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Emirati to Fly the Flag in 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race

posted on 03/10/2010: 1720 views

Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has initiated a nationwide recruitment campaign in search of at least one UAE national to join its Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team as it readies to tackle one of the world's toughest, most extreme sporting challenges, the Volvo Ocean Race, both on the high seas and on-shore.

In particular, an unprecedented opportunity of a lifetime awaits one successful candidate, who will fly the flag as part of an 11-strong crew for the ADTA-pioneered outfit in the ‘Everest of Sailing', racing shoulder-to-shoulder with sailing's elite.

"We are searching for a compatriot with steely determination, enduring physicality, strength of mind, quick intelligence and dynamic personality to be part of our multinational crew who will aim to win honours for the emirate. Whoever is selected will take on the considerable responsibility of working towards, and sharing, the aspirations of their homeland," said Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, ADTA.

"Yet with the responsibility comes an unparalleled opportunity to celebrate and build on Abu Dhabi's maritime legacy, marrying the wisdom of our past with the technology of the future." The successful applicant will join a dream team which will push for podium honours in this 37-year old competition in which Abu Dhabi has already made history by being the first Middle East host port, the first destination partner of the race and the first Arabian Gulf entry into this ultimate test of maritime prowess.

"Even though this is our first foray into an elite global race, we have a steely ambition to be successful in every aspect, be it on the sporting side or in destination brand-building. Living up to our aim will demand a level of courage displayed by our forefathers as they put themselves at the mercy of the ocean during the testing times when our economy depended on deep sea sailing and pearling skills," added Sheikh Sultan.

Applicant criteria include a strong work ethic, basic sailing and technical knowledge, proven teamwork capabilities and high fitness levels. Candidates should preferably be at least 30 years old, speak proficient English and be willing to commit full-time to the project, from January 2011 to August 2012.

Applications to join the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew, which is skippered by two-time Olympic medallist Ian Walker of Great Britain, can be made via the team's official website until 24th October 2010.

Runner-up applicants will be offered positions with the team's shore crew, which is responsible for the maintenance, development and reliability of the race yacht as it negotiates the 39,000 nautical mile round-the-world journey.

"The Volvo Ocean Race pushes human limits to the extreme, creating camaraderie within the crew that will last a lifetime. The right team selection is paramount to both our race ambitions and the safety of all on-board, so we have to get it 100 percent correct. This is why we have such an intensive selection and training programme in place," said Mubarak Al Muhairi, ADTA's Director General.

From November, the best 12 candidates will be shortlisted and put through a rigorous fitness and endurance programme undergo psychometric tests and one-on-one interviews to assess their mental and physical strength, before sea trials on the Arabian Gulf waters.

December will see the final candidate pool whittled down to three, with crew hopefuls then undergoing long offshore sailing trials in the Indian Ocean. The successful applicant will then immediately join the team full-time in January 2011 as it readies for the Volvo Ocean Race start in Alicante, Spain on 29th October 2011.

"The next four months will be fascinating for all involved. Applicants will need to demonstrate decisive physical and mental attributes and we need to know that they can make the grade when the going gets really tough. Hopefully the series of tests and trials we have planned will clearly identify the best, the strongest and those that will fit seamlessly into the team," said Ian Walker, Skipper, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

With Abu Dhabi becoming the first Middle East host port in the event's 37 year history, the successful UAE national will lead the procession of awe-inspiring Volvo 70 racing yachts into the emirate on New Year 2012 to a ‘homecoming' unlike any other.

"We are intent on delivering a home port experience which will be a race highlight and will activate celebrations and entertainment for visitors and residents which will leave an enduring impact," added Al Muhairi.

"Visitors will join us as we celebrate our rich maritime heritage within a distinctly modern context and be enriched, as will our residents, by a national event of lasting impressions and world-class presentation." The 2011/2012 race begins in Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and ends in Galway, Ireland, in the summer of 2012. ADTA believes its involvement will help position the emirate, which boasts a 400 kilometre coastline and over 200 natural islands, as a preferred winter sailing destination.

"We have the right conditions - a near ideal winter climate, warm, clear waters, an expanding world-class marina infrastructure and a culture which, for generations, has been at one with the sea," added Al Muhairi.– Emirates News Agency, WAM


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