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Rising stars join Dongfeng Race Team

by Dongfeng Race Team on 19 Apr 19 April 2017
Rising stars join Dongfeng Race Team © Yann Riou / Dongfeng Race Team

Bouttell, Black, Wolf and Horace confirmed by skipper Charles Caudrelier for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

Dongfeng Race Team, the Chinese entry in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, today confirmed four crew members under the age of 30 – three Chinese sailors and one Australian-British sailor.

For each of them this is another opportunity to race with some of the world's greatest offshore sailors and to take on nature's wildest and most challenging oceans as part of the team on Dongfeng.

Volvo Ocean Race rules require that on all of the 11 legs of the 45,000-nautical mile race, which sets sail from Alicante in October, teams must sail with at least two crew who are under the age of 30.

In this category, Dongfeng Race Team, which is sponsored by Dongfeng Motor Corporation, has been able to recall three young Chinese sailors who participated in the last race.

The returning Chinese sailors, who will work the pit on board Dongfeng, are Jiru Yang aged 26, who uses the English name Wolf; Liu Xue, 24, known as Black, and Chen Jinhao, 25, Horace.

Speaking at the Shanghai Auto 2017 today where he and Horace are making an appearance, Wolf said he was delighted to be named once again as part of Caudrelier's 12-person 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," he added, "is that we are trying to encourage more Chinese people to sail because, for the moment, sailing is still not a popular sport in China. So I hope we can bring more attention to the sport by racing again with the team."

Horace said his goal, come start time in October, will 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."

Alongside the Chinese in this category is a rising star in offshore ocean racing, bowman Jackson Bouttell, 26, an Australian with strong British ties, who sailed with the team on leg three in the last race. He has completed three Solitaire du Figaro campaigns and hopes to be one day on the start line of the Vendée Globe.

"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 in three years. "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. Last time we were selecting them in China and teaching them how to use a winch, this time we are only speaking about performance," he said.

"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," Caudrelier added.

In addition to the under-30 group, Dongfeng Race Team has also announced among its crew, the 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.

The team is currently based, during its training phase, at Lorient in Brittany but has this weekend been racing in two Open 7.50 monohulls at the Spi Ouest France regatta at La Trinité-sur-Mer. Future commitments include the Rolex Fastnet Race and then the Plymouth to Lisbon race in August.

JACKSON BOUTTELL (JACK)

  • Nationality: Australian/British
  • Date of birth: January 18, 1991
  • Lives: France
  • Languages: English/French
Sailing highlights:
  • 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)

  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Date of birth: February 15, 1992
  • Lives: China
  • Languages: Cantonese/Mandarin/English
Sailing highlights:
  • 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

XUE LIU (BLACK)

  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Date of birth: March 12, 1993
  • Lives: China
  • Languages: Chinese/English
Sailing highlights:
  • 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)

  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Date of birth: July 14, 1990
  • Lives: China
  • Languages: Chinese/English
Sailing highlights:
  • 2013: 9th place, America's Cup, Naples
  • 2015: 3rd place with Dongfeng Race Team in the Volvo Ocean Race
  • 2016: 3rd place, Sydney Hobart Race with Dongfeng Race Team

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