Since her arrival at Rio de Janeiro on 22 April 22nd, the impressive Volvo Open 70 has been subject to a thorough process of review, analysis and control of each and every one of its components. 'We have gone through every piece of equipment,' said skipper Bouwe BEKKING (NED). 'We have sent the pivoting keels back to the US manufacturer for a complete check and removed all winches. You can rightly say that nothing has been left unchecked'.
After sailing 8,100 miles from Newcastle, Australia, the team has gathered a great amount of relevant data on the boat. Andrew CAPE (AUS) is one of the people responsible for data collection and management. 'From my position as navigator, I have gathered an extraordinary amount of information that will be used to optimize boat performance. The conclusions obtained have been employed in the fine tuning of the boat, a competitive advantage we will use during the race.'
'We have made some changes on the rigging,' continues bowman, Pepe RIBES (ESP), 'and new appendages have been installed (rudder and drift keels), to test whether they provide greater speed than the earlier versions'.
'Furthermore, we have taken the opportunity to change the boat's corporate imagery,' comments Pedro CAMPOS (ESP), General Manager of the team, 'including the new logo of MoviStar, our main sponsor, as well as those of other companies which support the project'.
All the crew members start off on this last oceanic trek fresh from a well-deserved rest, carried out shortly after their arrival in Río. 'After the rough trip from Australia to New Zealand, then on to Brazil, everyone was keen to enjoy a little break from life onboard,' recalls Iker MARTÍNEZ (ESP), the team's offshore helmsman. 'We maintained our individual weights pretty well on this last training leg, and everyone on the team has recovered to top form surprisingly well'.
'Going back to my hometown of Ibarra, Spain, was a great relief for me. I gained back the weight I had lost between New Zealand and Brazil. As they say, there is nowhere like home! We're in top shape to face this new stage of training between Rio de Janeiro and Spain,' added Xabi MARTÍNEZ, the jib trimmer and 49er Gold Medalist at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with teammate Iker.
By now MoviStar will already be sailing toward Galicia. 'The boat is headed for its headquarters, where it will be based for the next few months, ' said CAMPOS, himself a Galician. 'If our calculations are correct, we will arrive in Galicia around 4 June, putting another 5,000 more miles on the boat's counter. We will taker her out of the water again upon arrival for another review, and then continue on in the training schedule that will include a few regattas in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.'
BEKKING added that the estimated arrival date in Galicia may change depending on the conditions that might be encountered during the Atlantic crossing. 'There are no strong breezes, but you never know, sometimes Neptune keeps a few surprises up his sleeve. The Doldrums area is always a big question mark for sailors. If we come across the so-called good waves, we'll enjoy smooth swift sailing. If we are unlucky, we could spend several days without the slightest breeze'.