Friday, 8 July 2011

VOR : Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Yacht Named "Azzam"

A Nation’s Hope Sets Sail: Abu Dhabi is hoping Azzam can leave Volvo Ocean Race rivals trailing in her wake. Image copyright Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

by Sam Dulka

Abu Dhabi’s state-of-the-art Volvo Open 70 racing yacht, which will this October become the first Arab entry into the Volvo Ocean Race – the 39,000 nautical mile ‘Everest of Sailing,’ has been named ‘Azzam’ defining the determination of the emirate’s race ambitions.

“Azzam reflects our determination to deliver an outstanding performance in this race and to strive as best as possible for a podium place,” said HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and Team Principal, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. “It also reflects the fortitude shown by the pearl divers and traders who shaped our ancient maritime heritage.”

ADTA has awarded Luis Aguilar of Spain a VIP New Year’ Stay in Abu Dhabi after his ‘Alazan’ entry into the international naming competition - run on – came the closest to the final choice.

“The competition received a terrific response with some 2,415 entries from 73 nations, including 1,172 entries coming from Spain, 319 from within the UAE and 151 from Italy. Luis’ entry was a close runner to Azzam and we look forward to welcoming him and his guest to Abu Dhabi for the New Year celebrations which will mark the arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race into our purpose-built Destination Village,” said Dayne Lim, Product Development Director, ADTA.

Luis’ VIP New Year’s break in Abu Dhabi includes return Pearl business class tickets from Europe on Etihad, the award-winning national airline of the UAE, seven nights stay at the soon-to-open, St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, the iconic brand’s first Middle East property, as well as tickets to a headline concert.

Falcon’s Eye View: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew get to grips with Azzam. Image copyright Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

Azzam, developed by the USA’s Farr Yacht Design and built by Italy’s Persico S.p.A. in Bergamo, is one of the most sophisticated ever constructed. It is the culmination of more than 7,000 design and 49,000 build hours. It made its international debut earlier today in Portofino, Italy in the presence of the Mayor of the Italian Riviera town and representatives of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Official Team Partner, the luxury Swiss brand IWC Schaffhausen.

Emblazoned with a striking falcon, the national emblem of the UAE, the brilliant black yacht will carry the 11-strong Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team through international waters in the Volvo Ocean Race which begins in Alicante, Spain this October.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is skippered by double-Olympic medallist Ian Walker of Great Britain. Its crew represents five continents and boasts two UAE nationals – marking the first time an Emirati will compete in the race.

Abu Dhabi will also be the first Arabian host port of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet when it sails into the UAE capital this New Year. ADTA is committed to staging a fortnight-long, emirate-wide celebration to mark the fleet’s two-week stay in Abu Dhabi. A dedicated Destination Village is being built on Abu Dhabi’s stunning Corniche to host the fleet and will be the focal point for celebrations, including in-port racing and headline concerts. The village will be highly interactive and will leverage the emirate’s rich maritime heritage. It will be packed with activities and entertainment including exhibitions, shows, simulators, hospitality, game zones, food & beverage outlets and shops.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race