In an announcement yesterday from the Volvo Ocean Race organizers, Abu Dhabi was selected as a stopover for the 2014 edition of the world's most grueling ocean sailing race. Abu Dhabi was first selected as s stopover site for the 2012 race and was a highlight for participating sailors.
The 2014 race leg will be a very long and difficult one, with the leg running from Recife, Brazil, through the southern oceans and up to the Middle East Port. The Abu Dhabi stop will be the third on the race. The start is from Alicante, Spain with the fleet heading to Recife and then on the long leg to Abu Dhabi..
An additional announcement from Race Headquarters confirmed the third entry in the race, a team from Abu Dhabi headed by former Olympian, Ian Walker. Walker also skippered the Abu Dhabi team in the 2012 race.
With the addition of the Abu Dhabi team, the total number of competitors rises to three, an amazing number considering the race is still 18 months out.
The 2014 race will be competed in identical Volvo Ocean 65's, a new one-design specifically built for the 2014 and 2017 races.
Abu Dhabi is the seventh announced port of the race, with the start at Alicante followed by Recife, Auckland, Itajai, Newport, Rhode island and will ultimately finish in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The race is expected to have between seven and ten teams at the Alicante starting line when the gun goes off.