ABU DHABI- For sailors the world over, there are few experiences higher on the ‘bucket list’ than the chance to be part of a Volvo Ocean Race team.
And yet that’s exactly what Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the organisation behind Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) – the emirate’s 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race entry – is offering an aspiring ‘Ian Walker in the making’.
‘Are you the Man for Azzam’ is a new competition that will run on ADOR’s Facebook page – from 1st June to 15th July, with ADOR Skipper Walker looking for the perfect candidate to join his elite team for a day at the historic Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week regatta on the Isle of Wight in the UK.
“Rarely do sports fans have the chance to actually experience life as a professional athlete, but for one day later this year we are offering our fans just that,” said the Englishman who will be competing in his third Volvo Ocean Race later this year.
“One lucky amateur sailor is going to sail on our Volvo Ocean 65 – Azzam – one of the world’s most technologically advanced offshore racing yachts in a competitive race with my team, just two months before we start the next Volvo Ocean Race. I hope the winner comes prepared to work hard and race to win.”
The ADOR competition is open to male sailors who are aged 18 or above by 1stAugust 2014. From 1st June a competition app on the ADOR Facebook page will allow entrants to make their case for why they’re ‘The Man For Azzam’. The public will vote for the person whose entry is the most compelling, and the top five voted entries will be reviewed by the team and TCA Abu Dhabi to choose the winner.
The winning ‘recruit’, who must have sailing yacht experience to successfully compete, will join the ADOR crew aboard Azzam during the Artemis Challenge race at the Cowes Week regatta on 7 August 2014.
The Artemis Challenge is one of the highlights of the world-famous Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week regatta, pitting some of the fastest offshore racing yachts against each other as they race to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight as quickly as possible. For ADOR the race will be the team’s final competitive preparation before it embarks on the 1,802 nautical mile Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race (RBIR) three days later.
ADOR’s Emirati Trimmer / Helmsman, Adil Khalid, says the Artemis Challenge is a crucial part of the team’s development and training for the ‘main event’ later in the year:
“By August we should have over 10,000 sailing miles on Azzam under our belts and we will be fine tuning our race set-up with minds firmly focussed on the Volvo start line in Alicante,” said the 26 year-old.
“Whoever is lucky enough to win this spot on Azzam in August will be part of a team on a mission. Our aim is to win the Artemis Challenge and the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race a few days later, before we sail to Alicante at the end of the month. It is an incredible opportunity for an amateur sailor – if he brings his sea legs with him he’ll have an experience that will last a lifetime.”
The winner, as adjudicated by Ian Walker, will be announced on 21st July.