x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Plenty to do for landlubbers while the racing sailors take a break

Residents and visitors can experience the Volvo Ocean Race with a simulator that replicates life on the high seas.

Coldplay will kick off festivities at the Volvo Ocean Race Destination Village on New Year's Eve and there will be plenty of entertainment to follow in the two weeks after the concert.

The purpose-built village, which will be open until January 14 when the yachts leave for China, will feature live music, a simulator that replicates life on the high seas and a fitness camp, among other activities.

Visitors will find a line of stalls that will represent a traditional souq. Throughout the village and on the main stage there will be cultural performances from the Emirates Heritage Club with falconry displays, henna tattoo artists, calligraphy demonstrations and traditional food and drink on offer.

Classically trained dancers abd Tanura dancers, who have large, colourful skirts, are also scheduled to perform.

There will be prizes for trips to China and Ireland at the hole-in-one challenge where punters can attempt to hit a golf ball on to a floating green.

Sailing-related activities also feature. Visitors can watch a dhow being built on site and enter an interactive museum to see how Azzam, Abu Dhabi's entry in the race, was constructed.

Puma will sponsor live DJs most nights at its Social Club, which will be next to Abu Dhabi team headquarters.

There will be a race against the clock, where competitors will wear the same Puma shoes as the world-champion sprinter Usain Bolt.

There will be educational programmes for children on sea conservation and free stand up paddleboarding sessions every day - swimming costumes compulsory.

For those who are interested in fitness, the ocean camp will focus on swimming, paddling and resistance exercises for full-body and core conditioning.

The Abu Dhabi Junior Festival, a two-day course for novice and advanced sailors, aims to introduce children to the sport and improve the skills of regular young sailors.

Approximately 100 dhows will sail 15 nautical miles towards the finish line near the Marina Mall shore on January 7 and 30 to 50 dhows will sail inside Corniche Bay on January 10.

A sailor from each of the six Volvo Ocean Race teams will join a dhow crew for an exhibition race.

For more information, volvooceanraceabudhabi.com will be fully updated by the middle of the week.

* Eugene Harnan