x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Abu Dhabi to enter 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race as competition returns to UAE

Ian Walker will once again skipper the Abu Dhabi entry into the competition, after finishing fifth in the 2011-2012 race last summer.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Ian Walker, pursues the leading pack at the in-port race in Brazil during the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, skippered by Ian Walker, pursues the leading pack at the in-port race in Brazil during the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race.

Abu Dhabi is to enter next year's Volvo Ocean Race once again - with the competition to stop over in the capital.

Ian Walker will once again skipper the crew after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing became the first Arabian team to enter the competition in 2011-2012.

The stopover in the UAE was also the race's first visit to the Middle East - with organisers now planning a return to Abu Dhabi, as the third host port, for the 2014-15 race.

"Abu Dhabi presented a truly original and massively appealing stopover during the last edition, with its own unique feel, and this announcement will only strengthen the legacy of the race in the city and the country," said Knut Frostad, CEO of the competition.

"The leg from Recife to Abu Dhabi will be one of the longest and most challenging in the 40-year history of this race.

"Heading into the Southern Ocean is never easy and this route will test the sailors to the limit. The finish line in Abu Dhabi will be one of the most eagerly awaited in the race."

More than 120,000 people turned out to watch the race during its stint in Abu Dhabi last year, which included an in-port victory from Walker's team.

The 2014-15 race will see teams starting in Alicante, then travelling on to Recife from where they will head to Abu Dhabi. The route will finish in Gothenburg, with the remaining ports to be announced in the near future.

Last year's event was won by French yacht Groupama, which came back from a 28 point deficit to clinch victory from the Camper team.

Walker's yacht finished fifth overall, and fourth in the in-port series, after being struck by bad luck - including a broken mast - during their round-the-world odyssey.

"Ian has been a terrific ambassador both for Abu Dhabi and the Volvo Ocean Race and this announcement marks the beginning of a new chapter for sailing in the United Arab Emirates," Frostad added.

"The legacy of the last race is an increase in the breadth of sailing and watersport facilities available, which is something we will build on over this second outing," said His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi's tourism and culture authority.

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