10 Sep 2014

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 10 September 2014:  

 Emirati sailing superstar Adil Khalid and Olympic medal-winning skipper Ian Walker took time out from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) – the emirate’s entry into the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) - to give local schoolchildren a thrilling insight into the spectacular round-the-world yacht race.


The dynamic duo – king pins in ADOR which will chart Abu Dhabi’s entry, Azzam, in the race which starts on October 4 – spent the day with nearly 400 students at the British School Al Khubairat, giving them a real taste of the action onboard an ocean-going racing yacht.


Skipper Walker laid out the incredible facts of the Volvo Ocean Race, explaining the physical and mental challenges that need to be conquered on the 39,000-mile race and that crew members often get only three hours of sleep per shift, with luxuries reduced to a single chocolate bar a day to save weight. Most impressively, the students also heard that Azzam, which  means determination, will travel through some of the most remote places in the world – meaning that the crew must be resourceful and self-sufficient in the event of emergencies.


“This was an amazing opportunity, and we were incredibly appreciative of Ian and Adil’s time,” said head of the geography department Nigel Davis. “The students loved it and came in droves to see it. I think it was everything they’d hoped it would be.


“It’s exposure to people who are at the top of what they do that makes a difference in young people’s lives. There will be kids who were inspired today by what Ian and Adil had to say and the challenges they face in a race like this.”


Khalid, ADOR helmsman and trimmer and the VOR’s first-ever Arab competitor, has a long track record of working with children in the United Arab Emirates to inspire and train the next generation of sailors from the UAE, and those talents were on full display during the visit.


“If you think sailing around the world sounds fun, don’t wait to get started!” said Khalid. “Anybody can do it with just a little bit of instruction, and Abu Dhabi is the perfect place to learn. Most of Abu Dhabi is walking distance from the water, the sea and winds are incredible here, and the sailing community is brilliant.”


Walker finished by encouraging everyone assembled to support the team by going down to the VOR Destination Village on the Corniche to cheer Azzam into Abu Dhabi in mid-December, and by following ADOR’s progress on Twitter @ADORlog, Facebook through and on the Volvo Ocean Racing website where the team’s progress can be tracked. 

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