Xabi Fernández was tonight confirmed as MAPFRE’s skipper for Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient when the Spanish team revealed their crew for the 647-nautical mile stage which starts on Sunday.
Xabi will step in for his fellow 2004 Olympic gold medallist, Iker Martínez, who is fulfilling pre-race commitments to train with the Nacra 17 class for the Rio 2016 Games.
It will be the fourth time Xabi has stepped in for his long-time sailing partner after taking charge for the third, fourth and sixth legs.
MAPFRE won the fourth stage from Sanya to Auckland under Xabi's guidance.
Although he will not be sailing the leg, Iker has confirmed he will be contesting the Lisbon In-Port Race.
After taking a breather for the seventh leg, Rafa Trujillo (ESP) returns to the MAPFRE crew for the stage to France, expected to be completed after around three days of sailing on Wednesday, June 10.
MAPFRE Leg 8 crew: Xabi Fernández (ESP), Jean Luc Nélias (FRA), Rob Greenhalgh (GBR), André Fonseca (BRA), Antonio ‘Ñeti’ Cuervas-Mons (ESP), Carlos Hernández (ESP), Willy Altadill (ESP), Rafa Trujillo (ESP). Onboard Reporter – Francisco Vignale (ARG).
*Image credits: Volvo Ocean Race/Francisco Vignale/Billie Weiss