Aeolus sponsored Dongfeng finishes first in home port of Sanya
Aeolus became platinum sponsor of the Dongfeng Racing Team in the Volvo Ocean Race this season (2014/15), and now for the first time in in the Race’s 41-year history a Chinese team has won a leg. After leading the fleet virtually all the way from Abu Dhabi to Sanya in China, over more than 5,000 miles of intense ocean racing, Dongfeng finally crossed the finish line in first place as the sun rose over Sanya (23:31:38 UTC) in a time of 23 days, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 38 seconds.
The Chinese team with two Chinese rookie sailors onboard – Liu Xue (Black) and Cheng Ying Kit – led some of the world’s best offshore sailors to their home country China. Aeolus says nobody could have predicted the team, which has the ambition “to bring offshore sailing to China”, could have the impact it has. With little under a year of training the Chinese sailors in the squad have impressed, even if this made Dongfeng Race Team one of the less experienced teams and, subsequently, the least favourite to win when the race started. Aeolus gives lots of credit to more experienced sailors, such as French skipper, Charles Caudrelier.
Caudrelier said: “It was the most stressful race of my life. We take the lead on the first day and we had to keep it because we had to arrive first here because it was very important for me and for the project, so we are so proud. One year ago we were here and we were discovering the Chinese sailors who were rookies and now they win the leg – it’s just fantastic. Maybe in the first time in offshore sailing something like this has happened – in just one year these guys have become great sailors. I am so proud, this is everything I wanted but I didn’t dare think about. It’s a team job and you cannot win a leg without a strong team.”
The vice president of the International Sailing Federation and China Yachting Association, Li Quanhai congratulated to Dongfeng Race Team on their victory and stated: “Dongfeng Race Team has made history. It is the best result for a Chinese team in the world of offshore sailing.”
The victory in the third of nine races has put Dongfeng at the top of the overall leaderboard, having achieved second place in its first race of the season.