Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club (ADSYC) will host the Abu Dhabi Junior Sailing Festival when the race comes to the UAE’s capital in the new year.

Comprising a two-day junior sailing course for novice and advanced young sailors, aged between eight and 12 years, the festival aims to introduce new children to the sport and to improve skills of regular young sailors.

Etihad, a partner of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and the Volvo Ocean Race Abu Dhabi Stopover, and ADSYC will host the festival, using Optimist dinghies.

The Junior Sailing Festival will take place on Tuesday, January 3 and Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at the purpose built-Volvo Ocean Race ‘Destination Village’.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Etihad Airways is very proud to serve the youth community in Abu Dhabi with the junior sailing festival.

“It follows several years of rugby and football schools in the UAE capital and we are delighted to now take our community-focused, grassroots sports approach onto the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf.

“The festival will be run by qualified instructors from Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club and the children can look forward to action-packed sessions whilst mastering the basics of sailing.”

Majed Ateeq Al Mehairi, CEO, Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club (ADSYC), commented: “We are excited to be hosting the Etihad Airways Junior Sailing Festival at the ADSYC in which youngsters will have a perfect introduction to sailing.

The young sailors will complete lessons in the morning followed by practical sessions in the afternoon, with races to complete the day.

Ian Walker, Skipper, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, added: “All the best sailors start out in small dinghies, including most of the sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race, and it’s fantastic that Etihad Airways is putting so much time and resources into youth sailing.”

The airline has also launched, an online portal with comprehensive information about events and a range of holiday and event packages by Hala Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways’ destination management company, which include flights, accommodation and transfers around the Abu Dhabi stopover.

Also featured on the sailing portal is an innovative live “tracker” that allows visitors to chart the progress of Azzam, the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing yacht, and the other Volvo 70 race yachts.

An extensive entertainment program for the two-week stop-over, including concerts, welcoming ceremony for the first arriving yacht, in-port races, pro-am races, city receptions and top-class evening events, will be taking place throughout the city.

Information about gaining a place at the Etihad Airways Junior Sailing Festival 2012 can be found at