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Abu Dhabi’s ‘Destination Village’ days away from hosting major sailing race

With exactly 100 days to go before Abu Dhabi hosts the spectacular Volvo Ocean Race 2011/12 yachting fleet and its thousands of fans this New Year, construction of the infrastructure has been completed on the Abu Dhabi Corniche ‘Destination Village’ where a fortnight of activities will celebrate the hosting.

Construction of the infrastructure has been completed on the Abu Dhabi Corniche ‘Destination Village’ where a fortnight of activities will celebrate the hosting

The result of more than 61,000 man hours, the site – as big as eight football pitches – will be the focal point for the UAE capital as it welcomes the procession of awe-inspiring racing yachts, sea hardened sailors and more than 100,000 fans for the third leg stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race – the ‘Everest of Sailing’. It will open free of charge to the public from December 31st 2011– 14th January 2012.

Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which is behind the emirate’s involvement in the race, is also progressing a fully-packed entertainment programme for stopover, including exhibitions, shows, simulators, hospitality, game zones, restaurants and cafes, sailing academies, shops and concerts.

Adjacent to the Heritage Village, the destination village, which overlooks Abu Dhabi’s impressive city skyline, was cleared and flattened before a staggering 873,000 paving stones were laid over almost half its area. Seven permanent yacht pontoons have also been installed. Weighing 55 tonnes each, and covering a 560m² area off the breakwater, they will house the teams’ state-of-the-art Volvo Open 70 race yachts whilst in Abu Dhabi.
Installation took two-and-half weeks with a 500 tonne crane lifting the concrete structures into position, before they were individually fixed into place. The revolutionary design of the pontoons will give spectators up-close access to the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, further enhancing the entire experience.

Team Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing celebrates 100 days until its homecoming

The unit is now a fixed working facility ready for the arrival of the Volvo Open 70s and is a key component of the site, which will serve a permanent sailing centre once the Volvo Ocean Race fleet sails out of the UAE capital in mid-January to Sanya, China.

The site, which been developed by Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) under the auspices of ADTA, has now been handed over to the management team. They will now ready the site for final temporary infrastructure build work and installing more than 130 Volvo Ocean Race team gear, hospitality and equipment containers, which will arrive from Alicante, Spain once the race leaves it shores on 5th November.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2011/12 begins in Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and ends in Galway, Ireland in summer next year. It is a 39,000 nautical mile, nine-month round the world sailing race, taking in 10 destinations over nine grueling legs.

With teams vying for top honours, the race will cover some of the most treacherous and remote seas on the planet. The seven teams competing in the 2011/12 race are: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (UAE), Groupama Sailing Team (FR), PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG Propulsion (USA), Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (NZ), Team Telefónica (ESP), Team Sanya (CHN) and a final Spanish outfit to be confirmed.

ADTA is working closely with a number of governmental and commercial bodies to successfully stage the Middle East’s first hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race, including Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club, the Official Host Yacht Club and key partner in the roll-out of the stopover and the junior sailing initiatives; and the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, the Technical Headquarters, which will be home to the team areas, media centre, photographer centre and the international television broadcast compound.

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort – the iconic luxurious brand’s first Middle East property in Abu Dhabi opening on November 1st, 2011 – is the Volvo Ocean Race Official Hotel in the emirate.

For more information on the Abu Dhabi stopover please visit 


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