No rest 'til Sanya

By Jon Bramley
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No rest 'til Sanya By Jon Bramley
 
You’d think after nine months at sea, a spot of well-earned rest and relaxation on dry land would top most Volvo Ocean Race sailors’ wish-lists before taking on the next marathon project.

Not so Dongfeng Race Team’s Kit (Cheng Ying Kit), Leo (Liu Ming), Black (Liu Xue) and Kong (Kong Chencheng) whose idea of heaven after their rookie Volvo Ocean Race is to head straight back out on the water for another long-distance voyage and some more hard-won experience.

The quartet are taking on 2,000 nautical miles around the Chinese coast from Dalian to Sanya in a trip which will take three months to complete before arrival in the first week of December.

Two Jeanneau 3600 one-design, 35-foot boats are being used for the challenge, each crewed by six-strong, 100 percent Chinese teams.

Black is relishing the opportunity. “Compared with the experience with the Volvo Ocean Race, I have to take more responsibility as the skipper of one of the boats,” he tells us.

“I am new to the navigation and all different kinds of other skills requested both onboard and on the shore.

“The Volvo Ocean Race built up my confidence to overcome the challenge and difficulty working in offshore sailing. I am glad that Kit, Kong, Leo and myself, who worked together with Dongfeng Race Team, are still together sharing the excitement – and frustration.”

Kit underlined that even compared with the Race, this is a serious challenge for his new-found skills.

“It is a challenge because you are not sailing with an experienced skipper or crew any more,” he says.

“In fact, we now have to look after others who may be sailing offshore for the first time.”

He has been hired as team and fleet manager with responsibility for all sailing operations.

The crews also include several Chinese Olympic sailors in a voyage which is backed by yacht-builders Jeanneau and importers and equipment manufacturers, Speedo Marine.