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Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefónica
Team Telefónica are shifting into full race mode as they set off today from their Lanzarote training base on a 700-mile circumnavigation of the Canary Islands.

"On the voyage we will be setting ourselves some limits and a route with as many different changes in course as possible, so we can practise and really get a handle on the boat."

Aboard the Volvo Open 70 will be the full 11-strong race crew led by Olympic Gold medallist Iker Martínez, who is eager for a testing trip in preparation for the start of the race in Alicante in October.

“It'll be the permanent crew. From here on this is us: the ones who have to set off and the ones who have to train,¨he said. "We thought what better a course to do than one that takes us around the Canary Islands, with all those different conditions and winds.

"We'll be setting off from and finishing at the Marina Rubicón. On the voyage we will be setting ourselves some limits and a route with as many different changes in course as possible, so we can practise and really get a handle on the boat.”

Despite having being absorbed with his own team’s preparations, Martínez kept half an eye on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's record-breaking performance in the Rolex Fastnet Race, which they finished just ahead of Groupama Sailing Team and Team Sanya, racing in the Telefónica Blue boat from 2008-09.

“We've been sailing ourselves, so we haven't had the chance to follow everything too closely, but we do know that it has been a very close race," he said. "The two new boats (Groupama 4 and Azzam) had to do better than the former Telefónica Blue that we know so well and they did so.

"They had to do better because they were new boats and because they have been training for longer. These two facts add up. Between the two favourites there were two different designs, so it was interesting to see how they performed, but really, from a distance you can't really come to many conclusions.”

Telefónica’s latest offshore training session will be the final one leaving from Lanzarote, as in the next two weeks the team will transfer the entire operation to a new base at Sanxenxo in Pontevedra in north east Spain.

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Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefónica

Team Telefonica on day 1 of their 700-mile circumnavigation of the Canary Islands.

Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefónica

Pepe Ribes. Team Telefonica on day 1 of their 700-mile circumnavigation of the Canary Islands.

Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefónica

Andrew Cape. Team Telefonica on day 1 of their 700-mile circumnavigation of the Canary Islands.