Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team's Azzam will have at least two Emiratis as part of its full crew for the next Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) in 2014/15. Adil Khalid has returned for a second round-the-world stint as part of the on-board crew and, like last time, he will be joined by Butti Al Muhairi, who returns to the shore team.
Al Muhairi, 29, is expected to guide a core group of young Emiratis working on shore-side operations. That team will ultimately be led by the America's Cup and VOR specialist Guy Barron, who joins as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's shore manager.
The team is hoping to put more than 25 years of professional sailing experience from Barron to good use, shore-side.
Al Muhairi was a popular and committed member of the team last time, going from speaking little English when the race began to eventually becoming near-fluent. Rob Greenhalgh, the watch leader, said of Al Muhairi during a race stopover: "He's a great guy to have around, a good character, very diligent and enjoys working on the team."
The full crew for Azzam is set to be announced early next year. New race regulations have reduced on-board crew down to eight from 10, and two of the crew have to be under age 30. The biggest change is that all teams will have the same yacht, a one-design Volvo 65 race yacht.
Abu Dhabi will host the third 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race stopover from mid-December 2014 until January 3, 2015.
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