Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing claims 5th consecutive podium with third-place finish in home In-Port Race
Abu Dhabi, 2nd January 2015. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) – the emirate’s Volvo Ocean Race-entrant – finished third in its home In-Port Race and remain top of the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race leaderboard, after battling to the finish line behind winners Team SCA and second-placed Team Brunel in a contest delayed by extremely light winds off the city’s Corniche waterfront.
Over 25,000 fans packed the Destination Village on the Corniche breakwater and were treated to a masterclass of yacht racing from the six professional crews as they manoeuvred their 65-foot carbon yachts around the tight inshore course.
After a delay to allow the wind to fill in, ADOR, who had two special guests onboard its yacht Azzam, local football stars Tawfeeq Abdul Razzaq and Abdullah Al Noobi, got off to a strong start in the one-hour race – leading the fleet for the first few minutes but dropping to third when the wind died on the left of the racecourse. This set up a breakaway for Swedish all-women Team SCA and the Netherlands’ Team Brunel, who rounded the first turning marker well ahead.
As the race progressed the breeze stabilised making overtaking opportunities few and far between. Despite some slick boat handling, at the end of the four-leg course ADOR skipper Ian Walker and his crew had to settle for third. The result – ADOR’s third consecutive in-port race podium position - maintains the team’s leadership of the overall In-Port Race Series.
Walker congratulated the Team SCA crew, who were presented with their trophy by HE Jasem Al Darmaki, Acting Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and HE Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
“There wasn’t much more we could have done,” Walker said “We got a great start then the wind died on the left. I wish there had been more wind for the in-port race because I know what a great venue Abu Dhabi can be for yacht racing.”
ADOR’s UAE trimmer and helmsman Adil Khalid said the race illustrated just how little performance difference there was between the teams in the latest edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
“The racing is so close this time,” Khalid said. “We thought we had done enough at the start to get a jump on the rest but when Team SCA and Team Brunel got around the first mark well ahead, there was no catching them.”
ADOR, backed by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), now has less than 24 hours to switch into offshore mode for Saturday’s Leg 3 start, which takes place at 2pm local time, when the fleet will set off on a 4,670-nautical mile passage to Sanya in China.
ADOR fans and visitors to the UAE capital are urged to get down to the VOR Destination Village, at Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club on the city’s stunning Corniche Breakwater, to cheer the teams on and wave local heroes Khalid and the rest of the team off as they challenge for Leg 3.
Visitors shouldn’t forget their cameras, as the send-off promises to be a cavalcade of colourful sights and sounds as traditional bands will play sea shanties during the dockside ceremonies.
The Village opens at 10am and is free to enter.