Published: Monday, 17 November 2014

Chinese sailor Liu Xue (Black) will be the third Chinese crewmember to sail onboard Dongfeng in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015. He will replace Yang Jiru for Leg 2, which begins on Nov 19. This pre-planned crew change is part of the long term sporting mission behind Dongfeng Race Team with the ambition to bring offshore sailing to China. Yang Jiru (Wolf), Chen Jinhao (Horace) and now Liu Xue (Black) are the first of many Chinese sailors to represent China in the years to come in professional ocean racing.

Crew Change On Dongfeng For Leg 2 1

“It’s maybe a compromise on performance to have a crew change just as Wolf was gaining in experience,” says skipper Charles Caudrelier. “But this is pre-planned, it’s part of our mission as a project to develop as many Chinese sailors as we can during the race.”

It was during the first ocean training leg across the Pacific Ocean that Liu felt unsettled and decided that the Volvo Ocean Race was not for him.

Crew Change On Dongfeng For Leg 2

(Photo: Michael Topham / Amateur Photographer Magazine)

“After the first few days I felt a bit confused – there was no competition and suddenly I could not figure out what the objective or goal was for the training,” says Liu. But he soon had a change of heart. “I started to miss the team, miss my teammates and miss all the difficulties we have been through together. Also, this is the Volvo Ocean Race – a really rare opportunity – and I am ready to participate in the race. I can do it – I believe in myself.”

Crew Change On Dongfeng For Leg 2 2

(Photo: Yann Riou / Dongfeng Race Team)

“Yang Jiru (Wolf) and Chen Jinhao (Horace) have done a great job in Leg 1,” says Liu.  “I’m happy about our good result, they should be very proud. As a young team, we are lacking the experience of the sailors onboard Abu Dhabi yet we finished only 12 minutes behind them at the end of Leg1. I feel our team has a lot of potential.”

Crew Change On Dongfeng For Leg 2 3

(Photo: Yann Riou / Dongfeng Race Team)

As in Leg 1, Dongfeng will race with two Chinese crew on board – Chen Jinhao in the position of bowman alongside his counterpart, Kevin Escoffier, and Liu Xue who will take on the task of looking after the “pit” in the cockpit of the boat – the centre of every operation. The pitman controls all the halyards and lines to the sails – a central role under the coordination of the helmsman and bowman.