Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi's state-of-the-art Volvo Open 70 racing yacht, which will this October become the first Arab entry into the Volvo Ocean Race, has been named Azzam defining the determination of the emirate's race ambitions.
The Volvo Ocean Race has been described as the Everest of Sailing.
"Azzam reflects our determination to deliver an outstanding performance in this race and to strive as best as possible for a podium place," said Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and Team Principal, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
"It also reflects the fortitude shown by the pearl divers and traders who shaped our ancient maritime heritage."
ADTA has awarded Luis Aguilar of Spain a VIP New Year' Stay in Abu Dhabi after his Alazan entry into the international naming competition - run on www.abudhabivolvooceanrace.com - came the closest to the final choice.
"The competition received a terrific response with some 2,415 entries from 73 nations, including 1,172 entries coming from Spain, 319 from within the UAE and 151 from Italy.
"Luis' entry was a close runner to Azzam and we look forward to welcoming him and his guest to Abu Dhabi for the New Year celebrations which will mark the arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race into our purpose-built Destination Village," said Dayne Lim, Product Development Director, ADTA.
Azzam, developed by the USA's Farr Yacht Design and built by Italy's Persico S.p.A. in Bergamo, is one of the most sophisticated ever constructed.
It is the culmination of more than 7,000 design and 49,000 build hours. It made its international debut yesterday in Portofino, Italy.
Emblazoned with a striking falcon, the national emblem of the UAE, the yacht will carry the 11-strong Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team through international waters in the Volvo Ocean Race which begins in Alicante, Spain this October.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is skippered by double-Olympic medallist Ian Walker of Great Britain. Its crew represents five continents and boasts two UAE nationals - marking the first time an Emirati will compete in the race.