A sailor from Qingdao hopes to be the first Chinese person to sail round the world solo

A Chinese sailor who was the first to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race and do the gruelling Mini Transat set off on Sunday on a lone voyage non-stop round the world.

Guo Chuan, 47, left his home port of Qingdao sailing a Class 40 yacht. With the backing of Red Bull, he hopes to sail south to Cape Horn and back past the Cape of Good Hope and up through Indonesia to China He estimates the 21,600-mile voyage will take around 130 days

Guo, an aeronautical engineer, got the bug for sailing back in 2000 when he joined friends from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for a day on the water. He got into elite ocean racing in 2008 when he was picked to be the media crewmember on the Irish-Chinese Volvo Ocean Race entry Green Dragon and afterwards set about planning a solo adventure.

“The thought of challenging this record came to me in the spring of 2010,” said Guo. “When I returned to Europe after the Volvo Ocean Race in 2009, I thought I would sail back to China after the crossing, and I needed to plan for my return and set a new target for myself.”

Guo spent the summer training in Europe before shipping his boat to Hong Kong and sailing to Qindgao for the start of the challenge.