Friday, December 17, 2010

Barcelona and the media bids 'Bienvenidos' to the skippers

[Source: Barcelona World Race] The Barcelona World Race skippers lined up today for the first obligatory press conference with the sailors taking part in an official photo call before informal media interviews. With less than two weeks to go before the start on 31st December the co-skippers answered questions on their preparations for the race to almost 100 invited key media from nine different countries.

For some, such as 2007-8 race winner Jean Pierre Dick (FRA), Alex Thomson (GBR) and Pachi Rivero (ESP) – the sole Spanish skipper to be looking forward to competing in his second Barcelona World Race, and even Loïck Peyron who was here 10 years ago for the start of The Race – it was a chance to meet up with old friends and colleagues, enjoying the pre-start buzz and hubbub on their respective returns to Barcelona, while others have been familiarising themselves with the impressive Race Fleet Dock, and the massive 4500 sq metre Moll Barcelona World Race Expo for the first time.

Everyone loves their local heroes and almost inevitably the longest queues of media lined up to speak with the strong contingent of skippers who have grown up, or live permanently in Barcelona such diminutive Anna Corbella, who will set sail with Dee Caffari on GAES Centros Auditivos in the prospect of becoming the first Spanish woman to sail non stop around the world, Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes on Estrella Damm, Jaume Mumbru who sails with long time Barcelona friend Cali Sanmarti on We Are Water, and eminent cardiologist Bruno Garcia who partners French skipper Jean Le Cam on President and Gerard Marin on FMC.

The Barcelona World Race skippers

Dominique Wavre (SUI) and Michèle Paret (FRA), another duo who are making their return to the Barcelona World Race, will tomorrow celebrate their new partnership with Mirabaud with the boat’s official christening.

Immediately adjacent to the IMOCA Race Fleet Dock, is the huge Moll Barcelona World Race Expo which will be opened at 1300hrs tomorrow, Saturday 18th December, by the Mayor of Barcelona, Jordi Hereu. The mayor will meet the skippers and present them with their symbolic mooring lines, signifying the strong bond between them and the Catalan capital city, their Barcelona World Race flags. It will be the first time for the public to meet the skippers.


Pepe Ribes (ESP), Estrella Damm: “We look at this round the world race with a lot of humility, because there are four almost new boats, and the best skippers in the history of IMOCA class, but we also have great ambitions to do our best, and we want to be competitive.”

Dee Caffari (GBR), Gaes Centros Auditivos: “I’m feeling good, feeling like we have done what I wanted to achieve, that is have all the stuff to do with the boat, has been dealt with. We are ready to go. And for Anna, all of this is quite new to her, so when the race village opens and we have all the other requirements of being a skipper, she can just be concentrating on that and not worried about the boat. The shore team seem calm and happy, which always gives me confidence.”

Alex Thomson (GBR), Hugo Boss: “The race is a much bigger deal than before, with more competitors and a higher standard, and it’s good to be back. We’ve had more time to prepare - last time we sailed 2,500 miles before the start, this time it’s been 15,000. We’ve had the boat in the water for a much longer time, done two Transatlantics, been to the Mediterranean twice, and been all the way through our process of breaking and fixing and breaking and fixing!”

Michele Paret (FRA), Mirabuad: “Dominique and I are always talking about the race, but it’s our passion so that’s easy. We need it and we’ve always done it that way. It’s a great advantage for us I think because we know each other very well, we are both confident in the other one and we have no frustrations, because we can talk about everything, so I think it’s much easier for us. I think some of these skippers wouldn’t want to go with their wives!”

Pachi Rivero (ESP), Renault Z.E. Sailing Team: “I’m coming back because I loved the first time and I have great memories – if this one is as good as the first I’ll do a third! The best thing about the race is actually doing it, sailing through all the oceans, going round Antarctica, and being able to sail in extreme conditions.”

Co-skipper ‘Talpi’, Antonio Piris (ESP), added: “I’ll miss a good bed, and a cold beer from time to time!”

Loick Peyron (FRA), Virbac-Paprec 3: “This will be my fifth time setting off around the world, and in fact it is 10 years to the day of the anniversary of The Race, the exact same course setting off from Barcelona. This time my position is quite different because I don’t have the pressure of being skipper. I’m very comfortable in this new position, and it makes it very easy to accept things. The only master on board, after God or Allah, is Jean-Pierre! That’s how it should be, as it is his ship, his team, and his future. We are going to have a democratic way of doing things on board, but it’s a natural process, we don’t have to plan.”

Jaume Mumbrü (ESP), We Are Water: “We have a sponsor which is a foundation started by the leading ceramics and bathroom company ROCA. They are very passionate about the awareness of water, the recycling of water, and the lack of water, so we’re not only sailing, we’re going to be carrying their message and values, which is just great. It gives us more energy – it’s not only like carrying a commercial name, although we would be happy to do that, it’s something of value. The foundation provides funds for all different programmes, so we’re going to be explaining that, raising funds and promoting it.”

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