The newly renovated prestigious marina of Port Calanova are sponsoring Olympic champion Iker Martínez on his new challenge, breaking the sailing around Mallorca world record. Together with his team, he has been training in the marina, home port of the National Sailing School, and is now ready for the epic quest.
The tour around Mallorca comprises 160 miles (almost 300 kilometres) which must be tackled non-stop. The route involves difficult spots such as the northern coast of the island, where participants must sail close to the Tramuntana mountain range. The current record was accomplished on April 2005 by the German Maxi boat 'UCA', with a total time of 17 hours, 14 minutes and 39 seconds.
The so-called Four Stripes Challenge ('Desafío Las Cuatro Barras'), promoted by Real Club Nautico de Palma, was opened this year to new types of sailing boats, establishing six categories in three different divisions. Martínez will compete with his M32 series boat, a lightweight catamaran designed to achieve high speeds.
He won a gold medal in Athens 2004 and a silver medal in Beijing 2008, and he holds three world championships (2002, 2004 and 2010) as well as several European championships. His crew will be complete with Antón Paz, gold medalist in Beijing 2008, Juan Ignacio Maegli, Fernando Rodríguez Rivero and Fidel Turienzo. They have been training at Port Calanova where they await for a more auspicious time to depart.
Their boat is in red code since last Monday, standing by for a more favourable weather forecast to start the challenge. It seems like the clouds that have rolled over the island this week will start clearing on Sunday, when they will probably enter orange code, which means 48 hours before green code, when the crew can set sail.
We wish them the best of luck!