Home > Yacht Racing - Ocean & Coastal > Spanish Team MAPFRE
Click to view full size image
Volvo Ocean Race: MAPFRE heads to Lisbon leading the fleet
The Volvo Ocean Race returns to Europe with the start of Leg 7 from Newport (United States): 2800 miles to Lisbon

Newport (USA), 18th May 2015

The race across the North Atlantic form West to East began yesterday (Sunday) for MAPFRE and their fellow competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race. The last great offshore leg of this edition kicked off today at 14:00 local time in the city of Newport, under a splendid blue sky and the support of thousands of spectators, both on land and on the water, keen to bid farewell to the round-the world-fleet leaving the United States.

An intense coastal circuit
The 2800-mile leg began with an eight-mile coastal circuit between marks, and eight knots of Westerly-South-Westerly wind.

At the first mark, MAPFRE were fifth, but the crew, headed by two-time Olympic champion Iker Martinez, managed to move up into second place on the second lap.

The Chinese team Dongfeng set the pace from the start, but MAPFRE, who were faster at the second mark continued to move closer.

One more lap remained before heading out to Lisbon, when Iker Martinez’s crew decided to tack before the leaders, a decision that was to pay off. 44 minutes into the leg the Spanish team overtook the Chinese at the front of the fleet.

A very complete leg
The team’s victory yesterday in the coastal race in Newport, was unquestionably a sound way to start the leg for MAPFRE, however, there is still a long way to go: crossing the whole Atlantic the fleet will come up against all kinds of challenges, and as skipper Iker Martínez explained: “This will be a very complete leg, and if the forecasts prove to be right as they now stand, the winner of this leg will have been the most consistent in all their decisions.”

A slow first 24 hours
It is due to be a slow first 24 hours, with very little wind. The transition from the thermal wind at the beginning of the leg to lighter winds from a low pressure system, will mean it is a slow start. Fortunately, as Xabi Fernández pointed out, “Tomorrow morning we will already begin to have a little more wind.”

For Antonio “Ñeti” Cuervas-Mons, MAPFRE’s bowman, these first 24 hours,
“will be vital to face the first few days of the leg, because in a couple of days we will hit an area of “compression” with very light winds, and whoever gets through this stage first will have a much greater chance of being on the podium in Lisbon.”

Yet it will not be the only compression in the fleet. Tackling the Azores high is also an essential part of this North Atlantic crossing, to avoid being trapped in its areas of light wind.

President of MAPFRE, Antonio Huertas, supporting the team
As was the case in Brazil, MAPFRE’s world President, Antonio Huertas, was in Newport to show his full support for the team, led by Pedro Campos, Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández.

“We are really excited. The welcome for the race in Newport has been fantastic. MAPFRE has an important presence in this region and our agents, employees and collaborators are really delighted by the development of the Volvo Ocean Race, as are we. And yesterday’s win was wonderful”, he commented from the dockside.

Antonio Huertas was also accompanied by the team’s Director General Pedro Campos, from Galicia, who declared, “The team’s victory in yesterday’s coastal race was magnificent, as every win has been, but especially since this project began with such little time, and we have been gradually improving the boat day to day. There is now a feeling that we know we can win and be ahead, so it will be a hard fight to see if we can win this leg and get an eagerly-awaited place on the podium.”

Photo : © María Muiña/MAPFRE
200a4efa-1664-4fbf-b4c0-f5d33c83e086.jpg 17262719591_6e7f76f2d2_o.jpg ec7cbd97-9b11-422f-96cb-4bbcd63ddace.jpg 15225490379_6677094ca0_k.jpg 9231df10-777b-493d-9cd8-d8bf6ff7c216.jpg