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Volvo Ocean Race - MAPFRE name Xabi Fernández as skipper

by DesafioMAPFRE on 17 Feb 2017
Onboard MAPFRE – Xabi Fernandez - Leg six to Newport – Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15 Francisco Vignale/Mapfre/Volvo Ocean Race
The Basque sailor Xabi Fernández will be once again skipper of the VO65 MAPFRE in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, a responsibility that he undertook in the last edition of the race, alongside Iker Martínez.

Xabi, born in Ibarra (Basque Country, Spain) in 1976, has a lengthy professional career as an elite sportsman, and an outstanding list of achievements in all the major world sailing events.

His record includes two Olympic medals (gold in Athens 2004 and silver in Beijing 2008) in the 49er class, a category in which he also won three world titles, as well as four participations in the Volvo Ocean Race (Movistar 2005-06, Telefónica Blue 2008-09, Telefónica 2011-12 and MAPFRE 2014-15), and a non-stop round the world race participation in the Barcelona World Race 2010-11, on board the IMOCA 60 MAPFRE and alongside Iker Martínez, where they sailed successfully to a well-deserved second place.

Xabi has also been part of two America’s Cup challenges (Luna Rossa, San Francisco 2013 and Land Rover BAR, Bermudas 2017).

“The Volvo Ocean Race has always stood for a landmark achievement, and one which is in reach of very few teams, due to the sheer enormity of the challenge at hand, on a human, sporting, technical, logistics and communication level,” stated the MAPFRE skipper.

“Having the opportunity to be on the start line once again, with chances to go for the winning trophy, makes us tremendously proud, and we would like to thank MAPFRE for believing in this project, which began to take shape back in 2014. We hope that in June 2018 we can firstly celebrate having once again completed a circumnavigation of the planet without any major setbacks, and secondly, that we can get the result that would bring fulfilment and satisfaction to the team.”

“Our short-term aims are firstly to finish the work which needs to be done on the boat, and have it out of the boatyard in Lisbon by the end of the month. Later we will confirm the rest of the crew, and training will begin in Sanxenxo mid-March.”

“We still have eight months of hard work and optimisation ahead of us, not only as far as the boat is concerned, but with the team, so that we can get to 22nd October (the start of the Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante) and cross the start line with a real chance of victory.”

Antonio Huertas, the MAPFRE President, expressed his great satisfaction with the team’s skipper: “Xabi is an outstanding skipper, as well as being committed to MAPFRE and sharing our values. His incorporation in the team is magnificent news, and we know that he will sail the MAPFRE name around the world with great pride.”

Likewise, Pedro Campos, the team’s CEO, described Xabi's aptitude as skipper: “There isn’t a sailor in the world who doesn’t respect Xabi for his great talent, experience and tenacity. In the last campaign he proved his organisation and leadership skills, and gained huge success for the team, such as the victory in Auckland, New Zealand. Along with his thorough knowledge of the boat, Xabi is the very best skipper MAPFRE could ever wish for.”
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