$20,000 prize for winner of yacht-naming contest

A naming contest for Abu Dhabi's entry in the Volvo Ocean Race is being held in conjunction with a new website that will feature information about the team and the race.

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ABU DHABI // In honour of Abu Dhabi's participation in the Volvo Ocean Race which begins in the autumn, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority is holding a contest to name the 70ft racing boat.

Winners will receive a VIP stay for two worth US$20,000 (Dh734,560) in the capital when the around-the-world yacht race anchors off the Corniche on New Year's Eve.

The yacht, which is still under construction in Italy, will be launched by July. The 11-man Abu Dhabi Ocean Race (Ador) crew will sail on five oceans in the race known as the Everest of sailing. They will set sail from Alicante, Spain, in October.

Abu Dhabi will be one of 10 host ports and the race will come to the capital for two weeks. It will finish in the summer, in Galway, Ireland.

The naming competition can only be entered online, on Ador's newly launched website, abudhabivolvooceanrace.ae. The website will be a primary source of information on the team, and will provide updates on the race and Abu Dhabi's progress as a host port in English and Arabic.

The prize includes two business class return tickets on Etihad Airways, a seven-night stay at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, scheduled to open on November 1, and tickets to a New Year's Eve headline concert. The competition is open to all.

"We are looking for a name which reflects our Volvo Ocean Race campaign, which has taken Abu Dhabi into international yachting history books while leveraging our rich maritime history in a thoroughly modern context," said Mubarak al Muhairi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and team principal of Ador.

Abu Dhabi will be the region's first host port in the 37-year history of the race.

"I can promise it will be a truly memorable experience," Mr al Muhairi said.

Ian Walker, the skipper of the yacht, said there was a lot of research and testing going into the boat now. To develop the sails, the team put a model boat into a twisted wind tunnel that mimicked the winds on the five oceans they will cross. The bow could be moved from remote control. That technology came at a cost of about $20,000.

There is a wide range of technology on board that is expected to make the boat a serious contender for the top spot.

Other features of the website will be real-time blogs, crew insights and the latest videos and images of the race. It is intended to be a one-stop site for all water sports in Abu Dhabi. Visitors can use it to book tickets and hotel rooms during the event, which is expected to attract 100,000 visitors to the city.

Those who want to volunteer for the stopover can register online and there is also a link for schools, which can get involved and learn first-hand about the world event.