A message from the chairman
Bringing the Volvo Ocean Race to Abu Dhabi was the culmination of nearly three years hard work and determination. We were very focused on Abu Dhabi being a host port for this ‘Everest of Sailing’ as this sport aligns very well with our aim of having the emirate internationally perceived as a winter sailing destination.
We believe we have much to offer the global sailing community. We have great winter weather, 400 kilometres of coastline, over 200 natural islands, an increasing number of world-class marinas and a will to re-energise our long-standing maritime heritage. Abu Dhabi has made history with its Volvo Ocean Race affiliation. We are the first Arabian city to be a host port for the race – and its first Arabian contender with our yacht Azzam.
This yacht is aptly named – it means determination in Arabic – and it sums up our approach to delivering on a number of aspects. In bringing together our Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team we have included two UAE nationals – Adil Khalid and Butti Al Muhairi – their names are now instantly recognisable up and down this country, throughout the region and increasingly among the international marine sports community. Both have acquitted themselves well as ambassadors of this nation and we many of our young people now look up to them as role models for accepting challenges and for showing what can be achieved through hard work and determination – that Azzam factor again.
This race is leaving us quite a legacy. We have invested in the Destination Village which was purpose-built on our Corniche as the focus of the hosting celebrations. There could not have been a better backdrop to show off our destination to the many international visitors and media who were in the city for the race. The Corniche is something of a much treasured meeting place in Abu Dhabi’s culture and its beauty has now been seen by many. Another legacy is the will to push our sailing endeavours further by working with stakeholders to deliver product which will get more people out on our waters.
As the race heads continues across the globe, I can promise all involved that the people of Abu Dhabi will follow its progress and that we will be present in other host ports to give visitors there a taste of what this emirate has to offer.
His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority