Photo: Ainhoa Sanchez/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

Abu Dhabi to complete qualifier

111 more miles to sail for the Ian Walker-skippered VO70

Monday October 10th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have agreed to sail a further 111 miles to complete their qualification for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 following their retirement from a test race over the weekend.

During the 360-mile qualifying race from Alicante to Palma, Mallorca and back, the six boats were required to carry out several safety drills. Having completed all of the required procedures, Abu Dhabi opted to motor rather than sail during a windless section of the course.

After consultation with the race committee, the Abu Dhabi crew will ensure they are in compliance with section 4.2 of the Notice of Race by completing the 111-mile sail.

The passage must be completed by the original qualification race crew before October 21. The course requires them to round Isla de Benidorm and Isla de Tabarca and must be made without using the yacht’s engine.

Skipper Ian Walker commented: “We had strong reasons for our decision to motor part of the remaining 110 miles of the qualification course and immediately notified the committee of our intentions.

"Sailing these extra miles will give the team a chance to refine some of our data for Mediterranean conditions and look at our new sails away from the prying eyes in Alicante. This will also give another opportunity to refine the offshore communication systems with the race committee. We plan to complete the trip next week.”

Race Director Jack Lloyd said: "This is a satisfactory resolution agreed by all parties and we are all now focusing on the race proper starting from October 29 in Alicante."

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are expected to launch a powerful challenge in the 11th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. This August the team set a new monohull course record of 1 day 18 hours 39 minutes in the 605-mile Fastnet Race.

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