Team Abu Dhabi unveil designers for Volvo Ocean Race

UAE's first entry in round the world race and Farr Yachting Design are given the job of coming up with blueprint.

ABU DHABI // The Team Abu Dhabi yacht in next year's Volvo Ocean Race will be constructed to the specifications of an internationally renowned design company under the watchful eye of one of the most respected boat builders in the sailing world.

The appointments were made yesterday by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) which is funding the first entry in the round the world race by a UAE vessel. Shortly after the unveiling of Ian Walker as skipper of the crew who will depart from Alicante, Spain in October next year on the marathon voyage, Jason Carrington was named as technical manager and Farr Yachting Design (FYD) were given the job of coming up with a blueprint for the new ocean going yacht. The identity of the boat builder will be next announcement in the next few days.

"I have admired both FYD and Jason Carrington's work for a very long time," said Walker. "It is a privilege to be able to work with them and thus far I have not been disappointed. We need a very fast reliable yacht and I have total confidence in both FYD and Jason to deliver this to Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing." Mubarak al Muhairi, the Director General of ADTA, was delighted with the progress of the venture 13 months before the start of the race.

He said: "Farr Yacht Design was selected because of its ability to tailor to our specific requirements and for its strong commitment to research and design which has been ongoing since the conclusion of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/09. "We anticipate being able to announce the appointment of the yacht builder after finalising the selection of six tender qualifiers from throughout the Middle East, Europe and the Far East."

Construction of the yacht, which will be entered to endorse Abu Dhabi's selection as a stop-over port for the first time in the history of the race, is due to start at the end of this month. The multi-million-dollar project is expected to take nine months to complete. Carrington, who like the Olympic medallist Walker honed his skills in the United Kingdom, is considered a valuable recruit for the team. He has competed in more than 30 international regattas and gained his first round-the-world experience in the 1993/94 Whitbread race.

He has been in the boat building business for two decades and has been responsible for the launch of five Volvo Ocean Race vessels. The American-based Farr Yacht Design team will be led by Patrick Shaughnessy, the company's president. They bring considerable expertise to the project, having worked extensively with the Telefonica team in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race. Shaughnessy believes that experience will be invaluable in helping to make Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing a competitive force. He said: "In preparation for the 2008/2009 Volvo Ocean race every member of the FYD team spent considerable time sailing Volvo Open 70s.

"The experience we gained has allowed us to view the design challenges a little bit differently. That real world experience adds to an always evolving set of tools that we bring to bear on any research and development project. "The 2011/2012 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will be a great sporting challenge and we feel that a well managed process can deliver competitive advantages. "The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team has made good decisions in its key resource appointments, starting with Ian Walker as skipper.

"We believe the team will have a well-designed yacht, a well-built yacht, and a well-sailed yacht."