Published: Wednesday, 08 October 2014

In Alicante, Spain emotion was running high at the Dongfeng Team press conference. Wolf Jiru Yang broke down in tears as he dedicated the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race to teammate Leo Liu Ming, who didn’t make the cut this time around. 

“During the press conference Leo explained he worked very hard and congratulated Horace and I for being onboard for Leg 1,” says Yang. “I know how hard this is for him because he tries and tries so hard, but he is not yet ready for whatever reason, and I can feel he’s so sad but he’s so proud of us. This is why I left my place in the press conference and hugged him – this is why I cry. From the beginning I said, I race for China but now, now I also race for Leo.”

In Port Race Action And Emotion For Dongfeng Race Team

Team spirit kicked in as the crew rallied round to give Yang and Ming support and comfort, as both were visibly upset, demonstrating just what it really means for these Chinese rookies to be participating.

The Team quickly re-grouped as their focus turned to the first official in-port race of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. After the team’s win in the official practice race and a third in the Pro-Am Race, confidence was boosted further by a respectable finish that saw the young guns of Alvimedica take victory. Charles Caudrelier and his team led from the start and were soon locked in a three-way battle with the experienced Abu Dhabi and Alvimedica for the majority of the race. On approach to the final gate rounding the VO65 Dongfeng Race Team crossed just behind Abu Dhabi but at the final mark rounding, they lost a minute or so trying to get the A3 unfurled and working – enough to let Mapfre and Brunel through in the close racing, resulting in Dongfeng Race Team finishing in fifth place.

In Port Race Action And Emotion For Dongfeng Race Team 1

“It was fantastic, the feeling when you’re leading is great, slight problem with the unfurling but I think we’re getting there,” says Yang.  “Still a lot we need to learn but we’re happy to be making these mistakes in the beginning rather than further down the line. Now I just look forward to the start of the race next Saturday.”

“As a team we did a fantastic job, communication onboard was really good,” says Skipper Charles Caudrelier.  “I am a bit disappointed because of course when you lead you want to go on leading and small mistakes happen but overall I’m really happy.”

Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race begins on Oct 11 in Alicante, Spain. The first leg will finish in Cape Town, South Africa.

Watch the press conference video:

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Official website for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015: