Qingdao Ambassadors selected after intensive trial in China
by Morgan Kasmarik on 22 Jan
22 January 2017
Following a tough selection process, The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is proud to welcome the crew members who will represent Qingdao, China's 'Sailing City', in the Clipper 2017-18 Race.
Qingdao has a rich history in the Clipper Race, the only event which trains amateur sailors to become ocean racers, and is the event's longest standing Team Sponsor. The 2017-18 race edition will mark the seventh time Qingdao, also a Host Port, has entered a team in the biennial race across the world's oceans.
In total, 57 people applied to be a part of the 40,000 nautical mile, eleven month global adventure, with 37 then invited attend the three day selection process. The applicants were put through their paces; after determining their written and spoken English proficiency, there were physical trials such as swimming, fitness and sailing.
Clipper Race Crew Recruitment and Development Director David Cusworth said: "The sailing test on day three was a fitting end to a tough week."
"With temperatures dropping to minus two degrees, wind over 20 knots and rain, the applicants really had to dig deep. Two were seasick, but remained chirpy."
"There are some really strong sailors this year and we now have a very strong Qingdao Ambassador team. Bring on the training and the race."
14 pre-qualified candidates have been chosen, with the Qingdao Organising Committee also requesting another two reserves. The future ambassadors are:
Wang Bowen, Ma Hong, Tu Shan, Zhao Hongmei, Sun Yupeng, Yang Yalin, Xu Ying, Xu Huan, Liu Xintao, Luo Xiaoyu, Li Yaqi, Tian Meihong, Xu Yuxing, Zheng Yi, Liu Jingqiu (reserve), and E Xianghong (reserve).
Out of the 14, there are six women and eight men, with the ages ranging from 20 to 48. The future ambassadors come from all walks of life, with the group including students, teachers, a retired Navy Officer and a cruise ship photographer.
College student Zheng Yi is the youngest ambassador selected and is an experienced sailor, having competed in both the Qingdao Sailing Team and Shandong Sailing Team.
Zheng Yi said: "My passion for sailing started because of Clipper Race, which I consider as my inspiration, and over the last ten years, sailing has brought me great joy and memories."
"2017 is the tenth year since I started sailing. I want to become a Qingdao Ambassador through my efforts and make my Clipper Race experience a milestone in my life."
The crew members will now be split into two groups and travel to the UK for training in May and July. Both groups will undergo an intensive four week training program at the Clipper Race Headquarters in Gosport. All who successfully finish training will then be offered to take part in one of the eight legs which make up the circumnavigation.
Qingdao has sponsored an entry in the Clipper Race since 2005 to build on the legacy of hosting the sailing during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Known as China's 'Sailing City', the Clipper Race entry is also the perfect vehicle to promote tourism and trade from around the world.
The Clipper 2017-18 Race will begin in the UK this summer, with the fleet expected to arrive to a warm and excited welcome in Qingdao in March 2018.