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Tue 8 Nov 2011 02:20 PM

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Abu Dhabi’s Azzam vows to get back on track

Yacht undergoing repair work after suffering broken mast during Volvo Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi’s Azzam vows to get back on track
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racings yacht Azzam competes in the opener of The Volvo Ocean Race

The Abu
Dhabi Ocean Racing team is determined to get back on track in the Volvo Ocean
Race despite suffering from a broken mast on Sunday, its skipper said.

The Abu
Dhabi team was forced to suspend racing within six hours of the start of the
39,000 nautical mile race after the mast of their yacht Azzam broken in rough
weather.

All crew
were reported safe and Azzam motored back to Alicante for repair work.

“It's
pretty hard to put into words you know. We have put so much work into this
project and you just don't want to let anyone down. When you have worked so
hard every day for 18 months, you are desperate to do well,” Abu Dhabi’s
captain, Ian Walker, told reporters at a press conference.

“The
race isn't lost and these things can galvanise a team.”

The
team’s boat builders have been working hard to fit a replacement mast and
reports suggest the team, the Middle East’s first entry in the grueling race,
still has a chance to make up ground if it returns to sailing soon.

The
Volvo Ocean Race is a nine-month, 37,000 mile-long race in which seven teams
race around the globe stopping at various ports.

The latest edition of the race, which began as the Whitbread
Round the World Race in 1973 and is considered one of the toughest challenges
in sport, is expected to be fiercely contested following changes to the rules
designed to create a more level playing field.

The teams feature some of the world's best off-shore
sailors, including Olympic gold medallists, America's Cup winners and world
champions.

The race ends in Galway, Ireland in July next year after
taking in ports including Abu Dhabi, Sanya in China, Auckland in New Zealand,
and Itaja in Brazil.

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