BAR sign Spaniard Fernández

Xabier Fern�ndez joins Land Rover BAR Picture: Harry KH/Land Rover BAR

Xabier Fern�ndez joins Land Rover BAR Picture: Harry KH/Land Rover BAR

The LandRover BAR team skippered by Ben Ainslie in action on their AC45f foiling catamaran.

Picture: Lloyd Images

Portsmouth in ‘pole position’ to host America’s Cup racing in 2018

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Land Rover BAR have once again strengthened their sailing team with the addition of Xabi Fernández.

The Spanish sailor has a tremendous depth of experience, with a gold and silver medal in the Olympic 49er (with Iker Martinez) from 2004 and 2008, along with three 49er world championship titles.

He has been just as successful in the rather different discipline of long-distance racing offshore, with a second place in the Barcelona double-handed non-stop round the world race (also with Martinez) and a podium finish in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Fernández also has experience of the America’s Cup, having raced with Luna Rossa in the 34th edition in San Francisco.

Jono Macbeth, BAR sailing team manager, said: ‘Xabi is a great signing for us.

‘He brings with him huge experience across a range of the sport’s disciplines and I have no doubt that he will be a great asset to the team.’

Fernández admitted he was looking forward to the challenge ahead and racing alongside Sir Ben Ainslie – BAR team principal and skipper.

‘Joining the Land Rover BAR America’s Cup team is a huge challenge and an opportunity that I am really looking forward to,’ he said.

‘Sailing with Ben Ainslie and his team means a lot to any sailor in the world.

‘Now, after arriving in Portsmouth and seeing the base, I’m even more impressed.

‘I’ve been part of a lot of big campaigns and I’ve never seen a set-up like this.

‘Joining a winning team for this 35th Cup will give me the chance to stay at the top of sailing sport and technology.’

Fernández began sailing at the age of seven, inspired by his parents.

His first boat was an Optimist, before moving into the Vaurien double-handed junior dinghy with his brother until he was 17.

After that he moved in the Olympic 470 for a while, before joining Martinez in the Olympic 49er in 1998.

It was this boat that allowed Fernández to make the jump to a professional sailing career, after winning world championships and Olympic gold.

The next round of the America’s Cup is in Chicago on June 10-12.

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