Published: Wednesday, 11 March 2015

There were no crew changes anticipated for Leg 5 for the Chinese sailors on Dongfeng Race Team. Skipper Charles Caudrelier planned to keep the most experienced of his Chinese crew onboard to cross the world’s most treacherous ocean on the toughest leg of the race, which will begin on March 15.

Caudrelier and Team Director Bruno Dubois were faced with a tough decision when approached by the team’s physiotherapist, Neil Maclean-Martin a few days ago. Due to an injury to his back, it was strongly advised that Horace (Chen Jin Hao) should not do the next leg but take an extra month to recuperate fully so that he will be available at full capacity for the remaining legs from Brazil onwards.

Last Minute Crew Change For Dongfeng In Volvo Ocean Race

(Photo of Horace by Sam Greenfield / Dongfeng Race Team)

“I’m really a competitive person; I have a lot of pressures from both myself and the Chinese sailing community,” says Horace. “I constantly feel I’m not only representing myself I'm also representing China. Words cannot describe how disappointed I was to find out I can’t sail.

"I’m quite worried about Black (Liu Xue). I’m not seasick and I think I’m a better bowman than Black. The next leg will be tough and I’m worried about him. We are like brothers so there is no reason for me to get angry because Black will take my place but if you ask me if I’m disappointed the answer is yes.”

Last Minute Crew Change For Dongfeng In Volvo Ocean Race 1

(Photo of Black by Yann Riou / Dongfeng Race Team)

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot,” says Black. “This will be a big challenge for me. When I was told Horace wouldn’t be onboard I went straight to talk to him. I asked him if he was sure he couldn’t make it because to pass Cape Horn is every sailor’s dream, especially Chinese sailors. But I soon understood that he was in pain and told him I didn’t think he should go because he has to think about his career.

"When he decided to not go, he asked me if I had the right clothes and so on, showing his support. We are even closer but to be honest I feel really pity for Horace. Anyone who knows him knows he is bitterly disappointed.”

Leg 5 will begin at 1400 on March 15 and take the sailors 6,776 nautical miles through the Southern Ocean to Itajaí, Brazil.