Ken Read, in action above, is already in training for next year’s Volvo Ocean Race, which takes in Abu Dhabi on its route. Rick Deppe / AFP
Rarely does a sailor as accomplished and well-travelled as Ken Read venture into uncharted waters. The American yachtsman is relishing, however, what he regards as a journey into the unknown as he draws up plans to guide his ocean-going vessel into the Arabian Gulf at the end of next year.
Read, 49, was the skipper of the runner-up Puma entry in the last Volvo round the world race won last year by the Swedish boat Ericsson 4. The American expert is aiming to go one better when the so-called “Everest of Sailing” gets under way again.
The opening leg of the gruelling 39,000 nautical-mile odyssey from the Spanish port of Alicante to the South African tip of Cape Town presents no problems for Read who has negotiated that Southern Atlantic route on many occasions.
It is what happens next that has been occupying his mind since the itinerary for the 11th staging of the event was announced.
"Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, well that’s a new one on me,” said Read from his training camp at the renowned United States nautical base of Newport, Rhode Island, appealingly close to his family home.
"The left turn that we need to make after Madagascar heading up to your neck of the woods is a little different to us.
"It’s a new port of call and a new region for the Volvo Ocean Race and it is something that is perhaps well overdue.
"The Middle East has been such an emerging growth market for a number of years now and it is about time that sailing figured that out.
"We are all pretty excited about the prospect of getting there and spending a little bit of time there.”
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