Monday, December 08, 2008

Telefonica Blue is back on the water

It’s been seven days of working hard on “Telefónica Blue” since the boat was hoisted out of the water last Sunday for the usual post-leg checks and repairs to get the boat back into shape after facing the gruelling conditions that this race throws up. Today (Monday) at 12:30 GMT+1 the boat co-skippered by Íker Martínez and Bouwe Bekking was back on the water and ready for the pre-leg training sessions before she heads off to Singapore on December 13th.

With the entry back on the water the final jobs are now being carried out on the mast and the rigging; final touches that will be completely finished by Friday according to the shore team manager, Campbell Field.

The team themselves have been able to enjoy some rest, although there’s still work to be done for them too: “We’ve rested a bit and we’ve been out seeing the area, but we’ve been trying to keep up the gym sessions because they’re very necessary to physically recover well after each leg, because you lose a lot of mobility in your legs”, commented double Olympic medallist Íker Martínez.

This leg, which is 1,950 miles long, is shorter than the previous legs and light winds are expected. “We’re approaching this India-Singapoure leg in a similar way to how we approached the others. The only thing that changes really is that there are fewer miles and the fact that light breeze is expected means that might affect aspects such as weight etc. which become more important. We’ll be looking to be as light as possible, and we’ll be working hard at that as it could give us an edge speed-wise”, concluded Martínez.

Tom Addis takes over from Laurent Pages onboard Telefónica Blue a few days ago the Telefónica team doctor Cristina Pérez announced that the “Telefónica Blue” crewmember Laurent Pages would not be able to compete in the India-Singapoure leg of the race. The Frenchman suffered an injury a few days after departing from Cape Town, which meant he was unable to carry out his watch duties until the end of the leg at Kochin (India). Once the boat docked in India medical services evaluated the situation and discovered that Laurent had suffered an intraosseus contusion in his left shoulder.

Today the Telefónica team has officially announced the name of the person who will take over from Pages: Tom Addis (38) from Australia who is not only a sailor, but also one of the team’s meteorologists will be filling his shoes. He is an experienced man who took part of the Team New Zealand in the 32nd America’s Cup held in Valencia (Spain) as meteorologist and he has sailed on the Maxi “Alfa Romeo”.

“Unfortunately the injury means that Laurent won’t be with us for this stage”, said co-skipper onboard Telefónica Blue, Íker Martínez today. “Tom is already part of the team, and has worked with us for months as a meteorologist. We know each other well, we all know how we work together as a team and he knows the boat well as he has trained with us frequently since Alicante”.

It’s more than likely that the crews are going to find themselves with a real ‘lucky-dip’ of weather conditions during this leg, so Addis’ knowledge will definitely be a valuable contribution to the team.

“We’ve known him for months and I’m sure that he’ll bring as much to the boat as a crewmember as he has as a meteorologist onshore”, said Martínez.

Provided there are no last-minute changes “Telefónica Black” will also be back on the water tomorrow ready for training on Wednesday

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