Volvo Ocean Race director Knut Frostad is satisfied with the seven boats that have confirmed their participation in the next edition of the race which starts in Alicante, Spain on October 4.
"I am extremely satisfied with what we have," he told a telephone conference.
"We have some solid teams with some strong characters and a mix of experience and youth."
The seven-strong entry list is one more than the six boats that competed in 2011/12, the last time the race was held when Frenchman Franck Cammas.
Frostad said that he had been working hard to have eight boats lined up to take the start in Alicante, but that time had been short and organisers had to settle for seven.
"In the future we would like to have a few more boats – one two or three of them," he said.
The new race will oppose identical single-hulled 20-metre long boats in a multi-stage, team race around the globe lasting up to nine months.
This year's entries will see a Chinese team compete for the third time after Team Sanya (2011-12) and Green Dragon (2008-09)
Backed by carmaker Dongfeng, the difference this time is that the Chinese team will have a significant number of Chinese in the race crew.
Also competing for the first time since 2002 will be an all-female team under the banner of SCA, a Sweden-based manufacturer of hygiene products and Team Abu Dhabi.
After start in Alicante, the race will visit Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya in China, Auckland, Itajai in Brazil, Newport in Rhode Island state, Lisbon, Lorient in France and finish in the Swedish port of Gothenburg.
At 39,379 nautical miles (72,930 kilometres) it will be the longest race to date in an event which started in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.
The seven competing boats are: Team SCA (Sweden), Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (United Arab Emirates), Dongfeng Race Team (China-France), Team Brunel (Netherlands), Team Alvimedica (USA-Turkey), Team Campos (Spain) and Team Vestas Wind (Denmark).
With 100 days until the daring, round-the-world 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race fleet arrives in Abu Dhabi, plans are being finalised for the expansive Destination Village which will come alive over the December/New Year festive season.
As well as concerts, entertainment, activities, education and sailing for the entire family, dhow races and an Emirati Festival are the latest activities to join the three-week-long maritime celebration.
The 40,000 square metres Destination Village will be hosted by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and the Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club (ADSYC).
“We are fully behind the Volvo Ocean Race hosting programme and are joining forces with TCA to make it as successful as possible,” said Majed Ateeq Al Mehairi, CEO of ADSYC. “By hosting the Destination Village again we are demonstrating our commitment and we are working on a programme of sailing activity for the hosting period which will engage all with the sport – experienced sailors and newcomers”.
The boats are then expected to arrive in Abu Dhabi sometime over the 14th and 15th December having raced hard from Cape Town, South Africa across the Indian Ocean and up into the Arabian Gulf. By the time they make shore in Abu Dhabi, they will have been at sea for almost a month enduring some of the world’s toughest racing conditions.
A series of Volvo Ocean Race-related activitieswill include the opportunity to meet Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Arab sailing role model Adil Khalid – the only Arab sailor in the race.
In a ‘Life At The Extreme’ dome theatre, visitors will find out just how punishing and harsh daily survival is for the race crews, with sailors losing as much as 10 kgs each leg. Visitors can also sample the adrenalin rush of the Volvo Ocean 65 yacht in a simulator or take to the water in 40-knot speedboat tours.
The activity continues for three weeks culminating in a pro-am race on 1st January, followed by the hotly contested in-port race on 2nd January before the racing yachts leave for the next leg of the race to Sanya in China.
Local heritage and culture will be brought to the fore with a 60ft dhow race on 27th December and an Emirati Festival two days later on 29th December. Local sailors will also get the chance to show off their skills with a series of events both on and off the water. Huge screens will be dotted around the village to ensure all spectators and visitors can follow the sailing activity via live content feeds.
“We have a great opportunity to open up our maritime heritage to the world,” added Al Mehairi. “This heritage is very rich indeed – we have been a sailing nation for generations with the traditional dhow at the heart of this.
"We will have dhows out on the water during the hosting for people to experience their prowess and marvel at a vessel, which was crafted with the precision of the eye and the hand minus plans. It’s a tradition worth celebrating.”
Fresh off its recent, world-record setting monohull victory in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, Azzam, the Volvo 65 yacht of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR), has berthed in Alicante, Spain ahead of next month’s start of the nine-month, round-the-world sailing epic.
In just a little over a month, ADOR will set sail the globe from Alicante in a race against six other highly skilled teams in one of the toughest challenges of athletic ability, sailing prowess, perseverance and intellect.
While in Alicante, Azzam, which means determination Arabic, will be given a full check by ADOR’s shore crew. The sailing team, skippered by Britain’s double-Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, will then arrive in Spain later this week to begin a final round of testing and training before the race start on October 11.
As soon as the sailing team reunites with Azzam, it will begin testing a new set of sails and join the other teams in ‘Leg 0’ – a trial race in which VOR organisers test the safety and tracking systems of the teams and boats. Once completed, Azzam will be taken out of the water for a final servicing and prepared for the taxing 38,739 nautical mile trial ahead.
The yacht was skippered to Alicante by Neal McDonald, ADOR’s performance director and a delivery crew, including some ADOR shore team members who received a warm welcome into the Spanish port by Volvo Ocean Race staff.