05 Aug 2014

Daryl Wislang and Matt Knighton join Abu Dhabi contesting crew

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 5 August 2014: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) - the professional yacht racing team backed by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) to contest the Volvo Ocean Race - has completed its on board 2014/15 line-up with the appointment of Daryl Wislang as pitman and boat captain, and Matt Knighton as on board reporter.

The pair came through the trial periods with flying colours and will make their first official ADOR appearances this week when the team races the Volvo Ocean 65 ‘Azzam’ in the Artemis Challenge race during the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week on August 7. 

New Zealander Wislang (33) brings two editions worth of Volvo Ocean Race experience to the ADOR squad and finished in the top three overall on both occasions. He was third with Telefónica Blue in 2008/09, second with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand crew in 2011/12 and is hoping to complete his upward progression this race with an ADOR victory.

“I love the Volvo Ocean Race for the challenge, the camaraderie and the long lasting friendships that you make with your crew mates,” Wislang said. “But the real reason I’m back is the fact that I haven’t won one yet. It’s time to put that right and I’m confident the Abu Dhabi team gives me the best chance of that.”

Wislang, who sailed with Simon Fisher on Telefónica Blue and Chuny Bermúdez on CAMPER, said he was impressed by the ADOR crew when he trialled with them across the Atlantic from Portugal to the USA last month. 

“It’s obvious as soon as you step on-board Azzam that this is a very well prepared team,” he said. “They are working to a well-prepared and well-thought-out plan with solid backing from Abu Dhabi. Coming across the Atlantic we did a tremendous number of sail changes and pretty much everything went off without a hitch.”

Wislang and his wife celebrated the birth of their first child Pearl just a week ago in New Zealand. Although it was tough to leave his new daughter behind, the Kiwi sailor said he was overjoyed to be joining the team and couldn’t wait to race with the team.

Meanwhile, Knighton, an accomplished commercial videographer and keen racing sailor with proven photography and storytelling skills, earned his ADOR on board reporting role after producing great media content during back-to-back transatlantic crossings during June and July.

Based in Chicago, the 30-year-old’s impressive resume includes directing the 2013 documentary Black Hawk Down: Return to Mogadishu, shot in a Somalian war zone.

“This is an unparalleled opportunity,” said Matt. "It's not a challenge to be taken lightly or for granted. To be on a team where almost everyone has done at least three Volvo Ocean races is humbling but I couldn't ask for a better group of guys to share the next nine months with. Everyone gets along great on board and that makes this challenge all the more fun and dynamic.”

Knighton, who will take a sabbatical from his role as Media and Communications Director for match racing world champion Taylor Canfield’s US One Sailing Team, said he couldn’t wait for the Volvo Ocean Race to start.

"I've been working as a documentary filmmaker for the past eight years so to have this chance to pair that up with the sport that I love is fantastic,” Knighton said.

ADOR skipper, Britain’s double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker said the final crew appointments added further breadth to his multi-national squad.

“Daryl will improve the depth of our trimming and steering as well as being a very accomplished bowman, pitman and sail-maker. This is exactly the kind of versatility that the Volvo Ocean Race requires.

“Matt, meanwhile, will take the on board reporter role to a new level with his love of sailing and knowledge of TV, photography and the media. They are the final pieces in the jigsaw of what now looks like a solid winning team.”

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Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The authority manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. TCA Abu Dhabi supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage. A key authority role is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.


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For more information on the Abu Dhabi VOR Stopover please contact:

Nathan Wilson – ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller

d. +971 2 633 4133

e. [email protected]


For more information on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing please contact:

Justin Chisholm - Communications Officer, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

d. +44 7769 938 722

e. [email protected]


For more information on Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority please contact:

Matt Ross

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Arabic enquiries please to:

Saood Al Harethi

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For media information on the Volvo Ocean Race, please contact:

Jon Bramley - Director, News and Media

Volvo Ocean Race HQ (Spain)

Tel +34 966 011 150

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Christina Gaither - Media Relations Manager

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Editors’ Notes

  • The next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will be the 12th running of the 40-year-old event, which started in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.

  • The race will start on October 4, 2014, day of the first In-Port Race in Alicante, Spain, and finish with one last In-Port Race on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.

  • The 38,739-nautical mile route will also include stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Newport, Rhode Island (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France). A 24-hour pit-stop in The Hague is scheduled between France and Sweden.

  • The next two editions will be contested in a new high-performance boat, the Volvo Ocean 65, designed by Farr Yacht Design in the United States and built by a consortium of boatyards in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Switzerland.

  • The new 65-foot (19.8-metre) monohull racing yachts will be strictly One Design and delivered “ready to sail” for the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race. The boats incorporate the latest video, satellite and content production facilities to further enhance the Onboard Reporter programme that has been in place since 2008-09.

  • Six teams have been announced so far. The all-female Team SCA is the first all-women's team to compete in the race since 2001-02. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is once again skippered Britain's twice Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker. Dongfeng Race Team come from China and is backed by Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle. Team Brunel from the Netherlands is skippered by race veteran Bouwe Bekking. Team Alvimedica, the youth challenge will be led by All American Ocean Racing and carry a double Turkey/USA flag. A Spanish entry has been confirmed and the name of the team will be announced shortly.

  • The previous Volvo Ocean Race started in October 2011 in Alicante and was won by Groupama sailing team, skippered by Frenchman Franck Cammas, in July 2012.

  • The previous Volvo Ocean Race started in October 2011 in Alicante and was won by Groupama sailing team, skippered by Frenchman Franck Cammas, in July 2012.

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