Azzam unveiled ahead of Volvo round the world race

Abu Dhabi’s new, American-designed yacht for the Volvo round the world race was unveiled in the exclusive resort of Portofino, not far from where it was built in Italy, and starts a 2,000-mile qualification sail to Cascais, near Lisbon, on Thursday.

British double silver medallist Ian Walker, said he was “very excited” by the black, 70-foot racing machine, emblazoned with a stylised falcon on the bow.

Abu Dhabi is also scheduled to be the second stop on the race which leaves Alicante on 5 November for Cape Town and continues to China, New Zealand, Brazil, Florida, Lisbon, Lorient and Galway.

“This is not just a tourism initiative but for the people of Abu Dhabi to share with the rest of the world,” said Dayne Lim of the Abu Dhabi Tourist Authority, adding: “This team will bring glory to Abu Dhabi around the world.” The boat has been named Azzam (Arabic for determined), and has two Emiratis among a an international crew squad which includes british navigator Jules Salter.

British double Olympic medallist Chris Draper has been appointed skipper and helmsman of the Team Korea challenge for the America’s Cup.

He had been, with Pete Greenhalgh, been trying for the 2012 slot in the 49er – Greenhalgh recently bought the Chinese Sanya Team boat back from Spain to the Hamble river for modifications ahead of the Volvo round the world race – but will be at the helm of the White Tiger AC45 wind-powered catamaran at the opening regatta for the America’s Cup world series in Cascais at the beginning of August.

Mike Golding has announced his entry in the 2012 Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop round the world race.

He has secured sponsorship from the Gamesa wind power technology company which is also a developer of wind farms.

Golding, after further modifications to his Merfyn Owen-designed 60-footer, will also contest the Transat Jacques Vabre double-handed race from Le Havre to Costa Rica in October.

Alex Thomson will also contest the Vendée in Hugo Boss. Both Dee Caffari and Sam Davies have also been seeking finance to take part.

Listen: Knut Frostad assesses the latest Volvo launch...