If your mental satellite dish is tuned into the cold, scary, wet station known as the Volvo Ocean Race, these are heady times. Virtually every day there are new photos and reports of launchings, christenings, and first test sails. On the team end of things, each syndicate is rapidly closing the gap on their final list of sailors, and the Spanish-flagged Telefonica is no exception.
Today, Telefonica announced two key spots. First off, Simon “Sci-Fi” Fisher, from Chelmsford in the UK, has been named navigator. Sci-fi formerly served as navigator on ABN Amro II (the “kids” boat in the last VOR), and is widely regarded as one of the best offshore navigators of his generation. Also named was Gonzalo Araujo Lazare, from Madrid, Spain, who will serve as a watch captain. Lazare and Sci-Fi will sail with skipper Bouwe Bekking, who has a tremendous amount of offshore ocean-racing experience to his credit, including serving as skipper on the 2005/2006 VOR entrant movistar.
Telefonica also recently announced that Spaniards Xabi Fernndez and Jordi Calafat — the former from Palma de Mallorca, the later from the Basque country — have signed on to sail on the team’s Farr-designed VO70. Interestingly, Fernndez and Calafat are the current Olympic 49er champions, which will certainly give them the best tools imaginable for knowing how to sail fast together in stressful situations. Impressively, Fernndez and Calafat will defend their Olympic title in China in August, before setting their massive masthead Genoas for Cape Town in October. So far, Telefonica is shaping up to be a serious campaign, and certainly one to watch carefully.
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Posted: June 18, 2008