10 Aug 2014

Crew will face stiff competition from four other Volvo Ocean Racing teams

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 10 August 2014: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR), the professional yacht racing team backed by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) that will contest the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, will take on four other Volvo Ocean Race teams in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race which starts from Cowes on the Isle of Wight on Monday, August 11.

Run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), the 1800-mile race, which will see a fleet of 32 yachts set off on a circumnavigation of the British Isles, is amongst the toughest in the world.

All eyes will be on the Volvo Ocean 65 class, which comprises ADOR, the all-women crew Team SCA from Sweden, the Turkish-backed Team Alvimedica, China’s Dongfeng Race Team, and Team Campos from Spain. Depending on the weather they encounter along the way, the VO65s are expected to complete the non-stop race in seven days. 

On Thursday, ADOR had a confidence boosting victory in the VO65 class at the Artemis Challenge charity race Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week aided by Duran Duran lead singer Simon Le Bon and #One4Azzam Facebook competition winner, American Paralympic sailor, Keith Burhans.

ADOR navigator Simon Fisher says he and the rest of the crew, led by double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, are braced for their toughest challenge yet.  

“It’s going to be very demanding and particularly tough on the crew because there are lots of corners to turn,” Fisher said. “That means lots of sail changes and not much sleep.”

As navigator, Fisher will bear the brunt of the sleep deprivation as he plots Azzam’s course safely around Britain and Ireland’s rocky coastlines.

“It will be non-stop from a navigational point of view,” he confirmed. “There are lots of decisions to be made as we track around the British and Irish coast. It’s going to be about calculating optimum angles as the weather constantly changes.”

The race, initially set to begin today from the Royal Yacht Squadron start line off Cowes in the Solent (the narrow straits between the English south coast and the Isle of Wight), was rescheduled for August 11 due to adverse weather conditions, including the remnants of Hurricane Bertha.

Fisher said the ADOR crew is excited at the prospect of racing four other Volvo Ocean Race teams for real for the first time.

“It’s a big part of getting us battle ready,” he said. “It’s our only chance to get some real experience of close racing against the other teams before the Volvo starts. We expect to learn a great deal.”

The yachts the Volvo Ocean Race teams will be racing are identical in every way - from the hulls and sails right down to the buckets they use to bail out seawater. This, Fisher says, means we can expect the closest of races between the five crews.

“It’s five top class teams who have all been training hard,” he said. “There is very little difference in the yachts’ performances and I’m expecting the fleet to stay tightly packed all the way around.

“There will be no let up on Azzam until we cross the finish line in a week’s time,” Fisher concluded.

ADOR fans can follow the crew’s progress in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race on the official race tracker: http://roundbritainandireland.rorc.org/2014-fleet-tracking.html

The crew will also be posting regularly to the ADOR Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AbuDhabiOceanRacing and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ADORlog




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.


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

e. [email protected]


Arabic enquiries please to:

Saood Al Harethi

e. [email protected]


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

[email protected]


Christina Gaither - Media Relations Manager

Tel +34 676 675 931

[email protected]




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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