Ian Walker on the Volvo Ocean Race

Ian Roman Photography / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's skipper on the importance of crew, thoughts on the one design and why only one boat is currently entered
The next Volvo Ocean Race has a worryingly small number of entries at present, or specifically teams that have paid up. Right now this seems to total just one – Team SCA – although more are believed to be waiting in the wings and one in particular, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, is certain to go ahead, even though the UAE team has yet to enter formally or order its new Volvo Ocean 65. Britain’s double Olympic silver medallist and now two time Volvo Ocean Race competitor, Ian Walker, has once again been announced as the skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, with the third stopover of the 2014-5 race due to visit the UAE for a second race in a row. At present Walker is in the UK readying to defend his team’s monohull record for the Rolex Fastnet Race, which the crew of the black Farr-design VO70 set two years ago. The Abu Dhabi crew for the 2014-5 VOR is not yet finalised and Walker is using this period to trial new personnel, while at the same time keeping enough experienced people on board to remain competitive. “We have got a month sailing on Azzam here,” says Walker. “We are doing two weeks of training, including Cowes Week and the Fastnet. It is nice to be based in the UK for a bit. Our principle goal is to try out some potential team members, largely under-30s, but a couple of senior guys as well.” They also want to get Azzam back in shape, ready to put her up for sale and carry out some corporate hospitality obligations for both existing and potential sponsors. Last week this included taking out the Harlequins rugby team, who are sponsored by Abi Dhabi’s Etihad Airlines. The one design aspect has also completely changed what teams are up to at