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.