Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Telefonica's two boats start their 2,000-mile offshore qualification run

[Source: Equipo Telefonica] The two Spanish boats in the 2008-09 race have embarked on their 2,000-mile offshore qualification run.

The Farr-designed Volvo Open 70s – Telefonica Black and Telefonica Blue – departed their home base of Alicante with a full complement of crew members on board. Only the Spanish team’s Olympians, preparing for the Games in Qingdao, were absent.

The team’s Technical and Sports Director Bouwe Bekking outlined the objectives they have set for the seven - eight day trip and gave details of the route the boats will follow.

“The idea of doing these 2,000 miles is to meet the requirement of the race organization and also because it is a great opportunity for offshore testing,” Bekking said.

"We will do as much testing as possible. Both boats will be sailing together whenever the conditions will be good for testing. Otherwise we will just sail and meet each other at some point along the way.

“We will head straight to the Gibraltar Strait. Then we will cross the Strait to go directly to the south of Madeira, going around the island, up to the north and finally come back to the training camp in Alicante. Probably it will be more than 2,000 nautical miles.”

As for the weather they will encounter, navigator Simon Fisher said the conditions are likely to be favourable for a serious downwind workout for both man and machine. "We hope to find 10-15 knots of wind which will be really good for getting out of the Mediterranean quickly,” he said.

“I am sure we will be able to do lots of testing (testing people, testing sails, testing angles) during the trip. Besides, the course around the Azores will mean fast miles downwind but not upwind. We will get a lot of data that will be very helpful for our preparation for the race."

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