UAE Schools To Get Involved With Beach Clean Up And Art Projects To Celebrate Race Hosting  

Abu Dhabi has teamed up with the Volvo Ocean Race to bring its ‘Keep The Oceans Clean’ initiative to the emirate’s Corniche ‘Destination Village’ this New Year, as part of the fortnight-long hosting of the round-the-world race, known as the ‘Everest of Sailing’.  

‘Keep The Oceans Clean’, a global campaign that encourages action against ocean pollution threatening sea-life, will involve a series of free community art projects which will run in the ‘Destination Village’ from December 31 – January 14 next year.   

Central to the initiative is Skeleton Sea’s Albatross Exhibitionist – an imposing 5’5” sculpture created from rubbish washed up on beaches as well as a six minute film that tells the compelling story of the thousands of albatross killed each year by mistaking rubbish for food. Both will be housed in the ‘Keep the Oceans Clean’ dome, which will follow the route of the 39,000 nautical mile ocean race.

Skeleton Sea’s founding artists João Parrinha of Portugal, Spain’s Luis de Dios and Xandi Kreuzeder from Germany – three ‘creative surfers’ who started the initiative in 2005 to raise environmental awareness through their green art - will also have a presence at the Abu Dhabi stopover.  

During the fortnight, the artists will create a unique Abu Dhabi sculpture at the race’s Destination Village. Made from beach trash and debris, it will be developed with the help of local school children and the general public during interactive workshops.  

As part of the wider school initiative being developed by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which is behind the emirate’s hosting of the race, a series of beach clean-up activities will be staged in the build-up to the stopover, with a key emphasis on engaging and educating children on environmental issues and responsible living. The rubbish collected will be used to help build the Abu Dhabi Skeleton Sea sculpture.

Xandi Kreuzeder is hopeful that Skeleton Sea, the Volvo Ocean Race and Abu Dhabi can inspire others to help keep the oceans clean. 

“It’s more important than ever for people to do their bit to protect the environment, even if it means picking up bits of rubbish at their local beach,” he said. “If our message gets through to just a few people, then we believe it’s been worth all the effort.”

The ‘Keep The Oceans Clean’ activities join a growing list of family entertainment programmes being progressed for the free-to-attend Volvo Ocean Race stopover.  

ADTA has committed to a fully-packed entertainment programme, including exhibitions, shows, simulators, hospitality, game zones, restaurants and cafes, sailing academies, shops and concerts.  

Volvo Ocean Race is also bringing its ‘Life at the Extreme’ activity centre. Running daily at the purpose-built Destination Village, ‘Life at the Extreme’ includes rides and entertainment that allow fans to experience first-hand this ‘Everest of Sailing’.  

Top attractions coming include The Ride, a state-of-the-art simulator that gives the feeling of being onboard a Volvo Open 70 yacht at speed in extreme conditions whilst being bombarded by strong winds and spray; The Dome, a 40 person interactive 3D cinema; The Grinding Challenge, where you can pit your strength against your friends on the pedestal grinders which the crews use onboard Volvo Open 70s; and Air Balls, which gives kids the chance to ‘run’ on water.   

Abu Dhabi’s Destination Village – as big as eight football pitches and free to the public - will be the focal point for the UAE capital as it welcomes the procession of awe-inspiring racing yachts, sea hardened sailors and more than 100,000 fans for the third leg stopover of the gruelling round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race.  

ADTA is working closely with a number of governmental and commercial bodies to successfully stage the Middle East’s first hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race, including Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club, the Official Host Yacht Club and key partner in the roll-out of the stopover and the junior sailing initiatives; and the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, the Technical Headquarters, which will be home to the team areas, media centre, photographer centre and the international television broadcast compound.  

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort – the iconic luxurious brand’s first Middle East property in Abu Dhabi opening on November 1st, 2011 – is the Volvo Ocean Race Official Hotel in the emirate.