Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam primed for Cowes Week debut
ABU DHABI // The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team are "rounding their final bend" in preparation for the Volvo Ocean Race as the crew and their racing yatch, Azzam, mark their competitive debuts at the weekend.
Azzam, adorned with a flying falcon logo, will be unveiled to crowds at the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week — one of the world's longest running sailing regattas — on the Isle of Wight on England's south coast and will feature in the event's festivities, running eight days from Saturday.
Then, on August 14, the team will compete in the 608-mile Rolex Fastnet Race, which will provide a good gauge against fellow Volvo Ocean Race contenders Team Sanya and Groupama.
"It will be great to test ourselves against other teams and benchmark how far we've come, and equally importantly, how far we still have left to go," said Ian Walker, the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper. "We're rounding the final bend in our preparations and the Fastnet is going to play an important role in ensuring race-readiness."
Walker said that it will be a good chance to flex the team's muscles ahead of the startline in Alicante in October, but will want to remain coy about their true capabilities in what will be a chance for all teams to gain valuable insights from the competition.
One aspect of the regatta the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) will not be shy from showing is 'Destination Village', the dedicated waterfront being built on the Corniche which will play host to the Volvo Ocean Racing fleet when the round-the-world race ports in Abu Dhabi on December 30.
"With a huge number of spectators due in Cowes for the event, this was a superb opportunity for us to show off Azzam, introduce Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, our contesting team, explain our ambitions and give the visitors a taste of Abu Dhabi in the hope it will encourage them to join us over the New Year for our own fortnight-long festival to mark our hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet," said Dayne Lim, ADTA's Product Development Director.
A scale model of the village will be on show in a heritage hospitality tent Cowes Yacht Haven, where regatta goers will also be able to sample Arabian culture in a heritage hospitality tent including henna painting, calligraphy and falconry.
* With agency
Published: August 4, 2011 04:00 AM