Spaniards Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez - onboard MAPFRE - cross the finish line in second place

It was a proud moment for locals Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, who crossed the Barcelona World Race finish line onboard MAPFRE in second place at 09hrs 17min 35 secs UTC.

Iker and Xabi completed the Race in 94 days 21 hours 17 minutes and 35 seconds. The difference between themselves and first-placed Virbac-Paprec 3 is 22 hours, 56 minutes and 59 seconds.

Their average pace on MAPFRE was 11.07 knots for the theoretical course distance, and over the 28,759 miles they actually covered they made an average of 12.63 knots.

“This is an ideal situation for us,” said Iker Martinez, shortly after he and Xabi had made an emotional reunion with their young families. “Until 14 months ago we had never sailed an IMOCA 60 and so we could not aspire to very much. But the race was very good, much better than we expected. We’ve made a huge step. Tomorrow the project is finished but if in the future we want to do it again we can hope to aspire to anything.

“We learned a lot, every day. Each day has been a learning process. Especially all the way through the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. We were sailing well and we could fight with those at the front. We believe that we can go one step further.”

His co-skipper Xabi Fernandez added: “These past 94 days have been never-ending. If you told me it was 105 days, I would believe you. But it has been a great regatta.”

Both were total IMOCA Open 60 novices when they set foot on one for the first time in late February last year. Today the Basque duo, who have sailed together in the 49er since 1999, not only confirmed to themselves that the Barcelona World Race is a challenge they can complete, but by taking second place, the IMOCA Open 60 ‘rookies’ have underlined what an outstanding sailing talent they are.

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