Displaying items by tag: Justin Slattery
#vor – Cork's Justin Slattery along with skipper Ian Walker and the rest of the victorious Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew have presented His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, with the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 trophy.
Briton Walker and Ireland's Justin Slattery, who won Afloat's Sailor the month award in June, described the meeting last week as the highlight of the visit that followed their victory in Gothenburg at the end of last month.
The all-conquering crew of eight also clinched the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series Trophy on June 27 in the Swedish port among several other victories including the IWC 24-Hour Speed Record Challenge and the Inmarsat Onboard Reporter Award, won by Matt Knighton (USA).
They also met the chairman of backers Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, during the visit to the team's home country.
Walker believes that only part of the mission has been completed following victory in the nine-month offshore race – he still has an ambition to grow the sport of sailing in the region.
"Getting sailing on the front pages of the newspapers and encouraging school kids to read about and see it, it's a great thing," he said.
"But sailing's not going to grow here without a lot of work at the grassroots level and I think that's the challenge now; to take the message out into the schools and the clubs and to try to get kids in boats.
"It's a great sport, it's healthy, it's outdoors and the climate's fantastic, certainly nine months of the year - with ideal sailing conditions. Hopefully, we can use this win as a springboard to build on.
"And I think it's already happening. You see more and more boats off the Corniche here in Abu Dhabi. But we'd really like to see that grow 10-fold over the next few years."
The crew's Emirati sailor, Adil Khalid, added: "This is the greatest moment of my life. I am immensely proud for my crewmates and my country.
"The United Arab Emirates flag has been flown proudly at every stopover throughout the race and now we have sealed a wonderful victory, our fans in the UAE and around the world can celebrate."
Many have asked whether Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will return for a third Volvo Ocean Race campaign, but TCA Abu Dhabi has made it clear that no decision will be made for several months.
Walker added: "Hopefully, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Tourism & Culture Authority will come up with new ways to move sailing forward and we've created this fantastic brand. For sure I'd love to be involved again and I hope it moves forward in a way that I can be involved.
"Right now we're just enjoying the moment, sharing it with as many people as we can. We'll have a holiday and then we'll take stock."
The achievement of Walker and his men has been lauded by the campaign's chief supporters.
"The Volvo Ocean Race is rightly regarded as the 'Everest of Sailing', the pinnacle of offshore sailing challenges, and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing has made it to the top." said Sheikh Sultan.
"From the start of the race in Alicante, it's been an incredible competition in the face of some of the most challenging and dangerous conditions our planet has to offer.
"I am tremendously proud of our skipper Ian Walker, our Emirati sailor, Adil Khalid, and all Azzam's crew for securing first place in the 2014-15 edition of the race.
"It is another landmark achievement for the United Arab Emirates and the team has represented our emirate with bravery, distinction, and skill."
Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director of TCA Abu Dhabi, added: "The team has represented our country with pride as we competed against the best sailors in the world, and we've strengthened our position as a sailing nation in front of a global audience.
"I hope all the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing fans in Abu Dhabi, and around the world, join me in congratulating all the members of our victorious team."
#vor – The clear win by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 was achieved by solid consistency in the classic "good series" style favoured by regular champion sailors. Except that, instead of being a pleasant five day championship regatta staged at some agreeable summer venue, the Volvo Ocean Race was made up of nine legs which took the fleet right round the world, getting them south of both Good Hope and Cape Horn, yet also back north again across the equator.
In such a challenge, a mixture of experience and exceptional sailing talent is at a premium, and Ireland's Justin Slattery (40) has both in abundance. He was a key crew member aboard Abu Dhabi, which was well placed top of the leaderboard with a scoreline of 1,3,2,2,1 after the first five legs. But with four legs still to be raced, experience became the key ingredient, as the leading boat has to defend her position against a chasing fleet in which, with three close contenders, the likelihood of one of them taking an uncoverable but successful tactical gamble becomes ever more acute.
That, and the cruel possibility of damage or even a dismasting, are among the many threats which a crew defending a good first place has to face, and skill and experience become paramount. But the crew of Abu Dhabi kept their cool, they kept their boat intact, and they sailed on to win overall by 24 points to the 29 of Team Brunel and the 33 of Dongfeng Race Team, making Justin Slattery the winner of an Afloat.ie International Award for June 2015.
#vor – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) buried the miserable memories of the Volvo Ocean Race three years ago to win an epic Southern Ocean/south Atlantic crossing in Leg 5 and claim their second stage victory in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Wexford's Justin Slattery is part of Walker's crew racing as bowman on the favourite in the five boat fleet.
In 2012, Walker's crew were forced to return to Auckland with hull damage and eventually retired from the leg to Itajaí, Brazil.
They must have feared more of the same when Cyclone Pam delayed the departure from New Zealand for three days, but despite taking the worst that the Southern Ocean and then the south Atlantic could throw at them, the Emirati team emerged triumphant after nearly 19 days of ultra-challenging, super-tight sailing.
Amazingly, skipper Ian Walker reported that they had reached Itajaí with the least amount of work for their shore crew to do of any leg so far in this edition.
To add the icing to their cake, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing set the new best mark in the chase for IWC prize for the most nautical miles (nm) sailed in 24 hours with 551nm leading up to Cape Horn.
The stage victory leaves Walker's team seven points clear at the top of the standings with five of the nine legs now completed.
Leg 5 finishing times
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - 18 days 23 hours 30 minutes 10 seconds
2. MAFPRE - 19d 00h 02min 56s
3. Team Alvimedica - 19d 00h 24min 32s
4. Team Brunel - 19d 00h 25min 48s
Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) had more than their share of problems, damaging three sails and then suffering a port rudder breakage on Sunday. They are expected to finish the leg on Tuesday.
#sailorofthemonth – Successes in the first two races of the current Volvo Ocean global contest have placed Justin Slattery in an unassailable position for our Sailor of the Month for November. Completely absorbed in his fifth world race which is itself a record for an Irish sailor (and he won in 2005-06 with ABN Amro), Slattery has had the satisfaction of seeing his Abu Dhabi team justify his feeling that on the previous circuit three years ago, they were hampered by a slow boat when the fleet was made up of different individual boats from a number of designers and builders, even if constructed within closely-limited parameters.
For the 2014-2015 contest, they are of course racing the one-design Volvo Ocean 65s, created by Farr Yacht Design. Although Abu Dhabi - skippered by Ian Walker - was not necessarily always in the lead on the first leg from Alicante to Cape Town, she was ahead when it mattered at the finish. And with the entire fleet of one designs racing within the same closely defined area of water for the Cape Town inshore event, she showed the quality and depth of her style with another win. In the thick of it all, Justin Slattery was in his usual key roles in a multi-functional position (he can be bowman, trimmer or helmsman) to fulfill expectations that have resulted in him being very much the man to go to when putting together a sailing team – his days of knocking on doors in the hope of securing a crew place are happily long gone.
Born in Cork with a boyhood in Wexford, Justin Slattery (40) is another Irish sailor who took his first proper steps afloat with Eddie English on Cork Harbour. For those keen to follow in his career path, his basic advice is to keep going for it, and do just as many offshore races as you can manage to get invited on, both to develop general experience, and to test whether or not you have the hundred per cent dedication needed. It is also important to develop specialisation in one particular skill in gear, equipment or sails which will give you a personal USP when crews are being assembled.
The win marks an Irish triumph, too, with VOR veteran Justin Slattery serving as bowman, trimmer and helmsman among a crew that has faced a tough battle for first place since leaving Alicante more than three weeks ago.
Indeed, for the past week Abu Dhabi have been almost neck and neck with Dutch entrants Team Brunel and Chinese debutantes Dongfeng Race Team – the latter coming within one nautical mile of the leaders as Table Mountain came into view, as the VOR website reports.
But the wind shadow caused by that landmark slowed both boats down – and more importantly, provided the opportunity Ian Walker and his crew needed for the final push ahead to victory at 15:10 UTC.
#justinslattery – Born in Cork, grew up in Ireland, Justin Slattery learnt to sail in Cork Harbour with Eddie English writes Marcus Hutchinson. By signing up to sail on board Abu Dhabi in this year's Volvo Ocean Race and sail his fifth Volvo Ocean Race Slattery has passed both of Ireland's other round the world veterans Gordon Maguire (with four races) and Damian Foxall (with three Volvos, a Jules Verne and a Barcelona World Race).
My First Race
I joined the 60-footer Newscorp in the 2001 Whitbread race. I had already been sailing Maxis on the professional circuit for over five years by then, racing either with or against most of the crews that would have been involved in the round the world scene at the time. In some ways it was almost a natural progression for me to get involved with the round the world race. It was something that I had been looking forward to getting into from the first day I heard about it.
The moment when it clicked that this was something I wanted to do a lot of came I think when we set off from Southampton heading for Cape Town in 2001 and I thought, wow, I'm finally here racing with all these guys I've been reading about for years, my dream has finally come true, an amazing feeling. In some ways I'd made it to the start but I had yet to prove that I could actually do it.
The Southern Ocean
Leg 2 heading down into the Southern Ocean from South Africa. You've read about it, you've heard the stories, now you've got to get through it. I can tell you it lived up to everything it was supposed to be. One of the most frightening places in the world to be but also some of the most fun and exhilarating sailing you could ever do.
There is always a massive anticlimax at the end of the race. The first time I finished it I realised I'd completed the race that I'd been thinking about for years and years. I asked myself, "what's next?" Finishing it was one thing but it was became an obvious decision to go back out there again and try and win it next time. Following finishing my first race I spent a year racing everything from TPs to Maxis, anything that was relevant. And then I got the call to go and sail on ABN Amro. I got the call. I didn't make the call. For the previous race I had kicked just about every door down in an attempt to get a spot on board, but this time the offers came to me. This was great and I felt privileged.
Why did they call me?
In my opinion people called me because they know me for having done so much for my experience. I'd worked all my life towards this. I had made the investment in time and energy but it is still a huge privilege to get that call. All the names on board ABN Amro were A-listers of the offshore world and now I was there too. To win the race was also a lifetime ambition achieved.
I probably said never again at the end of that amazing race on ABN Amro but it doesn't take long before you realise that you just can't touch that kind of fully crewed sailing in any other place and I'm back now for edition five. It is still untouchable. It is the highest level of offshore racing you can do in the world, bar none. In 2008 I was called to join the Irish Green Dragon team and the skipper of that boat, Ian Walker, was my skipper again for Abu Dhabi last time in 2011 and again this time.
Why I went back to Abu Dhabi
It was natural for me to go with Abu Dhabi again this time. I raced with them three years ago in the previous race and we didn't have a great race last time, the boat was really slow. The opportunity came again and this time I knew it was going to be very different with the one design boats. I knew we weren't going to have a boat speed deficit like last time. I know it would be only up to us. It is still going to be a really tough time though.
10 years from now
I have absolutely no idea what I'll be doing in 10 years time. I'll probably be racing somewhere or other but probably not doing the Volvo Ocean Race. The more I've been involved in this scene the more I realise there are other opportunities out there too, especially in the commercial side attached to it. I do a lot of rigging for new projects and builds. I do a lot of consultancy on racing projects. There is a lot of work out there aside from the racing itself.
Advice for young people
Do as many offshore races as you possibly can. There are some great offshore races around the place, and around Ireland there are plenty. People are always looking for crew and you need to just put the miles in. Not everyone on board can be an expert or a professional but if you are keen and show the right attitude you'll get on board and then its up to you how you go from there. Keep trying to be the best at what you do. Never give up!
You need a secondary skill in life no matter how good you are. You can race non-stop but it is really useful to have a secondary skill-set, especially in the world we live in. When we leave the dock we have just the skills that are in our heads and its amazing what you can fix at anytime in any part of the world with the group of people that are the crew of a Volvo boat and without outside assistance. On our boat we have a sailmaker, an engineer, a rigger and a boatbuilder, and a guy who can fix any electronic system. Anyone who wants to get deeper into offshore racing needs to have at least one other serious skill.
The boats are really close. Volvo have done an incredible job to get seven boats built to such exacting standards. I was more than pleasantly surprised by how good a job had been done. Except for their colours schemes the boats could not be more One Design. You'll see the fleet swarming together all the time. All boats in the fleet will have a piece of the podium at some stage. To win this race you will have to be consistently there and maybe get a fist full of bullets too. A big challenge!
#vor – Team Vestas Wind, with Kerry's Brian Carlin onboard, gambled – and lost big time – during a night of movement and a lead change in the fleet. Now the lead is taken by pre race favourite Abu–Dhabi with Cork bowman Justin Slattery.
The boats had all been sailing very close to the African coast to pick up the prevalent breeze there and at one stage Team SCA went as close at 0.5 miles from the shores of Morocco.
Then the Danish boat decided to make a bold move, sailing west in the opposite direction to the fleet. It was the wrong decision but it took Team Vestas Wind longer than the rest of the fleet to realise it.
At 0500 UTC, Team Vestas Wind were in last position, some 15 nautical miles from the leader and nine miles from the their closest rivals, Team Brunel, in sixth position.
Meanwhile, up ahead, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing regained the lead ahead of Team Alvimedica with Dongfeng Race Team hot on their heels at 0500 UTC.
The 15 nautical miles separating first and last was the biggest gap since the start of the race.
Justin Slattery carrying out a sail change on Abu–Dhabi racing
The forecast does not seem to be improving in terms of wind speed to push the boats on their way with light breeze expected for the next few hours.
Sailing away from the coast is not an option where the wind has dropped away altogether. If the conditions continue, the boats will not pass through the Canary Islands until tomorrow afternoon local time.
Now the big question is which side of the Canaries will they take: west or east. If the forecast stays like this, they will probably go east, the channel between the islands and the African coast
Seven teams comprising 66 sailors and 18 nationalities will set sail in identical one-design Volvo Ocean 65 racing machines that will this weekend plough through the wave of the Atlantic, headed south some 6,500 miles to South Africa's Cape of Good Hope.
That team also has an Irishman on board in the shape of noted photographer and filmmaker Brian Carlin, who will serve as the boat's on-board reporter for the nine months at sea.
Another Irish participant is Justin Slattery, a four-time VOR veteran and a previous race winner in 2006 with ABN AMRO ONE, who rejoins Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing for another crack at offshore sailing's crowning achievement.
#sailing – I have been friends for a long number of years with Ireland's two top international sailors who set new speed records for sailing in the Round Britain and Ireland Race. I hear regularly from them and am proud to be in touch with them and, as much as I could, have publicised the progress of their careers over the years I have known them. I believe that giving coverage to successful achievements by Irish sailors at international level is good for the country and for the sport.
Damian Foxall from Kerry and Justin Slattery from Cork deserve to be household names as much as icons in other sports. But, like many sailors, they are not in my view, being given the level of coverage they deserve in the general national electronic and print media.
The progress of the Olympic Providence IRL team at overseas events should also be given more coverage. This week John Twomey from Kinsale YC and his crew have been competing at the world disabled sailing championships in Canada in the hopes of qualifying for his 11th consecutive Games, but this has got little coverage nationally.
Hurling, the Irish women's rugby team, the emergence of potential new stars in Irish athletics, all deserve strong reportage but do Irish sailors not deserve coverage also?
The media at sailing events when there are problems – the GP14 Worlds in Strangford Lough this month; Dun Laoghaire in 2007 are examples of a degree of sensationalised coverage which lacked balance. They were reported as "near disasters," but lacked the qualification that the majority of the sailors looked after themselves, as they are expected in sailing to be able to do. If you go out in a boat, I was told from my first days in sailing, you take the responsibility of getting yourself back in safely.
Sailing deserves better coverage in the national media. Is it being denied that by either ignorance or bias against sailing, or the seemingly ever-present perception of the sport as elitist?
There are sailing journalists who attempt to counterbalance the generally negative attitude towards the sport, but as I found myself when working within RTE, it is an uphill battle and, in an island nation, this is not fair to the sport.
Justin Slattery from Cork is Bowman and a leading member of the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Volvo Ocean 65, Azzam, skippered by Britain's Ian Walker, which crossed the finish line of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race off the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes in an elapsed time of 4 days, 13 hours, 10 minutes, 28 seconds. This broke the previous world and race record for a monohull set by Volvo 70 Groupama, in 2010, by 1 day, 8 hours, 16 minutes and 27 seconds.
It was the second world speed record in sailing broken during the Round Britain and Ireland Race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and another Irishman was also involved in the first.
Record breaking Damian Foxall and Oman MOD 70
Ireland's Damian Foxall added the Round Britain and Ireland Speed record time to his impressive offshore sailing CV on board the Oman Sail MOD 70 catamaran. The crew of Musandam-Oman Sail, a MOD70 Trimaran crossed the finish line of the race at with an elapsed time of 3 days, 3 hours, 32 minutes, 36 seconds. This broke the previous world record for a multihull held by Banque Populaire 5 in 2011, by 16 minutes, 38 seconds.
"We hit a new top speed for the boat of 43 knots right at the start," said Damian, Co-skipper on the boat. "The hard thing about a race record, as opposed to a course record, is that with a course record you can wait until the weather is perfect and you just go. In a racing format you don't have that option. The only time we tacked in an 1800-mile circular course was after we had gone through the finish line!""
The MOD70 was skippered by Sidney Gavignet from France, one of the top sailors in the world and who is heading next for the tough Atlantic race, the single-handed Route du Rhum.
It was not all plain sailing for Abu Dhabi's Azzam. Two crew members were hurt during the race. Justin Slattery injured his ribs while trimmer Phil Harmer injured his hand.
And let's not forget the National Yacht Club duo that, despite very heavy weather and suffering major gear failure have persevered in the Round Britain and Ireland Race. The story of their sporting commitment deserves national coverage. Liam Coyne raced two-handed with Brian Flahive on their First 36.7, Lula Belle and they showed a level of spirit and determination that would bring pride to any sport when they won the two handed division.
NEW HELVICK LIFEBOAT
Helvick is a lovely spot on the South-East Coast. A fine little harbour, dominated by fishing boats, with a few dedicated leisure sailors also. I am not too sure about the location of visitor moorings outside the harbour, but at many parts around the coast those could be located in better, more sheltered spots. But that is beside the point of why I am writing about Helvick which is because it has got a new lifeboat through a strong contact with an English family. It is an Atlantic 85, built at a cost of €255,000. It has a number of improvements from the Atlantic 75, Helvick Head's former lifeboat, including a faster top speed of 35 knots; radar; provision for a fourth crew member and more space for survivors. It can operate safely in daylight in up to force 7 conditions and at night up to force 6. It also allows lifeboat crews to respond even faster in emergencies.
The new RNLB in Helvick and below the late Robert Armstrong after whom the new lifeboat, an Atlantic 85, is being launched in his name at Helvick Head lifeboat station
Its name is Robert Armstrong and it was funded by a legacy he left after his death in November of 2009. Born in 1936, he loved sailing, fishing and boats. His home was Blackheath but he had a holiday home in Potter Heigham on the Norfolk Broads, where he moored his own boat. There is a strong connection between the Armstrong family and Helvick. Robert Armstrong's aunt, Alice and her brother Charles, were the donors of Alice and Charles, Helvick Head RNLI's previous lifeboat and Robert had attended the naming ceremony there back in 2000 when he was given an RNLI jacket which he wore proudly.
CROW HEAD'S CABLE CAR
Paul O'Shea has written to me about an event at Crow Head:
"Hi Tom, I would like to promote an event on Crow Head on September 6. Lehanmore Community Coop want to replicate the first ever Cable Car crossing from there to the adjoining island. It will be a joint effort between Kerry Mountain Rescue and Castletownbere Coastguard Unit with the help of Castletownbere RNLI. All funds raised will be donated to KMRT."
HONOUR FOR JOHN TWOMEY
The decision to introduce a "President's Cup" event to honour John Twomey is well-deserved and recognises the achievements of Irish sailors, about which I have written earlier in this week's blog. Sailability Ireland, in conjunction with the ISA, has launched 'The Presidents Cup,' a new championship to encourage sailors with disabilities to compete in the classes sailed at Paralympic and international level.
'The Presidents Cup' has been named in honour of 10-time Paralympian and current President of the International Disabled Sailing Association, John Twomey from Kinsale Yacht Club. A team of 10 sailors from each of the four Irish provinces will compete in four different classes; the Hansa 303, SKUD 18, Squib and Sonar for this prestigious prize. Kinsale Yacht Club has kindly agreed to host this inaugural event which will be held on September 6 and 7. In 2013 the Club hosted the IFDS Disabled World Sailing Championships to incredible success and this event will form part of that legacy. Six races will be sailed and the team that has the best results in the four classes will be crowned champions. The event is being sponsored by Kingspan. A number of places are still available for both sailors with disabilities and volunteers who would like to participate in the championship. For more information Email: [email protected]
Sailability Ireland and the ISA are hoping that the event will encourage more sailors along the path to international competition. Supporting the availability of the sport to those with disabilities delivers on the commitment to sailing being a "sport for all". I remember the first time I reported on a disabled sailing event and how one lady competitor put me in my place when I asked her did she find it difficult to sail and she rightly responded: "Out on the water in a boat I am every bit as good as you!"
LOVE LIGHT AT A GREAT HEIGHT!
The tours of Ballycotton Lighthouse which began this Summer from the East Cork fishing village to the offshore island lighthouse have proved very popular, but now they are becoming a location for the lovelorn to commit their future!
A couple from Plymouth, Devon, became the first in history to announce their engagement at the top of the Llighthouse. During the scheduled noonday tour last Wednesday, 23-year-old Ryan Johnson proposed to 21-year-old Rebecca Daly on the lighthouse balcony and she accepted. They have a 5-month-old daughter, Lyra and were visiting friends in Ballycotton.
Happy couple back at ground level at Ballycotton lighthouse Ryan Johnson and Rebecca Daly on Ballycotton lighthouse
"Great to see romance is alive and well," said Derry Keogh, retired Ballycotton School Headmaster and local historian, who was the guide on their midday sailing trip to the island. "What a location to pop the question! When they heard about it, all the other tour visitors who were there gathered round and we sang 'Congratulations' - Phil Coulter maybe looking for royalties! This made it a double first for Ballycotton Island Lighthouse - the first ever sing song on the lookout tower!"
Since beginning in early July this year, the Ballycotton Island Lighthouse Tours have proved a great success with over 1,700 visitors hearing about the history of the lighthouse and seeing the view from the previously inaccessible lighthouse lantern balcony and island. This is an economic boost for the fishing village, both in profile and for local businesses.
Irish sailing photographer and cameraman Brian Carlin has been appointed the Onboard Reporter with Team Vestas Wind for this year's Volvo Race. He has worked with the biggest names in the sailing world and on some of the biggest races.
Chris Nicholson, the four-time race veteran, who skippered Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand in the last edition of the race, will lead Team Vestas Wind, a campaign sponsored by Vestas, the Danish wind energy company. This is the seventh team in this year's Volvo round-the-world which begins with an In-Port Race on October 4 in Alicante, Spain.
And speaking about fishing and seafood which is increasing its attraction to consumers, retailers who sell fish are being urged to take part in a new scheme by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, the State agency with responsibility for developing the sea fishing and aquaculture industries. This is the
"BIM Green Seafood Business Programme," aimed at assisting seafood businesses to reduce their environmental impact and save on energy costs. ""Making seafood processes more sustainable can improve a business 'bottom line' by reducing costs and enhancing their environmental reputation," says BIM.
In conjunction with Green Business and SEAI, BIM I are hosting a series of FREE, half-day seminars to assist Seafood Retailers. They will be held in Dublin on Tuesday, October 14 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dublin Airport; and in Cork on Thursday October 16, at the Park Inn, Cork International Airport. Advance booking is required as places are limited. For more information and to book, contact Lorraine O'Byrne in BIM on 01 2144185 or email [email protected]
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @Tom MacSweeney, @AfloatMagazine
#vor – Past race winner Justin Slattery from Cork has joined Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR), the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority's (TCA Abu Dhabi) entry in the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race as bowman. Slattery is one of four new crew members announced this week as the team gathered for the first time in the United Arab Emirates' capital – the others are Australia's Phil Harmer, Great Britain's Simon ' Sci Fi' Fisher and New Zealand's Andrew McLean.
The team, skippered by Britain's double Olympic silver medalist Ian Walker, is aiming to be the first Arabian entry to win the prestigious round-the-world-race which begins in Alicante, Spain this October.
Thirty-nine-year-old Slattery, who is making his fifth Volvo Ocean Race bid and his second in Abu Dhabi colours, said he's confident the ADOR campaign has what it takes to bring the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race trophy to the UAE capital.
"It's good to be back," Slattery said. "I believe we have a solid team with the resources, know-how and people required to win the race."
The ADOR 'Fab Four', who have a total of 12 Volvo Ocean Race campaigns between them and have all previously raced with Walker, join previously announced Emirati crewman Adil Khalid, Australian under-23 recruit Luke Parkinson and British On-board Reporter Tom Bushell.
Like Slattery, navigator Fisher is donning an ADOR strip for the second time after competing as a helmsman and sail trimmer in the last race.
McLean and Harmer previously raced around the world with Walker two editions ago. In the 2011-12 race Harmer was part of the winning Groupama team and McLean finished second on CAMPER - this time both plan to use their experience to help Abu Dhabi's quest for a Volvo Ocean Race victory.
"Phil, Andrew, Sci Fi and Justin each bring unique skills and invaluable experience to the team and I couldn't be happier to have them aboard," said Walker. "We all enjoy sailing together and that can an important factor in the pressure cooker environment of a nine-month yacht race around the world."
The final member of the nine-man ADOR line up will be announced in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, the existing crew is this week exploring Abu Dhabi's sights and sounds ahead of the planned spectacular, fortnight-long race stopover in the emirate at the end of December. Three days of team activities over the coming days include a round of golf at the ocean-facing Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, four-wheeled racing against the clock at the Yas Marina Circuit F1 Grand Prix venue, thrills and spills at the award-winning Yas Waterworld aqua park and a visit to the Arabian Nights Village in Abu Dhabi's Al Khatem desert.
Sightseeing over, next on the agenda for the ADOR sailors are safety tests and sea trials aboard the team's new Volvo Ocean 65 racing yacht, which is nearing completion in England. The trials are expected to be completed by the beginning of March when the team will sail to its training base near Lisbon, Portugal.