Please select your home edition
Edition
Fever-Tree 728x90

Dongfeng Race Team reveals full Volvo Ocean Race line-up

by Dongfeng Race Team on 16 May 16 May 2017

The Chinese entry in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team sponsored by Dongfeng Motor Corporation, presented its full crew line-up for the first time, today, in Paris.

With 160 days to go to the start of the world's toughest fully-crewed offshore race at Alicante in Spain October 22, Dongfeng Race Team announced a 12-strong sailing squad from six nations that combines youth with experience.

Led for the second consecutive time by Charles Caudrelier of France, the crew counts five Volvo Ocean Race wins, five Olympic campaigns, and 32 Solitaire du Figaro campaigns – including five wins - among its sailors' achievements.

In addition to Caudrelier, the crew includes Figaro and Transat Jacques Vabre winner Pascal Bidégorry, who returns as navigator. An ocean racing record-setter, Bidégorry was Caudrelier's righthand man, in the previous edition of the race, and played a key role in the team's meteo and tactical strategy.

The French offshore all-rounder Kevin Escoffier, another pillar from the last campaign, is also back in the squad. Escoffier is not only a brilliant offshore sailor but an expert technician and boat builder.

Already announced are New Zealanders Stu Bannatyne, who will compete in the race for the eighth time, and Daryl Wislang who won the last edition with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Also in the sailing team is Jeremie Beyou, the French Vendée Globe podium finisher and one-design offshore specialist, who will be taking on his first Volvo Ocean Race campaign.

Bannatyne, Wislang and Beyou will share watch captain duties on Dongfeng. The team's two female stars are Marie Riou of France, a four-time world champion in the Nacra 17 class, and Carolijn Brouwer from Holland who has already sailed the race twice with all-female crews.

On the bow and also helping with helming duties is the up-and-coming Australian/British sailor Jack Bouttell, a veteran of three Figaro campaigns.

As before, Dongfeng Race Team remains committed to helping to establish offshore ocean racing in China and the sailing crew includes three young Chinese pioneering sailors – Yang Jiru (Wolf), Xue Liu (Black) and Jinhao Chen (Horace) - originally selected and trained for the 2014-15 race.

Commenting on the full sailing squad for first time, Caudrelier said: "I wanted a group of people on the boat who will grow stronger in adversity, never give up and have some fun along the way too."

He added: "We will be living in close quarters for months. We will be wet, cold, hungry, hot, exhausted and desperate for sleep at times, so the relationships we build have to be strong to withstand those pressures. I am happy with the squad we have assembled and I am confident that we will measure up to the task ahead."

In this campaign Dongfeng Race Team is looking to improve on its impressive debut appearance in the Volvo Ocean Race when it surprised pundits and fans alike by finishing third overall.

"The key has been to use our experience from 2014-15 and add to it, not rely on it," said Team Director, Bruno Dubois at the press conference.

"Appointing Charles Caudrelier as skipper was the first step. I know that Charles is more determined than ever to improve on his superb performance three years ago and he has demonstrated that he has the leadership skills to deal with the unique demands of Dongfeng Race Team. But we have added some new ingredients to the mix – high-achieving men and women who bring experience and a hunger for success that fits our philosophy," added Dubois.

Guillaume Semblat, CEO of OC Sport, the company managing the campaign, paid tribute to Dongfeng Motor Corporation for returning to the race: "For us at OC Sport, having a sponsor of this calibre, that is so passionate about what we are doing, is hugely important and we are delighted to be managing this great company's second entry in one of the world's toughest sporting events,".

Officials at Dongfeng Motor Corporation said the company's 170,000 employees are looking forward to following their team as they make their way around the world. "From all of us at Wuhan in China, we wish the crew all the best, and we look forward to Dongfeng Race Team achieving a good result in this new campaign."

The team has already completed more than 120 days of on-the-water training in its newly-re-fitted Volvo Ocean 65 one-design, Dongfeng, and on board smaller one-designs.

Dongfeng Race Team sailors entered the Rolex Sydney to Hobart classic in December. The next big race commitment is the Rolex Fastnet Race in early August and then the Plymouth to Lisbon Race for Volvo Ocean Race crews that will start on August 10. This will see Dongfeng line up against her rivals for the first time.

In addition to the sailing team, Dongfeng Race Team has assembled a highly experienced support team. This includes the weather and routing guru Marcel van Triest. Fabien Delahaye is head of the performance department working alongside analysts Olivier Douillard and Cyril Douillet. The team electronics expert is Ben Swartz.

The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the toughest logistical challenges in sport and is extremely demanding physically for the sailors. The team has recruited experts in all the relevent fields, all of whom are focused on the same core objective – to help ensure the team sails to the best of its ability.

Dongfeng Race Team sailing team:

  • Charles Caudrelier (FRA), skipper
  • Pascal Bidegorry (FRA), navigator
  • Stu Bannatyne (NZL), watch captain
  • Jeremie Beyou (FRA), watch captain
  • Daryl Wislang (NZL), watch captain
  • Carolijn Brouwer (NL), trimmer
  • Jack Bouttell (GBR-AUS), bowman
  • Jinhao Chen 'Horace' (CHN), bowman
  • Kevin Escoffier (FRA), bowman
  • Xue Liu "Black" (CHN), pitman
  • Marie Riou (FRA), trimmer
  • Yang Jiru "Wolf"(CHN), pitman

Related Articles

Spinlock creates custom lifejacket
For toughest race on water Spinlock will be an official race supplier to the Volvo Ocean Race, after designing a unique and custom lifejacket for the 2017-18 edition. Posted on 22 Jun
team AkzoNobel christened
Brand new Volvo Ocean Race yacht Team AkzoNobel, the Dutch ocean racing team preparing to compete in the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, has christened its newly built Volvo Ocean 65 racing yacht at a spectacular event in the Netherlands. Posted on 21 Jun
Volvo Ocean Race switches to a 2-year cycle
And a 2019 start for 14th edition The Volvo Ocean Race will switch from a 3-year to a 2-year cycle after the upcoming 2017-18 edition, a change that will provide more continuity and more commercial value for professional sailing teams, sponsors and Host Cities. Posted on 14 Jun
Dee Caffari to lead 'Turn the Tide on Plastic'
Sixth team in the Volvo Ocean Race Britain's Dee Caffari will lead 'Turn the Tide on Plastic' – a mixed, youth focused team with a strong sustainability message in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18. Posted on 13 Jun
Volvo Ocean Race: the raw story
As part of a digital-first strategy The Volvo Ocean Race will tell more of the raw story of the race than ever in 2017-18, as part of a digital-first strategy that includes a comprehensive slate of live, on-demand, broadcast TV and news output. Posted on 7 Jun
Ultimate leadership programme
Unveiled by the Volvo Ocean Race The Volvo Ocean Race will embed a comprehensive Leadership Development and Team Performance Programme in future editions, based on the hard-earned experience of the pro sailors and including a 'Global Team Challenge' race. Posted on 27 May
Southern Ocean commitment strengthened
Radical changes to Volvo Ocean Race racecourse The Volvo Ocean Race will strengthen its historic connection with the Southern Ocean, and the tradition of racing around the world, while boosting its commercial offering to sponsors and Host Cities, by introducing radical changes to the racecourse. Posted on 22 May
Spinlock's history of innovation
We speak to CEO Chris Hill From a background of distribution through a company called Offshore Instruments, the Spinlock brand was born through a snap-shackle that literally 'spun and locked'. Posted on 22 May
Official Sustainability Programme
Three key new partnerships for Volvo Ocean Race The Volvo Ocean Race has launched a major Sustainability Programme – signing partnerships with 11th Hour Racing, AkzoNobel and United Nations Environment, while outlining a series of commitments that focus on ocean health. Posted on 20 May
Magnus Olsson Prize 2017
Awarded to Santiago Lange Santiago "Santi" Lange, the Argentinian sailor and Olympic Gold medallist, has been awarded the 2017 Magnus 'Mange' Olsson Prize. The 55-year old sailor won the gold medal in the Nacra 17 class in Rio 2016. Posted on 19 May