Abu Dhabi will be the place to be for New Years Day. The city will play host to the Volvo Ocean Race, a crewed international yacht race that only takes every three years, this December through January. Previously known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, the competition spans four oceans, five continents, nine legs, 11 ports and 38,739 nautical miles—hence the event’s nickname: “The Everest of Sailing.” Like Formula One races, competitors are awarded points based on their finishing order in each leg of the competition. The team with the highest number of points is
This year’s race started in Alicante, Spain on October 4, 2014 and will finish in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27, 2015. Seven teams are currently racing around the world for the top prize, including Team SCA—the first all-female team to participate since 2001-02—and Team Alvimedica, skippered by 29-year-old Brown University alumnus Charlie Enright. Vestas Wind, the Danish team, is currently lagging behind after crashing into a reef in the Indian Ocean.
To celebrate the race’s next stopover in Abu Dhabi, marking the end of the second of nine legs, the city has planned a 23-day celebration running from Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 to Saturday, January 3, 2015. Events range from a concert performance of the BBC’s nature series “Blue Planet, as accompanied by award-winning conductor George Fenton and the 75-piece National Symphony Orchestra, as well as animals talks about turtles and falcons.
From Abu Dhabi, the sailors will set course for Sanya, China and Auckland, New Zealand, where similar celebration are planned.