The world's greatest sailing duo, Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez from Spain have raced together since 1999. They made their name in the 49er fleet and since 2005 have risen to prominence in offshore sailing as well.
On 31 December 2010 Martinez and Fernandez embarked on their first double-handed non-stop round the world race aboard the IMOCA60 MAPFRE. Fourteen boats started the Barcelona World Race and after just ten months of training aboard an IMOCA60, Martinez and Fernandez returned to Barcelona in second place. They completed the 25,000 mile course in 94 days, 21 hours, 17 minutes and 35 seconds and picked up the Pacific Trophy for the fastest boat to complete the Cook Strait to Cape Horn section of the race.
It is the 49er fleet where Martinez and Fernandez are most well-known and they already have two Olympic medals and three world champion titles already under their belts. In August 2011 they took a break from their training for the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race and returned to the 49er at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, over a year since they had last competed in the class. In one of the most exciting finales of the regatta, Martinez and Fernandez finished on equal points with fellow nominee Nathan Outteridge who ultimately claimed gold due to a better Medal Race finish.
This is a truly remarkable sailing team whose genuine sailing talent and ability to compete at the highest level in vastly different events sets them apart from the competition.
Outstanding achievements from the 49er to round the world racing between 1 September 2010 and 31 August 2011
IMOCA60 - MAPFRE
2 - Barcelona World Race, 31 Decembe 2010-4May 2011
94 Days, 21 hours, 17 minutes and 35 seconds
49er - Men's Skiff
2 - Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, Weymouth and Portland, GBR - August 2011
What inspired you to take up sailing?
Both: We both started sailing with our families when we were kids.
What was the first boat you ever sailed and how old were you?
Iker: an Optimist when I was 6
Xabier: an Optimist when I was 7
Name your first sailing club
Iker: Club Nautico Hondarribia
Xabier: Club Vela de Navarra
What was the first event you competed in and in what year?
Iker: It was an Optimist club regatta in 1985
Xabier: An Optimist club regatta in 1984
What are you personal sailing career highlights?
Together we have achieved the following highlights - 2002, 2004, 2010 49er World Champion, 2002, 2007, 2008 49er European Champion, 2004 Athens Olympics GOLD medal, 2008 Beijing Olympics SILVER medal, 2005-2--6 Volvo Ocean Race on Movistar, 3rd place in 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race on Telefonica Blue and 2nd in 2010-2011 Barcelona World Race.
Iker: I am also very proud to have been the Optimist National Champion in 1992
What are your future sailing goals?
Our goals for the next few years are the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 with Team Telefonica for which Iker is the skipper, the London Olympic Games and the next edition of the Barcelona World Race.
Who has had the greatest impact on your sailing and career and why?
Alejandro Abascal - he was our first professional coach. He opened our eyes to the sailing world and made good sailors from us.
Who is your sailing hero?
We follow a lot of sailors but don't have specific heroes
What other sports do you enjoy?
Xabier: Cycling and treking
What does being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards mean to you and how would you feel if you were voted the winner?
It is the biggest award anyone can get from sailing and makes us very proud. We have been nominated twice before in 2002 and 2004 and it would be a great prize for all the sailing we have beed doing in the last ten yeats at the top level.