Team Dongfeng announced as Chinese entry in the Volvo Ocean Race
The third team to be announced in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race is a Chinese entry, Team Dongfeng. Bruno Dubois will be the team director and the project, which is backed by Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle, will be run by UK based OC Sport.
OC Sport is responsible for the Extreme Sailing Series as well as numerous race campaigns over the past 15 years including those of record-breaking British female sailor, Dame Ellen MacArthur. It is however the first time that OC Sport and its Executive Chairman, Mark Turner, has been involved in running a Volvo Ocean Race campaign and so fulfils a long-standing ambition for him, and for Team Director Bruno Dubois, who both competed in the 1989-90 race.
“We are aiming for a successful race entry with a Chinese team, not just a successful entry – this is an absolute, at the heart of this very exciting and challenging project,” stated Turner.
Team Dongfeng follow Team Sanya (2011-12) and Green Dragon (2008-09) as the third Chinese entry in the race’s 40-year history, the latter a joint-entry with Ireland.
Two Chinese sailors have previously participated in the Volvo Ocean Race – media crew member Guo Chuan in 2008-09 on Green Dragon and “Tiger” Teng Jianghe in 2011-12 on Team Sanya, predating China’s sailing success in the London 2012 Olympics with Xu Lijia winning gold in the women’s Laser Radial.
“Team Dongfeng will be sailing in our new One-Design Volvo Ocean 65 like the rest of the fleet which means they will have exactly the same boat and competitive opportunities as anyone in the race, and they will be one of the first teams on the water,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. “The team will include a significant number of Chinese sailors and the search begins now to find the best in the country. They are sure to be the subject of huge media interest in China as Guo and Tiger were before them.”
Team Director Bruno Dubois highlighted the initial focus of the campaign, “Our priority is the recruitment and training of the Chinese sailors. This is very clearly the biggest challenge we have – to condense many years of experience of the average Volvo Ocean Race crew into just 10 months.
“But equally this process is at the heart of the project, we want to leave a real legacy that will both motivate the Chinese to want to embrace the sport of sailing, and be able to develop the talent so that, ultimately, a future campaign could be 100% Chinese.”
The next race will again feature a stopover in China in the port of Sanya. The city in the Hainan Island province hosted the event in 2011-2012, following Qingdao who became the first Chinese hosts in the previous edition of 2008-09.
The project also includes setting up a sailing academy which aims to provide a major boost to the development of all types of sailing in China.