Xabier Fernandez (ESP)

Back-up Wing Trimmer


Xabier Fernandez

Birth Place

Ibarra, Spain


Spanish, Euskara, English and Italian




Who inspired you to start sailing?
My father and brother

First boat?

First sailing club?
Club Vela Navarra

What do you love most about sailing?
Racing and just sailing

What has sailing taught you?
It’s given me a professional career. I’ve seen a lot of places and people, and had incredible experiences

Favourite ever sailing race?
Sailing at the Olympic Games

How do you know when you have good form?
When things happen by themselves on board with very little communication

How do you keep going when you're on the limit?
Thinking that the others will keep pushing so we have to push harder

Career highlight?
Winning the Olympic gold medal in the 49er in Athens 2004

If you weren't a sailor, what would you be?
No idea, probably working in a factory!

What other sports did you play as a child?
Cycling, I did three years of competition until 1998, just before going full time sailing in the 49er

What other sports do you play now?
Cycling and trekking.

How do you spend your time when you are not sailing (if it’s not other sports)?
I try to spend as much time as possible with my family. The only bad side of sailing is that we spend way too much time away.

Do you have any pets?

Do you support any particular charities?

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Linked to the sailing world for sure, coaching young people and why not still sailing!

Favourite quote?
Never give up

Xabier Fernandez

Insight: Read more about Xabier Fernandez

Xabi Fernandez 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 Iker Martinez in the Olympic 49er in 1998. It was this boat that allowed Fernandez to make the jump to a professional sailing career, after winning world championships and Olympic gold.  



  • Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2011
  • 3 times Olympian
  • Olympic gold in 49er class, Athens 2004
  • Olympic silver in 49er class in Beijing 2008
  • 3 times 49er world champion; 2002, 2004 and 2010
  • 3 times 49er European champion; 2002, 2007 and 2008.
  • 5 racing circumnavigations of the planet; four Volvo Ocean Races and one Barcelona World Race
  • 3rd at the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race
  • 2nd Barcelona World Race.
  • America’s Cup with Luna Rossa in 2013