2014 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Next stop: China

After ripping up the form book with two scintillating victories in as many days on home waters, a resurgent Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing has fixed its collective gaze on the next destination in the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race: Sanya, China. Following the team’s second win on home waters in the Leg Three Stage 1 sprint from the capital to Sharjah, the crew revealed its desire to maintain momentum as the nine-month ‘Everest of Sailing’ returns to open seas after a fortnight of celebrations around Abu Dhabi’s debut hosting of the race.

aving spent much of its formative training months traversing Abu Dhabi waters last year, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing made the most of its home advantage and local knowledge and excelled during the emirate’s stopover. Now, as the fleet prepares to plot an eastward, China-bound course, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s skipper, Ian Walker, a double Olympic medallist – who skippered Green Dragon Racing, a Chinese-backed yacht, in the last race in 2009 - is ready to reap the benefits of yet more familiar territory. Adil Khalid, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s sole Emirati crew member, also has fond memories of China, where he was part of the UAE squad which competed in the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

As with Leg 2 of the race, Leg 3 is split into two to prevent the yachts from sailing through pirate-prone waters off the coast of Africa. The fleet has already been loaded onto a ship in Sharjah, where it will be transported to a safe haven port in the Indian Ocean. With early estimations expecting the yachts to be unloaded by January 23, the fleet will head east with the first teams expected to reach Sanya around February 4.

or more information on Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, please visit www.volvooceanraceabudhabi.com 

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