09 Dec 2014

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 9th December 2014 -  As part of the legacy of Abu Dhabi’s Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) stopover, around 50 children from across the region will take part in a three-day sailing ‘clinic’, with expertise provided by the prestigious VOR Sailing Academy.



Run in conjunction with Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club (ADSYC), the young sailors, who’ve been selected from sailing clubs across the UAE, Oman and Bahrain, will learn how to improve their team racing skills, along with new techniques and tactics.



The programme will culminate in a two-day regatta, hosted by the ADSYC, which will run at Abu Dhabi’s purpose-built VOR Destination Village on the UAE capital’s Corniche Breakwater on December 29th and 30th. The group of 8-14 year-olds will train and race in Optimist dinghies provided by the VOR Sailing Academy. Each team will link up with a professional team contesting the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, and will race under their colours.



The youngsters will also meet the VOR skippers, crews and shore teams, and get a personalised, behind-the-scenes tour of the ‘Boatyard’ – the VOR maintenance facility for the 2014-15 race yachts – and the official facilities.


The programme is aimed at children who are already competent on the water, with a view to nurturing the next generation of professional sailors.


“This Academy programme gives young sailors the opportunity to learn new skills from the very best in the business, and apply them in a sanctioned Volvo Ocean Race competition,” said Majed Ateeq Al Mehairi, CEO of ADSYC. “One of our goals is to foster developing talent in the region and use all our tools to inspire these youngsters to achieve their sailing goals.”


The VOR Youth Academy has achieved great success in the past, with three former students from the Alicante 2008-09 VOR race qualifying for the Spanish national racing team. One, 17-year-old Irene Miras, was runner-up at the ISAF world Laser 4.7 female championship in Japan earlier this year.


Many VOR crew members, including Adil Khalid, the Emirati trimmer and helmsman for the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team yacht, Azzam, started their careers in the Optimist class. “When I was nine years old I starting sailing Optimists,” Khalid said, “they may be small but these boats teach you a lot of things; about how to prepare the boat and the sail, and the fundamentals of sailing the bigger boats that lie ahead.”



Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is once again behind Abu Dhabi’s hosting of the VOR, with TCA events professional Mohamed Al Zaabi saying: “Partnering with our key stakeholder ADSYC and the race rights-holder for the Abu Dhabi youth academy, and ensuring we leave a legacy for the next generation, is a fundamental priority of our Volvo Ocean Race involvement.


“Giving these youngsters the opportunity to ‘team up’ with a professional race syndicate is a once-in-a-lifetime experience - I can’t wait to see it.”


The stopover will take place in the VOR Destination Village from 12th December to 3rd January. It will be three weeks packed with sailing, watersports, entertainment and culture highlighting Abu Dhabi’s union with the sea and its maritime heritage. Up to 175,000 people are expected to visit the Destination Village.


For more information about Abu Dhabi’s 2014-15 VOR Stopover please go to www.volvooceanraceabudhabi.com or visit our Facebook and Twitter pages at www.facebook.com/AbuDhabiOceanRacing and @ADORlog

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