Monday, 16 December 2013
@ADOR @tombushelluae UAE Journalist Bushell wins Coveted ADOR Volvo Ocean Race Onboard Reporter Slot
“Best Christmas Present Ever”, says Englishman
UAE-based journalist, Tom Bushell, has been selected by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) as the team’s Onboard Reporter for the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race – the epic, round-the-world yacht race, which begins in Alicante, Spain next October.
The 31-year-old Englishman, from North Shields, Tyne & Wear, claimed the highly sought-after slot in the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi)-backed squad after coming through a punishing five month selection process.
ADOR’s Skipper, the UK’s double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker played a key part in the selection process.
“I sailed with Tom in the Solent this summer and more recently in the Hong Kong to Vietnam race where we encountered some fairly wild conditions and Tom proved his mettle as a sailor. His journalistic abilities were already well established. “
“This is only the start of an incredible journey for Tom,” said Walker. “There’s an enormous amount of hard work ahead for him before we get near to the Alicante start line.
“This is a role like no other in journalism or in sport, and there is no hiding place onboard. It will be a steep learning curve, but from everything I’ve seen of Tom, he is up to it and I have no doubt that he will provide fans around the world with a superb insight into the stresses, toil, thrills and excitement on board our Azzam yacht thousands of miles into the open ocean.”
The Onboard Reporter role is an integral part of the nine-month Volvo Ocean Race for all teams competing. Race organisers have been inundated with more than 2,000 applicants for the individual spots on each team. Often described as both the world’s best and the worst media job, the Onboard Reporter is responsible for capturing the compelling stories onboard each yacht during the long months at sea, which make up the world’s longest professional sporting event.
It is a role unique to the Volvo Ocean Race and one which requires an equally unique combination of skills to both live at, and report from, the most extreme conditions in sport. Onboard Reporters must balance the need to contribute to the team dynamic onboard, endure the often overwhelming battle against the world’s fiercest oceans, and take on the responsibility of being the world’s eyes and ears onboard the Volvo Ocean 65 yacht and it battles through the 39,379 nautical mile route.
Bushell’s extensive journalism career, past sailing experience – he started sailing with his family at the age of 12 - and love of the sport, convinced Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing of his ability to capture and document the incredible feats of human achievement that take place under extreme conditions onboard a Volvo Ocean 65. His career includes television, radio and print media roles for leading media organisations including the Capital Radio Group in UK, Dubai 92 and Dubai Eye 103.8 radio stations in the United Arab Emirates, City 7 TV across the Middle East and North Africa, and TimeOut.
And Bushell is under no illusion as to the demands and potential dangers involved in taking on the world’s greatest maritime adventure passing through the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans and five continents.
“I am incredibly grateful for the faith that Abu Dhabi has shown in me with this selection – it is the best early Christmas present I could have wished for,” said Bushell.
“The chance to be a part of this historic, once in a lifetime event in the company of some of the world’s best sailors is something that I could never have turned down and I can’t wait to get started. Having lived in the UAE for five years and been a frequent visitor since the late 80s, I am just thrilled to be representing Abu Dhabi in this international event and can’t wait to carry the emirate’s name on my team kit as we make sail around the globe.
“I covered the last Volvo Ocean Race with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in Galway, and won a medal during the Pro-Am race.... and I hope that will be the first of many podiums I visit with the team. This time around though with only nine crew in total, I know it’s going to be much, much harder. Sure, it’s going to be far from easy and I have a huge amount of training and preparations to undergo, but I’m ready to give my all to the team and do everything that is asked of me.”
Next up for Tom and his fellow crew members is a long and punishing training programme. Bushell will join ADOR full-time in the New Year when the team prepares to take ownership of its new Volvo Ocean 65 yacht and unveils its full crew complement to take on the challenge of a lifetime.
As a long-term resident of the UAE, one of the highlights of the race for Bushell is sure to be the fleet’s arrival into Abu Dhabi city – the country’s capital - for the two-week, second leg race stopover, expected in mid-December next year. Having hosted the spectacular New Year stopover during the 2011/2012 race, the UAE capital is going all out to up the ante in the stopover hosting stakes.
TCA Abu Dhabi, which is behind both the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team and the UAE capital’s race stopover, is planning a spectacular welcome for teams and fans alike over December 2014 - January 2015. At the heart of the New Year spectacular will be Abu Dhabi’s Destination Village, the race hub in the city centre on its iconic Corniche breakwater. The Village – which is to be a third larger than in the last hosting – will be alive with attractions, activities and water sports for fans of all ages, as well as housing all the race teams as they arrive on their long second leg from Cape Town.
The hive of Volvo Ocean Race activity and excitement is once again expected to bring thousands of overseas visitors into Abu Dhabi over Christmas and New Year 2014/2015.