MAPFRE signs Echegoyan and Ciszek

MAPFRE has completed its squad for 2017-18 Volvo Race by naming two female sailors – Spanish Olympic gold medallist Tamara Echegoyen and Volvo Race star Sophie Ciszek.

The addition of Echegoyen is notable for two reasons – she is the first Spanish woman ever to compete in the race, and she takes MAPFRE’s Olympic medal count to five.

Sophie, who raced onboard Team SCA in 2014-15, joins up with Xabi Fernandez’s crew to compete in her second consecutive edition – and will be keen to build on an impressive debut in which she won the prestigious Hans Horrevoets Rookie Award.

It’s been a long road to the start line for Sophie, who has been desperate to get back in the race for a second time.

For Xabi, the signing of the two females represents a landmark moment in the assembly of his squad.

“Tamara has been working hard since March, when the crew first started to sail. With all that I have talked about, both with Pablo [Arrarte] and Neal [McDonald], they agree that as we expected, she has an important learning curve and is gradually gaining confidence and contributing more to the team.”

He continued: “Sophie is someone who has already sailed on this type of boat, so perhaps it’s been a little easier to adapt, although it is also an environment totally different from the previous one. On Team SCA, they had more people on board and so more hands for each job and now she is trying to adapt to sailing with us, which is a bit different.”

In less than a week, the 2017-18 fleet will line up alongside each other for the first time this edition as they assemble in Gosport, UK for Leg Zero.

The team departed yesterday and the new recruits join recent edition Blair Tuke and the rest of the all-star crew which is eyeing a first Race win in Spain’s history.

The 2017-18 edition will see the teams cover 45,000 nautical miles in a race that features a total of 12 Host Cities and will finish in The Hague, Netherlands at the end of June.

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