The Volvo Ocean Race start is fast approaching and Kiwi Daryl Wislang will be returning to the race onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam with a point to prove after being named in Ian Walker’s race crew on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old New Zealander’s call-up coupled with the appointment of Matt Knighton as Onboard Reporter completes Abu Dhabi’s line-up for ocean racing’s toughest test which begins in Alicante on October 4.
The pair have come through trial periods with flying colours and will make their first official appearances this week when the team pits its Volvo Ocean 65 in the Artemis Challenge race at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week on August 6.
Wislang finished in the top three overall in both of previous two appearances in the Volvo Ocean Race. He was third with Telefónica Blue in 2008-09, second with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand crew in 2011-12 and is hoping to complete his upward progression this race with an Abu Dhabi victory.
'I love the Volvo Ocean Race for the challenge, the camaraderie and the long lasting friendships that you make with your crew mates,' Wislang said.
'But the real reason I’m back is the fact that I haven’t won one yet. It’s time to put that right and I’m confident the Abu Dhabi team gives me the best chance of that.'
Wislang, who sailed with new crewmates Simon Fisher on Telefónica Blue and Chuny Bermúdez on CAMPER, said he had been impressed by the Abu Dhabi crew when he trialled with them across the Atlantic from Portugal to the USA last month.
'It’s obvious as soon as you step on board Azzam that this is a thoroughly professional team,' he said. 'They are working to a well prepared and well thought-out plan with solid backing from Abu Dhabi. Coming across the Atlantic we did a tremendous number of sail changes and pretty much everything went off without a hitch.'
Knighton, an accomplished commercial videographer and keen racing sailor with proven photography and story-telling skills, earned his onboard reporting role after producing great media content during back-to-back transatlantic crossings during June and July.
Based in Chicago the 30-year-old’s impressive resume includes directing the 2013 documentary Black Hawk Down: Return to Mogadishu, which was shot in a Somalian war zone.
'This is an unparalleled opportunity,' said Matt. 'It's not a challenge to be taken lightly or for granted.
'To be on a team where almost everyone has done at least three Volvo Ocean races is humbling, but I couldn't ask for a better group of guys to share the next nine months with.'
The news of the appointments follows the announcement that the highly acclaimed BBC Worldwide’s Blue Planet in Concert will open the Abu Dhabi stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 on December 12, marking the show’s Arabian premiere.
Having previously played to sell-out audiences in the USA, Europe, the Far East and Australia, Blue Planet in Concert combines specially cut high definition footage from the award-winning TV series with the score performed by a live orchestra.
Two 90-minute evening performances of Blue Planet in Concert will be shown on December 12 and 13 on a 10-metre wide screen placed on a purpose-built, floating stage in the waters off Abu Dhabi’s Corniche and will be accompanied by a 78-piece orchestra led by a celebrity guest conductor. Volvo Ocean Race