UK-Abu Dhabi Collaboration Leads to Breakthrough Offshore Outfits
Sailing Gets the Next Best Thing – Personal Climate Controlled Clothing
A landmark UK-Abu Dhabi co-operation has led to a major breakthrough for the offshore clothing industry. A collaboration between Britain’s MUSTO and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) – the emirate’s entry for the 2014/2015 Volvo Ocean Race – has created the world’s first personal climate controlled outfits which keeps the wearer at a comfortable 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit) no matter where they are in the world.
The prototype suits – which keep the wearer warm in freezing temperatures and cool in the heat of the tropics – began a pilot trial program on April 1, 2014, with the testers being ADOR’s Skipper, double Olympic silver medalist Ian Walker and his Emirati crew member Adil Khalid, before the entire team is equipped with their own breakthrough suits.
“ADOR set us the challenge for which we used space-age technology based on materials and design used to manufacture suits for astronauts,” explained Nigel Musto, President of MUSTO. “The super-lightweight one-piece Personal Climate Controlled (PCC) suit was commissioned after physiologists in Abu Dhabi city – the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – discovered that the Emirates’ warm winter conditions, which average 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit) in December and January, were perfect for peak athletic performance and muscle recovery.”
Ian Walker says the prototype suits delivered very positive training results during the recent first sails on Azzam.
"I’m certain that the PCC Suit is a real game changer,” said Walker. “We’re now able to sail around the world in our own micro climates which we can set to mimic a perfect Abu Dhabi December day. It’s set to be the most comfortable Volvo Ocean Race I’ve ever done. During testing, Adil and I have seen remarkable improvements in the speed of recovery from long days at sea and heavy training sessions in the gym.”
The super-lightweight, lycra one-piece PCCs will now be worn exclusively by the ADOR as they tackle the 38,739 nautical mile, round-the-world race, which begins in Alicante this October and is due to stopover in Abu Dhabi in December/January.
Adil Khalid is particularly excited about the breakthrough.
“I’ve been sailing all around the world for many years so I spend a lot of time away from the UAE. Without question the two things I miss most, aside from my family, are the Emirati food and the beautiful weather,” said Khalid. “Knowing that I will now be able to race, whilst always enjoying the UAE winter temperatures, is such bonus – I’ll be able to take a little bit of my home around the world with me.”
To activate the suits on board their new yacht Azzam, the ADOR crew will plug themselves into specially designed units at the back of the boat. Once attached, the sailors can dial up their desired body temperature.
And MUSTO believes once the Volvo Ocean Race is over – it finishes in Gothenburg, Sweden next June – the PCCs could be rolled out into conventional clothing types.
"For years we’ve been trying to reduce clothing weight while maintaining performance,” said Musto. Now with the innovative Abu Dhabi PCC suit we’ve achieved a significant weight reduction in kit, about 90 percent or 80kg, and also improved both performance and recovery by allowing sailors to maintain a consistent muscle temperature. The performance gains we have seen as a result are extremely significant. We hope to market the product internationally by the end of July 2015.”
The Abu Dhabi PCC suits will undergo four months of further tests and modifications as part of ADOR’s training program in Europe and North America before the final race-ready suits are handed over to the team in September.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, PCC suits will undergo four months of further tests and modifications as part of ADOR’s training program in Europe
About Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority:
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The authority manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programs relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The authority supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honor the emirate’s heritage. A key authority role is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.
Abu Dhabi has been named ‘World’s Leading Sports Destination’ in the 2013 World Travel Awards.
- The next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will be the 12th running of the 40-year-old event, which started in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.
- The race will start on October 4, 2014, day of the first In-Port Race in Alicante, Spain, and finish with one last In-Port Race on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.
- The 38,739-nautical mile route will also include stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Newport, Rhode Island (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France). A 24-hour pit-stop in The Hague is scheduled between France and Sweden.
- The next two editions will be contested in a new high-performance boat, the Volvo Ocean 65, designed by Farr Yacht Design in the United States and built by a consortium of boatyards in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Switzerland.
- The new 65-foot (19.8-metre) monohull racing yachts will be strictly One Design and delivered “ready to sail” for the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race. The boats incorporate the latest video, satellite and content production facilities to further enhance the Onboard Reporter program that has been in place since 2008-09.
- The all-female Team SCA were the first to announce their participation in the 2014-15 edition. Backed by SCA, the global hygiene and forest products company, they will be the first all-women's team to compete in the race since 2001-02. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were the second team to enter the race and once again feature Britain's twice Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker as skipper. The third team come from China – Team Dongfeng, backed by Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle and run by leading sailing promotion company OC Sport. Skippered by race veteran Bouwe Bekking, Team Brunel from the Netherlands is the fourth entry to confirm participation.
- The previous Volvo Ocean Race started in October 2011 in Alicante and was won by Groupama sailing team, skippered by Frenchman Franck Cammas, in July 2012.
About Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
For more information about Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, please visit www.volvooceanraceabudhabi.com. For more information about the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, please visit http://visitabudhabi.ae.