Arrarte, who raced onboard Brunel in 2014-15, will also assume the role of deputy to Olympic gold medallist Xabi Fernández, who was named as skipper on Friday.
With just 242 days to go until the start of the 2017-18 edition on October 22, preparations are already well underway – and with the 1 million euro re-fit of the Spanish boat almost complete, it won’t be long before MAPFRE are back on the water.
“I’ll be one of two watch captains onboard,” explained Arrarte, who raced with Telefónica Blue in 2008-09, Telefónica in 2011-12. “I’ll be cover for Xabi, being ultimately responsible for the safety of the crew and making sure that the boat goes as fast as possible whenever I’m on deck.”
It promises to be a busy start with MAPFRE for Arrarte, who will oversee preparations until his fellow Spaniard Xabi completes his duties with Land Rover BAR in the America’s Cup
“The next step is to begin training in March when the boat comes out of the Boatyard’s re-fit process in Lisbon. The aim of this training is to complete squad selection – so we’ll be trying people out, including some new sailors and female sailors. That’s really important for us.”
He continued: “With the new crew selection rules coming into play this edition, it’s really important that when we leave Alicante we have maximum flexibility in terms of numbers, and we know the boat perfectly.”
MAPFRE’s goal will be to become the first Spanish team to win the Volvo Ocean Race trophy.
“We’re here to win,” said Arrarte. “We know it’s an extremely difficult challenge, and almost all of the teams come here with the same objective, so we have to be a bit conservative and not break too many things over the course of the race. It’s about being consistent, without too many issues, and if you manage that then you’re in with a chance.”
He continued: “Since the last race, with the addition of one-design boats, you know that you are racing with the same tools and equipment as the other teams, so the only difference is the performance of the crews. Thanks to MAPFRE, we’ll have everything we need to be competitive – and hopefully win.”
The news is the second announcement in a week for the Spanish campaign, which on Friday revealed that two-time Olympic medallist Xabi Fernández would be their skipper for the race, which departs Alicante, Spain on 22 October 2017.