Abu Dhabi city is readying for a spectacular weekend of international sailing activity as the UAE capital prepares to host the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) stopover Pro-Am race, the much-anticipated In-Port race and the spectacular ceremonial fleet departure when the Volvo Ocean 65 competing yachts set sail for Leg 3 of the round-the-world epic to Sanya in China.
The action starts on New Year’s Day, Thursday, January 1st, when the six remaining competing yachts race for honours in the Pro-Ams. And the emirate’s own entry, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) will be sporting a very special sail that day – a 132 square metre‘J1’sail signed, over the past three weeks, by over 1,500 school children who visited the Destination Village on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche Breakwater where the yachts are currently berthed for visitors to get up-close-and-personal with them.
“It will be quite a sight to see with a planned deck-out ceremony with skipper interviews and will make a great day to get out and walk the Corniche in the sunshine and begin 2015 in the fresh air with all the family and sporting activities in the Destination Village available for entertainment,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Director, Events Bureau, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, which is behind the emirate’s VOR campaign.
The Abu Dhabi In-Port race, won in 2011 by ADOR, will be fought out on Friday, January 2nd, with spectators advised to be in the village shortly after 10 a.m. to witness dock-out ceremonies and a skippers’ parade with the fleet captains on camels leading their teams and all being led by a traditional Emirati mariners’ band singing sea shanties.
The actual race will begin at 2 p.m. with spectators able to follow the action on big screens while traditional Emirati cultural performers will keep people entertained. The race is expected to end at 3.30 p.m. with the In-Port race prize-giving scheduled for 4 p.m. after a stunning 3.50 p.m. display by the UAE’s own aerial display squad, Al Forsan.
Abu Dhabi’s 23-day stopover celebration comes to an end on January 3rd when the VOR fleet departs on Leg 3, the 4,670 nautical mile race to Sanya, and the UAE will bid farewell with a colorful fly-past by Al Forsan.