Chinese sailors return for Dongfeng Race Team in Volvo Ocean Race
Dongfeng Race Team have confirmed four more crew members for their 2017-18 campaign, including the returning Chinese trio of Black, Wolf and Horace.
The Chinese sailors are Jiru Yang, aged 26, who uses the English name Wolf; Liu Xue, 24, known as Black, and Chen Jinhao, 25, Horace.
They are joined by Australian/British sailor Jack Bouttell in a four-strong squad of Under-30s in Charles Caudrelier’s Chinese-backed team.
Under race rules, all teams must have at least two Under-30s onboard on all 11 legs of the 46,000-nautical mile race, which starts from Alicante on October 22.
Speaking at Shanghai Auto 2017, Wolf said he was delighted to be named once again as part of Caudrelier’s final squad.
“It’s such an honour to sail again with this team,” he said. “On the boat during the hard moments, I sometimes said to myself that I would never do it again, but there are good memories too, that’s why I have come back again.
“One of the most important things for me is that we are trying to encourage more Chinese people to sail…so I hope we can bring more attention to the sport by racing again with the team.”
Horace said his goal would be to concentrate on racing. “This time I will be more focused on what I can do on the boat and, having done the last Volvo, I know what I can do,” he said.
Black, who is currently sailing in the Sinan Cup Regatta in China, said: “Last time I knew nothing, I did not speak English, I didn’t know what it was like offshore and I did not know the Volvo Ocean Race. Now I have a better mental approach because Charles asked me to come back and I don’t want to let him down.”
Bowman Jack Bouttell, 26, also has experience with Dongfeng in 2014-15, having sailed on leg three. He has completed two Solitaire du Figaro campaigns.
“The Volvo Ocean Race is something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time,” Bouttell said. “It’s the top of the sailing world in the crewed side of things and it’s been one of my big goals for years.”
Dongfeng Race Team skipper Charles Caudrelier says the three Chinese sailors have come a long way since their debut.
“Wolf, Black and Horace have one Volvo Ocean Race behind them and all of them sailed on at least two or three legs of the last race, so we are in quite a different position,” the Frenchman said. “Last time we were selecting them in China and teaching them how to use a winch, this time we are only speaking about performance.
“As for Jack, he is a very good single-handed sailor and did a fantastic job for us on leg three in the last race. He is a strong guy and will be our bowman but also one of the best drivers in our crew.”
Dongfeng Race Team’s other announced crew members are French solo sailing star Jérémie Beyou, the New Zealand Volvo Ocean Race experts Daryl Wislang and Stu Bannatyne and the female sailors Marie Riou of France and Caroljin Brouwer of the Netherlands.
Date of birth: 18 January 1991
2013: 1st Rookie, La Solitaire du Figaro
2015: 1st place, Leg 3 into Sanya onboard Dongfeng
2016: 1st place and new race record, Transat Quebec-St Malo, Spindrift 2 (maxi trimaran)
Chen Jinhao (Horace)
Date of birth: February 15, 1992
2011: Crew member onboard 77ft yacht, Jelik
2013: Part of China Team in Extreme Sailing Series, Qingdao
2014-15: 3rd place, Volvo Ocean Race with Dongfeng Race Team
Liu Xue (Black)
Date of birth: March 12, 1993
2013: Member of China Team in the America’s Cup World Series
2014-15: 3rd place, Dongfeng Race Team in the Volvo Ocean Race
2015: Skipper, China Sailing Tour team in China Cup International Regatta
Yang Jiru (Wolf)
Date of birth: July 14, 1990
2013: 9th place, America's Cup World Series, Naples
2015: 3rd place with Dongfeng Race Team in the Volvo Ocean Race
2016: 3rd place, Sydney Hobart Race with Dongfeng Race Team