MAPFRE eye Columbus route record

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MAPFRE eye Columbus route record
A MAPFRE team featuring former Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez and sailing in the team’s old Volvo Open 70 are poised to begin their attempt at a new record for the Christopher Columbus 'Discovery of the Americas' Route.

The MAPRE challenge, which is being spearheaded by shore-based Pedro Campos, will start the record attempt from Palos de la Frontera in Huelva, Spain and the route will take them past the Canary Islands and on to San Salvador in the Bahamas. 

The previous attempts go back to 1984, 1988 and 1992 and the record established time is 16 days 21 hours 23 minutes and 19 seconds.

Spain's Martinez, 35, a double Olympic medallist, will sail with many members of his previous team, including Pablo Arrarte, Ñeti Cuevas-Mons, Pepe Ribes and former Media Crew Member Diego Fructuoso. 

Also among the crew are Fernando Echávarri, who like Martinez is an Olympic gold medalist, fellow Spaniards Marcos Iglesias, Gabri de Llano, Juan Pinacho, Fernando R. Rivero, Miguel Lago and Britain's Simon Fisher.

Lago, now 54, will try for the record 28 years after his first attempt at this challenge. 

Volvo Ocean Race’s Pedro Freitas is part of the team as well, working as an onboard reporter.

After sailing a preliminary 567 nm from Sanxenxo to Palos de la Frontera, making stops in Bayona, Lisbon and Cadiz along the way, the team are in Cadiz, where they are waiting for optimum weather conditions to attempt the record.

They are likely to start within the next 48 hours. 

The voyage will take the team 3,150 nm across the Tropic of Cancer, to the island of Guanahaní, founded as San Salvador by Columbus, where the clock will be stopped.

The trip recreates the 15th century voyages of Christopher Columbus which marked the beginning of European exploration and colonization of the American continents.

Global insurance company Mapfre were backers of Martinez's challenge in the Telefónica boat in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.

Update on Wednesday 13 February: The MAPFRE challenge left La Gomera yesterday at 19:55:08 CET. Iker Martínez is not onboard anymore for personal reasons and Pablo Iglesias is replacing Gabri de Llano for injuries. The team expects to reach San Salvador in 10 days. Track them here!