They started with 20 but only eight of them have made the cut. The first Chinese sailors to join Dongfeng Race Team’s training squad have been named and a second round of selection trials will decide who is tough enough to get onboard the red boat for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.
In the squad so far are Ying Kit Cheng, Xue Liu, Yiran Zhang, Liang Wu, Jin Hao Chen, Jiru Wolf Yang, Sheng Shen and Ming Liu. Some of these names will appear on the final race crew list – but they are not there yet.
In December, 20 applicants went through a challenging series of tests at Serenity Marina in southern China, the team’s official training facility. Those eight who sailed, ran, swam and went through all sorts of mental exercises better than the others will go forward into the training programme.
Team director Bruno Dubois was delighted by the candidates' interest in the project. “We had an Olympic athlete taking part in the first selection trials which gives you an idea of the calibre of the applicants. However, this is where the hard work really begins for these eight sailors to try and earn a place onboard the boat for the race.”
Olympics, America’s Cup, Extreme 40 series, Clipper Race – the pre-selected sailors showed some very interesting sailing resumes.
We’re not here just to make up the numbers so we need to make sure the men we select are capable and share our ambition,” added the Belgian-Canadian Dubois, who sailed in the race himself in 1989-90.
I’ve participated in other competitions before,” explained Yang, one of the chosen trainees. “I think I can deal with the physical challenges and I imagine myself doing the Volvo Ocean Race. The main difficulty may be the limited space inside the boat. Older sailors have told me people become totally different in that kind of environment. It’s not just yourself, but also the others – how they behave may have an impact on you.”
Aged 24, Yang said his parents “are a bit worried, but proud at the same time.”
The 43-year-old Wu is thrilled to be on the training team but admitted his wife and daughter “were surprised about the decision at first. They are now worried about safety and health.” Coming from Shanghai, Wu sailed with China Team in the America’s Cup and attended the Extreme 40 sailing races in Qingdao. “I understand how tough the race will be,” he claimed, “and I expect a lot if I can take part in it.”
Training with specialist coaches will commence next week with the sailors covering physical fitness, first aid, sea survival training, radio operator training and boat handling skills. They will then race from Hong Kong to Sanya with two boats, a coach and an Onboard Reporter per four-person team.
The Chinese candidates who were not selected in the first trials have a another chance to demonstrate their skills at the second round in Sanya on February 8 and 9. But beware – “I was extremely tired after a few tests in the rain and in the dark,” said candidate Liu Xue. “I was cold and hungry but needed to concentrate and continue. The selection trial was only the first step. In other words, my faith controlled my body.”
Editorial Message
This site contains materials from other clearly stated media sources for the purpose of discussion stimulation and content enrichment among our members only. does not necessarily endorse their views or the accuracy of their content. For copyright infringement issues please contact