The Volvo Ocean Race once again proved the world-class calibre of its competitors as Team Telefónica’s star duo of Iker Martínez and Xabier Fernández were crowned the best sailors in the world.
“I’d just like to thank everyone for the World Sailor of the Year Award. We are over the moon and we will celebrate here on board.” Xabi Fernández
The two Spaniards were named ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year, 11 years after they were first nominated for the award. It’s the fourth time the prestigious award has been presented to competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s premier round the world race.
“We are really happy about the ISAF Rolex Sailors of the Year Award,” Martínez said from Telefónica, currently in second place in the early stages Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race. “At the same time we are also quite tired as we've had a few tough days getting away from the Mediterranean and now heading for the Canaries on a tough close haul, but it is an important part of this first leg and of the start of the regatta.”
Martínez and Fernández, who have sailed together since 1999, won Olympic gold medals in Athens in 2004 in the 49er dinghy class before taking on the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race with movistar. In 2008 they returned to 49ers winning silver in Beijing before signing up for Team Telefónica’s Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 campaign, which they finished in third. In 2010 they were named 49er world champions, and shortly after jumped onto the IMOCA Open 60 Mapfre for the doublehanded Barcelona World Race, claiming second.
Fernández added: “I’d just like to thank everyone for the World Sailor of the Year Award. We are over the moon and we will celebrate here on board.”
Martínez and Fernández saw off competition from the likes of Britain’s Ben Ainslie, reigning ISAF world cup champion, and outright world speed record holder Rob Douglas from the United States to win the award.
In 1994, the year the award was launched, it was presented to Whitbread Round the World Race veterans Sir Peter Blake and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson was presented with the award in 2006 following his Volvo Ocean Race win with ABN AMRO ONE while Torben Grael picked up the award in 2009 for a win with Ericsson 4.
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- 10 Jul 2012Telefónica titans accept sailing's top award
- 17 Apr 2012Telefónica’s gold medal duo announce third Olympic bid
- 30 Dec 2011Band of brothers: Iker and Xabi
- 30 Aug 2011Martínez and Fernández reflect on Vigo return
- 6 Apr 2011Podium position for Volvo veterans