Over the years there has been a lack of front runners for the WMRT title from Iberia, but with a Tour Card at his disposal, Iker Martinez will truly be a wild card in the hunt for the World Championship title.
With a new M32 catamaran to train on and solid sponsors backing his campaign he will be a force to reckoned with from the start of the 2017 WMRT season.
The Spaniard who burst on to the scene in Copenhagen last season, finishing second in his first ever WMRT event, will be one of the most decorated skippers on the tour. With multiple Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, World Championship titles and Olympic medals in skiff sailing no one can dispute his talent.
“We have been looking at the World Match Racing Tour for several years but the timing has not been right. With the change to multihulls and the new format we felt that now is the time.” Martinez commented. His team will be made up of talent mainly from Spain and they have based themselves in Calanova, Mallorca where they have been training against Ian Williams and young Måns Holmberg. Martinez continued; “For us this works out great and we will come in to the season a lot better prepared than last year. Getting time in the boat will be crucial for our performance and now that we have our own boat in good training conditions we can catch up quickly.”
Martinez entered the match racing ring and shocked all the competition by reaching the finals of the event on his first attempt. The light winds played in his favor and it was only when they met Taylor Canfield’s US One that they lost.
“We have great memories of our first event in Copenhagen. We went there a couple of friends with experience from Americas Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Extreme Series and had a great time.” said Martinez.
At the other two events in 2016 with stronger breeze the team struggled for consistency, showing only sparks of excellence, but still managed a creditable 12th place overall against teams counting more results in their score line. With a new boat and a well organized campaign behind him he may seem like an outsider based on his match racing track record, but he will be a force to be reckoned with. The question raised by many is will he be able to build a playbook for match racing in order to clinch the title this year?
“There is a lot of talent on the WMRT and the others have many, many years of experience so it will be tough. Is it possible? Lets see. We will try.” Said Martinez from his base in Palma de Mallorca.
Maybe Spain has been a dark spot on the World Match Racing Tour map but perhaps the Spaniards will get something to cheer for this year because they definitely have a serious contender for the Match Racing World Championship title.
WMRT 2017 Tour Card Holder
Name: Iker Martinez
Team name: I’m Racing
Yacht Club: Real Club Maritimo Del Abra Real Sporting Club
Year of birth: 1977
Result WMRT 2016: 12th place