Duran Duran star Le Bon joins Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing for charity outing.

06 Aug 2014

Azzam to contest Cowes Week round-island Artemis Challenge

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 6 August 2014: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR), the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi)-backed 2014/2015 Volvo Ocean Race contestant, has recruited British musician and round-the-world sailor Simon Le Bon for a tilt at this Thursday’s Artemis Challenge ‘Big Boats’ race at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

Joining ADOR’s Azzam at the starting line for The Challenge – the highlight of the UK’s largest regatta – will be two other Volvo Ocean Race contestants: Sweden’s all female Team SCA and China’s Dongfeng Race Team. The race – a 50-mile sprint around the Isle of Wight – will be the first time the three crews have lined up against each other.

Le Bon is the lead singer and lyricist of the highly popular New Romantic band Duran Duran, which had a string of hits in the early 80s. He is no rookie when it comes to yacht racing having competed in the 1985-86 Whitbread Race (the original name for the Volvo Ocean Race) aboard his yacht Drum.

“I can’t wait to show Simon what the new Volvo 65s are all about,” said ADOR Skipper, British Double Olympic silver medallist, Ian Walker. “A lot has changed since 1985 when he raced around the world, but fundamentally the challenge remains the same: to race around the world fully crewed as fast as you can overcoming all the challenges that inevitably get thrown at you.”

Also joining Walker’s crew for the day is the winner of the ‘One4Azzam’ Facebook competition, Keith Burhans, a 58-year-old Paralympian sailor from the USA.

In 1995, Burhans was involved in a boating accident in which he sustained horrific injuries to his legs. Nevertheless, he somehow managed to save both his daughters from drowning.

Despite having both his legs amputated below the knee, the native New Yorker made a quick return to sailing and raced for the USA at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

A keen follower of the Volvo Ocean Race, he said he was ‘thrilled’ to have won a spot on Walker’s crew for the day.

The Artemis Challenge is scheduled to begin at 10am local time from the start line of the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) in Cowes when the seven-boat fleet of high performance ocean racing yachts will set off clockwise around the island.

Depending on weather conditions, the fleet is expected to finish mid to late afternoon back at the RYS line.

ADOR has pledged any of the £10,000 prize fund it wins to the official Artemis Challenge charities UKSA and Toe in the Water. UKSA offers transformational opportunities to young people and Toe in the Water is a tri-service initiative, which uses competitive sailing to re-inspire injured service personnel to see beyond their injuries, and perform to their limits regardless of their physical condition.

Follow news of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team and hear the latest on the Abu Dhabi stopover for the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race by following on Facebook - www.facebook.com/AbuDhabiOceanRacing, on Twitter and Instagram - @ADORlog, online at www.volvooceanraceabudhabi.com, and on YouTube - youtube.com/AbuDhabiOceanRacing






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

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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

[email protected]


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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