Tireless Telefónica duo Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández were finally able to pick up their ISAF World Sailor of the Year Awards following the end of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.
Skipper Martínez and trimmer Fernández were honoured by the International Sailing Federation back in November when they were on their way to winning Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race between Alicante and Cape Town.
Eight months on, they attended a ceremony in Madrid to receive the awards before heading on to Lanzarote, where they will complete their training for the London Olympics.
The award recognises the outstanding skill and sheer versatility of the two close friends, who won Olympic gold and silver medals in the 49er class at the Olympics in 2004 and 2008.
They finished second in the Barcelona World Race in the IMOCA 60 class before switching to a Volvo Open 70 for the Volvo Ocean Race.
They went on to win the first three offshore legs and were challenging hard for overall victory right up until suffering appalling luck when they broke a rudder for the second time in a matter of hours while leading Leg 8 from Lisbon to Lorient.
It was a cruel blow, yet Martínez and his men continued scrapping and managed to snatch a podium place on the final act of the race, the Discover Ireland In-Port Race in Galway on Saturday.
“We would like to thank ISAF and Rolex for these fantastic awards which really are the fruits of a great season for us and of the great careers we’ve enjoyed over the past four years,” said Martínez.
“The aim now is to be as prepared as possible for the Olympic Games and to fight for medals. We’ll be training for a week at the Marina Rubicón in Lanzarote in strong winds, which is what we want and it’s perfect for training as conditions are very similar to those we’ll get out on the racecourse at Weymouth.”