Second Entry for Volvo Ocean Race

Published on November 7th, 2016

Wuhan, China (November 7, 2016) – China’s Dongfeng Race Team will build on the all-round success of their Volvo Ocean Race debut and return in 2017-18 for a second successive campaign under French skipper Charles Caudrelier, the team announced today.

The team will be 100% backed by Dongfeng Motor Corporation, the Chinese motor manufacturer headquartered in the Hubei province city of Wuhan, and the target will be to improve on an already strong performance in 2014-15, when they exceeded expectations by finishing third overall.

Dongfeng announced the partnership alongside Charles Caudrelier, Team Director Bruno Dubois and Volvo Ocean Race Managing Director Antonio Bolaños, at a news conference in Wuhan. As in the previous race, the team will be managed by OC Sport, the global sports marketing and events company that specialises in professional sailing and outdoor sports.

“The Volvo Ocean Race is the premier offshore sailing race in the world and has attracted China’s attention,” noted Yang Qing, vice president of the Dongfeng Motor Corporation. “More and more media and public now know of the race through the challenge by Dongfeng Race Team in the 2014-15 edition. There is no doubt that Dongfeng Race Team made history and multiple Chinese sailors are part of that story.”

Caudrelier’s team are the second confirmed entry in the race, which will start on October 22 next year and take the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world in one of the toughest routes in the race’s 43-year history. Team AkzoNobel, skippered by Simeon Tienpont, were the first team to announce.

Dongfeng Race Team will once again represent China, racing under the Chinese flag and will continue to have the interests of Chinese sailing at heart.

Charles Caudrelier and a team that featured four Chinese sailors over the course of the race, defied expectations to secure third place overall in 2014-15. But heading into 2017-18, the goal will be to win, said Caudrelier, who tasted victory himself with Groupama in 2011-12.

“Everybody’s goal is to do better and for sure our goal is not to come second,” reported the 42-year-old French skipper. “Last time we were not the favourites because we had less experience than the others and we were a new team. This time we are one of the first teams to get going and we have everything we need.

“With this announcement the team is in the ‘starting blocks’ early and that will give us an advantage to find the best crew and to train as much as possible. But this is not an easy task – the next edition of the race is the longest and hardest yet with three times as much Southern Ocean racing to do.

“In the last race the Chinese sailors, who had almost no offshore sailing experience, joined the squad and performed beyond expectations alongside our professional international crew. Together we showed what we could do, how we could overcome adversity and be an even stronger, united team at the end.”

But the Frenchman added that the last race, when Dongfeng was dismasted in the Southern Ocean, had taught him that nothing can be taken for granted. “We have no illusions about how tough this race is, how unfair it can be at times and how tough our opponents will be – we will try to do our best and work as hard as possible for the result we want,” he said.

Dongfeng Race Team won plaudits in the 2014-15 race for its frank approach to story-telling in conventional and digital media and this campaign will be no different with a strong emphasis on sharing the drama of the race with its fans in China and all around the world.

The team will do its best to share the human story of the race – the high points and the challenging moments – as Caudrelier’s crew pits its skills and will to succeed against everything that the world’s oceans throw at them.

The mixed international crew, which will be announced in due course, will include Chinese sailors from the first Dongfeng campaign plus world class offshore ocean racing sailors from France and elsewhere. The next big focus for crew selection will include a team entry in the Sydney-Hobart Race this December.

One big change is that Dongfeng Race Team is expected to include at least one female crew member following rule changes by the Volvo Ocean Race organisers that are designed to encourage participation by women sailors.

“From my point of view I am happy about this because it will give some of the best female sailors in the world a chance to compete in the Volvo Ocean Race,” Caudrelier said.

This second Dongfeng Race Team project follows Team Sanya (2011-12) and Green Dragon (2008-09) as the Volvo Ocean Race’s fourth Chinese entry. Green Dragon was a joint-entry with Ireland.

The seven One Design Volvo Ocean 65s from last edition are currently undergoing a stringent re-fit procedure at the Race’s Boatyard facility in Lisbon, Portugal – and an identical eighth boat is also currently built by Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy.

It has previously been announced that the next race will feature two Southeast Asian stops, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. It will be the fourth consecutive edition that the Race has stopped in China.


 
Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain in October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands in June 2018. In total, the Race will visit 11 cities in five continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. The full fleet has yet to be announced but there expects to be a minimum of 7 teams with a possibility of 1 or 2 more.

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Source: Volvo Ocean Race

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