Accolade Honours Courageous Acts of Bravery in Volvo Ocean Race  

Volvo Ocean Race contesting outfit, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, scooped the inaugural Abu Dhabi Seamanship Award in Cape Town on Thursday for demonstrating extreme courage in the face of adversity after a daring rescue mission to salvage its mast after it broke in heavy seas during the opening of leg one.  

Three nominees were competing for the specially crafted award, which is given to sailors and teams who demonstrate unbelievable acts of bravery and valour throughout the Volvo Ocean Race, the gruelling, nine month round the world yacht race, known as the ‘Everest of Sailing.’  

In addition to Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, the first Arabian challenger to ever compete in the race, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by Berg Propulsion was nominated for its heroics in recovering from a devastating distmasting off the African coast, as was Tony Rae of Camper Emirates Team New Zealand, whose impromptu medical skills on teammate Mike Pammenter were critical, after a nasty fall on deck saw him lose his front teeth.  

Speaking on picking up the award, which was selected by a panel of Volvo Ocean Race and Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) executives, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper, Ian Walker, said: “It is great to be honoured for this but everyone on this opening leg should share in the recognition. This has been one of the most dramatic and intense starts to the Volvo Ocean Race. It has certainly lived up to its ‘life at the extreme’ billing.”  

ADTA has both a team in the Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - and for two weeks from this New Year will host the six-strong fleet, its sea hardened sailors and more than 100,000 fans in a dedicated Destination Village in the UAE capital. It is also the first Official Destination Partner of the race.