New Chinese entry in the 2014 Volvo Ocean Race
Published: Thursday, 31 October 2013
In Wuhan, China, on October 30, Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle and the organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race announced that Dongfeng would support a new China entry in the 2014-2015 competition. OC Sports, which organizes and markets sailing events such as the Extreme 40 Sailing Series, will help run the China team. The plan calls for a “significant number” of Chinese people in the final race crew and in the support team. Bruno Dubois is the director for the China entry, named Team Dongfeng. This is the third entry from mainland China in the Volvo Ocean Race, which begins on October 4, 2014, in Alicante. Sanya is once again a stopover port for the competing teams.
There are now seven of the new Volvo Ocean 65s under construction for the next race. Knut Frostad pointed out during the press conference that because Team Dongfeng will be using one of the new 65s, “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.”
While Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle will the title partner in the campaign, OC Sport is now seeking other commercial partners to come onboard for the race. The marketer expects that by boosting the participation of Chinese sailors, it will grow the race’s following in China. 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. A sailing academy is planned to grow participation, while organisers say that they are now searching for qualified participants.
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."