where GAES sponsored Spanish crews including Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín.
'They were great regattas and great experiences', he said. '...as was the last edition of the Barcelona World Race with Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella'.
Antonio Gassó went on to introduce Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín. Both sailors took part in the last edition of the Barcelona World Race. Alongside Dee Caffari, Anna became the first Spanish woman to sail double-handed, non-stop around the world with no external assistance, completing a total of 102 days at sea and finishing in sixth place overall.
Gerard also took part in the regatta with Frenchman Ludovic Aglaor on Fórum Marítim Català, finishing in eighth position after more than 112 days at sea.
Since completing the Barcelona World Race, Gerard Marín and Anna Corbella have been sailing together frequently in the Figaro class. In May the pair finished the Transat AG2R from Concarneau (Brittany, France) to the Caribbean island of Saint Barts in eleventh place, after 22 days of racing.
The Catalan skippers have set themselves the challenge of finishing the regatta in under 100 days. 'We still don't know what boats are going to be on the starting line so there's no point forecasting our finishing position at this stage', says Corbella, who went on to say 'we want to sail around the world in under 100 days. That is our main aim'.
Both skippers agree that they complement each other well.
'I think that Gerard and I make a good team', says Anna. 'He's a lot more fiery than me and has a lot more strength and is an easy person to live with and that makes everything a lot easier'. Gerard backed his fellow skipper up: 'We complement each other perfectly. Anna is much more sensitive in the way she handles the boat and is a great strategist, which is invaluable in an ocean-going regatta'.
The FNOB President, Maite Fandos thanked GAES for their support for the team and underlined the importance of this first official race entry: 'We can now say that the Barcelona World Race countdown has kicked off. Yet again this regatta will project the prestige of the city of Barcelona to an international audience, bringing economic benefits and increased wellbeing to the city and its citizens'.
The FNOB President also highlighted the regatta's commitment to scientific research, which began in the previous edition of the race with the salinity study. This endeavour in the field of scientific research will continue into the next edition of the race with a study of microplastics in the sea. 'The Barcelona World Race is fully engaged with the issue of sustainability with sensors being fitted to all of the boats to measure salinity levels and plastic particles suspended in the water. This means that the regatta is of even more value in scientific terms'.
Finally Fandos made a special mention of the fact that this was a mixed crew: 'Sailing is a sport which eliminates inequalities and offers a prime example of social cohesion'. Anna Corbella and Gerard Marín then handed over their registration documentation for the Barcelona World Race 2014/2015 to Maite Fandos.
GAES' relationship with sailing is not only through the Barcelona World Race with the firm raising their profile further in the sport by sponsoring the Palamós Christmas Race, one of Olympic sailing's most esteemed and popular regattas. This year, the GAES Christmas Race will be the 37th edition and will take place from the 18th to the 23rd of December. Over 200 boats will take part from 22 countries in the Finn, Laser, Laser Radial Men and Women, 470 Men and Women, 420 Men and Women, 29er and 49er classes.