30 Dec 2014

Abu Dhabi, 30th December 2014: Abu Dhabi city is readying for a spectacular weekend of international sailing activity as the UAE capital prepares to host the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) stopover Pro-Am race, the much-anticipated In-Port race and the spectacular ceremonial fleet departure when the Volvo Ocean 65 competing yachts set sail for Leg 3 of the round-the-world epic to Sanya in China.


The action starts on New Year’s Day, Thursday, January 1 when the six remaining competing yachts race for honours in the Pro-Ams. And the emirate’s own entry, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) will be sporting a very special sail that day – a 132 square metre ‘J1’ sail signed, over the past three weeks, by over 1,500 school children who visited the Destination Village on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche Breakwater where the yachts are currently berthed for visitors to get up-close-and-personal with them.


“It will be quite a sight to see with a planned deck-out ceremony with skipper interviews and will make a great day to get out and walk the Corniche in the sunshine and begin 2015 in the fresh air with all the family and sporting activities in the Destination Village available for entertainment,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Director, Events Bureau, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), which is behind the emirate’s VOR campaign.


The Abu Dhabi In-Port race, won in 2011 by ADOR, will be fought out on Friday, January 2nd with spectators advised to be in the village shortly after 10am to witness dock-out ceremonies and a skippers’ parade with the fleet captains on camels leading their teams and all being led by a traditional Emirati mariners’ band singing sea shanties. The actual race will begin at 2pm with spectators able to follow the action on big screens while traditional Emirati cultural performers will keep people entertained. The race is expected to end at 3.30pm with the In-Port race prize-giving scheduled for 4pm after a stunning 3.50pm display by the UAE’s own aerial display squad Al Forsan.


And Abu Dhabi’s 23-day stopover celebration comes to an end on January 3rd when the VOR fleet departs on Leg 3.


Once again spectators are asked to be at the Destination Village, which also encompasses Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club, at around 10am to witness the teams’ procession, the official stopover handover to the Vice Mayor of Sanya, Mr Deng Zhong accompanied by Tai Chi performances outside the Dongfeng pavilion, the dock out ceremonies and the farewell salute in-bay sailing parade.


And as the fleet begins Leg 3 on the 4,670 nautical mile race to Sanya, the UAE will bid farewell with a colorful fly-past by Al Forsan.


“It’s going to be spectacular and bring to an end a stopover the people of the UAE and our visitors can be proud of. It’s up to us all now to finish with a great flurry to wi these intrepid sailors, and our own Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team and its Azzam yacht the very best of fortunes in one of the greatest ocean going adventures known to man,” added Al Sheikh.

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