x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Azzam crew keen to make a strong start to their Leg 6 challenge

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team looking for good showing after the disappointment of Leg 5.

Adil Khalid is impressed with the team spirit within the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team.
Adil Khalid is impressed with the team spirit within the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team.

A resurgent Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are determined to ‘come out of the blocks with all cylinders firing’ in Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Itajai in Brazil to Miami in the United States

Having finished fourth in the in-port race, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing must now negotiate a two-and-a-half week journey on the Azzam through an unpredictable minefield of tropical Atlantic Ocean weather systems.

Eager to overturn a run of bad luck and claw back up the overall standings, skipper Ian Walker said his crew are desperate for the action to begin after they were forced to retire from Leg 5 with hull delamination.

“To be here competing on time and fully repaired is a mega achievement and thanks must go to everyone involved in making it happen,” he said. “We must now show the same grit and determination that got us here in the next leg. We know we have what it takes to be pushing the fleet hard, so we’ll come out the blocks raring to go and won’t let up.

“For the first time, the weather forecast looks nice. This part of the world can be stormy but it looks predominantly downwind, which is unusual in this race, and it won’t be too cold — in fact it will be the opposite problem.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s heroic shore team produced a big effort to get the damaged Azzam Volvo Open 70 race yacht repaired in record time for the Brazilian in-port race and today’s Leg 6 start.

Azzam was shipped to Itajai from Porte Montt in Chile to undertake emergency onshore repairs. Poor weather delayed the arrival of the ship, meaning the team had to undertake three days work in less than 40 hours. Remarkably, they achieved the task with two hours to spare.

Adil Khalid, the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team crew member, believes there is more to come from the outfit on the voyage to Miami.

“The last month has tested us to breaking point and I think this has just made us stronger. What everyone achieved to get Azzam ready for Itajai is unbelievable.

"I don’t think you can truly appreciate just how big a mountain we climbed to make that happen, unless you were in the thick of it. I am very proud to be part of a team that can stay determined in the face of adversity like that.”

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