ABU DHABI OCEAN RACING ADDS TO AWARDS IN GOTHENBURG
Abu Dhabi, UAE, 28 June 2015: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Volvo Ocean Race (VOR)-winning team Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) is celebrating after winning once more at a glittering final awards night ceremony in Gothenburg, Sweden on Saturday night.
In addition to winning all three of the 40-year old race’s three major titles: overall winner; 24-hour speed record and the In-Port Race Series (IPRS); the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi)-backed team also scooped the On Board Reporter prize.
ADOR skipper Ian Walker said the record-breaking trophy haul was a testimony to the dedication and professionalism that “runs the length and breadth of the entire ADOR squad”.
“It’s the perfect way to round off what has been a fabulous around-the-world adventure,” Walker said. “I can’t say enough about how superbly every single member of our squad – on and off the yacht – has performed and they should all be very proud of what we have achieved.”
A breakneck run through the Southern Ocean from the Abu Dhabi yacht immediately prior to rounding Cape Horn earned the Azzam crew the IWC Schaffhausen 24-hour Speed Record Challenge for the greatest distance sailed in 24-hours.
ADOR secured the overall title with a leg to spare after establishing an unassailable points advantage at the end of the penultimate leg from Lisbon to France and closed out the IPRS with a sixth place in the final heat in Gothenburg on Saturday.
ADOR also won the Roaring Forties Trophy for the recording shortest elapsed time between South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and the Cape Horn at the tip of South America during Legs 2 to 5.
Adding to the string of ADOR awards, American on board reporter (OBR) Matt Knighton rounded out the ADOR awards bonanza when he was awarded the overall OBR prize of 20,000 Euros by an independent judging panel of media experts.
Knighton, who gave up his job as an independent video producer to take on the challenge of chronicling ADOR’s nine-month VOR challenge, confessed he was surprised to have won against such strong competition.
“I have seen so much incredible content come from the other OBRs,” Knighton said. “Telling the story of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Volvo Ocean Race has been a real privilege and I need to thank the amazing crew of Azzam for all their help during our lap of the planet.”
In addition to receiving awards, Abu Dhabi also gave them out, with Team Alvimedica presented with the Abu Dhabi Seamanship Award on the night.
The Turkish/American team were honoured with the trophy, which recognises ‘bravery, valour and determination’ at the Life At The Extreme awards night, for breaking off from their race to assist Team Vestas Wind, which ran aground on Leg 2 of the round the world race.
On the night of November 29, 2014, the Danish-backed team, skippered by Australian Chris Nicholson, hit a reef whilst racing from Cape Town, South Africa, to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. With the boat unable to continue, the crew were stranded, and Team Alvimedica swiftly sailed to assist.
Led by skipper Charlie Enright, the Turkish/American boat waited on standby near the stricken vessel, making sure the Vestas Wind sailors were rescued by coastguards, before continuing on to the UAE capital.
Enright was presented with the award by His Excellency Sultan Rashid Al Kaitoob, the UAE Ambassador to Sweden, and His Excellency Aref Al Awani, the General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
Also in attendance, to honour the award winners was Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Director at TCA Abu Dhabi, and Majed Al Muhairi, the General Manager, Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club.
“In this situation you find out what kind of team you are, what type of people you've surrounded yourself with,” said Enright, as he accepted the award on behalf of the team. “It was a team decision. It was a good decision and we all knew it was the right one to make. It was a tough night for all of us.
“But obviously in hindsight we're just glad it turned out the way it did, and that everyone was OK. We're honored to receive this trophy. Abu Dhabi is where we ended up after this whole thing, so thank you so much."
As well as being presented with the award, Enright received two flight tickets to Abu Dhabi for a four-night stay, as further recognition of the heroism displayed.