Chinese Arrive In Professional Sailing
Published: Wednesday, 02 July 2014
Dongfeng has confirmed a full race team for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 that combines sailors from France, China and Sweden.
Dongfeng Race Team was flooded with applications from Olympians to local fishermen. Twenty candidates were chosen for the tough Selection Trials in December at the team’s official training camp at Serenity Marina, Sanya, China. Six were chosen by Dongfeng’s skipper, Charles Caudrelier, to embark on the offshore training programme three months later on board the Volvo Ocean 65 Dongfeng to fully test the Chinese sailors offshore abilities which, at the time, were practically non-existent. Four of those rookie offshore Chinese sailors have been confirmed as part of Dongfeng Race Team’s final race crew. The Volvo Ocean Race starts on the Oct 11, 2014 from Alicante in Spain.
“At first we picked the best sailors, then we realised that attitude was one of the most important attributes,” says Caudrelier. “Horace, Leo, Kit and Wolf had by far the best attitudes and were the most motivated.”
Just as the race against time to select the Chinese sailors draws to a conclusion, another race against time is also bearing down on the team – to find supporting partners to complete the core campaign budget.
Title Partner Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle Company Limited (DFCV) is a Chinese automobile company that specialises in medium and heavy-duty trucks. The company announced their sponsorship of the Volvo Ocean Race team at the end of October 2013 with the intention of using it to expand their global marketing strategy.
Aeolus Tyre Company Limited and the City of Shiyan were recently announced as Platinum Partners to Dongfeng Race Team. Aeolus Tyres is a major supplier to DFCV, specializing in heavy-duty tyres. Aeolus Tyres are sold all over China and exported to more than 140 countries and regions around the world.
The second Platinum Partner is the City of Shiyan in Hubei Province, where DFCV’s headquarters are located. Since 1967 Shiyan has developed into one of the most important centres of the automobile industry in China, often called the Detroit of China.
These three companies are not only closely linked but have now collectively taken their first steps into international sports sponsorship, through sailing as part of their global marketing strategies. “Today we join hands with Dongfeng Race Team to achieve our dreams of going global,” says Vice President of DFCV, Qin Jie. “Dongfeng Trucks share the same values with the race and the Dongfeng Race Team: trustworthiness, professionalism and advancements in technology. It’s a win-win choice for Dongfeng Trucks global ambitions and growing awareness of the Volvo Ocean Race in China.”
Dongfeng Race Team has the interests of Chinese sailing at its core with a significant number of Chinese in both the sailing and the support team so that future editions of the Volvo Ocean Race could one day witness a fully Chinese entry.