Monday, 28 November 2011

Team Telefonica arrives in Cape Town

Team Telefonica finishes first on leg 1 in Cape Town
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race.
Sometimes Mother Nature reminds sailors who is boss. This was no exception at the finish line of leg one in Cape Town.

Assembled journalists, race organisers and spectators eagerly gathered on the dock to see Team Telefonica arrive victorious into Cape Town.

Blowing hard
The sailors had been battling the conditions for the past 20 days, but the motley crew on the dock had stood there for just an hour and were grumbling about the wind. It was blowing hard. When it blows in Cape Town, it really blows.

After sailing 6,500nm, for skipper Iker Martinez it was all about bringing the yacht into port safely. The 47-knot winds just added to the drama of this extreme race.

With cameras flashing and the crowd cheering Team Telefonica pulled into the dock.

Well-earned celebrations
I caught up with the team’s very happy media crew member, Diego Fructuoso, for a quick chat before he began his well-earned celebrations.

While he fought to kick off his sea boots and soaking foul-weather gear, I asked him that classic question: what was his hardest moment?

He a simply replied, “Sunday! That first Sunday, the first night of the race - it was difficult, very difficult”. Racing into the storm that so battered the boats during the first 24 hours that two of the six competitors were forced to limp ashore was a baptism of fire indeed.

Extreme conditions
Naturally I wanted to ask him how all the Inmarsat equipment coped with the extreme conditions. Almost as if shaking off the question as if it wasn’t worth asking, he just shrugged and said, “Yes, it just worked”.

After going into this race with so much to be concerned and worried about. It seams that the Inmarsat satellite communications on board are not on his worry list.

Congratulations from all at Inmarsat to Telefonica for a well-earned leg one win!

Mark Covell

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