It sounds like one of these phrases that doesn’t mean much. A wall poster, a quote for Twitter.
But when you really “push until the end”, great things do happen.
Just ask MAPFRE.
Let’s be honest, the Spanish team started the race a little bit slowly. They finished last in the first leg and secured two fourth places afterwards.
They had to make a couple of drastic crew changes in Cape Town, letting two of their sailors go.
Then, in Abu Dhabi, more team turmoil. Skipper Iker Martínez left to go train for the Olympics, leaving his best mate Xabi Fernández in charge – a leader change that was scheduled but actually happened several times during the race.
But they bounced back and finally tasted victory in Auckland when they won Leg 4.
“The highlights of the race? Bueno, the leg to New Zealand,” still smiled bowman Antonio Cuervas-Mons six months later, as the race came to an end.
“That’s when we realised that our team was powerful, with a good group of guys capable of fighting with the other boats.”
In fact, they kept performing better and better, taking three more podium positions in the remaining legs while winning two In-Port Races.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing for the red boat. MAPFRE was given a two-point penalty after Leg 5 and one point after Leg 7. The first, for “applying repairs and alterations on the hull and on an outrigger without informing the Volvo Ocean 65 Class Authority,” the second, for “sailing the wrong way in Traffic Separation Schemes.”
Three points – and a point tie with Team Alvimedica for fourth place overall.
A point tie that was to be broken during the Inmarsat In-Port Race in Gothenburg.
To do that in their favour, the Spaniards had to beat Alvimedica – and put one boat between them, too.
And that’s just what they did. With the former King of Spain onboard.
In the last seconds of the last race of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.
What a way to grab fourth place in this 12th edition.
“We wanted to do this,” sighed a relieved Iker on the dock.
“It was important for us. The Volvo Ocean Race is very hard. We proved to ourselves and to our very special guests that we can fight until the end.”