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Ian Walker discusses Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Ian Walker is returning for his second crack at the Volvo Ocean Race following on from his Green Dragon campaign with the Irish in the last fully crewed round the world race. This time he is to skipper the race boat campaign accompanying the 2011-12 race’s Middle Eastern stopover in Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team is currently in the final throws of its design phase before they launch into construction shortly. Details of both are to be forthcoming imminently, but the rumour mill has it that the Emirati team are going with Farr Yacht Design for their boat’s design (to date Groupama, Puma and movistar have all committed to Juan Kouyoumdjian, who’s team has penned the last two race winners). Over the next months Walker will also be picking his crew. To help with this process Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have acquired the former ABN AMRO Two from Ken Read’s Puma team. This they will use for training in Abu Dhabi over this winter. “We’ll be announcing the team in the New Year,” says Walker. “We will be slowly building the team up. The emphasis at the moment is on design and finalising the details of the build. Like all the teams, we are aiming to start building fairly soon to be launched by May-June next year, so we have the whole of next summer to train for the race.” Walker says that there are no constraints on his choice of crew, however he has chosen to take one Emirati. “That is driven by me as much as anyone, because I think that is what you have to do to make the project a success in the region. I think you saw that with Green Dragon last time around [when they took a Chinese crewman with them]. And actually there is

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